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The Batman Is Almost a Horror Movie, Director Matt Reeves Says

The Batman promises to be an even scarier take on the DC superhero than audiences have ever seen before, with director Matt Reeves now even going so far as describing the comic book outing as “almost a horror movie.” While speaking with Moviemaker Magazine, the filmmaker lists the various genres that The Batman falls into, with horror sitting at the top, and explains why the movie needed to lean more heavily into the character’s famous detective skills.

“This idea of a place that is corrupt, and you try to swim against the tide in order to fight against it and make a difference, is quintessential Batman. And at the center of those noir stories is almost always the detective, right? And that’s why he is the world’s greatest detective. And so this story is, in addition to being almost a horror movie, and a thriller, and an action movie, at its core, it’s also very much a detective story. It’s very narrative.”

Batman has often leaned somewhat into horror storytelling, with the vigilante himself aiming to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, but based on footage released so far from The Batman, as well as Matt Reeves’ description, this will be the first movie to lean into the genre as heavily as this. Elements from previous Batman movies, such as Heath Ledger’s Joker and Danny DeVito’s Penguin, could easily be described as having horror-esque tendencies, but from the beginning, The Batman has been compared to such classics of the horror genre as Se7en, suggesting that Reeves will bring this to the forefront.

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Matt Reeves will thread horror throughout every part of The Batman, with the filmmaker previously revealing that the iconic Batmobile will take inspiration from the 1983 horror flick, Christine, and genre icon Stephen King. “It has to make an appearance out of the shadows to intimidate, so I thought of it almost like Stephen King’s Christine,” Reeves explained. “I liked the idea of the car itself as a horror figure, making an animalistic appearance to really scare the hell out of the people Batman’s pursuing.”

The movie’s main villain, The Riddler, also promises to be the most frightening depiction of a DC supervillain to ever grace the silver screen. Actor Paul Dano, who will portray Edward Nashton AKA The Riddler in The Batman, has since revealed that the infamously cryptic criminal is partly based on real-life horror, The Zodiac Killer. “I liked how both grounded and big this film is at the same time,” Dano said. “So there are some grounding forces like the Zodiac Killer, right? But it’s still The Batman, and for me it’s much bigger, so it was important to let my imagination react to the script, rather than strictly basing it on a serial killer.”


Starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/The Batman alongside Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell, The Batman is scheduled for release on March 4, 2022.


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