While there’s no improving on 1986's Witchboard—“the perfect combination of melodrama, 1980s hair, and evil spirits,” as some io9 weirdo who watches too many cult horror movies once wrote—a remake with intriguing genre talent behind it is something to get excited about.
Deadline broke the news that that director Chuck Russell (whose credits include The Mask, Eraser, The Scorpion King, and classic slasher sequel A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) has snagged Jamie Campbell Bower (Vecna on Stranger Things) to star in a new take on Witchboard. It’s written by Russell and Greg McKay, and it has a surprisingly detailed description already:
“Emily, her fiancé Christian and a group of their friends open an organic café, refurbishing an old carriage house in New Orleans’ French Quarter. But a darkness descends over Emily when she discovers an ancient pendulum board, once used to summon spirits. Christian seeks help for Emily from occult expert Alexander Babtiste, but Babtiste has secrets of his own, knowing the fateful bloodlines that binds them all to the Witchboard. A modern coven of White Witches, a masked ball at Babtiste’s mansion, and the legacy of Naga Soth, the Queen of Witches, are all part of a dangerous game that puts Emily’s very soul at risk.”
If you’re familiar with the original movie—and if you’re not, seriously, why are you depriving yourself of such supernatural silliness?—you’ll know that’s an almost completely new story, except for the whole “wait, you mean ouija boards can accidentally awaken evil?” plot-starter, which sparked not just the first movie but its lesser-seen sequels. The other elements range from weirdly specific (the organic café!) to overly familiar (New Orleans as shorthand for “spooky setting”), but there’s also a mansion-dwelling occult expert who hosts masked balls and a Queen of Witches poking around, so that sounds like maybe some of that ‘80s cheese could carry over. The trade reports Witchboard begins filming next month, so we’ll no doubt be learning more soon.
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