After the disappointing critical and commercial performance of his last movie, the sort-of sequel, sort-of reboot Blair Witch, director Adam Wingard promised a return to genre-bending form for his next movie, the Netflix original Death Note. He picked a doozy of a followup, too, adapting the cult classic manga-turned-anime-turned-video game-turned-live action film trilogy-turned-TV drama that’s become a multi-decade franchise phenomenon in its native Japan.
Here, Wingard moves the action to Seattle, where student Light Turner (Nat Wolff) stumbles upon a magical notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages. And that’s Willem Dafoe’s signature creepy rattle as Ryuk, the listless demigod who amuses himself by dropping the book into the human realm. Stylistically, the trailer evokes the neon-noir stylings of The Neon Demon director Nicolas Winding Refn, posting the question of whether this hard-R adaptation will do for Death Note what Riverdale did for the Archie comics.
We’ll find out when Death Note debuts on Netflix on August 25.