Neil Marshall Returning to His Action-Horror Roots with ‘The Lair’

Neil Marshall’s next movie will see the British genre auteur return to his roots. According to Variety, the Dog Soldiers filmmaker will write and produce The Lair, a horror movie based on a script he’s already written.

The film follows Royal Air Force pilot Lt. Kate Sinclair after her jet is shot down during a mission in Afghanistan. She then discovers an underground bunker where half-human, half-alien creatures known as Ravagers are awakened, hungry for flesh. After narrowly escaping with her life intact, the lieutenant traces the creatures back to a United States Army base. What’s really going on?

According to Marshall, the movie will be a return to the action-horror sensibilities of his earlier efforts. Furthermore, the film will continue his trend of making movies about strong female protagonists.

“If The Reckoning was a gothic drama in testament to the power and resilience of women, then The Lair is my true return to full-blooded horror and intense genre action in the style of Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday. I’m making something scary as hell, pulse-pounding and great fun. This is a crowd-pleaser. An adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster ride. Spectacular and loud; inspired by classic genre movies like Aliens, Predator and The Thing and their incredible use of practical creature FX. Featuring a new breed of screen terror, The Lair will be a snarling, ravenous beast of a movie. I’m going to get my hands bloody making this one!”

Let’s hope this movie actually sees the light of day. Marshall has a tendency to announce exciting projects that never come to fruition, but at least he’s making movies on the regular again. Between this and The Reckoning, the genre maverick also appears to be focusing on lowkey fare for the foreseeable future. He didn’t have the best experience working on Hellboy, so maybe studio blockbusters aren’t at the top of his agenda at the moment.

Of course, Marshall is at his best when he has creative freedom and can lean into his demented tastes. He likes the horror to be nasty and the action to be enthralling. He’s unabashed in his love of pulp, blood, guts, and guns. His description of The Lair sounds like it will couple the fun elements of Dog Soldiers and Doomsday with the nastiness of The Descent.

The film also continues Marshall’s fascination with militaristic protagonists. Dog Soldiers follows a team of British troops who encounter werewolves in the Scottish Highlands. Doomsday centres around a government agent who leads a team into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Centurion is a behind enemy lines adventure about warriors in ancient Rome. All three movies are quite different from each other, but they each boast plenty of action and interesting characters who know how to handle tough environments.

I’m happy to hear that The Lair will keep it practical as well. The foes in Dog Soldiers and The Descent are masterful examples of the power of makeup and costume design. Expect some nightmare-inducing foes who don’t play nice in this one. Marshall’s monsters are truly hideous and horrific, but that’s what makes them beautiful.

Marshall is one of the most consistently great genre directors working today, and this won’t disappoint. Let’s hope it gets released and becomes a huge success. Marshall and the horror community both deserve that.

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