Will “Upgrade” Launch Blumhouse Away From the Horror Genre?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Blumhouse)

I’ve been fascinated by the rise of Blumhouse in the past couple of years.

It turns out that if you can do one thing really well, you probably shouldn’t do anything else. Blumhouse takes the Marvel Studios route to success by specializing in a single type of moviemaking.

This is a strategy that works out when done right. Just as Marvel is known for superhero fare, Blumhouse has now become a recognizable name for its series of low-budget, high-concept horror movies.

Now, the studio’s name is synonymous with its genre. If you like horror, chances are you’re going to like pretty much everything put out by Blumhouse (except “Truth or Dare”).

But no studio can keep doing the same thing forever without getting stale.

Into the Unknown

Marvel has been branching out in recent years. The studio is still making superhero films, but it’s also been making a series of comedic space operas, and this has proven beneficial to keeping things fresh.

It seems that Blumhouse might be making a similar leap, as the studio has now provided us with “Upgrade”.

(Psst, watch-out, this is the Red Band trailer, it’s super gory.)

This movie is, unexpectedly, a superhero film.

Well, kind of. The main character has unbelievable superhuman abilities, and a secret identity of sorts. Certainly, he doesn’t want people to know he’s going on a revenge murder spree.

Yeah, that’s not very heroic, but considering that Deadpool counts as a superhero, I’m willing to give this movie a pass.

“Upgrade” isn’t entirely an abandonment of what built Blumhouse. This film is still dark, violent, and scary. But these horror elements are also coupled with vicious action set-pieces and well-choreographed fight scenes.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the start of Blumhouse moving into new territory. “Upgrade” could well be a bridge to new genres and different ideas.

I’m not expecting a romantic comedy from Blumhouse any time soon. Not unless it’s also somehow a murder mystery or a grim metaphor for the oppression of minorities.

Upgrade Blumhouse
Source: Blumhouse

That said, I expect that Blumhouse is going to be diversifying its output over the next little while.

The studio is already known for creating smart horror movies. Now, I suspect, they’re going for a loftier reputation as the creators of smart grown-up films in general.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.