The Reckoning Can Neil Marshall Ever Return to His Halcyon Days

The Reckoning: Can Neil Marshall Ever Return to His Halcyon Days?

Neil Marshall’s career may be on a down turn, but that doesn’t mean the once acclaimed director doesn’t have what it takes to get back on top.

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The Reckoning Can Neil Marshall Ever Return to His Halcyon Days

Neil Marshall is a notable director who has made some beloved modern-day horror classics like Dog Soldiers and The Descent, and an award-winning episode of Game of Thrones. Recently, Marshall has had his name attached to duds like 2019’s Hellboy and now The Reckoning. Does Marshall have it in him to go back to being a well-received filmmaker, or is he the new M. Night Shyamalan?

Marshall’s rise and decline has happened rather quickly. In 2001, Neil Marshall directed the cult hit, Dog Soldiers. Dog Soldiers is a bleak horror tale following British soldiers in the Scottish highlands who get attacked by werewolves. The film is an exciting action-horror hybrid that proved to be something many audiences needed at the dawn of the new millennium. The film has since developed a lively cult following, and is considered by many to be a staple of modern horror.

Following the success of Dog Soldiers, Marshall’s next movie was the claustrophobic 2006 film, The Descent. The Descent tells the frightening story of a group of women who go on a caving expedition that goes from bad to worse when they discover creatures living inside the cave they’ve become trapped inside. Marshall said he did not want to be typecast as a horror filmmaker, but after the release of The Descent, Marshall started to become associated with the modern horror director group called The Splat Pack.

The Reckoning Can Neil Marshall Ever Return to His Halcyon Days

In the mid-to-late 200o’s, Marshall was on the top of his game in the horror world, but he was ready to branch out further in his career. His next two films, Doomsday and Centurion, delved deeper into the heightened action that Marshall only dabbled in with his previous efforts. Doomsday is an ultra-violent post-apocalyptic tale ala Max Max, while Centurion is a period piece that descends into a full-blown action epic. Neither film was a hit, but both showed that Marshall was more than just a horror filmmaker.

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After Marshall’s foray into action, he began working on television more frequently than movies. One of the biggest highlights of Marshall’s career is his two-episode directing stint on Game of Thrones. Marshall directed the critically acclaimed episodes titled Blackwater and The Watchers on the Wall, the former of which Marshall was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. After proving himself to be a talented episodic director with Game of Thrones, Marshall went on to direct episodes of beloved shows like Hannibal and Westworld. And while the 2010s seemed like a golden era for Marshall, the success of his projects took an unfortunate decline.

In 2019, Marshall directed an R-rated reboot of Hellboy. The film barely made back its budget and was despised by critics and audiences alike. Hellboy was awarded an 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes and is considered by many to be one of the worst comic-book adaptations of all time. Since Marshall’s track record shows him to be a multi-talented filmmaker who has what it takes to be an auteur, Hellboy had the potential to just be a minor setback in an otherwise great career. However, Marshall followed up Hellboy with his folk-horror vanity project, The Reckoning, and it’s in the same realm of schlock as his last disaster. Not only is The Reckoning not quality, but it is also plagued by controversy.

The Reckoning stars Marshall’s real-life girlfriend, Charlotte Kirk, who is marred by controversy. Marshall himself has been accused of extortion, a claim he denies. The controversy in the personal lives of both Marshall and Kirk affected their new film, with Marshall canceling a Q&A at the Fantasia International Film Festival to avoid questions about a scandal involving Kirk and NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer. The Reckoning is a film that was hurt by controversy that it had nothing to do with, yet it is still a problematic and unintentionally funny farce of a horror film that accidentally reflects the oppression of women that it is attempting to speak out against.

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Neil Marshall is a filmmaker with obvious skill and a unique cinematic perspective. He has made some classic horror films and award-winning episodes of television, but now seems to be on a downward spiral. After his last two abysmal films, it seems as though “directed by Neil Marshall’ will now be an indication of lower quality. Marshall seems to be suffering what M. Night Shyamalan was going through years ago — starting out as a beloved filmmaker before being viewed as a joke. However, Shyamalan has made a comeback, and although he’s still quite hit or miss, there is no director quite like him. Whether he decides to blow away unsuspecting audiences with an explosive episode of a great new show or baffle us with a new bizarre feature, this cult director certainly has the potential to rise out of the slump he’s currently in.

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