Netflix Snags Sci-Fi Action Flick Spectral for December Debut

Courtesy Legendary Pictures

Netflix continues to feather its nest with an increasingly impressive array of exclusive feature films. With an eclectic mix of dramas (Beasts of No Nation), comedies (Pee-wee’s Big Holiday), and action (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny), Netflix’s feature films have been as unpredictable as their lineup of original shows. Now you can add the upcoming sci-fi actioner Spectral to the list.

Deadline reports that Netflix has acquired the rights to Legendary Pictures’ Spectral, starring James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, and Bruce Greenwood. Produced by Legendary Pictures, Spectral will premiere both on Netflix and in theaters on December 9th. Here’s how Deadline describes Spectral:

A brilliant DARPA scientist embarks on a deadly mission with a Special Ops team of Delta Force soldiers into a battle-scarred, war-torn city, where mysterious phantom aggressors code-named Spectral have been causing inexplicable civilian deaths.

The flick was directed by Nic Mathieu, who, along with Ian Fried, came up with the storyline. Veteran screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) wrote the actual script. Spectral shot on location in Budapest, Hungary, making heavy use of practical effects and the considerable talents of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop (who designed the weaponry) and Weta Digital. Consider us intrigued.

With the combination of location shooting, a reported “gritty” and realistic tone, and the geniuses from Weta, Spectral sounds like it could be a hit in the vein of Neill Blomkamp’s acclaimed District 9. That’s an exciting prospect, especially since even Blomkamp himself hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of that flick with his successive films.

The director is a bit of a blank slate, as this will be Mathieu’s first feature screen credit. However, Spectral has a rock-solid cast of proven character actors, and I’d watch Bruce Greenwood in damn near anything. As for screenwriter Nolfi, he also wrote and directed the underrated 2011 Philip K. Dick adaptation The Adjustment Bureau.