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Robert Eggers' Nosferatu Release Date, Cast, Plot And More Details

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In 1897, Bram Stoker changed the horror game with "Dracula," the classic novel that popularized the modern-day concept of the vampire. A few years later, when people started lining up for picture shows, it seemed like "Dracula" would be the perfect tale to frighten early 19th-century horror hounds. However, before Bela Lugosi could work his sexy magic on moviegoers, F.W. Murnau beat him to the punch with "Nosferatu" — a 1922 film that basically ripped off Stoker's novel.

However, "Nosferatu" was no mere copycat. Considered a highwater mark of the German Expressionist style, "Nosferatu" is a truly dark and disturbing movie that uses eerie shadows and unsettling atmosphere to great effect, and Max Schreck plays the vampiric Count Orlok not as a suave aristocrat but as an animalistic monster lurking in the dark. The film has been hailed as one of the all-time vampire films, and just like an undead bloodsucker, the story absolutely refuses to die.

German director Werner Herzog remade "Nosferatu" in 1979 with Klaus Kinski, and now, it's being adapted yet again for 21st-century audiences, courtesy of acclaimed filmmaker Robert Eggers. What horrors will this new version have in store for us? Who's playing the bloodthirsty beast, and who's starring as his unfortunate victims? Well, grab your crucifix and stay out of that creepy castle as we discuss everything you need to know about the new "Nosferatu."

When will Robert Eggers' Nosferatu be released?

Much like Thomas Hutter's journey to Count Orlok's Transylvanian castle, the road to the screen has been long and difficult for "Nosferatu." Robert Eggers has been trying to get this made since 2015, and on two separate occasions, the project has fallen apart and lost some major stars in Anya Taylor-Joy and Harry Styles. Eggers has gotten so frustrated by everything that he suspects there might be some paranormal forces trying to crush his creation.

"I've been trying so hard," Eggers said to IndieWire. "And I just wonder if [F.W.] Murnau's ghost is telling me, like, you should stop." Well, it looks like Eggers has finally exorcised the deceased German director. His take on "Nosferatu" began shooting in March 2023, filming in Prague — an appropriately Old World setting for a vampire tale. The shoot finished in late May 2023, and now, we know exactly when the dreaded Count Orlok will lurch onto the screen. "Nosferatu" is currently scheduled for December 25, 2024, where it will find itself competing against Jordan Peele's new movie. Looks like the 2024 holiday season will be filled with yuletide cheer and cinematic scares.

What is the plot of Nosferatu?

On the official "Nosferatu" website, there's a short yet scary plot synopsis that reads, "Robert Eggers' 'Nosferatu' is a gothic tale of obsession between a haunted young woman in 19th-century Germany and the ancient Transylvanian vampire who stalks her, bringing untold horror with him." 

Basically, it's drawing directly from F.W. Murnau's original film, where real estate agent Thomas Hutter sets out from his German home to visit a client by the name of Count Orlok. Turns out the count is an undead demon who plans on leaving his castle behind and turning Hutter's town into his own personal smorgasbord. But during Orlok's bloodsucking reign of terror, Hutter's wife, Ellen, realizes she's the only one who can defeat this monster.

If the plot sounds a lot like "Dracula," well, it's because F.W. Muranau and company read Bram Stoker's book and based their screenplay on his novel ... without getting the rights first. But one of Murnau's big changes was turning the vampire into a pale, rat-like beast as opposed to a sexy, seductive predator. Werner Herzog went the same way in his 1979 remake, and while Eggers' vampire will have similarities to the two previous Count Orloks, this undead beastie will have his own unique flair. Speaking with Empire, Eggers said about his Orlok, "I think the main thing is that he's even more a folk vampire. In my opinion he looks like a dead Transylvanian nobleman, and in a way that we've never actually seen what an actual dead Transylvanian nobleman would look like and be dressed like."

Who is starring in Nosferatu?

As the vampiric lead of "Nosferatu," we've got Bill Skarsgård, a horror icon who played Pennywise in Andy Muschietti's two-part "IT" adaptation. Director Robert Eggers promises that Skarsgård's performance is next level, telling Empire, "I'll say that Bill has so transformed, I'm fearful that he might not get the credit that he deserves because he's just ... he's not there."

In the role of Ellen Hutter — the woman who finds herself terrorized by Orlok's bloodlust — we have Lily-Rose Depp, stepping in for Anya Taylor-Joy. The daughter of superstar Johnny Depp, she's perhaps most famous for starring in Sam Levinson's super controversial HBO series "The Idol." She'll be central to the story here, with Eggers telling Empire his movie is "even more Ellen's story than previous versions. And Lily-Rose is absolutely phenomenal."

Nicholas Hoult will be playing the part of Thomas Hutter, a role originally meant for Harry Styles. Hoult is no stranger to vampire movies, having served as Dracula's familiar in the horror-comedy "Renfield." We can also expect to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson, although we're not 100% sure who the "Kraven the Hunter" star is playing just yet.

"Nosferatu" will also feature Emma Corrin of "The Crown," Simon McBurney of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1," and Ralph Ineson of Eggers' "The Witch." Willem Dafoe will also appear, having also starred in Eggers' "The Lighthouse" and "The Northman." Interestingly, Dafoe has a big attachment to this tale, as he played "Nosferatu" actor Max Schreck in the movie "Shadow of the Vampire" — a very meta film where Schreck turns out to be an actual vampire. 

Who is writing and directing Nosferatu?

It should probably come as no surprise by this point that "Nosferatu" is being written and directed by Robert Eggers. The critically beloved filmmaker started off in the entertainment industry by wearing many hats, working jobs such as a carpenter and production designer on everything from TV shows to theater. He eventually brought his very meticulous mind to the world of feature films, with his debut movie "The Witch," where a Puritan family finds themselves being torn apart by malevolent forces — both spiritual and familial.

Eggers followed that up with "The Lighthouse," a nightmarish meditation on guilt and isolation, with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson slowly going mad in 1.19:1 aspect ratio. His third film was "The Northman," putting Bill Skarsgård's brother, Alexander, through the ringer as a warrior in search of bloody revenge. Now, Eggers is moving his talents from Vikings to vampires, finally bringing his passion project to life after nearly 10 years and two previous efforts to get the film off the ground. 

On that note, Eggers said he's incredibly glad he made "The Northman" before "Nosferatu," as the epic adventure tale prepped him for such a massive undertaking with his vampire flick. "I'm so happy to have made 'The Northman' first and to have learned what I learned," he told Empire. "When I think about the production plan of 'Nosferatu' that we had the first time around, I'm sure I would have somehow pulled it out of my butt, but it's hard not to imagine it being a failure." But even with all that experience, Eggers is pushing himself to the limit and hoping for a massive payoff. As he put it to Empire, "I'm trying to go beyond what I'm capable of."

Where to watch the other Nosferatu movies

While we're waiting to see Robert Eggers' creature of the night, now is the perfect time to check out the two previous "Nosferatu" movies. The original is widely hailed as one of the very best horror movies, with Eggers telling Daily Dead, "Even though there were horror films before it, in many ways, it invented horror films." To see the film that helped kickstart an entire genre and inspired one of the best directors working today, you can stream "Nosferatu" on Tubi or Pluto TV, or you can rent it on Prime VideoVuduGoogle Play, or YouTube.

Then there's Werner Herzog's 1979 retelling, "Nosferatu the Vampyre," starring his infamously hot-headed collaborator Klaus Kinski as the notorious vampire. Writing about Herzog's version, Roger Ebert said, "There is a quality to the color photography in Werner Herzog's 'Nosferatu the Vampyre' that seeps into your bones. ... It is rich, heavy, deep." He went on to add, "'Nosferatu the Vampyre' cannot be confined to the category of 'horror film.' It is about dread itself, and how easily the unwary can fall into evil." If that's not a glowing recommendation right there, then we don't know what it is. The '70s version of the classic tale can be streamed on Tubi, Peacock, Pluto TV, and Freevee.