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Netflix's Death Note Trailer Brings the Iconic Manga to Life

By B. Alan Orange — March 22nd, 2017

While some novices may not realize what is about to hit Netflix this summer, fans do, and they have been waiting for the American Death Note adaptation for quite some time. Originally envisioned as a big screen reboot of the popular Japanese franchise, the movie eventually wound up at Netflix. And now, it is set to be one of their biggest original summer movie releases ever. Today, we have a first look at this thriller.

'We suggest you obey the rules'. That's the warning issued at the forefront of this spooky tale. Based on the famous Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone's name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.

What if you had the power to decide who lives and who dies? What would you do? Death Note explores this idea, bringing the tale to U.S. shores for the first time after being successfully launched in Japan with a live action movie that has a huge cult fan base. While some U.S. adaptations of popular anime and manga are frowned upon, fans have been eagerly awaiting this movie.

The Netflix original film is directed by Adam Wingard, best known for the hit horror movies Blair Witch and You're Next. It features an amazing ensemble that includes stars Nat Wolff (Paper Towns), Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers), Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out), Paul Nakauchi (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), Shea Whigham (American Hustle) and Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man).  Death Note will premiere exclusively on Netflix on August 25th.

Speaking last year about the adaptation, director Adam Wingard compared his new Death Note to Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins trilogy, which included The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. And he's hinted that if successful, this movie could launch Netflix's first true movie franchise, one that could seriously compete with all the tentpole blockbusters currently crowding the local cinemaplex. The director said this about the movie.

"I think Anime are due for the same treatment that comics got when Nolan did Batman. I think the key is straying away from overt Anime style like Speed Racer and Dragon Ball and instead try to ground the stories in more relatable ways. With Death Note I tried to give it a gritty lived in look. With that said Death Note is going to be my most insane movie yet. It makes the Guest look conventional."

You can see some of the filmmaker's promises come to life in this first look trailer, which features some of the cast and shows off the gloomy tone being set here. It also arrived during the last week of summer, one of the slowest in box office history. Premiering on that same August Friday, Death Note will find competition in Screen Gems' horror outing Cadaver and TWC is releasing Polaroid, another thriller. While Netflix original movies haven't really had an impact on theatrical fare, we're guessing this one will give ticket holders a run for their money. Check out the first trailer and release date announce courtesy of Netflix.

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