It’s been nearly three years since we first heard of Universal’s plans to remake They Live, John Carpenter’s cult sociopolitical satire about a man who realizes—with the help of a special pair of sunglasses—that humanity was under the secret control of aliens. Discussing the project in 2010, producer Eric Newman (who just finished remaking Carpenter’s The Thing) caused a minor nerd-storm when he said that the updated version would likely ditch the whole “sunglasses” angle and with it any scenes of two supposed buddies beat the ever-loving shit out of each other because one of them won't try the glasses on.
Now it seems the project is distancing itself even further from Carpenter’s work: Deadline reports that Newman has brought Cloverfield and Let Me In writer-director Matt Reeves on board to write and helm an adaptation of Ray Nelson’s short story “8 O’Clock In The Morning”—the story that formed the basis of They Live, but differs from that film enough that the project is no longer technically a remake. And in Reeves’ words, his film won’t have the satirical or political elements, but will instead be “a psychological science fiction thriller that explores this guy’s nightmare” and could even include “a desperate love story,” as Reeves is more “drawn to the emotional side, the nightmare experience with the paranoia of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers or a Roman Polanski-style film.” So on the upside, it's a slightly more original film. On the downside, it probably won't have anything about chewing bubblegum and kicking ass.