'Death Note' Clip Gives First Clear Look at Willem Dafoe as Ryuk

by Monica Hunter-Hart

San Diego’s Comic-Con panel for Death Note, the forthcoming Netflix supernatural thriller, revealed a clip for the movie that finally gives a good look at the death god Ryuk, played by the incomparable Willem Dafoe (Platoon, the original Spider-Man trilogy, Shadow of the Vampire, etc.). Dafoe is just as delightfully terrifying as everyone suspected he’d be in the role and already looks to be one of the best parts of this adaptation of the popular Japanese manga.

In an earlier Death Note teaser, we watched Light Turner (played by Nat Wolff) get his first glimpse of Ryuk, but it was only for a couple of seconds, and the death god, or Shinigami, was shown out of focus.

This new clip shows an elongated version of that initial meeting, which also turns out to be the first time that Ryuk convinces Light to write someone’s name in the “Death Note,” a notebook that brings a death sentence to people whose names are inscribed inside. Dafoe pulls off a spectacularly creepy voice, as well as some foreboding, rattling breathing. Watch above.

The moment when Light sees Ryuk for the first time.

YouTube user: Netflix

It takes almost the full clip, but we finally get to this, a full shot of Ryuk’s face:


YouTube user: Netflix

That’s something to keep you up at night.

Death Note is directed by Adam Wingard, the man behind other horror films like Blair Witch and You’re Next. The original manga was written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It’s already been adapted into several live-action films and a television series, but this movie will be its first American interpretation.

The movie’s going to be quite different than the manga: Producer Masi Oka says it’s somehow going to be even “edgier” than the original (though the manga was already edgy enough to be banned from some schools in China and almost Albuquerque, New Mexico).

Death Note will debut August 25 on Netflix. Don’t miss Inverse’s interview with Wingard, in which he details his vision for the film.

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