Oppenheimer is being described as a horror movie – and Christopher Nolan agrees

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Oppenheimer has already had some stellar early reactions ahead of its July release, but this one has thrown us off a bit. Christopher Nolan has shared that one lucky filmmaker who's already watched it described it as a horror film, and he agrees.

"It is an intense experience, because it's an intense story," the auteur told Wired about the experience of watching Oppenheimer. "I showed it to a filmmaker recently who said it's kind of a horror movie. I don't disagree." 

According to Nolan, the horror elements come from the darkness of the film's story, which follows physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer during the Manhattan Project as he develops the atomic bomb. "It's a complicated set of feelings to be entertained by awful things, you know? Which is where the horror dimension comes in," the filmmaker explains.

This all rings true of the movie being Nolan’s first R-rated movie since 2002, although that was for "some sexuality, nudity, and language" rather than horror.

Nolan also shared some other first reactions he’s had to the movie, which have left us both scared and excited. "Some people leave the movie absolutely devastated," he explained. "They can't speak. I mean, there's an element of fear that's there in the history and there in the underpinnings. But the love of the characters, the love of the relationships, is as strong as I've ever done."

Oppenheimer also recently received what we’d call the ideal first review from Kai Bird, who co-wrote the biography that inspired Nolan. Bird said he was "stunned and emotionally recovering" from what he called "a stunning artistic achievement". Eek, we can’t wait!

Oppenheimer is released on July 21, 2023. For more upcoming movies, here’s our round-up of all the 2023 movie release dates

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.