TOP 5 NEW WAVE HORROR DIRECTORS
There’s every chance I’m gonna piss a few people off here. Where’s the women or the Aussie directors, you ask?!
Well, the only consolation I can offer you is five (carefully considered) voices in horror who understand how to get into your head and under your skin. Directors who know their audience, finally taking you where you’ve always wanted to go – into the bosom of evil!
Well I had to begin with a Brit, and who better than fellow Brightonian, Ben Wheatley! Wheatley is now into his fourth feature in as many years – none on this list are as prolific. What’s more, he doesn’t make the same film twice.
So far my only exposure to Wheatleys work has been with the blacker than pitch, Sightseers. This was an incredibly assured film, but made for uncomfortable viewing. One finds themselves laughing at the absurdity of Wheatleys characters, before becoming an accomplice to their murderous ways. If Wheatleys intension was to get under the skin of his audience, he certainly achieved it. No doubt subsequent movies by the man will have the same effect!
Kill List has been on my own must-see list for some time. Apparently it’s Sightseers without the humour – yikes!
Current film, A Field in England highlights Wheatleys desire to experiment again, with a Witchfinder General-like tale filmed in black and white. I understand he has many new projects on the boil – I’m excited as any to see which one he serves up first!
Ti West is bringing scary back! Despite his gory sequel, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, West has achieved what others have failed to grasp – you don’t need to show diddly-squat!
Wests subsequent features; The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers have both been about building tension through atmosphere and well-crafted characters. The House of the Devil was more grindhouse than “Grindhouse” – certainly at replicating an early 80’s aesthetic. The tone may have been more Rosemary’s Baby than Death Proof, but it was no less entertaining.
The Innkeeper is a present-day ghost story, utilising real-life haunted hotel, The Yankee Pedlar Inn. With both films West cast magnificently – mixing established genre stars (Tom Noonan, Dee Wallace) with fresh-faced talent (Greta Gerwig, Sara Paxton).
His next feature is The Sacrament. As far as I’m concerned the man can do no wrong!
Two words – Troll Hunter! To those of you who haven’t seen it, stop watching Sharknado and seek it out!
Troll Hunter is a found-footage movie in the tradition of The Blair Witch project and Cloverfield. The footage in question comes from three student filmmakers who seek out conservationist, Hans in an effort to uncover the truth about the Norwegian wilderness.
Shot in his native Norway, Ovredal crafts a hugely entertaining monster pic on a par with anything his western counterparts have produced – better in fact! The film is expertly put together. The trolls themselves are superb – and the acting and interplay with the titular characters are terrific. What’s most surprising is the humour – proof that funny is funny regardless of geography.
Troll Hunter is certainly deserving of your time. As for director, Ovredal – he’s no doubt got his pick of studio-backed Troll Hunter duplicates to choose from. Image comics adaptation, Enormous is looking to be the one most likely!
You’re Next is the horror movie of 2013! Like Troll Hunter, its entertainment value is second to none.
Comparisons have been made with Scream, for its nods to genre tropes and the like. However You’re Next never winks at the audience. Instead Wingard delivers a fresh take on the family in peril/faceless attacker motif. To say much more would be to give it away!
The last couple of years have seen a return to horror anthologies with the V/H/S series and The ABCs of Death. Wingard has been involved with both (as has Mr West and Mr Wheatley). There’s a genuine sense of community within the horror genre of late. Collaborative efforts are happening left and right – with actors, writers and directors pooling their talents in an effort to scare the shit out of us all! Wingard is amongst the best. His next film is, The Guest.
Richard Bates Jr exploded onto the scene last year with his debut feature, Excision. Giving horror audiences something altogether different, Excision mixed American Psycho with Napoleon Dynamite. In AnnaLynne McCord, Bates Jr found an actress willing to shed her glamorous exterior completely – and delve deep into the mind of someone quite troubled. Taking a cue from Ti West, he padded out the rest of his cast with genre stalwarts (Malcolm McDowell, Ray Wise) and talent from those least likely – take a bow, Traci Lords!
Shot simply with minimal cuts, the film paints a picture of a monotonous and pastel-coloured lifestyle to which the characters have found themselves. When Pauline (McCord) sleeps however, Bates Jr fills her dreams with saturated colour – not to mention a good dose of the creepy! And as for that end… well, suffice it to say it’ll keep you awake at night for days afterwards!
His next film, by his own admission is Ghostbusters-like, all be it by the man who made Excision – cor blimey guv’ner!