The 10 Most Promising Horror Movie Directors Working Today

There’s no denying we are in a good era for horror films in 2010s. Year after year, we have been surprised with amazing new creative voices in this genre that have been awarded at great festivals and have received recognition worldwide.

In this list, we approach some directors that do not have many movies under their belt – or not many horror movies, at least – but are really promising in this genre that has fascinated audiences since the beginning of filmmaking.

Although some might say the horror genre has a connection with the supernatural, we have to consider mystery films, thriller films, and extreme depiction of violence as horror for the effect they can cause for its audience. Therefore, the picks on our list do not necessarily have a connection to supernatural entities or forces in their stories, but have still found different ways to show horrific things to their audience.

So, here are 10 directors that have a very promising career in horror ahead of them.


10. David Robert Mitchell (It Follows)

Based on a recurrent dream that director David Robert Mitchell used to have, where a predator slowly walked toward him, “It Follows” had plenty of big buzz when it premiered.

The movie, which was written and directed by Mitchell, follows a woman who is persecuted by a supernatural entity after having sex with a man. “It” will go after her unless she passes this curse on to another person.

“It Follows”, some people claim, is a metaphor for STDs, but with its visual aspects and its way of exploring the characters, it is more like a claustrophobic tale of persecution and paranoia.

Mitchell has a film set to premiere in 2017 called “Under the Silver Lake” starring Andrew Garfield, which is described as a noir thriller that takes place in the city of Los Angeles. Riley Keough (American Honey, Mad Max: Fury Road) and Laura-Leigh Claire (“Tooken”) are also in the cast.


9. Adam Wingard (The Guest)

Although he is not actually starting out in Hollywood, Adam Wingard, director of “The Guest and “The Blair Witch Project”, has been gaining more and more recognition since he directed a segment of the movie “V/H/S” in 2012.

“Blair Witch” had mixed reviews but did not lose its spirit, and it shows how Wingard is able to build tension in his movies. “The Guest” is also a great example of tension between characters and plays very well with the audience’s expectations, becoming one of the greatest surprises of 2014.

The newest movie directed by Wingard is a live-action adaptation of “Death Note”, a famous anime that follows a boy who discovers a notebook that allows him to kill anybody, and who plans to become a benevolent god. Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, and Lakeith Stanfield are in the cast as Ryuk, Mia Sutton, and L, respectively.


8. Karyn Kusama (The Invitation)

The director who had a difficult time with critics when “Aeon Flux” premiered made a good comeback with the mystery thriller “The Invitation” in 2015.

The movie that follows a man who receives an invitation to a dinner at his old house, and starts suspecting his ex-wife and her new husband have some pretty scary plans for their guests, starts out slowly but becomes an intricate story with a bit of paranoia and grief.

Since the release of “The Invitation”, Karyn Kusama directed episodes of “Halt”, “Catch a Fire”, and “The Man in the High Castle”. She is directing a segment of an anthology horror film called “XX” that is set to premiere in 2017. Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, and Jovanka Vuckovic are also directing segments of the film.


7. Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mommy)

The writers and directors responsible for “Goodnight Mommy” delivered a tale of twin children who do not recognize their mother after a surgery when she comes home.

Approaching the story with the point of view of the children, the filmmakers build a sense of awkwardness in the everyday life of this family, who live far from civilization and seem to have hidden secrets in their life.

Although the ending does not come as a complete surprise for anyone who really paid attention to the film, the characters and dialogue have good development, and these two filmmakers promise a strong career in the horror genre.


6. Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow)

“Under the Shadow”, the first feature film from Iranian director Babak Anvari, shows a mother and daughter trapped inside their apartment in a post-war Tehran in the 80s when evil forces show up at their home.

The film starts as a family drama and suddenly changes its tone to a horror film without forgetting to work on its characters. The visuals of the film, the photography, and especially the off-center shots offer some clues planted by the filmmaker to show us the dark path the story is going to follow.

Premiering in 2016 with great reviews, Babak Anvari’s “Under the Shadow” is a good start for the career of this potentially creative voice in horror movies in Iran.