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The 10 Most Promising Horror Movie Directors Working Today

04 March 2017 | Features, People Lists | by Vitor Guima

5. Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe)

The Uruguayan filmmaker who directed the “Evil Dead” remake in 2013 premiered his movie “Don’t Breathe” in 2016, which was acclaimed by film critics and fans while earning more than $25 million in its opening weekend.

With “Don’t Breathe”, Fede Alvarez was able to control the atmosphere of tension and fear while playing with characters who seemed to change from good to evil while the story develops in a single location.

The movie follows a group of teens who try to rob the house of a blind veteran, but end up trapped in that house with him while discovering the dark secrets the man has been hiding.

Alvarez’s next projects include a sequel to “Don’t Breathe” and a project that is now in post-production, which is a sequel to “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” called “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”.


4. Pascal Laugier (Martyrs)

The director of the 2008 film “Martyrs” delivered a terrifying experience with the tale of a woman seeking revenge for the abuse she suffered as a child with the help of her friend.

The film starts violently and keeps getting darker and darker with great shots and characters. “Martyrs” is one of the best horror films of this century and a good approach on extreme cinema due to its depiction of violence. Even though the director’s next movie, “The Tall Man” (2012), was not a hit, he still has plenty of of traces to explore in his next films.

Pascal Laugier is currently filming “Incident in a Ghost Land”, which stars Crystal Reed (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.”) and Emilia Jones (“One Day”), and is set to premiere in 2017.


3. Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio)

Peter Strickland, the director of “Berberian Sound Studio” and “The Duke of Burgundy”, has a unique creative approach toward mystery and tension in his movies.

“Berberian Sound Studio” follows a sound engineer who is hired to work on an Italian horror film. He starts having problems with other people involved with the production when art and life start to become one. The tension built with the main character within the studio, and the process of filmmaking showed in the movie, deliver a great horror film in an unusual environment.


2. Hong-jin Na (The Wailing)

The director of the acclaimed 2016 film “The Wailing” showed a great balance of character development, comedy, mystery, and horror while delivering great shots to the audience and good storytelling.

In the 2-hour 36-minute movie, Hong-jin Na plays with the horror genre and approaches a family drama in some moments, but never forgetting to maintain the thrilling and dark atmosphere of the movie.

“The Wailing” follows a town where people start having strange symptoms and who die after a stranger arrives. When the daughter of the investigator responsible for the case starts to exhibit strange behavior, the investigator calls a sorcerer to help fighting this evil.

The director also is responsible for writing and directing “The Chaser” (2008) and “Yellow Sea” (2010), two acclaimed movies in the crime/thriller genre and are mandatory if you enjoyed “The Wailing”.


1. Robert Eggers (The Witch)

“The Witch” was one of the best movies of 2015 and probably the best horror film of that year. Robert Eggers’ tale of a family that is destroyed by black magic was not really a big hit at the box office, but cinephiles and fans of horror movies worldwide went crazy over it.

The film, which is set in 17th century England, has a great approach on Christianity, family relations, and a fear of evil with a narrative that makes the audience follow those characters and dive deep into that world of guilt and fear. Also, let’s remember ‘Black Phillip’ is one of the most intriguing characters in the horror genre we have seen in this decade.

Eggers’ control of the narrative, allied with its themes and atmosphere, puts the audience on the edge of their seat. “The Witch” gets better and better with multiple viewings and in a few years we will know if it will be considered a masterpiece, as it deserves.

Author bio: Vítor Guima is a filmmaker, writer and musician from São Paulo, Brazil. Every day he watches a movie, reads a few pages from a book, listens to an album and freaks out with the feeling of not having enough time to see everything.



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  • Ravi S

    Would also add Jennifer Kent (The Babadook)

  • Afrikoka

    I wish I liked The invitation. I didn’t. Same for the Wailing. Promising but.. meh.

    • Michelle Kirkwood

      Meh,nothing—what I liked about The Invitation was its slow buildup of an unsettling atmosphere,pretty much from the beginning—no matter how normal things seem,there’s always that sense that something isn’t quite right about the situation. Something most horror films have forgotten how to do these days.

      • Afrikoka

        I love all that. Didn’t work for me in The invitation. Hence the I wish. Meh for me. Extraordinary for you. Life.

        • Vincenzo Politi

          If you like horror movies with slow build up and unsettling atmosphere, check Ti West’s the House of the Devil and the Innkeepers (which are also great homages to the horror movies of the 70s and 80s). Also check Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead’s Resolution, one of the most criminally underrated horror movies ever!

          • Afrikoka

            I was actually watching house of the devil at this exact moment for the second or third time. Innkeepers is on the watchlist. I’ve seen Spring from Moorhead/Benson and love that one. I’ll check for resolution.

          • Vincenzo Politi

            Resolution is a MASTERPIECE!!!!! That movie is amazing! The Innkeepers is good but not as good as the House of the Devil. I was more impressed by another effort by Ti West, The Sacrament: it’s not a horror movie, more a thriller, but it’s creepy and so good! Also, inspired by tue events.

  • Toxic Avenger

    Jason Eisener

  • 黄金時代 (Ōgon jidai)

    Alan Resnick.

  • David Pollison

    I second Jennifer Kent and add Ti West, Andre Ovredal and Roxanne Benjamin.

  • Luke Farrell

    “Karyn Kusama directed episodes of “Halt”, “Catch a Fire”,”

    Are those actual TV shows or do you need an editor?

  • Rudi

    Mike Flanagan is the best of the new generation by a long stretch. Oculus is a clear 10/10.

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  • Lokǝƨh Ƨingh

    james wan!?

    • Maybe the author thinks Wan has already “arrived” and isn’t “promising”

  • ttt

    Sang-ho Yeon (Train to Busan – one of very few zombie movies that is actually good)

    and maybe:
    Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead (Spring)
    Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night)

  • Gordon Mason

    James wan and Leigh Whannell??????Come on credit where credit is due, these guys are amazing!!!!

  • Jonas Candy

    would add mike Flanagan, occulus and hush were both very solid movies.

  • Vincenzo Politi

    Ti West (The House of Devil, The Innkeepers, Sacrament) and Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead (Resolution, Spring): these guys really made some truly amazing movies!