They are the contemporary voices of an ages old ideal, the new fear masters in a genre sometimes stunted by its own lack of (critical) legitimacy.
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5. Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary, See No Evil 2)
It's a shame that there aren't more women making horror films, and it's a shame that the Soska Sisters are just now getting the opportunity to show their gender-centric take of terror. They are amazing filmmakers, their Dead Hooker in the Trunk and American Mary two examples of what can be done with a great idea and a vision to see it through. Given a chance by WWE to handle the directing chores for their See No Evil follow-up, the ladies are poised to become the new voice of women in fear film. One look at their work and it's easy to see why.
4. Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Sacrament)
There's a name at the top of this list who really deserves the credit for its reemergence, but Ti West is also responsible for exploring the old school means of macabre, circa the '70s and '80s. Indeed, after a less than successful stint helming the popular sequel to Cabin Fever (Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever), West went his own way, using the paranormal from the past (devil worship, ghosts, cults) to fuel his measured frights. While he is off filming a revisionist Western with Ethan Hawke and John Travolta, here's hoping he returns to horror soon after. His movies are mesmerizing in their evocation of unseen terrors.
3. Rob Zombie (Halloween (2007), Lords of Salem)
If any two words can cause the interwebs and messageboard Nation to go critical mass in mere moments, it's the combination of Zombie with Rob. People HATE his work, and they are entitled to such an opinion. On the other hand, Zombie is a true student of terror past and present. His films always mimic type (drive-in, slasher, exploitation, Euro-trash) and he nails the details from such antiquated ideals with a mischievous eye. Perhaps his biggest blunder, at least in the minds of fright fans, was his remake of John Carpenter's iconic homage to Hitchcock. Now, years removed, many consider it a classic in its own right.
2. Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza ([REC], [REC]2)
There is perhaps no better '00s horror film than [REC] . It recycles an idea (the zombie film) with a tired gimmicky approach (the first person, POV, shaky cam experience) and turns both into an amazing edge of your seat experience. The finale, featuring something so disturbing it will haunt your dreams, is the icing on what was a previous 90 minutes of suspense and splatter. The sequel is equally sensational, as are the movies they have made separately (including Fragile, and the surprisingly strange [REC]3). While fans wait for [REC]4, it is safe to say that Balaguero and Plaza are players in today's terrordome.
1. James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring)
James Wan holds the unique distinction of being one of the few filmmakers working today that has seen the successful launch of three separate and unique fright franchises: Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring. All three have become major league moneymakers, thanks to the writer/director's deftness at old school, slow burn scares. But even those titles which didn't really resonate with fright fans (Dead Silence, Death Sentence) are amazing, true experiences in dread and genre definition. While he's "graduated" to work on big budget Hollywood tentpoles (like the Fast and Furious films), his heart remains with horror. His creepshow cottage industry will only continue to expand from here.
List This Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury Franck Khalfoun Pascal Laugier Adam Wingard Scott Derrickson Jen and Sylvia Soska Ti West Rob Zombie Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza James Wan