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10 Best Horror Directors of the 21st Century

10 Most Horrifying Scenes in Non-Horror Films

Once we assume of the true masters of horror, names like John Carpenter, George Romero, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, Dario Argento, and a number of different legends spring to thoughts. All of these administrators have earned their standing as the greatest of the greatest, however what about the filmmakers who’re killing it proper now? Who can be becoming a member of the masters of yesteryear at the desk sometime?

That stated, what makes a director the greatest? What’s the standards for greatness? That’s clearly subjective. Once we debated this topic previous to voting, we found that all of us shared some opinions however had our personal concepts as properly. For me, a director who makes good films persistently scores factors. In the meantime, some of my colleagues consider that having a minimum of one trendy basic beneath the belt was important. Subsequently, we determined to let everybody make their very own instances for the filmmakers they assume need to be considered the modern elite.

Moreover, we additionally agreed that to qualify as a 21st century horror director, their profession helming scare fare should have began post-2000. Moreover, we determined that so as to qualify as a horror director, they needed to have no less than two horror movies of their filmography. Some administrators have made one nice film and moved on. We didn’t embrace them as we don’t assume of them as horror administrators.

Now learn on as Meg Shields, Rob Hunter, Brad Gullickson, Chris Coffel, Jacob Trussell, and myself share with you, the 10 greatest horror administrators this century has produced.

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10. Pascal Laugier


Some administrators churn out a film a yr, whereas others are content material with a bit extra time between tasks. Pascal Laugier belongs in the latter group, nevertheless it’s onerous to want he’d rush seeing as he already has two trendy classics to his identify. Martyrs is a uncommon mix of the horrific and the completely lovely, and whereas it’s destined to be reviled and misunderstood for generations to return the movie stays one of my absolute favorites as a lot for its philosophy as for its audacity. The Tall Man once more tells a story that shifts dramatically in the telling from historically thrilling horror to one thing much more thought-provoking, and it’s one other movie that delivers on the visceral entrance whereas touchdown with a punch to the intestine. Each movies discover terror in the bodily and the psychological, and the outcomes can knock you in your ass should you’re listening to the darkish. – Rob Hunter

9. Mike Flanagan

Geralds Game

Absentia. Oculus. Ouija 2: Origin of Evil. Hush. Gerald’s Recreation. Each movie virtuoso director Mike Flanagan touches turns to gold, with the exception of the fallen by way of the cracks Earlier than I Wake, which in itself is arguably his best, most mature movie. Flanagan performs in sandboxes each new and previous, pulling us into his horrific tales with deeply researched and putting creatures based mostly on mythic lore, however protecting us there together with his fascinating utilization of imagery and his precision pacing. Flanagan seems like a connecting director, staying refreshingly imaginative whereas nonetheless utilizing methods and themes impressed by the masters earlier than him. And I anticipate his subsequent work coming this month, The Haunting of Hill Home [our review], to be the good synthesis of these two sensibilities. – Jacob Trussell

eight. Jaume Collet-Serra


Jaume Collet-Serra likes to leap between the horror and motion genres. That alone makes him a filmmaker who’s after my very own darkish coronary heart. He’s additionally been profitable in each areas and, consequently, his filmography is a powerful beast that speaks for itself. Whether or not helming Liam Neeson thrillers, or scare fare like The Shallows, Orphan, and the underrated Home of Wax remake, he’s demonstrated a knack for well-crafted leisure that any style maverick can be proud of. In contrast to different administrators on this listing, Serra has but to make a bona fide trendy basic. However relating to producing good work on a constant foundation he’s a machine. I’ve little question that he has some future masterpieces in him, however the run he’s at present on is greater than sufficient to warrant his inclusion amongst the trendy greats. – Kieran Fisher

7. Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo


This pair of sadists are behind one of the most horrifying films of the 21st century. Their debut feature-length, Inside, is the cinematic equal of introducing your self to somebody by smashing them on the head with a hammer. The film is unrelenting, brutal, and never for the faint-hearted. Their follow-ups — Furious, Amongst the Dwelling, Leatherface — didn’t fairly land with the similar influence as their introductory train in terror, however that doesn’t negate their high quality by any means. Furious and Amongst the Dwelling are gems. Leatherface, on the different hand, isn’t their best second, however it’s nonetheless satisfactory schlock. For a non-Tobe Hooper Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath film that’s a win for those who ask me. That stated, with a licensed basic to their identify and a physique of work that’s spectacular general, you higher consider these sickos are the actual deal. If their present oeuvre tells us something it’s that they’re premier league scare retailers relating to high quality unique horror. – Kieran Fisher

6. Karyn Kusama

Jennifers Body

I’m positive we will blame, nevertheless unfairly, Megan Fox for the lengthy curve horror audiences needed to make to return round to Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Physique. However fortunately the rediscovery of Diablo Cody’s meshing of demonic possession horror and teenage comedies has helped Karyn Kusama to grow to be a family horror identify. Nevertheless it wouldn’t be till The Invitation that extra audiences turned accustomed to Kusama’s model of character-driven horror. The Invitation was one of the pre-eminent “elevated horror” movies that proved to audiences that the style had much more to supply in the 21st century, and that’s a testomony to Kusama and her writers’ work on this cultish sluggish burn; dread oozing from each body. However most significantly, since she is working outdoors of the male gaze, her feminine characters really feel energized and unique. Whereas horror has all the time been a women-centric style, they’ve by no means been given as a lot company as they do in her movies; starting together with her debut function Girlfight. And as we proceed to see an uptick in numerous character-driven fright flicks, Kusama and her subsequent movie, Destroyer, will probably be ones to observe. – Jacob Trussell

5. Fede Alvarez

Don't Breathe

Sam Raimi’s Evil Lifeless is holy. The movie is a DIY masterpiece. It impressed tons of of wannabes to seize their associates, a digital camera, a vat of Karo syrup, and rush into the woods to make their very own rattling film. The thought of a remake is as blasphemous as somebody revamping Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. You simply don’t do this, dude. Fede Alvarez don’t give no fucks. Given the alternative to resurrect the Deadites for a up to date viewers, he knew that straightforward replication wouldn’t do. He’s a filmmaker wanting to take his viewers to the very limits of their terror threshold. He’s not making jump-scare entertainments to goose a giggle from youngsters. Every body ought to really feel harmful, and he took our nostalgia for one of the nice horror treasures and spewed wretched gore upon it. Be happy to look, however you higher achieve this via clenched fingers. Alvarez has utilized that very same degree of vulnerability and menace to Don’t Breathe as properly, and I’m positive his The Woman in the Spider’s Net can be immersed in human ugliness. He doesn’t craft good occasions out at the films. When turkey basters are inserted into orifices, it’s arduous to chow down on popcorn. Via his lens, horror ought to be and can stay horrific. – Brad Gullickson

four. Jaume Balagueró


Balagueró is greatest recognized for co-directing the [REC] collection (alongside Paco Plaza) and with good cause. Along with being a completely efficient spook-fest in its personal proper, the collection is, for my cash, the style gold normal so far as found-footage is worried. Balagueró has explored cults with likes of The Anonymous (1999) and Darkness (2002), dabbled in ghosts with 2005’s Fragile, and hit a house run with 2011’s Sleep Tight, a shrewdly executed psychological thriller firmly grounded in modern Spain. An instrumental contributor to the worldwide popularization of Spanish horror cinema, Balagueró has earned his place in our hearts, and in our streaming queues. – Meg Shields

three. James Wan

James Wan Conjuring

It’s arduous to consider it’s been nicely over a decade since James Wan burst onto the scene with Noticed. Throughout this 14-year stretch Wan has gone on to direct 7 extra options (up to now), many of them already thought-about to be classics. Whereas Wan is a licensed grasp at his craft, succesful of constructing suspense and scares round characters we truly care about, his influence stretches far past the movies he himself has directed. He’s a modern-day horror hit manufacturing unit and a producer with actual energy. His movies have spiraled off into a number of franchises which have allowed different younger administrators to get their foot in the door. Best of all? Wan seems to be simply getting began. I can’t wait to see what the subsequent 14 years deliver. – Chris Coffel

2. Jeremy Saulnier

Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier is a reputation you’re going to need to carve into your desk with a Bowie knife. Each for posterity and to push back gate-keepers with inflexible concepts about what’s and isn’t inside the style. Saulnier’s filmography flirts throughout codecs; that buys thrillers and survival movies a drink however all the time retains a foot firmly rooted in the horror part. Since his debut function in the hilarious, Halloween-set Homicide Social gathering, Saulnier has adopted up with Blue Wreck and Inexperienced Room; two savage, edge-of-your-seat twists on conference that put repellent violence and visible storytelling first. Holding courtroom in relation to pathos by approach of stripped-down terror, Saulnier has taken up residency alongside the likes Straw Canine, Deliverance, and Final Home on the Left. Be a part of us as we wait with baited breath (twiddling these Bowie knives) in anticipation of Saunier’s upcoming tasks: two episodes of the third season of True Detective and the current function Maintain the Darkish, which is now on Netflix. – Meg Shields

1. Sean Byrne

Devils Candy

He might solely have two function movies to his credit score, however Sean Byrne makes positive every one delivers like bloody gangbusters with thrills, pressure, and terror. Each The Beloved Ones and The Satan’s Sweet are extremely intense experiences, however the most necessary widespread thread between them is Byrne’s means to make us care so rattling a lot about the characters. It’s an typically ignored factor in horror movies, and Byrne has already established himself a filmmaker succesful of creating actual, flesh and blood individuals… who he then places by way of hell. The trauma hurts extra when it’s occurring to individuals we like, however the satisfaction of their survival is that a lot sweeter too. – Rob Hunter

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