ByS.C. O'Donnell, writer at
"Zombies, exploding heads...creepy-crawlies and a date for the formal - This is classic, Spanky." Wah-hoo-wah! Twitter: @Scodonnell1
S.C. O'Donnell

In an ever-growing landscape of sub-par horror movies it's hard to have hope. However, one director dedicates his time and great talent crafting and executing not only what can be described as great horror movies, but great films as well. With films such as You're Next and The Guest, Adam Wingard is turning the perception of the modern horror film on its ear. The current climate of the horror genre leans more towards the realm of “quick profit” films. Studios quickly discovered that by under-producing films in the vein of low budget found-footage style. They can produce these films for around $1 million and then shoot for the $5–10 million dollar box office opening. This is not a bad business model at all.

However, we the film fans ultimately suffer. All this being said, there is hope. Over the last three years we've seen an uprising in dynamic, intriguing, and overall great horror movies. Films such as The Babbadook, It Follows, Lights Out, The Conjuring franchise, and Don’t Breathe have captured our imaginations again. Adam Wingard's pivotal films You’re Next and The Guest are certainly among these titles in both quality and execution.

Want to read more about great horror films? Check out:

You’re Next (2011)

You're Next/ HanWay Films
You're Next/ HanWay Films

The Davisons, an upper-class family, are extremely wealthy, but also estranged. In an attempt to mend their broken family ties, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Rob Moran) Davison decide to celebrate their wedding anniversary by inviting their four children and their children's significant others to their weekend estate. The celebration gets off to a rocky start, but when crossbow-wielding assailants in animal masks suddenly attack, the Davisons must pull together or die. (Source: Google)

In the horror genre one of the most frightening sub-genres is the home invasion film. There is very little disconnect with the audience. This event could be all too real. It is not a supernatural event. It is not some witch attacking you. It is your fellow man. This idea is very unsettling; that evil is not some distant thing, but right next door. That can be absolutely terrifying. The sense of violation strikes us all in the modern world.

Adam Wingard’s take on the sub-genre takes that fear and turns the fear away from the audience and gives us a fair amount of power back. With You’re Next, you get a story that can be described as “Home Alone for adults”. This idea, granted, sounds silly but in practice it works. When men in animal masks start picking members of a wealthy family off they quickly realize it is not going to be as easy as they think. Enter our heroine, Erin (Sharni Vinson). A woman with a secret or two of her own. As events unfold we begin to see that she is an absolute force to be reckoned with. Go check it out for yourself. Its well worth the watch!

The Guest (2014)

The Guest/ HanWay Films
The Guest/ HanWay Films

A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence. (Source: IMBd)

How much do you trust a stranger? What if this stranger says he knows someone in your family? These seem like easy questions to answer. The Guest plays on that very sentiment. Adam Wingard puts his personal twist on this premise.

We meet David (Dan Stevens), an ex-soldier who is recently discharged. From the start, with the use of a beautiful score (an homage to '80s culture) we get the feeling that our David is not quite who he claims to be. He shows up to the house of the family of a friend he had in the service, who had recently died in combat. The family welcomes him, but not all of the members of the Davisons are convinced he is on the up and up. It seems, through a series of events, that David is genuinely trying to help. Although things quickly start slipping sideways. Suspicious deaths and odd occurrences quickly make it apparent that something is terribly wrong. This movie is a must see! Stop reading and go watch it! Go ahead, we'll be here when you get back.

Dawn Of A New Type Of Horror

Now the titular line begs a heavy question. Can one man impact the film industry that much? Well, you can argue; yes he can. Just the idea of making quality horror movies, can be as important as the great films themselves. Any artist who consistently raises the bar can absolutely change they way their field operates. Adam Wingard is actively doing this. Putting out great content does not go unnoticed. He's not alone at all. There has been a mini-renaissance of great horror films. Directors such as; James Wan, Jennifer Kent, Fede Alvarez, and David F. Sandberg are all championing the next generation of great horror movies. Is this movement sustainable? Only time will tell. Our mission as lovers of great cinema is to go support these great films! That's it — super simple concept. The more studios see the fans support great content, the more great content we will get!


Outcast/ Showtime
Outcast/ Showtime

Robert Kirkman (known for a little program you might of heard of) The Walking Dead, has launched his second property, Outcast. This is the story of a young man who has been possessed by demons his entire life. Adam Wingard directed the pilot episode and certainly put his stamp on it. This creepy and supernatural drama definitely will please horror fans as well as anyone who enjoys intriguing storytelling.

Blair Witch

One of the most influential films in the horror genre is undoubtedly The Blair Witch Project. Most viewers at the time didn't even know they were watching a film! I was young, but I remember not knowing what it was. Unfortunately, it led to the rise of a slew of bad found-footage copy cats. That being said, who would you trust to take a big property and breathe new life into it? The answer to that is of course, Adam Wingard. Blair Witch comes out THIS WEEK and already has a substantial ammount of buzz surrounding it. This will be his first foray into the feature length found footage sub-genre!

Death Note

Deathnote/ Lin Pictures/ Vertigo Entertainment
Deathnote/ Lin Pictures/ Vertigo Entertainment

Popular Japanese anime Death Note is getting an American treatment. The premise being that a boy finds a book, The Death Note, and can kill anybody he so chooses simply by writing their name in said book. It's a pretty bonkers premise, which lends itself pretty well to Wingard's sensibilities. This project is set for a 2017 release date.

Wingard's Wing-man

Simon Barret/ Adam Wingard/ SXSW Film Festival
Simon Barret/ Adam Wingard/ SXSW Film Festival

Now with all this praise for Mr. Wingard it's impossible not to mention his partner in crime; Simon Barrett. There can't be enough credit given to him and his excellence as a writer. Barrett has been with Wingard since the beginning and doesn't look to be stopping any time soon. some of his writing credits include: You're Next, The Guest, Blair Witch, Death Note and the newly announced I Saw The Devil. His writing and influence on these films has undoubtedly influenced there success! We Love you Simon Barrett, forever and always.

In Summation

Adam Wingard utilizes great storytelling with twists and turns that would make M. Night Shyamalan blush. He consistently keeps the audience captivated and intrigued. Finding a balance of both action and suspense, he relies on riveting character development and genuine fear instead of using jump scares as a crutch. Adam Wingard is a true filmmaker without question and is a jewel in the horror genre. We can only sit and wait to see what the future holds for him and how he helps mold the horror genre. In the mean time, we can enjoy the quality films he's directed. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

For more great horror movie recommendations, check out what's new on Netflix in the video below:


Do you think Adam Wingard can help usher in a new age of horror films?


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