LOS ANGELES (AP) — With the box office successes of “Smile,” “The Black Phone,” and his “The Barbarian” this year, writer-director Zach Klegger believes “the original horror works now.” It is clear that there are
While the genre has long relied on franchises such as “Halloween,” “The Saw,” and “The Conjuring,” young filmmakers are turning to “creative filmmakers” to explore unexpectedly complex themes. Cregger says he finds “fertile territory” in scary works.
Cregor’s solo directorial debut was hailed as a late-summer sleeper hit, earning over $42 million worldwide on a modest production budget of $4.5 million.
Now available for streaming, the film follows a young woman (Georgina Campbell) who finds an Airbnb rented house in a half-ruined Detroit neighborhood occupied by a stranger (Bill Skarsgard). That’s what I’m talking about. It went on to subvert many horror conventions and found an audience outside of traditional genre fans.
“For adults craving something new and groundbreaking, there aren’t many places to go,” said Kregor. “Studios only spend money on big IP superheroes.
He had trouble finding a studio to back his film. Kreger said he looked at the production companies associated with every horror film made in the last 15 years and sent scripts to all of them. No one agreed to fund the project.
When considering selling the house and going into debt to pay for the film himself, Kregor stumbled upon Boulderlight Pictures, a small Los Angeles-based production company. “They were the first people who were undaunted by the change in tone,” he said.
Smile, another horror directorial debut, topped the box office two weeks after its release in September, earning more than $169 million worldwide. Examine the repercussions of trauma.
Klegger is optimistic about audiences’ growing appetite for horror films that aspire to offer more than jump scares and gore. He attributes this trend to films such as Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Ari Aster’s “Hereditary.”
“You feed someone Doritos, but you put broccoli in there,” said Clegger. I have something I think we can start with.”
“The Barbarian” star Justin Long, citing “Saint Mode” and its exploration of psychosis, praised its ability to explore deeper questions that fear often surprises. He said the themes were neatly woven into the story.
“There was a moment when I was like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, I think I just ate some broccoli,'” Long said.
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