21 Emerging Horror Directors

One constant from horror movies made in the last decade is that most features come from first-time directors – emerging, fresh voices. Even horror auteurs were, at one time, first-time directors. Here at the Grimoire of Horror, we have scoured the internet, watched a lot of modern horror films, and have been on the lookout for emerging new talent, because most horror fans love to champion those who gift them great movies and share the buzz. This is a list of new directors who have already proven themselves in some areas of horror and are pushing the boundaries – we expect a lot of great things from all of them in the immediate future.

For compiling this list, we have looked at releases ranging from 2019 to 2021, but ended up looking all over the last decade – features as well as short films, and anthology series like Into the Dark or the 2019 The Twilight Zone. Without further ado, here are the names (in no particular order), as well as a bit about each of them:

  • 1. Sophia Di Martino

    Sophia Di Martino has had two breakout roles, playing Amy in the cult series ‘Flowers‘ and Sylvie in this year’s ‘Loki‘. While she is an incredible performer, she is a talented director in her own right, with a focus on horror short films. She has done two of them, ‘The Lost Films of Bloody Nora‘, and ‘Scrubber‘, and starred in two other noteworthy ones, ‘Smear‘ and ‘Baby Gravy‘. Her brand of horror is what might be called ‘feminist macabre’.

    The Lost Films of Bloody Nora 2019In ‘Lost Films of Bloody Nora‘ , borrowing a bit from her ‘Flowers‘ character Amy, Di Martino creates a spellbinding, masterful horror short about a misunderstood young woman who finds a different sort of rabbit-hole: a movie camera. An expressionist ode to silent films, the short is a metaphor on how the total sum of one’s experiences can grow to consume them from within if they don’t find a way to exorcize them first – on how every creator needs an audience, a ‘reality check’.

    Lost Films of Bloody Nora‘ is available to watch for free on Youtube via the GrimmfestTV channel.

  • 2. Hannah Macpherson

    Hannah Macpherson is probably best known for her Into the Dark entry, ‘Pure‘, which could be seen as her most complete and defining work yet. It’s a blast to watch and one of the films which makes the whole season 1 of that anthology such a unique experience. Before that, she worked a web-series, ‘T@gged‘, about three high-schoolers who are terrorized by a secret cult that uses animal motifs, and actually made “the first feature film designed for mobile viewing” – Sickhouse, which is a more restrained ‘Blair Witch Project‘.Sickhouse 2016 T@gged is an addictive bite-sized web series featuring teens behaving badly and keeping secrets, with the first three episodes managing to keep viewers hooked. One’s mileage may vary once the episode length increases, and it starts to use padding more and more. Reviewers have compared it to Pretty Little Liars, but it’s more centered around social media and its pitfalls and there are deeper scares at work – every episode tends to have at least one major scary moment. A couple of season 1 episodes of T@gged are available for free on Youtube; for fans of teen-horror, we suggest checking them out.

  • 3. Zu Quirke

    Zu Quirke only needed her debut feature, ‘Nocturne‘, last year to blow everyone away and make it to many end-of-year best horror movie lists. Primarily a movie about music and music students, focusing on the effort it takes to succeed as an artist, especially when one is constantly ‘threatened’ by other people’s talent. Along with a special take on the ‘selling your soul to the devil’ trope, ‘Nocturne‘ features a killer soundtrack. Some filmmakers are also great music curators and can tap into a generation’s ‘sound’, and Quirke using Gazelle Twin’s music for the movie was a stroke of genius, as she is a boundary-pushing musician and performer who has done some horror music videos of her own.

    Nocturne 2020Featuring very little of the ‘sanitized dread’ Blumhouse is so adept at creating, ‘Nocturne‘ dazzles with its close-ups, the color palette changes and one of the best Sydney Sweeney performances, with everything suggesting that Zu Quirke is an incredibly gifted filmmaker and making the wait for her new project – whatever that might be – an excruciating one.

  • 4. Jorge Torres-Torres

    Jorge Torres-Torres’s work speaks for himself – he does low-budget, indie horror movies on location, and they’re as much about that location as they are about the characters. He also works with actors who are associated with the mumblecore movement. Perhaps his most aesthetically-accomplished feature, ‘Sisters of the Plague‘, has the distinction of featuring cult actor and filmmaker, Josephine Decker, in a starring role that elicits a great deal of sympathy and will chill viewers to the bone. (The only reason why she’s not on this list as a director is because she hasn’t yet done a full-fledged horror movie, although all of them come close). 

    Sisters of the Plague 2014He always manages to make the most out of the setting and his lead – and his depiction of New Orleans is rare in its scope, as it focuses both on the tourist-friendly spots and tours, as well as on what living in the city feels like. The disconnect between what the public sees and what lies beneath, and the suffering caused by not knowing oneself, while being forced to care for a family member in need, seem to be its main focus. The father-daughter relationship is depicted in true mumblecore style; the opening and ending in particular are very strong and unsettling. Torres-Torres has since done another horror film, ‘Fat Tuesday‘ (read the Grimoire review here), and an experimental one called ‘Fugue‘ which is free to watch on the NoBudge website.

  • 5. Alex Noyer

    In a year in which THREE documentaries about women in electronic music doing cutting-edge stuff, and a film featuring Alma Jodorowsky creating a song from scratch (‘Shock of the Future‘) made their way to the public, perhaps an eerie coincidence was there also being an absolutely insane horror film about a woman who kills people with… beats- a coincidence which no doubt pleased many horror fans starved for new approaches. Music enthusiasts who know a bit about the process of production and fans of serial-killer films will find a lot to like in Alex Noyer’s feature, ‘Sound of Violence‘, as seemingly an expansion of his earlier short, ‘Conductor‘.Sound of Violence 2021As an exercise in radical musicmaking, ‘Sound‘ doesn’t go far enough in actually showing how the music is made, or letting watchers be delighted by enough of it (unlike, say, ‘The Sound of Noise‘). But as a horror movie, it IS radical, because the sight of a young woman ‘extracting’ the music out of people by hooking them up to recording and studio equipment delivers extra chills, doing for music what ‘Bliss‘ did for painting – creating an unapologetic villain protagonist with a unique, fetishistic vision. It also follows the recipe of the recent ‘The Stylist‘ pretty closely, while owing a lot to Peter Strickland’s works, and looking similar to Julia Hart’s ‘Fast Color’

    Here ‘s the Banshee’s review of ‘Sound of Violence’, and Alex Noyer is truly one to watch for what he accomplished here.

  • 6. Rob Grant

    Rob Grant has three features under his belt, ‘Harpoon‘, ‘Awake‘ and ‘Fake Blood‘. While Harpoon‘s storytelling is full of wit – definitely one of of Grant’s strengths – one might fall in love especially with ‘Fake Blood‘, a mockumentary which aims to end the ‘violence in horror movies’ conversation once and for all. There are some powerful arguments for both sides of the fence, but also an unconventional meta-horror that plays with the surprisingly fragile minds of the two actor-filmmakers.

    Fake Blood 2017

  • Mon Ami‘, the ‘prequel’ to ‘Fake Blood‘ which also deserves to be seen, was a farcical, violent movie about two guys who get in over their heads with a kidnapping, but ‘Blood’ uses it as a starting point to talk about violence in media and whether filmmakers have any responsibility when portraying it. The last twenty minutes of this hair-raising mockumentary prove what a unique talent Rob Grant is, one that delights both with powerful storytelling and copious amounts of gore and darkly-comic moments.

  • 7. Jill Gevargizian

    Another director who expanded her short into a feature film, Gevargizian is known for ‘The Stylist‘, the 2021 movie starring Najarra Townsend as a frustrated hair stylist who…scalps her clients to try on their hair, and who develops a bit of a one-sided friendship with one of her clients. It is based on an earlier short which proved the story’s potential and had a huge creepiness factor, and the feature delivered on that, with one of the best Townsend performances to date – fans of ‘Contracted‘ will no doubt flock to this one.

    The Stylist 2021

    The Stylist is itself a stylish piece of horror, with a fantastic score that is used constantly to establish mood. The first 15 minutes are almost exactly like in the short, and what comes after is absolutely demented. It’s a bit of a shame that the movie lets go of the dreamy mood in the last half hour and focuses on the drama, with an ending that most will see coming and some glaring pacing issues, because contrasting the pain of internalizing society’s need for beauty and the extreme acts of transgression was what made this one a winner.

  • 8. David Raboy

    David Raboy’s short, ‘Beach Week‘, has an ending that, if it doesn’t scare one to death first, will at least provoke some serious existential dread, and will haunt viewers – one thing that horror doesn’t lack is quality short films. When his follow-up feature, ‘The Giant‘, appeared in 2019, one could see that Raboy operates in a teenage or post-teenage wasteland that is filled with characters who are ‘alone together’, and his films are about absence and the void that a person leaves behind when they’re gone. He seems to prefer truly frightening endings as a punctuation mark, and while they can seem sudden, he is great at foreshadowing and building up eeriness and tension.

    The Giant 2019Succintly put, in ‘The Giant‘, Raboy mines previously unexplored territory in horror, just as Jennifer Reeder did in her ‘Knives and Skin‘. It feels like ‘Mulholland Drive‘ meets ‘Ham on Rye‘: high on atmosphere, ethereal scenes, visual flourishes, managing to be scary without actually revealing anything much in terms of plot. He just takes the setting of a small town, the psyche of a teenage girl, and just like in ‘Beach Week‘, he relies on disappearances (or actually, murders) to tap into primal fears. It all feels like a bold deconstruction of the teen horror movie because instead of  gruesome death scenes, all it offers is slowness, creepy music and poetic, dreamlike dialogue. Most of the characters basically sleepwalk through their scenes, and Odessa Young, who dazzled in ‘Shirley‘, pulls off a complicated character here, proving she is a major talent. Leave it to David Raboy to remind everyone why that diner scene in Mulholland Drive is so terrifying.

  • 9. Joe Begos

    Begos is already an established director, and a much bigger name in horror than everyone else on this list so far. He has three excellent features under his belt, ‘The Mind’s Eye‘, ‘VFW‘ and ‘Bliss‘, and it’s clear that his focus is splatterpunk – the dash of ’80s nostalgia, eye-popping visuals, performances that hinge on gonzo and extremely cool concepts, all under a ‘late-night’ umbrella. More than anything, Begos is a horror fan who does it for the horror fans.

    Bliss 2019

    For many, Joe Begos IS the best thing that happened to splatterpunk in a long while. Take ‘The Mind’s Eye’, for example: it starts off with a warning, a la Gaspar Noe: ‘This movie should be played loud‘. This is a movie where men stare at each other intensely, huffing and puffing until one of their heads explodes. Begos is going for the LATE-late-night vibe, as with ‘VFW‘, and the audiences will cheer him on. The actors’ movement is hilariously slow at times, when they SHOULD be reacting faster (one chase through the snow early in the movie will have viewers in stitches, as will a montage where the evil doctor injects himself with a serum while the protagonists have sex, all accompanied by the pulsating soundtrack). There’s not much seriousness here, but there’s also skill and great gore involved – the craftsmanship that would later be used to make the game-changing ‘Bliss‘ is evident near the end, when bright colors invade, the music gets louder, and two abominations duke it out. Here‘s the Banshee’s review of ‘Bliss‘, and we are definitely expecting Begos’s next project to be a masterpiece.

  • 10. Anthony Scott Burns

    We’re moving on to bigger names in this list. Burns is a unique filmmaker, because he also creates music under the moniker of Pilotpriest and is a master at incorporating his sounds in his movies – this year’s ‘Come True‘ has the best soundtrack since Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive‘, and before that, he also directed and did the music for the ‘Father’s Day‘ segment of ‘Holidays’ and contributed to ‘Flashback‘, which pretty much resulted in…the second-best soundtrack of the year. 

    Come True 2021

    Here ‘s the Banshee’s team review of ‘Come True’, a flawlessly-executed movie, one that withholds its true horror until the last minutes, with the most confident direction and style since ‘It Follows‘. Pilotpriest’s version of ‘Modern Fears‘ is not a song that will leave viewers’ minds pretty soon, and the nightmare scenes are simple, yet so effective in their symmetrical presentation. Burns is one who goes for trippy visuals and dream-logic, and watching his movies feels like watching The Chemical Brothers‘ ‘The Test‘ video on a loop. They are filled with bold, surreal, hallucinatory moments, and we expect more greatness from him in the years to come.

  • 11. Rose Glass

    Saint Maud‘ was one of those movies that was bound to be a success no matter what. Some films just have a singular vision, something never done before, so it’s normal that critics and viewers will flock to see it. A24 horror is huge right now, with ‘Hereditary‘ having put it on the map for good, and this year’s ‘The Green Knight‘ and ‘Lamb‘ being great examples, even if ‘False Positive‘ bordered on parody. A24 is also closely associated to new-wave horror, or ‘elevated horror’, and some people REALLY dislike that, but if ones gives it a chance, they will find Rose Glass’s ‘Saint Maud‘ an entrancing experience. One review has summarized it like this: ‘a psychotic with a savior syndrome goes rogue’ – that’s one possible interpretation. But, one might discover, after that incredible ending, that it is not at all the only possible one.

    Saint Maud 2021Saint Maud is simply a movie on another level, an electrifying, visceral experience that viewers will either resonate deeply with or feel extremely repelled by. Morfydd Clark makes every gesture of Maud’s a delight to watch, and because of her fragile state of mind and her shaky beliefs, the fairytale-like ending is open to interpretation, but the whole experience will amount to something mindblowing either way. The credit goes to Rose Glass for framing the story the way she did and not making it easy for the viewer.

  • 12. Kurtis David Harder

    Kurtis David Harder directed the recent ‘Spiral‘, a horror/coming-of-age film about two men raising a daughter in a strange environment, but it’s his earlier film, ‘InControl‘ that proved he is a major talent to watch. It is simply one of the best sci-fi explorations of the concept of being constant ‘passengers’, of using a machine to take control of other people’s bodies and experience life through their eyes. It is truly a life-changing watch and a movie that will leave one scared beyond belief, with words not being nearly enough to describe the bleak ending.

    InControl 2017InControl is a sci-fi movie with a tinge of horror for which there are a lot of possible influences. Flatliners, Primer, Dollhouse, Robert Silverberg’s ‘Passengers‘, a bit of Avalon and Paranoia Agent, not to mention the whole concept of hedonism, and the Panopticon. A fascinating film that could be rewatched again and again, it is a powerful depiction of prison in the digital age, and explores the scary notion that the unpredictability that young people cherish so much in themselves and others could come from being in a prison-like environment and not knowing it.

  • 13. Sophia Takal

    All of Sophia Takal’s movies merit deep investigation – she and her life partner, Lawrence Michael Levine, are possibly the best directors to emerge from the mumblecore scene beyond Joe Swanberg. She has, under a fake name, done a mystery-horror remake of Mark Robson’s ‘The Seventh Victim’, called ‘Devil Town‘, and she has also done an Into the Dark episode, ‘New Year, New You‘ which is one of the series’ highlights, but lately, all everyone did was talk about her divisive ‘Black Christmas’ remake, which, in some people’s view, is at least saved by the feminist storytelling and Imogen Poots’s performance.

  • Black Christmas 2019No matter what one makes of the supernatural element in ‘Black Christmas‘, it is at least an above-average Blumhouse chiller with a extremely catchy holiday song to boot. All of Takal’s films somehow share the theme of women who compete against each other, or are jealous of one another, and she could take her fascination with horror one step further, or go in a direction similar to L.M. Levine’s ‘Black Bear‘. Takal is also a prolific actor, having played both virtuous characters and evildoers, and she brings that experience behind the camera every single time. 

  • 14. Natalie Erika James

    Natalie Erika James was busy making incredible shorts before her hit feature, ‘Relic‘. ‘Drum Wave‘ is an eerily-effective story about an unwanted pregnancy and fertility rituals, but ‘Relic’ should be essential viewing if one is into the new-wave horror movement. It’s feminist, it’s bold, it’s ambiguous. Like most new-wave horror, it’s about trauma and it has one killer final scene which will forever be engraved in memory. James is a self-professed lover of Gothic and Asian horror, and she avoid jump-scares in order not to lose the audience’s trust.

  • Relic 2020Relic‘ is a an extremely smart and subtle film, toying with space and perception. If viewers won’t pay enough attention in key moments, they might find themselves ‘punished’ with a third act curveball like they wouldn’t believe – BUT the greatest thing about the film is that, even in that case, it will all make sense in retrospect. The final scenes make this perhaps the most beautifully sad horror film of 2020 – a masterpiece of emotion. And if one has seen both ‘Relic‘ and ‘Drum Wave‘, and wonders why they look so alike, it’s because they share the same cinematographer – here’s to hoping that James and Charlie Sarroff make another movie together.

  • 15. Veena Sud

    Veena Sud has had a successful career in television before delivering ‘The Lie’, one of the ‘Welcome to the Blumhouse’ movies in 2020 starring Joey King. Although it was poorly received by critics, the juicy and sometimes ludicrous plot twists made it an absorbing watch. However, Sud totally redeemed herself with Quibi’s ‘The Stranger’, a 10-minute-per-episode techno-thriller starring Maika Monroe on the run from a sadistic killer. Quibi has had a lot of talent behind their content, so it’s a shame they collapsed, but they had a really unrealistic business model to begin with. Meanwhile, one can binge-watch ‘The Stranger’ on Tubi and it will feel just like a movie.

    The Stranger 2020The Stranger‘ has a really simple plot, but where it shines is the execution, the format and the constant tension- the suspense is very well done, the pacing is excellent, the rapport between Monroe and Avan Jogia very sweet, Dane DeHaan’s Algorithm Killer scary and effective, and last but not least, Monroe is a badass like always. The show/movie also shows a darker side to Los Angeles, with police brutality and homelessness being touched upon, and the main theme is one that the season 3 of ‘Westworld’ handled, that of breaking out of an algorithm’s prediction. Whether Sud continues to work in television or on feature films, we expect her next project with bated breath.

  • 16. Bryan Bertino

    Bryan Bertino has created two impressive features – ‘The Monster’, starring Zoe Kazan as a toxic mother who nonetheless tries her best, a movie which might have some of the best screaming ever – almost otherworldly and supremely terrifying – and ‘The Dark and the Wicked’, a film about grief and anxiety that also throws a lot of scares at the viewer, building up an atmosphere of creeping dread. Bertino focuses on the random nature of monsters, isolation, distance, and separation, and like most masters of horror, uses impeccable sound design.

  • The Dark and the Wicked 2020 Bryan Bertino is, in many ways, the opposite of Ari Aster – while with Aster you get a careful narrative filled with symbols and layers, with Bertino what you see is what you get…mostly, but that doesn’t mean it won’t leave one completely scared. As a narrative, ‘The Dark and the Wicked‘ fails at first, as it throws every scare in the book until it gets tiresome. And then it suddenly recovers – making the scares much more personal, and even constructing a very simple, yet affecting story of sticking close to your loved ones in their time of need. It’s not as effective as his first film, but it is every bit as scary – cruel, bleak and haunting. One just needs to let it linger for a while – there’s nothing more life-draining than slowly losing a loved one, and this movie, and Bertino, completely understand that. Here‘s the Banshee’s review of ‘The Dark and the Wicked‘.

  • 17. Cody Calahan

    Cody Calahan has had movies that were recognized and appreciated, and movies that weren’t. His 2016 ‘Let Her Out’ is a horror extravaganza that relies on hyperactive editing, a bombastic soundtrack and a pretty bonkers script, but with a visual style akin to ‘Bliss’ and an unforgettable ending. His ‘Antisocial’ series might have been panned by critics, but if one looks closer, both movies are extremely smart, effective, and a lesson in filmmaking under a tight budget. In the eyes of many, he redeemed himself with this year’s ‘Vicious Fun‘, which was reviewed by The Banshee here.

  • Antisocial 2014

    Meanwhile, going back to ‘Antisocial‘, it is the perfect infection movie, AND a perfect first feature. The hyperactive editing actually helps a lot, and it very accurately portrays how people tend to behave during a real outbreak: my ears are bleeding? Nope, I don’t have it, I’m fine. ‘Antisocial‘ at least separates itself from the pack of horror movies with a go-for-broke attitude and soundtrack, and the aforementioned editing and clever satire on our reliance on social media (performing brain surgery with a drill? Why not, you already know how to tie a knot because of Youtube), managing to set up a very nice sequel hook. Hive-mind Facebook zombies? Hell yes. And for the budget it must have had, it absolutely looks like millions. Hate on protagonist Sam for her attitude, but she has the final girl look down, and she does a lot better in the second movie, having learned from her mistakes. It’s time we give Cody Calahan at least this: he’s a unique voice in horror.

  • 18. Simon Barrett

    Barrett is known for his writing credits on the amazing ‘You’re Next’, ‘The Guest’, ‘VHS 2’ and the brand new ‘VHS94’. He also appeared in Joe Swanberg’s ‘24 Exposures’, playing a fetish photographer with a penchant for being the obvious murder suspect. He writes strong female characters who truly kick ass and he wears his influences on his sleeve. As a director, he really impressed the Grimoire with his 2021 feature, ‘Seance’, starring Suki Waterhouse, a movie that pulls the rug from under the viewer several times and is not at all what it first appears to be.

    Seance 2021Working in a playground in which others like Shirley Jackson, Muriel Spark, Dario Argento, Luca Guadagnino, Oz Perkins and Mike Flanagan have operated in,  Barrett knows exactly what to bring to the table in this hybrid disguised as an ‘ouija-horror movie without an ouija board’. Coming from the writer of ‘The Guest’/’You’re Next‘, one might wonder when exactly Camille will bring out the arsenal – true to Barrett’s interests, there’s some creepypasta-like horror, but the movie truly blossoms in the last 30 minutes – with musical choices befitting a Gregg Araki flick and the highlight being a grueling hand-to-hand combat scene with a pretty comical ending. Barrett knows what his audience wants, and we’re expecting him to refine his vision in future projects. Here‘s the Banshee’s review of ‘Seance’.

  • 19. Adam Egypt Mortimer

    Mortimer is currently working on his so-called ‘Vortex’ trilogy, of which he has already delivered two movies – a horror one, ‘Daniel Isn’t Real’, and ‘Archenemy’, an unclassifiable blend of sci-fi, superhero deconstruction and incredible visuals. Before that, he has done ‘Some Kind of Hate’, a movie about bullying, its consequences and the deep hatred that can arise from a toxic environment. Mortimer’s favorite theme seems to be that of the ‘nemesis’ – both ‘Daniel’ and ‘Archenemy’, and in a way, also ‘Some Kind of Hate‘ focus on this.

    Daniel Isnt Real 2019

  • As the first part in what was afterwards unveiled as a shared universe trilogy, ‘Daniel Isn’t Real‘ mostly succeeds in the beginning of the movie, when Daniel is still friendly, and in the very ending, when it embraces Daniel’s true nature. Either way, Adam Egypt Mortimer unleashes some potent genre blending. The movie is less successful when Daniel is being ‘bad,’ and it’s funny how Cassie manages to be more impressive than him. Some have called the actors ‘miscast’, but there are some amazingly trippy visuals to compensate for Daniel’s incosistent behavior. Also, electronic music diehards will be happy to see Clark’s name on the soundtrack. And ‘Archenemy‘, the second part in the trilogy, was just so good – such a singular experience, really – that we’re expecting the third one to come out and just blow our minds.

  • 20. A.D. Calvo

    A.D. Calvo might possibly be the most underrated filmmaker in this list, a man who sticks to his sensibilities, but whose output is surprisingly diverse – an urban-legend supernatural-horror, a Jean Rollin-esque reinvention of the female vampire, and a disappearance thriller, among others. His ‘Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl’ might be his most accomplished, but at least give him some credit for managing to make a really scary movie around the concept of ‘The Midnight Man’, which was much better than the subsequent titular big studio effort.

    Sweet Sweet Lonely GirlSweet, Sweet Lonely Girl’ will lead many viewers to consider Jean Rollin’s movies, just like Maury and Bustillo’s ‘Livide‘ did back in 2011. An eerie, seductive and enigmatic movie, relying heavily on Quinn Shepard and her experience as an actor and writer (fans of this should also check the 2017 ‘Blame‘ out, which was directed by  Shepard.) Meanwhile, ‘The Midnight Game‘ should have been just trash – it has a host of boring, insufferable characters and is all about playing a demonic game. But Calvo injects his Euro-sensibilities and makes a hair-raising movie – the music, the cinematography, the intensity of the finale, it all sums up to a cool, if uneven affair. Calvo should find another talented actor like Shepard and give it his best with his next feature, because the sheer diversity of his output and the way he explores every topic prove some massively underrated talent on his part.

21. Tayarisha Poe

Tayarisha Poe deserves to be on this list because, on top of helming last year’s incredible ‘Selah and the Spades‘, a unique blend of neo-noir and coming-of-age movie that perfectly captures the feeling of being a teenager (its use of high-school factions and betrayals made it one of the best debuts of the past years, alongside Amazon’s ‘Blow The Man Down‘), she has also directed one Twilight Zone episode that is really one of the best from the new 2019 batch  – if one hasn’t watched the show yet, here’s something to entice viewers: its catalogue contains entries from awesome horror directors like Ana Lily Amirpour, Oz Perkins and the Moorhead-Benson duo, and is overseen by none other than Jordan Peele, he who made ‘Get Out‘ and ‘Us‘ and produced ‘Lovecraft Country‘.

Twilight Zone - Among the Untrodden

Among the Untrodden ranks up there with the best Twilight Zone episodes, better than even Amirpour’s ‘A Traveler‘, as one of the few episodes of the new series that feels complete and could stand on its own. Poe delivers yet another peculiar tale of friendship after the singular ‘Selah‘, and this time psychic powers are involved. For once, this episode is expertly-paced, the atmosphere is to die for (resembling the recent ‘Seance‘ a lot), and there is a soul-crushing twist near the end. The future belongs to Tayarisha Poe.

*

Whew, so we’ve reached the end of our list! Here are a couple of directors who haven’t made it in mostly because of lack of space, but who are also absolutely worth knowing:

  • David Bruckner (The Night House)
  • Amy Seimetz (She Dies Tomorrow)
  • Elle Calahan (Head Count, Witch Hunt)
  • Karen Lam (Evangeline)
  • Kate Trefry (How to be Alone)
  • Karen Skloss (The Honor Farm)
  • Carlson Young (The Blazing World)
  • David Prior (The Empty Man)
  • Maritte Lee Go (Black as Night)
  • Chelsea Stardust (All That We Destroy)
  • Gigi Saul Guerrero (Culture Shock, Bingo Hell)
  • Axelle Carolyn (The Manor)
  • Amelia Moses (Bloodthirsty, Bleed With Me) – be on the lookout for her though, as she might be the feature of an in-depth article soon.

We do realize that this list leans heavily on movies from 2019 and 2020, and that this leaves most directors from 2021 out of the discussion, but that’s because great works require time to be processed – there is always the possibility of a follow-up article, because there are just so many great new voices in horror! That’s it for our list of 21 emerging horror directors, and if you think we’ve missed one, please drop us a comment – who knows, we might have enough material to do a follow-up in the future!

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