As both a woman and a longtime horror fan, I can’t help but notice a trend in filmmaking – primarily men direct genre movies. Now, advancements have certainly been made, with delightful little gems popping up in the genre recently, like as Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and The Bad Batch, and Alice Lowe’s Prevenge. However, when looking up titles for the upcoming year that would be directed by women, I found a staggering statistic: just eight of the thirty upcoming horror movies have female directors.
Therefore, I feel it only proper to give any aid I can muster to these powerful women who are changing the world, and slowly, but certainly surely, making a difference in cinema. Read on, learn their names, do your research, and prepare for the change. Women filmmakers are only increasing in volume every year, and soon, the tables will be more than balanced. Until then, here are some great titles on the horizon from a few noteworthy female filmmakers.
THE NIGHTINGALE by Jennifer Kent
Jennifer Kent came on the scene and blew everyone else out of the water immediately with her 2014 gothic fairytale The Babadook. Based around the idea of grief literally manifesting as a monster, Kent’s vision in her first full length feature film is razor sharp, as she manages to frighten her audience while simultaneously reaching them on an emotional level as they pray for the well being of this damaged family, all the while capturing a moody persona via charcoal gray walls and German Expressionist architecture. To say her first time up at bat was a true feat is a grave understatement. To be blunt, this lady knows her shit. The Nightingale will be brilliant. It just has to be. Set in 1825 Tasmania, the story of The Nightingale tells the tale of a young Irish convict who witnesses the brutal murder of her husband and child by her soldier master and his cronies. Unable to find lawful justice, she takes it upon herself to hire an Aboriginal male tracker to aid her in seeking revenge against those who have wronged her. She couldn’t be less prepared for the results. The film hits theaters August 10th, 2018.
THE DARKEST MINDS by Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Based on the novel by Alexandra Bracken and starring Gwendoline Christie, Amandla Stenberg, and Mandy Moore, The Darkest Minds is set in a futuristic universe where a disease has killed off 98% of children in the United States, and the surviving 2% are left with supernatural powers, deemed dangerous, and placed in internment camps. Set on surviving, a sixteen-year-old girl manages to escape, bands together with a group of others like her, and sets out on foot to escape the government that seeks to claim and cage them. The movie is set to hit theaters everywhere on September 14th, 2018.
THE STRANGE ONES by Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff
Written and directed by Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff, The Strange Ones follows two travelers as they make they way across a remote American landscape, avoiding trouble at every turn. At first, all is as it should be, the boys enjoy themselves as they hunt and trap and trek across beautiful sights, making memories that’ll last a lifetime. Unfortunately, they’ll soon realize that they’re not alone in this forest, that there are eyes watching from afar, and soon, these two predators of the earth will become the prey in enemy territory.
DESTROYER by Karyn Kusama
Karyn Kusama was unjustly sent to movie jail after her big-budget Hollywood film Aeon Flux didn’t perform as intended, but that didn’t slow her down. After unleashing Jennifer’s Body, a wholly undervalued film which luckily, seems to be finding the attention it deserves as time goes on, Kusama wowed audiences with her low key moody domestic thriller The Invitation, a shadowy picture about a dinner party gone awry. Now, she’s back and stronger than ever before, with her latest feature in the works, a modern-day crime thriller titled Destroyer, set in Los Angeles and starring Nicole Kidman. According to the synopsis, the movie tells the story of LAPD Detective Erin Bell (Kidman) who comes face to face with a dangerous gang member from her past, one whom she knows from her dark days as an undercover agent, and one who will make her pay for what she did so many years ago. A release date has yet to be set for this film.
RIOT GIRLS by Jovanka Vuckovic
Vuckovic recently made a splash in the horror genre with her addition of “The Box” to the all female-helmed horror anthology XX, but her name has been known for quite a long time now. Before she was well known for writing screenplays, Vuckovic made her name as a journalist, managing Rue Morgue magazine as the editor in chief for six and a half years. Now, she’s back with her first full-length feature film titled Riot Girls, a “post-apocalyptic queer romance survivalist story” as described by the filmmaker herself to Variety in 2016. The movie depicts a world where all the adults have died and teenagers are left in charge, one of whom is on the hunt to retrieve her kidnapped brother and return him to safety – or, as safe as it gets in this brutal life. A release date has yet to be set for this film.
REVENGE by Coralie Fargeat
Written and directed by Coralie Fargeat, Revenge is not your typical tale of vengeance. When an unsuspecting young woman goes on a ‘guys only’ hunting trip with three married men, including the one she’s currently having an affair with, the tides take a turn for the worse when the men in question take advantage of their isolated surroundings and turn on Jen like a pack of wild dogs. Beaten, but not defeated, Jen takes it upon herself to exact cold revenge upon the men who hurt her, and she will stop at nothing to hunt down every last one of them until they’re all dead in the hard soil beneath her boots. The film is set to be officially released later in 2018, and will play at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
THE PARTY by Sally Potter
What started as an evening of celebration quickly elevates into uproarious debauchery when a group of friends come together for a night of drinking and unexpected announcements in Sally Potter’s latest, The Party. Potter made her first film on 8mm when she was fourteen years old, and she’s been working to deliver picture after picture ever since. Some of her features include Thriller, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, and Rage, as well as several short films in between. Now, at the age of sixty-eight and on her fifteenth title, Potter is back with a black comedy loved across the board by film festivals far and wide, including the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival. On February 16th, 2018, her black comedy will be unleashed in the States, and everyone will witness how a night that was uncorked with a bottle of champagne will overflow into gunfights and delusions of grandeur.
RABID by Jen & Sylvia Soska
Based on the 1977 David Cronenberg picture by the same name, Rabid tells the tragic story of a young girl named Rose who required emergency plastic surgery when her boyfriend’s motorcycle crashed, but paid her price for penance with a lust for human blood. Genre favorites and identical twins Jen and Sylvia Soska are set to direct the remake of Cronenberg’s cult classic, known best for their gruesomely feminist take on torture in their 2012 sophomore feature American Mary, in addition to their work on the game show Hellevator and See No Evil 2. The duo has also recently made an appearance on Shudder’s The Core, as well as popping up in various cameos across the indie board, like Suburban Gothic and ABCs of Death 2. This pair has already proven that they know how to shoot action sequences and they aren’t shy when it comes to the gore, so it will be very interesting to see their take on Cronenberg’s ghoulish nightmare, especially considering they’ve already made a film largely based on taboo plastic surgery practices. A release date has yet to be set for this film.