Over the past decade, horror films have benefitted from the talents of a number of young, ambitious filmmakers who have seamlessly blended arthouse sensibilities with more traditional elements of the genre. One of the recent standouts in the field is Adam Wingard, whose home invasion thriller You’re Next and John Carpenter-esque psycho-actioner The Guest have cemented him as a talent to watch.
Wingard has already been tapped to helm the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong film, as well as a remake of the cult favorite South Korean slasher flick I Saw the Devil, but this Friday, his live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese manga and anime Death Note drops exclusively on Netflix. To celebrate the occasion, he offered up his Five Favorite Films, two of which will probably surprise no one.
This is a film that personifies perfection to me on all levels. I learn something different from it upon each watch. It truly is a labyrinth of a film that you literally get stuck in, or at least I seem to have. Oddly enough, because of how much it deviated from the book, I was sort of let down by it the first time I saw it, but I would just keep coming back to it until it eventually became my favorite film. Almost every film on this list is like that, I have to revisit films many times before they fully resonate with me.
Another film that has a real sense of precision that manages to mix it up with an almost mumblecore approach to the dialogue scenes. This film is obviously scary and filled with top-notch sci-fi concepts, but I feel like it doesn’t get enough credit for just how grounded the performances feel, to the point that sometimes I can barely understand what they are saying. I like epic haunted house stories, as you can tell by my first two picks.
For a few years I always had a copy of Gerry on me during all my travels just in case I got the itch to watch it, which was often. The only reason that I don’t do this anymore is because I am waiting to experience an HD version and it has yet to be released. Pure atmospheric experiment, this film both made me yearn to go traveling in the desert and it also made me afraid of it. The only film that I can truly say is like meditation on celluloid.
The film that made me aware of filmmaking. I owe a lot to Tarantino, especially for how he uses music in his films. Ever since I saw PF I’ve been obsessed with chasing the perfect soundtrack.
I think this was the best theater going experience of my life — not just as a kid, but ever. It’s not often that a film actually lives up to its hype, and boy was I hyped up for this one. It’s basically a horror film for kids and even stars kids.