in ,

Sunday Scaries: Is Zach Cregger the Next Master of Horror?

The Sunday Scaries are upon us once again! Yes, as the weekend concludes, most of us feel an oncoming sense of anticipatory dread about the week ahead. Anxiety about work manifests itself into a feeling that’s known as the Sunday Scaries. However, we at Awards Radar are here to combat that, by taking back the name. Now, we want you think about a horror-centric piece on the site when you hear the term. So, let us continue on with another installment of the Awards Radar Sunday Scaries! Today, the subject is a filmmaker who seems poised to dominate the horror world…

20th Century Studios

About a year ago, it wouldn’t have been unquestionable to not know who Zach Cregger was. Moreover, if you did know him it was as the founder of the comedy group The Whitest Kids U’ Know or maybe as the co-director/star of Miss March. Cregger has a background in comedy, not horror, which makes his meteoric and fast rise all the more impressive. That and just how fantastic Barbarian is. In the same way that Jordan Peele made that successful transition, Cregger is now doing the same. Their horror and filmmaking styles are different, but they seem poised to both be genre forces for years to come.

This (here) is some of what I had to say about Barbarian in my rave review:

What a joy it is to be surprised by a film. When you’re in my line of work, that doesn’t happen too often. Most of the time, you know too much, in fact. So, when circumstances dictated that I was headed to a screening of Barbarian without really any knowledge of what it was about, the possibilities were endless. Thrillingly, this movie would upend any expectations, so already going in cold provided a ridiculously good time. Funny, novel, scary, and incredibly tense, this has just about everything a genre fan could ask for. The fact that it’s deeply original as well? Well, that’s just some bloody icing on the cake.

Barbarian is a lot of fun because it’s aware of how to subvert your expectations. It’s quite impossible to guess where this one is ever going, so giving yourself over to the story is a joy. It’s like a roller coaster, zooming through its genre conventions in search of something new. For my money, this is one of the more purely enjoyable experiences I’ve had with a horror/thriller in some time.

Writer/director Zach Cregger loves turning the screws here. With some old school practical gore, this iis a throwback mix of horror and thriller. Cregger’s direction is always seeking to keep you on your toes, while his script is far more clever than most of this ilk. He not only makes Barbarian one of the best fright flicks of the year, but establishes Cregger as a filmmaker to watch out for. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

20th Century Studios

Recently, Cregger’s second film Weapons was announced (here), and that goes along with two other movies he’s not directing but will be producing. One is a science fiction thriller called Companion, which he was intending to helm before his written projects moved forward. The other is Occupant, which has a great hook. Apparently, it’s a reverse haunted house story, where an historical house is moved for preservation purposes into a new neighborhood, with scariness to follow. These are interesting projects, which shows good taste on his part.

Weapons seems like an incredibly ambitious flick, described as being Magnolia-like, which is music to my ears. Occupant sounds intriguing as well, so if either approaches Barbarian levels of quality, I’m going to be delighted. Horror fans will be too, that’s for sure. I think Cregger approaching genre cinema from a different angle, with his comedy background, is the secret sauce that makes him such a hot commodity in the industry.

Zach Cregger is being positioned as horror’s next big thing, so it won’t take much more success before he’s considered a true master of horror. There are a lot of filmmakers making interesting scary movies now, so it’s quite a compliment to see Hollywood rallying around him so much. Will their investment pay off? We shall see, but either way, some intriguing fright flicks are headed our way, and that’s just terrific…

Stay tuned for another Sunday Scaries installment next week!


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Richard Green
Richard Green
7 months ago

Hi Joey,
I felt the same way about Barbarian as i did about X; the first two thirds were really good but the final third lacked credibility (especially their villains) and they became a bit ridiculous in my oppinion. Nevertheless, I’m very much looking forward to seeing Pearl (released here in Britain on March 13th) and despite my misgivings I do agree that Zach Cregger is certainly a talent to watch.



Written by Joey Magidson

Interview: Julia Cho Talks about the Pixar Process, Labors of Love, and ‘Turning Red’ Having Its Moment

Simon Rex to Co-Star in Heaven’s Gate Cult Drama ‘The Leader’