films seen
12
average score
2.79*
nationality
USA - 40 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Wingard started at the very bottom and worked himself up to become a bona fide blockbuster director. I thoroughly prefer his earlier, more challenging horror work, but genre fans will find it near impossible to avoid his oeuvre.

Beyond exceptional

Pop Skull

2007 / 86m - USA
Drama, Horror
Pop Skull poster

Pop Skull is an intense experience that will take you to rather unpleasant places in a pretty bold yet straightforward manner, but when it hits you the effect is tremendous.

The good stuff

A Horrible Way to Die

2010 / 88m - USA
Drama, Horror
4.0*/5.0*
A Horrible Way to Die poster

Even though similarities between this film and Pop Skull are rather slim, there's still an underlying signature style that clearly belongs to Wingard.

Solid pieces

After the cult success of the first V/H/S film and the positive feedback on The ABC's of Death, the news that a follow-up anthology would be made was hardly a surprise. To be honest though, I didn't like the first V/H/S anthology all that much. Few of the short managed to entertain and the "group of friends making a horror flick" atmosphere that drove the first film was rather unpleasant. I'm glad to say they turned things around in their second attempt.

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Wingard kicks off and sadly he delivers the least interesting of the four shorts. Wingard is great when he focuses on audiovisual storytelling, but I just don't like him in front of the camera. He's a pretty awful actor, which gives the shorts he stars in a rather amateurish finish. It's a real shame because this hi-tech variation on Gin Gwai could've been fun, now it's just a nice idea that never becomes scary or horrific.

Luckily Eduardo Sánchez (Blair Witch Project) and Gregg Hale follow up with a remarkably fun first-person zombie short. Far from serious and pleasantly gory, a lone cyclist (sporting a headcam) is overtaken by zombies and joins the herd to barge in on a birthday party in the middle of the woods. Sánchze and Hale keep the fun factor high, never taking their short too serious but providing a good balance between blood and laughs.

Highlight of the anthology is Gareth Evans' (The Raid) and Timo Tjahjanto's (Macabre) entry. An eerie trip into the world of a perverted cult goes horribly wrong. What starts as an unsettling documentary following an Indonesian cult leader ends up in bloody and fucked up mayhem. The short is eerie, nasty, gory and in your face. A very nice surprise indeed.

Eisener ends the anthology in style. He draws the audience in quickly with a few pranks and laughs, then hits fast and hard with some prime quality chaos. His short is loud and direct, but works exactly because of that. Pretty freaky and intense stuff.

The wrap-around story was of pretty poor quality and Wingard's short should've been a lot better, but this sequel is a serious step forward for the V/H/S crew. The internationalization of the directors benefited the project a lot, resulting in one amusing, one freaky and one outlandish short. Not bad at all.

You're Next

2011 / 95m - USA
Horror, Thriller
3.5*/5.0*
You're Next poster

Adam Wingard has been struggling lately. While I thoroughly enjoyed Pop Skull and A Horrible Way To Die, his entries in ABC's of Death and both V/H/S anthologies came off as sloppy and lazy, too focused on getting cosy with his group of fellow directors (Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Simon Barrett) instead of producing good films. With the release of You're Next, things are looking up though.

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Then again, You're Next was actually shot before he did the anthology projects, held back until now by a battle of rights between Lions Gate and Paramount. It's a small miracle that You're Next still ended up in theaters, especially when you consider the film isn't exactly megaplex material. At first sight it may look like a pretty typical house invasion flick (think Ils or The Strangers), but there's a bit more to Wingard's setup.

The film starts with a family reunion in a remote vacation house. Even though the family strains are obvious from the start, the quarrels and bickering between the brothers and sisters isn't all that out of the ordinary. It doesn't take too long before arrows are whizzing through the windows though, while the family feuds are quickly replaced by genuine panic and a renewed sense of survival instinct.

The killers are both deadly and creepy, but You're Next is actually a mixture of horror and dark comedy. Even though the score (pretty awesome) and visuals (atmospheric camera work) may suggest otherwise, the overly manic screams and blunt kills make it clear that this film isn't just about the scares and gore. It's a nice little twist, although Wingard never really goes 100% in, which weighs on both the horror and the comedy aspects of the film.

In the end You're Next shows a lot of potential, but is bogged down just a tad too much by its schizophrenic nature. It's a solid horror flick with some good smirks and creepy moments, but a feeling remains that Wingard could've made a better film if he'd just opted for a purer execution (either straight-up horror of unapologetic horror/comedy).

The inoffensive

The Guest

2014 / 100m - USA
Mystery, Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
The Guest poster

Worthy but flawed

Death Note

2017 / 101m - USA
Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
2.5*/5.0*
Death Note poster

Blair Witch

2016 / 89m - USA
Horror
2.5*/5.0*
Blair Witch poster

Dubious filler

Another micro-shorts anthology. They were relatively popular for a while, but they rarely lived up to their potential. With just a single minute to make an impression, directors were given a tricky challenge. One that proved a bit too daunting for most involved, as too many of the entries failed to make an impact.

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This isn't so much a real film as it was an experience though. There doesn't remain a proper copy of this anthology since it was only screened once, then burned right after. I usually stray from watching low-quality recordings, but with nothing else available, it was either that or not watching it ever.

There are some interesting names here, but few of them stand out. The goals of the project are lofty, but it's all very conceptual and the films themselves never really match or strengthen the project's ideals. It's a good thing that the score is pretty interesting, which at least kept me going. Not all that interesting.

Plain forgettable

Godzilla vs. Kong

2021 / 113m - USA
Sci-fi, Action
1.5*/5.0*
Godzilla vs. Kong poster

The recent Kong reboots were surprisingly fun, the Godzilla reboot on the other hand was a big fluke. It's not the first time these two franchises crossed each other, but the old Kaiju films are hardly a reference for this blockbuster CG fest. Wingard in the director chair was a big question mark too.

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The plot is a lot of bollocks, but that isn't necessarily problematic. All this film needed to do was bring these two giants together and let them fight it out. It does that rather efficiently, though there's still a little too much fluffy padding, with some little kids thrown into the mix for no apparent reason.

The problem with Godzilla vs. Kong is that it's not quite goofy or over the top enough to be fun, neither is it cool nor impressive enough to be a kick-ass blockbuster action flick. No matter how hard Wingard tries to make it big and bold, it all feels rather dull and inconsequential. Disappointing.

Big nopes

Home Sick

2007 / 89m - USA
Horror
1.0*/5.0*
Home Sick poster