Last week was a good week for C. Robert Cargill. Not only had his first feature film, Sinister, been on store shelves for a week, but his first major novel, Dreams and Shadows, was published. On Thursday Cargill enjoyed his first-ever book reading here in Austin, Texas, though the first question during the Q&A wasn't actually about the book, it was about a Sinister sequel and whether or not he and cowriter/director Scott Derrickson would like to make one themselves or hand it off to others.
Cargill's response was essentially that the movie had obviously made a ton of money ($87 million globally from a $3 million budget) and so of course sequel talk was in the air, but that he and Derrickson would like to only write the film and find a new up-and-comer to direct. Apparently that got someone in Hollywood's ears burning, because the next day it was announced that Sinister 2 had been given the green light, that Derrickson would produce but not direct, and that the pair would be back to write it.
And since we're big fans of the first film, we figured we'd make it a little easier on Cargill, Derrickson and Blumhouse by helping narrow down their list of potential directors. These certainly aren't the only people capable of making a sequel to Sinister, but if directors with strong visions, horror roots and something to prove is what they're looking for, it's a good place to start.
One of the perpetual joys of going to film festivals is walking into a movie you know nothing about and walking out feeling like you've seen the calling card of someone worth watching. Undocumented did just that to me two years ago at Fantastic Fest. It's about a crew of filmmakers documenting what it takes to illegally cross the border, only along the way they're kidnapped by a radical anti-immigration gang. Things do not end well.
Undocumented has a more visceral, in-your-face style of horror, but like Derrickson proved with Sinister, Peckover knows how to subvert expectations and make you care for and understand characters even when they're making some not-so-great decisions. Give him some spooky material that's more hardwood floors and dark kitchens and less cement walls and underground torture chambers, and I think he'll hit a home run.
Unlike others on this list, Eduardo Sanchez doesn't need a movie like Sinister 2 as a stepping stone in Hollywood. He cowrote/directed The Blair Witch Project, after all, and since that film's monster success, he's been able to stay in the indie sector making movies. The thing is, those movies are often more deserving of the mainstream spotlight than their studio peers. Altered is one of the coolest alien movies around, and Lovely Molly is a supremely creepy, nuanced film that burrows into the back of your spine. I'd love to see him step into the mainstream and Sinister 2 would be a perfect opportunity. It's still relatively low budget, and Jason Blum's Blumhouse has proven to be a production company that understands and respects artists over accountants but still maintains ties to major Hollywood distributors, so it would be an ideal environment for Sanchez to put together something special.
Kat Candler is the biggest wildcard on this list. She's directed one feature film and quite a few shorts, but it's one of the latter that planted her firmly on our radar. She directed the phenomenal Black Metal, which played Sundance earlier this year, and with it she proved that she, like Cargill and Derrickson, knows how to take familiar subject matter and find a new way to present it. That short alone has more depth than most feature films I saw last year, plus it just looks dynamite-- a crucial part we shouldn't overlook considering the first Sinister is the best-shot horror movie of 2012, so someone who can match its look and feel is a must. She also knows the horror genre plenty well, having written Saturday Morning Massacre about a Scooby-Doo-esque team who get caught up in a real horror story.
I love Jaume Balagueró's Spanish films, but I wish he'd take a trip back to Hollywood for another spooky film. This is a director who has proven time and time again that he can knock it out of the park on all fronts, whether it's with zombies ([Rec]), ghosts (Fragile), or normal people (Sleep Tight). As with Sanchez above, Balagueró doesn't really need to make Sinister 2 as a career move, but damn it if the horror genre doesn't need more people of his caliber making Hollywood horror movies-- especially sequels.
Most of the Afterdark Horrorfest titles were average, predictable films that didn't really do much to stand out in any given year. And then there was the Antonio Negret-directed Seconds Apart. It was strange and bold and stylish, so even when the script got wacky, the movie held your attention. There's not really anything about that film that draws a straight line to Sinister 2, it's just a cool, original piece of horror and I'd love to see the one behind it sink his teeth back into the genre. I have no idea what Cargill and Derrickson have planned for Sinister 2's story, but if they want to dial up the demonic material and play with some lush visuals, give this guy a call.
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