When it comes to horror, the most bone-chilling moments are not those that jump out at you and ask you to scream, but the gradual fright that comes with a quiet kind of fear—the feeling of something breathing on the back of your neck or the sense of an overwhelming presence that never reveals itself. And when it comes get to getting modern horror films right, it seems Ti West is the filmmaker to haunt. His work isn’t about the boos and shocks; it’s human story beneath the genre staples that makes the occult even more harrowing and real. The director of The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers now has his work featured in the anthology horror film V/H/S, which includes a series of found-footage short segments.
West’s portion of the film, “Second Honeyman,” is the story of a couple on a road trip, played by Joe Swanberg and Sophia Takal. It’s a faintly creepy twenty minutes that doesn’t push the horror but rather gives you an intimate slice of their relationship as you’re kept you on your toes waiting for something to happen. And when it does, it will be hard not to find your own blood running pretty cold. I chatted with West to talk about getting to the heart of a genre movie, building a menacing atmosphere on film, and the sad nature of independent film today.
Horror Director Ti West on Making the Modern Genre Picture