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Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett

Best movies: A Horrible Way to Die (2010), You’re Next (2012), V/H/S (2012)

As of now, the formidable duo of writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard only have one movie to show off as their we’re-the-real-deal calling card: 2010’s subdued serial killer flick A Horrible Way to Die. It’s about an escaped convict/murderer (A.J. Bowen) who reconnects with an ex-girlfriend (Amy Seimetz) and complicates (i.e., kills several people) her battles against alcoholism and depression.

Though the violence gets extreme, and the mood is predominantly malevolent, A Horrible Way to Die is, at its core, a straight-faced character study. But the next two Barrett/Wingard collaborations promise to rile things up something fierce.

A found-footage horror anthology from six directors, the festival hit V/H/S (scheduled for an October release) is an absolute blast, the kind of audience-response ride that’s both creepy and consistently uproarious—Barrett, for his part, wrote two of the segments, while Wingard directed the wraparound.

Also on deck from the guys is You’re Next, another film fest breakout, in which a family gathering is disrupted by a gang of masked assailants carrying crossbows and machetes. At last year’s Fantastic Fest, held annually in Austin, Texas, critics pegged You’re Next as the “next Scream,” and it was picked up for distribution by the bigwigs of Lionsgate. If the company ever gives the film a proper release date (fingers crossed for Halloween 2012), Barrett and Wingard might be ready for the mainstream’s primetime.

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