Age: 32
Notable films: The Roost (2005), The House of the Devil (2009), The Innkeepers (2012), V/H/S (2012)

Critics love to describe Ti West's horror films as "slow burns" because he favors meticulous pacing and big payoffs over breakneck energy. It's a fair description, but one that often overshadows West's greatest strengths as a filmmaker.

As seen in his two best films, the satanic '80s throwback The House of the Devil and the supernatural horror-comedy The Innkeepers, the Delaware-born writer/director harkens back to the Repulsion/Rosemary's Baby days of Polanski, developing his characters long enough and with enough precision that, once the climaxes hit and the scares pile up, the stakes are high.

Since The Innkeepers was released in early 2012, West has been working the horror anthology circuit, contributing lo-fi shorts to V/H/S and The ABCs of Death. At the upcoming Venice and Toronto film festivals, however, his latest full-length effort, The Sacrament, will be unveiled, and it sounds like West's most ambitious film to date. It's a found-footage look at a cult in the vein of Jim Jones and his tragic Jonestown community, produced by Eli Roth (the Hostel movies and Netflix's Hemlock Grove). —MB