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Jessica's August Pick - The Women Behind the Camera

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

This monthly pick is a bit different than prior ones. Usually Kelly and I select something within the horror genre to place the spotlight on and why we are passionate about it, whether it be a movie, graphic novel, book, actor/director, music, series etc. For this month, I couldn’t place the spotlight on just one female identifying director but wanted to try my hand at listing out my top four favorite women behind the camera. We all know the work and names of Karyn Kusama, Jennifer Kent, Ana Lily Amirpour, Julia Ducournau, Mary Harron and Debra Hill, but the last decade has seen even more women come out with some fantastic horror films and are quickly making a name for themselves.

Leigh Janak

Leigh is a film director and screenwriter from Ohio, USA. Her breakout horror film was Honeymoon (2014), which brought together Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway as a newlywed couple experiencing unnatural events at a secluded lake side cottage on their honeymoon. She has directed episodes in the Scream television series, as well. But what really has me excited about her future in horror is the work she did on the Fear Street Trilogy for Netflix released in July 2021. She has talked about doing more of these films for a Fear Street series and I am on board for it!

Sophia Takal

Sophia is an American actress, writer and director from New Jersey, USA. She is best known for her roles in many various independent films, but what I know her for is her work on the 2019 Black Christmas remake. This film received a lot of flack from various horror fans for not being as good as the original 1974 film, but for being too “overtly” feminist. However, this is what I love about the film! Yes, it tends to go off the rails a bit in the end, but I feel that if Sophia was given the same time and budget as all other male directors at Blumhouse, we would have gotten a more “worthy” successor.

Veronika Franz

Veronika is a writer and director from Vienna, Austria. She was the writer and director behind the films Goodnight Mommy (2014) and The Lodge (2019). Both films are a psychological journey into exploring the grief felt by children after traumatic events forcing a change in a family dynamic. I highly recommend both these films and exploring other works that Veronika Franz has been a part of. In my research I discovered a film she directed called The Field Guide to Evil (2018), which is an anthology film exploring the myths, lore and folk tales that are part of the foundation to the horror genre. Something that is right up my alley!

Rose Glass

Rose is an English film director and screenwriter from London, England, and someone to watch out for! Her 2019 film Saint Maud not only earned her recognition among the indie horror scene, but her film was nominated for two awards at the 74th British Academy Film Awards. When I watched Saint Maud for the first time I was absolutely blown away, especially after finding out this was her debut. If you haven’t seen it go watch it now and keep an eye out for what else is to come from Rose Glass. I know I will.

It was hard to narrow down this list to just my top four as for all the female directors I looked up, I have seen at least one of their films! But then added a plethora of new movies to watch from their filmographies. It’s very exciting!

Here is that short list:

  • Bea Grant - 12 Hour Shift (2020), Lucky (2020), After Midnight (2019), The Stylist (2020)

  • Coralie Fargeat - Revenge (2017)

  • Jenn Wexler - The Ranger (2018)

  • Nia DaCosta - Candyman (2021)

  • Natalia Erika James - Creswick (2017), Drum Wave (2018)

  • Issa Lopez - Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)

  • Helene Cattet - The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013)

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