Joe Swanberg is still not quite a household name. But with a staggering 27 directing credits to his name, according to IMDB, the mumblecore stalwart can’t be faulted for lack of trying. And things may be shifting. His feature in the first V/H/S was the stand-out, his 2011 starring role in Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s terrific suspense flick You’re Next got more attention than usual (editor’s note: see their 2014 Swanberg-less The Guest, one of the best films of the year), and his 2013 Drinking Buddies attractively married the patented low-key approach of his hangout scene to something approximating a Hollywood rom-com.
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett traffic in playful homage and neat subversion of other horror movies. Their 2011 low-budget collaboration You’re Next combined elements of home invasion and slasher flicks with an in-joke sensibility – a mumblecore Scream. With 2014’s The Guest, they went full-on John Carpenter, layering on the mounting dread and the insistent synth score, while drawing liberally (or borrowing wholesale) from the plot of The Stepfather and similar “who are you really?” thrillers.