Everyone has the opportunity to do a horror film. There's something great about it as an actor. You have to go to places you'd normally never go and be put in situations you would never be put into. You don't get the opportunity in a lot of films to have this kind of acting. It's an interesting challenge.
A great horror film works as a communal experience more than almost anything else, except for maybe a comedy. That's something that I've experienced, just taking this movie around and watching it with audiences.
I guess the reason that I'm a horror fan is that I think it gives people the opportunity to enjoy the feeling of being scared in a safe environment. I think that's why, for all of human history, we've been telling each other scary stories: because it exorcises something that we need to exorcise in a safe place.
'Hereditary' is unabashedly a horror film. In a lot of ways, it's in dialogue with other horror films. But I do know that it was important for me that the film functioned first as a family drama. I know that I'm never affected by anything if I'm not invested in the people to whom the genre things are happening.
The next film I'm making is a horror film, and I'm making it with A24. It's a dark break-up movie that becomes a horror film, set in Sweden. That's all I can really say now. It's called 'Midsommar.' Everybody's been spelling it wrong. It's 'midsummer' in Swedish.
The beauty of the horror genre is that you can smuggle in these harder stories, and the genre comes with certain demands, but mostly you need to find the catharsis in whatever story you're telling. What may be seen as a deterrent for audiences in one genre suddenly becomes a virtue in another genre.
'Hereditary' is unabashedly a horror film, whereas 'It Comes at Night' was a lot of things: it was a thriller; it was a postapocalyptic drama. It was a slow-building, very dark movie about relationships. 'Hereditary' is also about relationships, and I hope it functions as a vivid family drama, but it is also very much a horror film.
There's been a lot of aesthetically rich horror films that have come out in the last several years. 'The Babadook' is this perfectly paced, beautiful film. 'The Witch' is a beautifully made film. 'Get Out' is so intelligently written. I feel like there's so many great things happening right now.
I love the horror genre. I consider myself a genre filmmaker. I love genre, but I think there's a certain amount of complacency that comes with watching a genre film; people know what the devices are. They know what the tropes are. They know the conventions.
Most horror films are made very cynically, and they're usually made by studios for an audience that they know is there, no matter what they put out. And there are always exceptions - every year, it seems we have a great one coming out.