Who Will Be the Next Jackie Kong?


The internets got all up in arms lately when the remake was announced for Sang-ho Yeon’s Busanhaeng or Train to Busan (2016). Great! Another Americanized remake for a country landlocked by both the English language and two countries more willing to be bilingual, and a country also filled with people who don’t want to read a movie. The Host (2016) director, Bong Joon Ho, said it better — the U.S. can’t “overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles” and he’s right.

Well, the rest of the world has been “reading” our American movies for over a hundred years now and starting to put us, the U.S., to shame in the genre film market, including filmmakers like the remarkable Indonesian and at least bilingual Timo Tjahjanto, the hired gun director of the English language Train to Busan remake, and it’s a hell of a good gun to get behind.

We covered Tjahjanto in Director Roundup back in August 2020. His standouts are definitely Macabre (2009), which he directed with Kimo Stamboel under their Mo Brothers moniker; “L is for Libido” in ABCs of Death (2012); “Safe Haven” in V/H/S/2 (2013); one of the scariest movies I’ve seen this century, May the Devil Take You (2018); and the martial arts bloodbath The Night Comes for Us (2018). His May the Devil Take You Too (2020) debuted on Shudder fall of 2020 as did Kimo Stamboel’s remake of The Queen of Black Magic/Rata Ilmu Hitam (2020), his Mo Brothers’ partner.

We at Psycho Drive-In loved Busanhaeng/Train to Busan. Dan Lee covered it in his Beautiful Creatures column, Paul Brian McCoy covered it along with Seoul Station (2016) in his Easter Zombie Movie Marathon 2017 and your writer even wrote a review of it.

Of course, we won’t argue against one of the better arguments against the remake: Good luck finding a speeding train in the deteriorating infrastructure of the U.S. I doubt we’ll invade ourselves and support said infrastructure before filming commences. But honestly, what we really want from the director isn’t another martial arts film or another horror film. What we really want is a martial arts horror film along the lines of Macabre. For now, however, break a leg Tjahjanto!

Ana Lily Amirpour wrote and directed A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) and not-the-Star-Wars The Bad Batch (2016). In the former, a girl walks home at…okay, a small Iranian town is haunted by a female vampire, and in the latter, a young woman tries to survive cannibals and cult leaders in a contained dystopian area that’s like a quirky modern Escape from New York type of place. Our esteemed leader here at Psycho Drive-In puts her first flick among the top indie horror films.

After directing episodes of Legion, Castle Rock, the Jordan Peele-produced 2019 Twilight Zone, among others, Amirpour is leading the charge of female-directed genre movies and TV. She appears to have at least three features on the way, though not all genre. In Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon a girl with special powers escapes from an asylum and goes to New Orleans. Hopefully it’s not during Mardi Gras or she might escape New Orleans to the safety of the asylum. She seems to be directing the remake of the Stallone vehicle Cliffhanger, about a mountain climber up against criminals. And then Please Give Me You, details of which are difficult to come by and scant when found, but it seems to be a workplace drama set in California, but don’t quote us on that. Amirpour wrote four of these five features–definitely a talent to look out for, and here’s to hoping she has more genre flicks in her future.

Your writer avoided The Collector (2009) and the sequel The Collection (2012) directed by Marcus Dunstan for so long but finally succumbed to the buzz that wouldn’t die. The first film pits a desperate thief with, unbeknownst to him, a boobytrapped house. Returning in the sequel is Josh Stewart’s thief who escapes from our hobbyist villain — or is it villainous hobbyist? — to lead a group of mercenaries to stop the Collector from, uhm, collecting.

If the boobytrap theme seems familiar it’s because Dunstan and co-screenwriter Patrick Melton wrote Saw IV (2007), V (2008), VI (2009) and The Final Chapter (2010) –Whew! But wait! That’s not all! The writing team leapfrogged those movies with the Project Greenlight success story, the Feast trilogy (2005-9). The goal of Director Roundup here is to look out for the big horror filmmakers we will look back fondly upon someday and this team might be one of them.

Dunstan and Melton also wrote Piranha 3DD (2012) with Joel Soisson. They wrote the screen story for Trollhunter’s(2010) and The Autopsy of Jane Doe’s (2016) director André Øvredal’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019), which Director Roundup covered in February 2021.

Since The Collection, Dunstan, Melton and Stewart teamed up again for The Neighbor (2016) in which a criminal couple go up against their comedian neighbor Bill Engvall who has some dark secrets of his own. Did these guys start that whole comedian-bad-guy cycle? Kevin James in Becky (2020) anyone? Curious if that trend continues.

Unfortunately, the news your writer started with has changed. After eight days of shooting in 2019 they stopped what was to be their third film in the Collector series, the Collected, and are experiencing quite a bit of a challenge to continue. There’s more, but let’s leave it at that. Good luck guys and keep moving forward.

Speaking of André Øvredal: We covered the director of Trollhunter (2010), The Autopsy of Jane Doe and other films in the February 2021 Director Roundup, and he and his crew have started principal photography on The Last Voyage of the Demeter based on the voyage of the ship that carried Dracula to England, a great concept that deserves this type of exploiting.


Stay tuned for more Director Roundups. Contact us for any suggestions of directors to follow, especially low budget and regional directors.

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