07/18/2013 04:27 pm ET

'You're Next' At Comic-Con: Adam Wingard On the State Of Horror Movies


"You're Next," a new horror home invasion thriller, finally arrives in theaters on Aug. 23, almost two years after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011. Since then, however, "You're Next" has been on quite a ride: it garnered rave reviews from horror fans as it made its way to Austin's Fantastic Fest, Austin's South by Southwest Film Festival, and now, San Diego's Comic-Con.

"You're Next" tells a fairly simple story: At a family reunion, arrows start killing the bickering family members one by one -- followed by a full scale home invasion. After, there are twists. And then, some turns.

Director Adam Wingard (you may know him best for directing the short in "V/H/S 2" that caused Rex Reed to stop watching the movie) is here at San Diego Comic-Con. In the interview below, Wingard discusses his attitude toward horror, how he likes using comedy in horror, and where the industry is today as far as horror is concerned.

Your movie's really fun, which is a weird thing to say about a horror movie.
Well, I mean, that was the whole goal of it, you know what I mean? Because I feel like we're coming off of a wave of horror films which were the "gore porn" thing, which was all about kind of punishing the audience and so forth.

Where is mainstream horror right now? Because I can't figure it out.
I don't think it's anywhere. I think that we're in a weird in-between phase of what's the next wave horror -- and I don't think that we know what it is. Hopefully, it will be more of things like "The Conjuring."

"The Conjuring" has a "Poltergeist" vibe to it.
Yeah. And I feel like it's another fun kind of horror film. And, hopefully, we're just part of that new wave. And, hopefully, that's where it's headed. And I think that's a good place for it to head, too, because I feel like just the world itself has just been so dark since the early 2000s that people are still recovering from that. But, I think everybody's ready to just lighten up a little bit and move on and just have fun again. And I think, hopefully, it'll be another kind of '80s style resurgence of horror doesn't have to be about just punishing you with violence and terror and stuff.

"Punishing" is a good word.
Yeah, it is. You can have fun with violence without it being this terrible thing. It's complicated, but it doesn't have to be that way.

The movie's filmed outside of Columbia, Missouri, right?

I feel I'm required to ask that because I graduated from Mizzou.
Oh, you did? Oh, that's amazing. Yeah, [co-writer] Simon [Barrett] is actually from there. And so we did our first film, "A Horrible Way to Die" there, and that was very low budget.

There's a really pretentious filmmaker in the movie who brags about having a film in an underground film festival in Cleveland. Do you know people like that?
Oh, yeah. I mean, I feel like almost all filmmakers are kind of like that. You know what I mean?

This was a pretty funny caricature.
Exactly, and that's why I wanted another filmmaker to actually play that role. Because that's Ti West doing that, and Joe Swanberg, who are both established filmmakers in their own right, you know what I'm saying? So, Simon had written that part of the guy, who is a filmmaker himself, and I just felt like it's be weird to have an actor pretend to be a filmmaker. And the movie itself actually has five directors in it ... so it just made sense, because I come from that kind of mumblecore world of low budget filmmaking and in that stuff you can't afford actors and you can't afford to do things SAG -- so, where do you find people who can give you like-minded performances? And so, a lot of times, the answer is get other directors, because at least they know what not to do sort of, you know? And how not to overact and stuff.

Do you want to stay in horror? I know it's still pretty early in your career, but I feel like you could turn to comedy if you wanted to, with the way that that "bickering family" scene goes.
Well, I mean, I just like horror right now. I mean, it's just a little bit of an extra spike that you put on something. I feel like if I just did a straight comedy, I would just get bored with it -- you know what I mean?

And people would wind up dying anyway.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it would probably end up being too dark to be a real comedy, and I'd just screw myself over.

Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

Comic-Con 2013