Simon Barrett, director of the surrender, talks about “interesting things” in horror movies

Since the 2010s A terrible way of death, Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett co-produced a series of horror films, making them one of the most reliable duo of the genre. Projects like 2011 Self erotic with You are next, Together with their market segments V/H/S, ABC of death, with V/H/S2, Has won them the reputation of smart, self-conscious horror creators, and they are not afraid of the dark side of the genre. Year 2014 guest It’s something completely different: a parody of a 1980s horror movie that is smart, scary, and memorable enough to help Dan Stevens become a big star.

Barrett also directed horror short films V/H/S2 And 2021 V/H/S/94, But he completed his directorial debut in the 2021 movie Surrender, Another retro horror film set in a remote girls’ boarding school. When a student’s suicide left room for a new girl in the school, she immediately clashed with the bully who abused her dead ex. They lure newcomers to join the surrender to summon the dead girl, and things start from there.

Surrender It is always surprising, and throughout, using contradictory metaphors to lure the audience down several different paths. Is this a ghost story? The story of a murderer? Revenge story? Or something completely different? This is a satisfying and unusual way of telling a familiar story. Polygon believes that Barrett will be the perfect terminator for our trick or metaphorical Horror Week, exploring the roots of horror movies and why horror will be reinterpreted over and over again. The same image and idea for this question.

Photo: RLJE Film Company

The surrender is the horror metaphor of Satan’s panic in the 1980s. Why do you want to start there?

Simon Barrett: I have always liked this kind of ritual, which caused a kind of distress. I think there is an inner atmosphere in these situations and devices, you can play its role, and then ideally prepare for surprises. I have always liked this type of narrative, especially the Oujia movies and all the surrenders. I just always thought they were really cool. I have never participated. I have zero interest in the real world of supernatural phenomena, but I like it in the novel.

You have talked about wanting your directorial debut to be an interesting horror movie, not some heavy topic about current anxiety. Could going back to the old analogy be part of it?

I think this is true.I don’t know if this is ultimately the right creative decision for me, considering the way Surrender I have received it—it’s kind of like, “Why do you want to do such an untimely thing in good faith?” But I do have this idea, I hope my first movie is a horror movie that makes people feel good . You are next It’s a horror movie that feels good, but it’s a cynical movie about relationships.certainly guest Yes, although they are all very stupid movies. I want to do something that is less cynical and has a little more hope for humanity.

I realized that I was born to think in the direction of such a cliché that this movie must be outdated and timeless in nature. I tried to find a very old-fashioned romance. I’m trying to do something very similar to the young adult content I consume, mainly novels by Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and books by Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. I grew up. When I became interested in movies, I translated them into slashers. I tried to do something more stable and happier than the horror atmosphere I currently feel.

What makes an interesting horror movie equal to an uninteresting horror movie?

Yes, this is an important thing to check. This is obviously very subjective. But for me, it comes down to the relationship between the movie and its characters, and how it treats them. I think this is a matter of “respect for the role”. I can easily say that some horror movies are abusive to their characters, but this is a very special emotion.

For example, I think this movie Napoleon explosives It was so torturous to its characters that it made me feel uncomfortable from the bottom of my heart when I watched that movie. I despise it. But this is a very personal response. So some of them are very subjective. But in general, I think if you take your role seriously enough as an individual, you care about their results. Considering the tone and theme of the narrative, you will treat it with due respect.with You are next, I like some characters very much, but they still need to die on the screen for the narrative and humor we want.

But with Surrender, I thought it was different. It’s a young woman, I thought, “Among the young women in boarding school, there is a not fun way to be a slasher.” I want to go a different way, the only character who dies in blood is the villain, so you can accept the narrative and Enjoy that level of humor. So I think this is just my definition of fun. Are the scenes designed to cause discomfort or negative emotions in the audience, the type of Michael Haneke? Fun game feel? I have tended to this in some of my work. Or are you trying to say, “Oh, that’s great, and it’s what I want”?What i want to like Sorority Street House It’s for me. I like the cozy slasher atmosphere.

Suki Waterhouse of the surrender, when walking outdoors, there are obvious blood stains on the forehead and cheeks

Photo: RLJE Film Company

Why is terror as a genre so metaphorically driven, even compared to other metaphorically driven types?

Sadly, I would say that the answer is usually creative bankruptcy and find a successful metaphor that can be monetized and imitated again and again, which is often the way the horror type traditionally spreads itself. I hope this is not the case in my own work. I do tend to think that these iconic images with inherent atmosphere are somewhat interesting, such as psychic boards. These things have a certain meaning and really create a shorthand for you. If it’s a bit recognizable, I don’t need to explain to people what is happening. You can get in touch with interesting things faster. I think this is part of it. I think the horror is in the metaphor, in the things that scare us.

I personally think that I may have finished making horror movies for a while, not only because I like some Adam Wingard projects that are not horror movies, but as a director, I realize that I may be a little out of sync with the current atmosphere. I am an older and older person. This is something I am very sensitive to. When will my brain begin to decline, because it seems inevitable to us. I thought I might take a break before I became too repetitive and too tired, because I realized that what I particularly like horror is the old-fashioned atmosphere of telling scary stories to friends in the dark.

mine V/H/S/94 The fragment occurred during the night rainstorm. I like the heavy rain at night, I know it’s really old-fashioned. This is really a metaphor, so much so that in the horror movies of the 1930s, it was a cliché. But if you can get rid of clichés well, it will evoke a wonderful feeling that these things used to scare us when we were young, and horror may be a taboo type for many young audiences. So you can have a feeling that these movies are a bit insecure, and you can have a cathartic experience with them safely. I enjoyed that special journey very much, but I think my sense of humor is sometimes juxtaposed with sincere old-fashioned things, which makes me very confused.

Your horror movie seems to consciously recontextualize metaphors and play on their basis. Don’t you think so?

I do think so, but I try to do other things, that is to convey these metaphors, and then do other things on this basis. Horror movie fans are particularly sensitive to not getting what they want from movies.You know, if you have a movie called Surrender, You must give them a surrender at least once. I give three. Incredibly, this did not have a positive effect on my Rotten Tomatoes score. You would think that based on statistics alone, I would be over 50 years old.

But in any case, it makes sense.with A terrible way of death Especially for that movie, people think it is a certain type of movie, and this is another type of movie, so most of them don’t like it. Until later, some people said, “Oh, this is interesting in itself.” I won’t say that I am subverting metaphors, but I am trying to achieve them and then subvert them in narrative. I don’t know how interesting this is.

Simon Barrett and actor and photographer at the surrender scene

Photo: Eric Zachanowich/RLJE Films

Is it equally interesting for you or the audience?

For the audience. This is absolutely interesting to me. Well, I mean, making movies is not fun. If you think making movies is fun, it means you haven’t worked hard enough. I mean sincerely. But I do like what I do, and I am very grateful.

Is metaphor important to you when you choose the movie you want to watch? Do you think when you see the upcoming horror movie, “Oh yes, I really like haunted house movies” or “I will never miss a werewolf movie”?

It’s more about who made it and other things, but that’s because I want to think about it when I’m an adult, and I’m a fairly sophisticated audience. At the same time, yes, I am very excited if there is a haunted house movie to be released. It’s funny because I don’t really like making haunted house movies myself, because I have a hard time accepting their bets and rules. But as an audience, I love them. If there is a killer or a mysterious killer, I can’t wait. So I like metaphors. So this may be the real answer to your question.

with Surrender, Because this is my first film, I really want to engage in a type that I think I know very well as an audience, this kind of comfortable boarding school suspicious Things like that. As an audience, I feel cordial and comfortable because I like these metaphors. I think I can tell a story about doing some strange things in that language, and I can still make it coherent. So yes, the analogy makes me understand. But the horror itself fascinated me. I don’t miss many horror movies in the cinema.

Surrender Streaming on Shudder, Hoopla and AMC+, can be rented or purchased at the following websites Amazon, WuduAnd other digital platforms.