Every 10 years or so, a conversation emerges around a breed of "refreshing," new horror movies that "transcend" the genre. It's an inevitable tic in the discourse, more about branding and media coverage than the films themselves, but we're living in a moment like that now: The Babadook, It Follows, The Witch, Don't Breathe, The Invitation, Raw, and Get Out. These are smart, stylish horror films that inspire feverish debate along with real scares.
With studios like Blumhouse (Get Out, Split, and the Insidious franchise) and A24 (The Witch, It Comes at Night) establishing distinct identities in the minds of moviegoers and television shows like American Horror Story, Bates Motel, and even Stranger Things spreading the genre elements across the airwaves -- or, more likely, your laptop -- it's difficult to deny that we're in the midst of an era of horror filmmaking that prizes subtext, mood, and tone over gore effects, elaborate kills, and jump-scares. All the projects chosen by Zimmerman and his team for the Lab appeared to have more ambitious goals than simply replicating a set of familiar tropes.