As we finish off the decade and usher in the roaring 20s, a roundup of the best horror for past 10 years is a mandatory requirement of any genre specific blog.
The 2010s were a game-changing decade for the genre that left us all with brand new nightmares, and some visionary directors stepping onto the scene with groundbreaking debuts.
Franchises were born, blood-drenched scream queens fought monsters, and there was even an Oscar win for screenwriting.
Horror fans were split down the middle with a new batch of artistic films that critics loved, but purists seemed to think strayed too far away from the more grounded roots set in the 80s.
To honor both purists and modernist fans, I’ll include one from each for the entire decade. So, buckle up and lets explore the decade’s best horror films!
Horror Purists: I Saw The Devil
Easily one of the best revenge films of all time, and possibly one of the goriest of the genre.
This film is underrated and packs such a punch with just one viewing that whether you are an action fan or somebody looking to be scared to death, satisfaction is most definitely guaranteed.
Unless you’re squeamish or too lazy to read subtitles, then this might not be for you.
If you haven’t seen this Korean masterpiece yet, it should be a top priority for any fans looking for something to shake them to the core.
Horror Modernists: Black Swan
A stunning piece of artistic fearful cinema, that traded in jump scares with building a creeping sense of paranoia in every scene.
There is a lot to unpack with this film, but I think the one thing that stuck out the most was Natalie Portman’s frantic performance that made this a maddening and anxious watch no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
Since its release others have tried to capture this same magic, but haven’t come as close to the success or notoriety of the Darren Aronofsky classic.
Horror Purists: You’re Next
An indie budget home invasion film that pits one of the greatest “one and done” horror scream queens against multiple vicious masked killers.
It hooks you from the very first kill and then delivers one of the coolest hero introductions in the history of the genre.
Everything works about this film, I mean EVERYTHING. A smart and incredibly resourceful protagonist really makes a world of difference for any movie, and the payoffs throughout are incredibly well done.
Horror Modernists: Red State
A polarizing poke at religious fanatics, horny teenage boys, and domestic terrorism all bundled together with whip-smart dialogue written and directed by Kevin Smith.
This was a horror hybrid that packed a wallop of a message and also pointed a finger directly at the Westboro Baptist Church for their ongoing media attention.
An absolute blast of a watch and definitely a movie that takes multiple viewings over the years, this also works as very interesting conversation piece when watching with a group.
Horror Purists: Maniac
A hyper-violent beautiful scored film that is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, do not watch this unless you are ready for some true gruesome nightmare fuel.
Imaginatively shot through the POV of the killer, this Elijah Wood flick is a sadistic watch even for the most daring of fans.
It is easily one of the best horror remakes to ever be made, and a traumatizing watch for the unprepared viewers.
Apologies for stressing how intense this film is multiple times, but some of my friends did not appreciate this suggestion, while others loved it.
Can’t win ’em all.
Horror Modernists: American Mary
The iconic feature film debut from the Canadian twin directors Jen and Sylvia Soska, was a bloody body horror on an indie budget that hit all its marks with ease.
This was a modern horror that dripped with style and was a fun watch that made a new legendary character that will be forever immortalized in the genre.
You’ll laugh, you’ll jump, you’ll fall in love with Mary Mason and hope that there is a sequel eventually in the works.
Horror Purists: Evil Dead
A scream queen is born with an epic performance by Jane Levy, as this remake dials its gore to 100.
By 100, I mean gallons of blood they must have used for the production of this movie.
This bloodbath of a flick was a tense watch that worked as a great homage to its original namesake, while also gaining new fans who loved the grittier version.
Seriously, Jane Levy can do no wrong in this movie and deserved an Oscar for her role as a drug addict struggling to get sober who then becomes possessed by a demon.
Sadly, the Academy skips over horror movies whenever they make these decisions.
Horror Modernists: The Purge
Blumhouse is known for a many great films, but of their franchise building studio, this masked killer thriller has some of the most interesting entries.
Starting off with this by the numbers home invasion, and then diving deeper into the political message with every entry which now includes a television series tie-in.
The Purge is a truly stand out film series that can literally go on forever and keep it fresh, as we learn more about the fall of America into the hands of billionaires who disregard the poor.
Referring to the movie of course. Not actual America.
We can also thank the series of films for making Halloween costumes simple yet very effective for last-minute parties.
Horror Purists: The Den
Found footage films are prominent in the horror market, and can be hit or miss depending on the premise as well as the execution.
We’ve seen it all before at this point, so the story and acting need to be especially well done in order to grab us from the beginning and even then it sometimes is not enough.
This movie not only executes well, it also makes you want to throw away your computer due to the fear of hackers.
Paranoia fuel is the best way to describe it…
Horror Modernists: The Babadook
No question about this one making the list, there wasn’t even close competition because it was such an original masterpiece.
A clear winner for hitting all the marks: awesome story, captivating acting, original monster, and even years later still heavily talked about by anyone who saw it.
It’s a strange experience that feels like you’re given two different movies in one go, and the first half really hits the nail home of the struggles of single parenting which made for intense viewing even for those without kids.
A lot of it just makes you want to scream due to pure frustration, and then jump because you’re so wound up by the time the horror is delivered.
Horror Purists: Krampus
A pure horror film that feels like it was plucked out of the 80s and made by true fans of the genre. As an audience, how did we ever get so lucky?
You can watch this movie every Christmas and never get bored, it truly is one of the best holiday movies ever made.
Sorry “Die Hard is a Christmas movie” people, Bruce Willis is great and all, but he’s no Toni Collette.
Not only does it get the mood right and completely capture the chaotic nature of family holiday events, but it has the heart to remind you what that time of the year is all about…
Family being together to fight monsters and save Christmas from damnation.
Horror Modernists: It Follows
Where to start… This film was a beautifully shot slow burn. It is set in an alternative version of Detroit, and it introduced a strange new monster stalking the leads with resilience on par the Terminator.
That feels like a lot, but the concept couldn’t be easier to follow (yea, sorry for that one) and cult classic status has already been earned by director David Robert Mitchell’s modern horror about a supernatural sexually transmitted disease.
The score for this movie is a terrific highlight and deserves to be up there with other iconic stage setting music for the genre.
Horror Purists: Train to Busan
This is not said lightly and also isn’t a hyperbolic statement…
BEST. ZOMBIE. MOVIE. EVER. CREATED.
Running zombies take a new form and although it breaks purist horror rules to have them not be undead walkers, this deserves to be an exception due to the absolute carnage it brings per second.
If you have to show anyone a single zombie movie for the decade make sure this is your pick.
Horror Modernists: The Eyes of my Mother
It took a year to get over some of what was seen in this movie, which at this point is near impossible to an avid horror fan.
This movie stands out for being a black and white film that needed to be that way for us all to digest it.
Yes, the movie is that graphic.
It has a slow build-up but my sweet God, when this flick wants to scare you it does so in such a twisted way.
A tremendous script, partnered with phenomenal acting, and to top it off, directing that feels beyond seasoned even though it’s a debut.
Horror Purists: Annabelle: Creation
Okay, okay put down your pitchforks this movie has many good reasons on why it makes the list.
First off, never in the history of horror has a spin-off sequel delivered on so many intense levels and done it as masterfully as this film.
It’s creepy, unnerving, perfects the jump scare, and also ties into the bigger universe in such a way that it gives Marvel movies a run for their money.
On paper this idea never should have worked out, but lightning struck and this is a perfect pure supernatural film.
Horror Modernists: Get Out
C’mon, a multiple Oscar nominated movie and winner for the Best Screenplay award for 2017, obviously this movie making the list was an absolute no brainer.
Jordan Peele has the best horror debut in the history of the genre and it works as hyper-intelligent conversation piece about racism. How on Earth did this man check so many boxes in one film?
If you have been on the fence about this movie, hop off right now and watch it tonight whether you like the genre or don’t.
It is flawless.
Horror Purists: Incident in a Ghostland
Talk about your major mind fuck of a movie. I wanted to describe this in more eloquent way, but I’m sorry that’s the best way to explain this flick.
It is indie horror cinema at its best and requires multiple watches to really grasp just how good it is.
Don’t do it back to back, give it a week then watch it again for best viewing experience, and for fun introduce it to a friend.
Unpredictable, unnerving, and even among a stacked year in 2018, this film was unrivaled as a pure horror.
Horror Modernists: Hereditary
This is peak modern horror that gets you to truly question if it should even be considered in the genre because the acting and writing are on such a level above even dramatic films that it seems almost unfair.
In a just universe this film would have cleaned up the Oscars in every single category, and Toni Collette would have been the clear winner for her commanding performance.
The dinner scene is one of the best pieces of acting for the entire decade, everyone on screen made that seem so effortless and yet next to impossible to replicate.
Horror Purists: The Furies
A horror film has never been so true to the genre as this one, and it also somehow becomes a incredibly smart science fiction halfway through.
Final girls face off against masked killers in a homage to the genre, and also an incredible character arc following a run of the mill protagonist turned iconic scream queen over the course of the movie.
There are some things in this that I couldn’t unsee for a week, but that is just a testament to how bonkers the practical effects were as well.
View at your own risk… But make sure you see it because it is a badass flick that deserves the recognition.
Horror Modernists: Us
Another excellent example of modern horror from Jordan Peele that again has a subtle message of race in America as its focus.
Mr. Peele is the master of “tricking you eat your veggies”, as he slides in social messages in fun, entertaining, and unpredictable stories made for fans of the genre and newcomers alike.
It was tough to pick just one movie for modernists horror fans, but Us definitely deserves top spot for Lupita’s acting alone.