Coming out of the 2000s, many were ready to declare the horror genre dead. Even the biggest horror franchises were failing to make a significant impact at the box office, particularly towards the end of the decade, and the movies werent faring much better critically, either.
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The 2010s, however, saw something of a horror resurgence. Between Blumhouses low-budget, high-return business model, the rise of James Wans Conjuring franchise, and an increase in mainstream interest in intelligent horror, the 2010s were a great time for fans, with each and every single year in the decade delivering a tonne of great genre content.
Although many have contested its status as a horror movie over the years, Black Swan is officially considered a psychological horror, with many of its scenes standing out as the most disturbing of 2010.
The movie chronicles the psychological tug-of-war between ambitious ballerinas Nina and Lilyplayed by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis respectivelywhen theyre both considered for the prestigious role of the White Swan. Ninas obsession with perfection soon begins to erode her sanity, however, and she falls into a deep, hallucinatory madness, unable to differentiate fantasy from reality.
Directed by acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Jaume Balaguer, most known for his work on REC and REC 2,Sleep Tight tells the story of a sadistic apartment concierge, Cesar, who takes great pleasure in tormenting the residents of his complex in subtle, undetectable ways.
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When he develops a twisted obsession with the innocent Clara, however, Cesar reaches new depths of depravity. The movie is tremendously unsettling, with Cesars disturbing violation of Claras privacy feeling all too real. In short, Sleep Tight is a movie thats sure to make you sleep with one eye open.
With 2012 being relatively light on truly great horror movies, The Cabin in the Woods smart, hilarious, and lovingly -crafted deconstruction of the horror genre stood out as one of the years very best. Though the movie is first and foremost a humorous examination of horror tropes and clichs, the movie still somehow manages to tell a compellingand often genuinely scarystory.
Boasting one of the most insane, chaotic third acts ever produced for the big screen, The Cabin in the Woods is undoubtedly a modern classic.
A movie so popular that it spawned an entire cinematic universe, none of The Conjurings follow up movies have managed to recapture the perfect mixture of horror and heart that made their progenitor so successful.
Based on the real-life case files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring tells the story of the Perron family, a tight-nit group who find themselves at the mercy of a sadistic supernatural entity when they move into an old Rhode Island farmhouse.
Drawing on a variety of cinematic influences while also managing to carve out its own distinct sense of style, Ana Lily Amirpours A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night tells the story of a wrathful female vampire who stalks and feeds on men.
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Though its plot is relatively bare-bones, the movies fresh take on the stereotypical vampire tale is complemented by its gorgeous cinematography and great performances, joining the likes of Let The Right One In as the vampire sub-genres most compelling entries to date.
With violence being a common thread in both the horror and Western genres, its surprising the two dont intersect more often. 2015s Bone Tomahawk blends the two genres extremely effectively, starting out as a more traditional Western before morphing into something altogether more terrifying.
The story centers around a group of men from Bright Hope, who unite to rescue several of the towns residents when theyre kidnapped by vicious cannibals. While the movie is primarily remembered for one infamously gruesome sequenceif youve seen the movie, youll knowBone Tomahawk deserves credit for so much more than that, standing as a brutal and often nihilistic take on the traditional Western story.
Just edging out Na Hong-jins atmospheric paranormal thriller The Wailing for this spot on the list, 2016s Korean zombie movie Train to Busan stands out as the years most surprising horror movie. Exploring the fractured relationship between workaholic father Seok-woo and his daughter, Train to Busan sees the pair fight for survival after finding themselves trapped on a train overrun with zombies.
Dont let the fact that its a zombie movie put you off, however, since Train to Busan finds a way to take a stale, oversaturated sub-genre and make it fresh again. Its not often you see a horror movie with characters this likable, which lends a tremendous amount of weight to the cataclysmic events unfolding in the movie, with its ending standing out as particularly poignant.
One of the most celebrated horror movies of the decade, Jordan Peeles impressive directorial debut Get Out follows college student Chris Washington, who travels to meet his white girlfriends affluent, liberal parents only to sense that theres something very, very wrong taking place behind the scenes.
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Boasting the kind of meticulous attention to detail found in few horror movies, as well as some sharp, nuanced social commentary, the movie was nominated for several Academy Awards, eventually taking home the statue for Best Original Screenplay.
Although it stings not to place Ari Asters near-perfect directorial debut Hereditary here, 2018s A Quiet Place is admittedly more of a crowd-pleaser. The movie takes place in a world overrun by grotesque, gangly-limbed creatures who hunt using sound, with even the slightest noise resulting in certain death.
A Quiet Place focuses on the Abbott family, who must find a way to survive in the new world after tragically losing their youngest son to the monsters. Wringing every last drop of tension out of its brilliant premise, the movie was embraced by audiences worldwide, making almost $350 million. Naturally, a sequel is on the way but has recently been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Though its certainly not for everybody, director Robert Eggers follow up to The Witch is amongst the boldest, weirdest, and most visceral horror experiences youre ever likely to have. Following a pair of troubled lighthouse keepers stationed on a remote island, the movie sees the duo struggle with their sanityas well as each otheras the tension between the pair gradually boils over into madness.
Slowly building to a beautiful, terrifying, kaleidoscopic crescendo, The Lighthouse is a chaotic horror masterpiece, bolstered by two criminally overlooked performances from Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, both of whom turn in career-best work.
NEXT: The 15 Best Asian Horror Movies
NextThe 10 Highest-Grossing Horror Movies Of 2019 (& Whether They're Worth Watching)
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero