The Best Horror Movies Of The Last Decade

The 2010s were a decade of slicing, dicing,
and monstrous thrills, and horror fans were treated to a whole host of legitimately terrifying
films. From satanic thrillers to psychological suspense
flicks, these were the best horror movies of the last decade. One of Darren Aronofsky’s best films, Black
Swan is a fever dream that follows Nina, a solid corp ballerina in an esteemed New York
ballet company with dreams of one day dancing the lead. When she does finally get her big break, Nina
begins to crumble under the pressure to embody perfection, and her already-tenuous grasp
on reality slips from her grip entirely. And that’s where things start to get a little
bit freaky. In reference to Nina’s penchant toward self
harm, as well as the film’s body horror, The Guardian writes: “Fantastically deranged at all times, Darren
Aronofsky’s ballet psycho-melodrama is a glittering, crackling, outrageously pickable scab of a
film.” In a rare event for a horror movie, Black
Swan went on to sweep during awards season. And lead actress Natalie Portman walked away
with the Oscar, BAFTA, Critic’s Choice, and SAG Award wins for her nuanced portrayal of
a mentally ill artist teetering on the brink of sanity until her eventual and terrifying
fall. Arguably one of the most self-aware horror
movies since Wes Craven’s Scream, The Cabin in the Woods follows a group of gorgeous youngsters
and their one goofy stoner friend during a long weekend at a cabin in the woods owned
by a distant relative. But as The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jake Wilson
put it: “It sounds like the oldest horror story in
the book but from the first scene of The Cabin in the Woods, it’s clear that the director,
Drew Goddard, and his co-writer, Joss Whedon, are bent on turning the formula upside down.” “The hair dye.” “Dumb blonde, very artistic.” “Works its way into the blood, through the
scalp. Very gradual.” Things get incredibly bloody and funny, and
the movie works as a genuine horror flick, a comedy, and a fantastic critique of the
slasher genre. Exquisite Terror’s Naila Scargill wrote: “Much will be lost on those less accustomed
to the classic horror film, but this is not to say it won’t be enjoyable; in fact it’s
a perfect introduction to the genre, accessible enough to reel folk in.” When twin brothers Elias and Lukas’ mother
comes home to their quiet lake house after cosmetic surgery on her face, the boys begin
to suspect this woman isn’t actually who she says she is at all. Goodnight Mommy quickly takes a dark and grotesque
spiral into madness as the boys test the woman in horrifying ways, trying to prove that she
is or isn’t their mother. Needless to say, this movie is pretty rough. As Lenika Cruz of The Atlantic writes: “Beneath it all is the nagging and heartbreaking
feeling that these boys have lost their protector. That vulnerability, combined with their isolation,
their confusion, can be harder to stomach than some of the more graphic scenes.” North Shore News’ Julie Crawford agrees, saying: “Ripped straight from the pages of your therapist’s
notebook, Goodnight Mommy is a thoroughly terrifying fairy tale with a killer twist.” After one of the most terrifying opening scenes
in horror history, we’re introduced to Jay, a young girl who has an uncomfortable romantic
tryst with a dude named Hugh. The affair results in Jay becoming the vehicle
for a monstrous creature that will kill her and the person it haunted before her if she
doesn’t pass it on to someone else through intimate contact. The shape can only be seen by the person infected,
making this a gritty film not just about relationship paranoia, but also the old-fashioned kind
of paranoia where Jay questions her very hold on her sanity. “This thing. It’s gonna follow you.” Further, It Follows’ backdrop of a crumbling
Detroit adds yet another level of social commentary about cultural disintegration, along with
mental and physical degradation. BuzzFeed’s Alison Willmore asks: “It’s a testament to how scary a movie It
Follows is that for days after watching it, you walk around thinking up survival plans
should you hide, stay on the move forever, pass the haunting on to someone else?” Is there a third option? Not get infected at all? Let’s pick that one instead. Fede Álvarez’s taut invasion horror with
a twist, Don’t Breathe features three young thieves who decide to rob a blind man rumored
to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in his house. Little do these inept robbers know, the homeowner
is ex-military, and his blindness hasn’t affected his physical prowess or tactical abilities
in any way, shape, or form. The New Yorker writes: “The suspense is built as carefully as it
is in a good John Carpenter movie; Alvarez uses the camera like a stealth weapon, exploring
dark corners and hidden areas of the house with devilish glee.” Father Son Holy Gore agrees, saying: “There’s so much to enjoy, even when we’re
taken down the rabbit hole of depravity after the secrets of the house are finally revealed.” The premise of Train to Busan is pretty straightforward. A father and his estranged young daughter
get on the train from Seoul to Busan, where they come to find out a zombie virus has been
unleashed. But this is more than just a zombie movie,
even for all its gore and violent action as the humans struggle to survive. Written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho, the
story is a character study of a man and his fractured relationship with his daughter and
ex-wife. It also manages to create three-dimensional
characters quickly within the other humans battling for and mostly losing their lives,
which only makes the story even more wrenching.’ Brian Tallerico raves: “The most purely entertaining zombie film
in some time, finding echoes of George Romero’s and Danny Boyle’s work, but delivering something
unique for an era in which kindness to others seems more essential than ever.” In rural New England, decades before the Salem
Witch Trials and subsequent panic that continues to haunt the region, a farmer and his family
are forced to relocate to an even more remote area after unwarranted suspicions about them
threatens full-out banishment by the church. Soon enough, the community’s distrust of the
family seems to be justified as it turns out there really is something evil lurking in
the forest. A grim installment of the folk horror sub-genre,
The Witch is a truly scary film that deals with far more than just the devil. And according to The Dispatch: “Its masterful blending of the sacred and
the blasphemous makes it not just a great horror film, but perhaps the
first true horror masterpiece of the new century.” And as The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee says: “Like any outstanding horror film, its true
impact only reveals itself once the credits have rolled and it stays buried under your
skin, breaking through every now and then to remind you of its insidious power.” While Jordan Peele’s seminal Get Out was far
from the first important installment of black horror, it was one of the first to garner
mainstream attention that hasn’t abated even slightly in the years since its release. This quietly menacing horror movie centers
on a young black man as he discovers the nefarious nature of his white girlfriend’s family when
he shows up at their secluded home. Get Out isn’t just a parable about the underlying
racism that seeps into all corners of American society, including supposedly progressive
and liberal circles. “By the way, I would’ve voted for Obama for
a third term if I could’ve. Best president in my lifetime, hands down.” It’s also a scathing indictment of modern-day
slavery as pertains to the commodification of black bodies in America in particular. For Cosmopolitan, Kendra James writes: “In using both realities in his movie, Peele
brings Get Out to a higher level of horror, at least for any person of color in the audience. We’re all keenly aware of how possible it
is.” No teacups allowed while watching this one,
though. Trey Edward Schult’s sophomore feature It
Comes at Night takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, but don’t expect a film like Zombieland
or Mad Max: Fury Road. Instead of zany laughs or wild action, this
is a grim and atmospheric horror drama that features a family doing its best to survive
the end days after a deadly disease wipes out most of the world. Here, paranoia is as contagious as the deadly
infection, and the surviving family living in a remote cabin does what they need to do
in order to survive… no matter what. The movie features powerhouse performances
from its small cast, and as Karl Delossantos of Smash Cut Reviews notes: “This is a morality play at its finest. There are no heroes and no villains. There are simply humans in a house.” Even though Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of
Stephen King’s killer clown opus It diverges wildly from the book in some problematic ways,
that didn’t stop the movie from becoming the highest-grossing horror film of all time. After all, in spite of its differences, the
film is pretty awesome. It follows seven youngsters who call themselves
the Losers’ Club as they navigate not only the perils of childhood, trauma, school bullies,
and abusive parents, but also a shapeshifting alien monster named Pennywise, who eats children
and has moved the seven Losers to the top of his dinner list. “Time to float.” While fans of the still-scary 1990 It miniseries
were unsure how Bill Skarsgård could take on Tim Curry’s iconic performance as the murderous
Pennywise, Skarsgård’s old-world European spin on the character has become one of the
most terrifying monsters put to screen. Cultured Vultures writes: “It provides a worthy adaptation to one of
King’s best works. It’s scary as all hell, but has enough heart
to keep even the most horror-averse audiences engaged.” After the death of her overbearing mother,
Annie Graham’s grief and anger begin to spiral out of control in Ari Aster’s debut film,
Hereditary. It doesn’t help matters any that her relationship
with her son Peter and her daughter Charlie aren’t exactly the best. And it’s that rage and depression that prevents
her from noticing that something is very, very wrong with her kids until it’s far too
late. And as the family dynamic begins to unravel,
Annie begins to realize there might be supernatural forces at play. The result is a movie that’s almost too disturbing
to finish. About this atmospheric film, Newsweek writes: “Hereditary feels like an endless drawing
out of that queasy, shocking, falling dream sensation, as the ground beneath the Graham
family, and the viewer, crumbles.” Toni Collette’s nuanced and three-dimensional
performance of a mother past the edge in particular received accolade upon accolade. Chicago Reader calls her, quote, “flawless,”
and The Times UK writes: “It’s an astonishing performance from Collette,
a disorientating cocktail of humane, hurtful and hysterical.” In a surprising twist worthy of a horror movie
itself, The Office alum and comedian John Krasinski wrote, directed, and starred in
the family apocalypse horror drama A Quiet Place, alongside his wife Emily Blunt. In the film, the Abbott family is doing their
best to survive in a world that’s been ravaged by aliens that kill anything that makes a
sound. The film opens with the grotesque snatching
of one of the Abbott children, and it eventually veers into body horror territory as Blunt’s
Evelyn gets pregnant. Slate says of the film: “There are moments when the movie takes us
firmly by the hand and escorts us down a darkened path, and they lead to one of the most profound
of communal pleasures: the sound of a movie audience screaming as one.” In a movie filled with jump scares that its
cast can’t vocalize, the only quiet place is on-screen. One of the few global truths women are taught
is to avoid walking alone at night whenever possible. Ana Lily Amirpour takes that truth and spins
it on its head in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night with her chador-and-Chucks-wearing
skateboard-riding antihero, the Girl. She walks whenever and wherever she wants
to… because she’s a vampire. The film’s logline, “the first Iranian vampire
western,” only partly encompasses the genre-bending magic of the film, making it both as iconic
as original vampire stories like Nosferatu while simultaneously reinventing vampire movies
altogether. Alexa Dalby of Dog and Wolf raved: “It has visual echoes of early Jarmusch and
Lynch. It’s stunning to look at, slow paced, moody
and haunting an original feminist reinterpretation of vampire mythology and its gender politics.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
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