The Best Films Horror of the Decade
With October 2019 drawing to a close and the decade of the 2010's not far behind it, I was inspired take a look back at some of the great horror offerings (thanks Baconsale) of the decade and admire what a great time it is for the genre.
10. IT: CHAPTER ONE
I always had fond memories of the 90's miniseries version of It growing up, but watching it nowadays, it doesn't really hold up. Luckily the 2017 version focuses entirely on what was the best part of the 90's version: the Loser's Club in their youth. The movie does a great job of balancing horror & comedy, even if sometimes it leans a little harder on the funny side. But the young cast is all awesome and perfectly inhabits their characters, while Bill Skarsgard is absolutely terrific as Pennywise (bringing a totally different, but arguably equally great take as Tim Curry's version.)
9. A QUIET PLACE
John Krasinski directs and stars along side his wife Emily Blunt in this horror thriller that's very reminiscent of golden era Shyamalan. In a world where alien creatures detect and hunt down their prey by sound, a young family must learn to live in complete silence if they're going to survive. Seeing this film in the theater was an unforgettable experience because during the entirety of the film it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop (or rather, the munching of theater snacks,) as well as the collective gasps and sighs of relief that the audience as a whole would release. The film isn't too scary, so it's the perfect movie to recommend to those who aren't too acquainted with the horror genre.
True crime journalist Ellison (Ethan Hawke) moves into real life murder houses to study and write about the gruesome crimes committed there. One night, exploring his new home's attic, Ellison discovers some gruesome home movies of families killing themselves. I watched Sinister by myself one late October night on a projector in my theater room. This movie scared me so much, I didn't even know if I could finish it. Each video Ellison watches manages to be more horrific and unsettling than the last. The film would have scored much higher on my list if it wasn't for its disappointing ending, which took me out of the film a little bit, but luckily doesn't ruin it as a whole.
7. GET OUT
Get Out took critics and audiences by storm in 2017. Previously known only for his comedic chops shown in Key & Peele, Jordan Peele announced himself as a director to watch with his debut film Get Out. An interracial couple, Rose and Chris (Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya,) spend the weekend together as Rose decides to introduce her black boyfriend to her white family. The film makes some fascinating social commentary on race, particularly as the plot begins to unravel and the audience starts to learn what's really going on underneath the surface niceties. The film is incredibly clever and layered; it's the type of film that absolutely lends itself to repeat viewings.
6. THE BABADOOK
The Babadook follows the tale of a widow who is haunted with grief and her son who just might drive her crazy. One day an evil children's book called The Babadook appears out of nowhere in their home and tells the tale of their gruesome fate. Together, they must find a way to prevent the story in the book from coming true. Essie Davis turns in a powerhouse performance as Amelia, while Noah Wiseman joins the hall of fame of annoying kid characters in cinema. In the end, the film becomes a powerful allegory of the effects of dealing with trauma and grief which makes it feel a bit more substantial than your typical fright fest.
5. THE CONJURING
James Wan delivers the perfect haunted house movie with The Conjuring. I vividly remember the first time I saw the teaser trailer for this film and was in awe of how scared it made me just in those few short minutes. What sets it apart from all other haunted house movies is that it's based on a real life paranormal investigating couple named Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.) The film is said to be based on one of their most horrific cases and James Wan certainly depicts that here. The Conjuring became a bonafide hit that has already inspired countless sequels and spinoffs, but none reach the heights of the film that started it all.
After an unspeakable family tragedy, Dani tags along on her boyfriend's guys trip to Sweden. There, he and his roommate hope to study a small community and their midsummer traditions. But soon they discover that these people are not all that they seem. Midsommar gave me one of the most unique horror viewing experiences I've ever had. While it didn't scare me much at all, it filled me with a feeling of absolute dread all throughout, and even hours after the film had actually ended. This movie literally gave me a physical reaction of a pit in my stomach for hours that I could not shake. Unlike most horror films, it takes place almost exclusively in the daytime, so there aren't the usual things that go bump in the night, which makes it all the more impressive how effective it is at creating such intense feelings in its audience. Seeing the end where such pure human emotions (like the need for empathy and acceptance) are twisted into something ugly, unnatural and horrific was honestly mind blowing to me. The first viewing I definitely felt the length of the film, but after a second time watching the even longer director's cut I was absolutely enthralled from start to finish. Also it must be said that in Ari Aster's sophomore feature he once again brings out an unforgettably fantastic performance from his lead actress. Florence Pugh is incredible and raw in her portrayal of Dani and her performance joins the ranks of the all-time greats in the horror hall of fame.
3. DON'T BREATHE
Three burglars get more than they bargain for when they rob the house of a blind man, who is not as helpless as he appears. Don't Breathe is an absolute thrill ride and adrenalin rush. The title happens to be completely fitting as the audience barely has a chance to catch their breath the whole film as the characters are being hunted nonstop. It's an absolute blast of a film that I can't really find a single fault with.
2. THE WITCH
In the 1600's young Thomasin and her family is banished from their village and settle in the woods where an evil presence looms. The Witch will always be one of my favorite Sundance memories. Going into this movie I had no idea what to expect because it wasn't listed in the horror section. But surely I thought a movie titled The Witch might possibly have a horror element right? But then again, maybe it was just a drama about The Salem Witch Trials. Luckily it wouldn't be long before I found out that this movie was in fact a horror film, even if not a jump scare filled one. The Witch is a pure slow burn horror story that ends with one of the most disturbing and haunting endings I've ever seen put to film.
Hereditary follows Annie (Toni Collette,) a woman who just lost her mother, a woman she was never really close to. Soon after her death, some strange occurrences start happening to Annie and her family. Sundance reallly knows how to pick them! No other movie scared or surprised me this decade quite like Hereditary. I thought I had this film figured out early on, and then I had my expectations subverted in such a way that I had no choice but to let the movie take me on its journey even though I had no idea where we were going to go. For a horror movie, nothing is more terrifying and thrilling than the pure surprise of heading into the complete unknown. Toni Collette gives the performance of her career as Annie and you can't take your eyes off of everything she's doing in every scene. She's absolutely electric. Hereditary shocks you early on and never lets up. While some may take issue with its finale, it's as horror movie as they come.
But wait! There's more! I would be remiss if I did not honor the three best horror comedies of the decade as well....
THE BEST HORROR-COMEDIES
3. WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary that focuses on three Vampire roommates as they navigate life in the 21st century. The comedy here is very dry, but if you're like me and you loved Flight of the Conchords, you'll find the majority of this to be very hilarious.
2. CABIN IN THE WOODS
Five friends spend the weekend in a secluded cabin in the woods where spooky things start to happen. Little do they know there's someone else trying to control their fates. Cabin In the Woods is a treasure trove for fans of the horror genre. The film is packed with so many easter eggs and hidden gags that you can practically find something new every time you watch. While the ending leaves a lot to be desired, I've come to appreciate over the years for the metaphor it tries to spell out.
1. TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL
In Tucker and Dale vs Evil, a group of college kids on Spring Break mistake an innocent pair of hillbillies for mass murdering psychopaths. Tucker and Dale is a flat out hilarious film and made me laugh harder than I can even remember. The film turns the horror genre on its head as it subverts all the common tropes we've come to expect in our slasher films. Both brilliant and hysterical it is a must for lovers of the horror genre.