Updated date:

Let's Talk About... The Best Horror Films of the 2010s!

Best Horror Movies of the 2010s

An article made for October... being published in November... I'm good at my job!

An article made for October... being published in November... I'm good at my job!

Will We Have Tricks or Treats?

It’s that time of year again, October! [Discard that… it took me a month to write this] Which means the month of thrills and chills as we sit in the dark watching our favorite horror movies! Well, that’s what it means to me anyways. There’s just one problem though… There’s so many to choose from! Where to start though? Well, I thought about it and I realized that the 2010s had a lot of great horror movies that have yet to be the future classics they will inevitably become in time.

In this article, I would like to take a look at all the subgenres of horror in what they had to offer and determine what I believe to be some of the greatest examples within their respective categories; paranormal hauntings, demonic possessions, slashers, sequels, remakes, etc. Originally, I was tinkering with the idea of doing something similar to my Best Films of the Decade (2010-2019) article; picking out what I declared as the best horror film of each year between 2010 to 2019. However, I find this idea of choosing the best flick out of each individual subgenre of horror to be a bit more exciting.

Please keep in mind, horror is subjective. Film in general is subjective, obviously. What one person may find to be utterly terrifying, I might shrug my shoulders at. Or vice versa, I might be afraid of certain elements far more than anyone else. So if there are movies you may disagree with me about or believe there should be specific entries that should have been made yet wasn’t for some reason, comment down below so we can chat about it! Without further ado, here’s my list of the best horror movies out of the 2010s!

What an excellent day for an exorcism!

— Creepy Demon Reagan

Best Horror Comedy

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Horror-Comedy, in my opinion, is one of the most difficult subgenres of horror that one could write and even harder to execute correctly without the humor disrupting the horror or the scares not fitting quite right with the laughs. On top of that, there are so many ways to play with the formula that no two Horror-Comedies almost ever feel exactly alike; some might be comedies with a few horror elements sprinkled in, another might be pure terror with the occasional comic levity, and then there are the ones that blend both genres seamlessly together into one hilariously creepy experience.

  • 'Ready or Not' (2019) A Sneaky Movie Review
    In-laws can be a real nightmare, but these ones are murder! Grace learns the hard way that a game of "hide & seek" may not be so innocent when the family's true agenda is to hunt her down in a deadly game of "cat and mouse" until dawn.
  • 'The Babysitter: Killer Queen' (2020) A Satanic Movie Review
    In 2017 we were gifted with a hilarious dark comedy written by Brian Duffield & directed by McG, 'The Babysitter'! Starring the unbelievably talented & beautifully beautiful Samara Weaving who is beautiful & beautiful & also evil as t
  • 'Zombieland: Double Tap' (2019) An Undeadly Movie Review
    'Zombieland' is a beloved cult classic. Ten years later we got ourselves a sequel. A good sequel? A bad sequel? A sequel sequel that sequelizes a sequel that sequels more than any other sequel? I don't know, why don't you click yourselves on in here

Us (2019)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: A family of four go on vacation to Santa Cruz when coincidences start transpiring all around them, until one night their vacation home is invaded by a group of doppelgangers looking exactly like the family themselves. From there it is a night of terror as the family fight themselves in order to stay alive.

Jordan Peele’s sophomore production proves not only that he’s a capable director, but a God damn masterclass artist of horror and comedy behind the camera. This man knows how to craft the perfect blend of pure tension with gut busting laughs; a task, as we all know, is not as easy as it sounds to convey on the page, nor execute on the screen. Yet, somehow, Peele pulls this challenge off as though it were nothing. Because Us does so wonderfully at the balancing act of horror and comedy unlike any other I’ve seen in decades, it was a relatively easy winner in this category.

I know that for most people, Get Out is the superior film and I wholeheartedly agree that the Peele’s directorial debut was undoubtedly a masterpiece. Both are spiritual channelings of twisted Twilight Zone tales that are terrifying exercises in tension with a natural voice of humor between those thrills. However, the deciding element that helped edge out Us into the lead, for me personally, were the themes of the human soul and will. Do we have control over our actions, or is there something else deep down within us all pulling the strings? Are we puppets destined to destroy ourselves? Do we all have it within every one of us the ability commit terrors that appease our darkest desires? Are we all good people keeping the monster at bay or monsters disguising ourselves as being decent? These questions raised by Us is a major reason why I believe it is ever so slightly better than Get Out.

Besides the endless thought provoking ideas, the film’s strength comes heavily from its talented cast who all have dual roles as the normal family members and the darker versions. At no point does anyone stick out as miscast or distracting, when we are following our protagonists we have a charismatic bunch with lovable chemistry together; then when they flip the switch, these same actors are strange, soulless creatures that creep the hell out of me. Everyone is at the top of their game, with the standout for me being Lupita Nyong’o, who is giving both performances 110% in every single frame. She breathes every one of her lines with such commitment it’s jaw droppingly intense, the attention to detail to every concise bit of movement she performs is mesmerizing, Nyong’o is simply incredible and is one of my favorite horror heroes/villains out of the entire decade!

  • 'Us' (2019) Movie Review
    Can Jordan Peele strike gold twice in a row within the horror genre? Let's find out with his latest directorial efforts in 'Us'.

Best Stephen King Adaptation

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Stephen King is an undisputed master of horror and has been for decades, we all know this. From his literary works of art to the many cinematic and televised adaptations created over the years, the man has succeeded time and time again in scaring the sh*t out of us! My favorite film adaptation of King’s work is honestly Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, even though I know King doesn’t personally care for the movie in the slightest as years afterward he made his own TV miniseries to better represent his source material, one that I actually reviewed last year.

However, what film adaptations stuck out from the 2010s for this iconic author? What was the movie to interpret King’s terrifying material into great heights and chill us deep to the bone within the last ten years? I have my picks on what frightened me most, but I definitely did not list every adaptation to come out of the decade; so if anyone disagrees, I apologize, I simply did not find every Stephen King adaptation released to be all that good or scary. Again for anyone disagrees, please by all means, comment down below so we can discuss the subject further. Until then, here’s the King flicks that creeped me out most!

With that grin, it's impossible not to adore the man!

With that grin, it's impossible not to adore the man!

  • 'Doctor Sleep' (2019) A Shining Movie Review
    Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' has gone down in history as one of the greatest horror masterpieces of all time. Nearly 40 years later, we now have a sequel. Does it match up as another spooky tale or an unnecessary continuation?
  • 'Pet Sematary' (2019) A Spooky Movie Review
    A small family moves down to Stephen King's favorite state, Maine, where they find out that sometimes dead is better. Will they figure that out in time before the demise of everything they know and love?

Plot: In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster disguised as a crazy killer Clown who calls himself Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). Preying on the children of Derry, Maine nearly every 30 years. After the kids defeated him in ’89, they have to rejoin their Losers Club to finish the job once and for all.

This is probably considered cheating, but out of all the Stephen King movie adaptations that came out from the decade, IT Chapter 1 AND 2 were too good for me to overlook as being the best. Picking either the first or second chapter only had proved rather difficult as I enjoy both pictures, but for slightly different reasons. Both are darkly funny with really cool carnival haunted house styled scares to be had, the visual effects are mostly done with astonishing results, and they both contain a beautiful heart that I couldn’t dare myself to ignore.

In that tremendous heart of both chapters are its lead casts; Jaeden Martell and James McAvoy as Bill, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Jay Ryan as Ben, Wyatt Oleff and Andy Bean as Stanley, Finn Wolfhard and Bill Hader as Richie, Sophia Lillis and Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Jack Dylan Grazer and James Ransone as Eddie, and lastly Chosen Jacobs and Isaiah Mustafa as Mike. All of which are excellent in their respective roles with damn perfect casting, especially in regards of the adult actors taking on the roles performed by the child actors first; how they were all able to recapture their spirit of the kids from the first movie was f*cking incredible and it actually wowed me that the adult cast found a way to catch that same lightning in a bottle that the first movie had done so effortlessly.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

One difference why I feel between the two movies is that the first chapter feels more like a quick funhouse horror perfect for the Halloween season; a summer and fall time atmosphere, quirky frights, and a delightful young group of kids we watch take on a monster. It’s just a fun flick that harkens back to movies I’d love as a kid, along with a fantastic R rating to give it that extra edge of gore that us horror geeks love so much. While the second chapter is a bit more of an epic, not quite harnessing that same level of fun re-watchability factor of the first as this is a far grander scale with an even longer runtime, clocking in at nearly three hours long! With that said, it’s still one hell of an awesomely creepy and fun watch for those three hours!!

For me, however, the most notable difference between the chapters is the utilization of Pennywise the Clown played by Bill Skarsgard. In the first movie, Pennywise was mainly used as a means for cheap jump scares. Just to pop out at the screen randomly to get a jolt out of the audience to cash in on the clown phobia craze basically. The second movie, on the other hand, gives Skarsgard far more material to work with; supplying him some truly terrifying moments to sink his teeth deep into as he mentally torments the sh*t out of our protagonists and he is a total blast to watch! Scary yet funny, weird yet perfect for a clown persona, intimidating yet plausibly friendly on the surface, Skarsgard is perfect and I’m personally glad that the sequel gave him a chance to shine finally.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Both, Chapter 1 and 2, are great horror flicks and I believe that they’ll be fondly remembered for that funhouse terror they elicit so well. The special effects are very solid with maybe the occasional hiccup, the gore is gruesomely awesome, the characters are all lovable as hell, Finn Wolfhard and Bill Hader as Richie were possibly my favorite parts out of the group as he’s equal parts hilarious and endearing. Both movies ride that very peculiar thin line of horror and comedy which King is famous for and it rides the line perfectly. I sincerely don’t think there was a better Stephen King adaptation to come out of the entire 2010s!

  • 'IT: Chapter Two' (2019) A Carnival of Horrors Movie Review
    In the recent great Stephen King resurgence, we were presented with a reboot of 'IT' in 2017 to massive acclaim. Now, after two years of waiting, we finally get the much anticipated sequel. Is it just as good? Better? Worse? Let's find out together,

Best Slasher

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

When it comes to the Slasher genre, I won’t lie when I say I have a major soft spot for this particular subgenre of horror. Growing up largely on some of the biggest names Slashers had to offer with Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and so on. Sadly though, when it comes to Slashers nowadays, they’ve more or less faded into obscurity. Luckily, there have been a few entries bringing the underrated Slasher back to life in excitingly new ways… but which one did it best?

Green Room (2015)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: A punk rock band, who reluctantly plays a set at a Neo-Nazi skinhead bar, stumble across a murder scene in the green room. Now it’s a battle for survival with this small, young group against a small army led by an extremely racist Patrick Stewart.

Green Room is a tad on the stranger side of Slashers, as this is truthfully an Arthouse Slasher. An attentive and thoughtful thriller burning slowly at first, but rapidly picks up the pace with one of the most suspenseful experiences out of the entire decade. Patrick Stewart as the Neo-Nazi leader of this pack is intense as hell as soon as he shows up onscreen with a very subtle and understated demeanor about him.

Predicting who is going to live or die throughout this horrible night is not easy either because members of the punk band will just abruptly die out of nowhere; whether by the hands of the Neo-Nazis themselves wielding machetes, or from their lethally trained hound dogs that’ll rip out someone’s throat in an instant. The violence is always sudden and visceral in its realism. It truly is some intense sh*t that we white-knuckle through the entire runtime, hoping to God that someone out of this bunch makes it out alive… and if possible, in one piece.

I’d also like to mention the late Anton Yelchin, who does a great job here. Especially since, when I think of Yelchin as an actor, I don’t automatically think “punk rocker.” Yet he managed to pull it off well and the role was written just right for him to smoothly embrace this character. Plus, there’s a really great setup with his character pertaining to a specific question asked to his band, “What would be the one band you’d want to be able to listen to if you were deserted on a desert island?” As the movie goes along, it feels like a familiar trope to build up character growth, then when it is finally resolved at the end, it leads to one of my favorite closing lines I’ve ever heard in a horror movie; it’s frankly quite brilliant!

Best Horror Sequel/Prequel

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

It’s one thing to make a good horror movie, it’s another discussion all together making a solid follow-up to an already beloved horror flick. Whether we’re talking about continuing a story to films considered by the world as masterpieces, or maybe improving upon where the original failed in order for a series to bloom. Some sequels are doomed from the start, while others miraculously surpass their predecessors in the most surprising of ways. What sequel/prequel managed to do just that out of the last decade?

  • 'IT: Chapter Two' (2019) A Carnival of Horrors Movie Review
    In the recent great Stephen King resurgence, we were presented with a reboot of 'IT' in 2017 to massive acclaim. Now, after two years of waiting, we finally get the much anticipated sequel. Is it just as good? Better? Worse? Let's find out together,
  • '3 From Hell' (2019) A Halloween-BBQ Movie Review
    Rob Zombie is back with a vengeance in his latest film outing, '3 From Hell'! Does it live up to his horror masterpiece, 'The Devil's Rejects'? Or does it fall in line with the majority of his other pictures? Why don't you come on in and find out for
  • 'Annabelle Comes Home' (2019) A Boogedy-Boo Movie Review
    Annabelle comes home... eats some cake... devours some souls. Ya know... the usual!
  • 'Happy Death Day 2U' (2019) Movie Review
    Tree is back in a time loop, fighting for her life. Only this time in a parallel universe! So which life-line will Tree choose to fight for? The one she knows as her own with all of its faults or the one she longs for.
  • Let's Talk About... The 'Halloween' Franchise!
    I'm back, baby! And I'm here to talk endlessly about all that entails the 'Halloween' franchise between 1978 to 2018. Is it all masterful works of terror or a bunch of duds? The answer is yes.
  • 'Zombieland: Double Tap' (2019) An Undeadly Movie Review
    'Zombieland' is a beloved cult classic. Ten years later we got ourselves a sequel. A good sequel? A bad sequel? A sequel sequel that sequelizes a sequel that sequels more than any other sequel? I don't know, why don't you click yourselves on in here

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: In 1967, there was a widowed mother and her two daughters who perform a phony psychic séance business for the people of their town. After they add a new stunt to their act involving the brand new board game attraction, the Oija board, subsequently inviting an evil presence into their home without realizing it.

Selecting Ouija: Origin of Evil as the best horror sequel/prequel from the decade was probably the easiest decision out of this entire list. Not only did Origin of Evil follow up one of the lamest horror movies to come out of the 2010s, 2014’s Ouija, it also followed it successfully as a prequel! I don’t know how everyone else feels about this specific subject, but to me, prequels are practically the definition of “killing suspense” for any horror movie. Why? Look back at some of the horror prequels that have come out to see just how low the success rate really is; Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Annabelle, Insidious 4: The Last Key, countless Paranormal Activity prequels, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, and last… but certainly the least… The Thing (2011).


All of these entries and more have failed at being scary, mostly because we all know every single one of them have to end a certain way in order for the prequel’s predecessor to even exist; typically what that means is the prequel must end in tragedy, taking away most of the emotional investment for the characters and constructing a predictable narrative. Therefore, the audience has no reason to care and no reason to become scared for our protagonists since we know they’ll have to die anyways. Hence it is damn near impossible to scare anyone with a horror prequel, resulting in mostly a pointless experience for everyone.

Enter writer/director Mike Flanagan, one of the most ambitious horror filmmakers to come out in the last few decades. If it wasn’t already noticed before, nearly every film Flanagan directed out of the 2010s has been nominated throughout my entire list; Oculus, Hush, Gerald’s Game, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Doctor Sleep! Speaking honestly, I was exceptionally tempted to somehow wedge his miniseries, The Haunting of Hill House, somewhere into this article but unfortunately couldn’t manage finding a loophole with the criteria being centered on feature films alone.

Anyways, what we have here in Origin of Evil is a stylish late ‘60s to early ‘70s slow burn haunted house horror throwback with a tremendous amount of heart among the three lady leads; played by Elizabeth Reaser as the mother along with Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson as her two young daughters. These three actresses are acting their hearts out as this small family trying to keep afloat after the sudden passing of her husband and their father. The introduction to these three characters I actually found quite refreshing for a haunted house/possession movie as typically the paranormal guidance characters who perform the séances and such are normally taken seriously as the source of information for the supernatural disturbances occurring; except this movie sort of pulls off the opposite approach as the mother is actually orchestrating a con of sorts, only with a less cynical motive of scamming people, but rather trying to give grieving people a sense of comfort while still trying to make some cash to support her family.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Zander family here are all lovable with a unique setup to their personal situation, which I found myself engaged in their story fairly early on; honestly within the very first scene I was fascinated with the family’s séance act and they had such a great instant chemistry with each other that I genuinely rooted for them throughout. As things became more and more grim, I feared for this mother and her two girls, despite knowing everything I had remembered from the first film. And the prequel ties into its predecessor surprisingly well, never attempting to ignore the details established prior; which is impressive and commendable to say the least.

Best Horror Remake

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Remakes in general are a fairly controversial subject, especially in the modern age of cinema where it seems half the movies to come out are remakes or reboots of some sort. Disney certainly has played their fair share into the remake train. True, there is a select sum that manage to make something out of rebuilding the source material, even in the horror genre. Those rare occasions are exactly what we’re going to talk about now! Because I believe that those occasional good remakes of classic horror pictures should at least get some recognition.

  • 'Child's Play' (2019) A Doll of a Movie Review
    The Chuckster is at it again with an all new cinematic reboot. This time rather than attempting to transfer his soul into the body of a human, Chucky simply wants a friend... Until the end.
  • 'Suspiria' (2018) Movie Review
    When young Susie Bannion joins a world-renowned dance company, strange things start happening to the dancers. Madame Blanc and her staff seem to be up to something diabolical as the girls are haunted by supernatural forces.

The Crazies (2010)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: After a strange plane crash, an unusual toxic virus enters a quaint farming town. A young couple are quarantined, but they fight for survival against all who are infected and everyone else trying to contain this plague.

Choosing a horror remake I thought was the best out of the decade was surprisingly difficult. At first I thought it shouldn’t be too tough, just pick one I like. Turned out that there weren’t very many I liked, then after that I realized that even the few that I highly enjoyed, never reached levels of greatness really. Suddenly I remembered 2010’s The Crazies, quickly realizing that was the only one I could think of where I preferred the remake over the original. Which is obviously one of the most rare occurrences to happen when it comes to this particular cinematic subject.

What exactly makes this specific remake relatively superior to the George A. Romero 1973 original? While there is certainly its fair share of suspense and is well made, of course, unfortunately there’s something about the ’73 picture that doesn’t quite resonate with me on a character level. Mainly because we jump around between following an assortment of different characters who don’t get all that much time to breathe. On top of that, rather than delving into the madness unfolding amidst the infection spreading, the original flick sets a little too much focus on the politics and researchers investigating the disease. Resulting in a mostly missed opportunity that the remake heavily capitalizes on.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

In the remake, we get characters we give a real damn about as they fight tooth and nail for their lives while the whole world around them goes crazy. Starring a couple of the most underrated talents working in Hollywood, Radha Mitchell and Timothy Olyphant, as our leading couple we experience anxiety attack after anxiety attack watching as they come across every psycho trying to kill them. The film gets the pace going straight away with the intensity and it doesn’t let up until the ending credits roll. Plus, this is one of the few and best examples of a film utilizing the “two days earlier” cliché in a way that actually works exceedingly well for the story, roping the audience right way in wondering what could have led to these apocalyptic events in this small town. And it’s a suspense thrill-ride finding out how!

Best Sci-Fi Horror

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

One of the most popular and iconic merging of two different genres for probably the last half century or more. Science fiction and horror simply go hand in hand, complimenting each other perfectly in strange and surreal imagery while also oddly enough being grounded in some form of logic. Almost bringing a weird plausibility to these creepy ideas while also heightening them into weird territories never thought possible before. Bringing us some of our favorite horror movies ever made, or simply some of the most iconic titles ever produced; Frankenstein, Alien, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Predator, Pitch Black, Event Horizon, The Fly, and The Blob are known around the globe as some of the greatest horror has to offer. So let’s take a look at what the 2010s had instore for us!

  • 'Brightburn' (2019) A Super-Duper Movie Review
    Stop me if you've heard this one before... an alien, humanoid baby crash lands on Earth and is taken in by a loving couple that live on a farm. As the boy grows into his teen years he discovers that he's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful t

Annihilation (2018)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: Alex Garland gives us another provocative and creatively inspired sci-fi tale revolving around a biologist, Lena (Natalie Portman), whose husband (Oscar Isaac) disappeared under mysterious circumstances during a secretive scientific mission. After several months he seems to have re-emerged out of nowhere, leading Lena as a volunteer to join the expedition of the strange environmental disaster zone with a team of highly intelligent and badass women in order to figure out what is going on. Along their journey, they discover that within the disaster zone lies dangerous mutations that lurk around every corner.

Annihilation was like having a smarter and more thrilling version of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus come out, for me. It shares similar themes of evolution, God, and the human condition that I thought was delved far more deeply into here than in Prometheus, even though I liked Prometheus, it contained issues that Annihilation seems to rectify. The lead cast is particularly incredible with these very strong and engaging performances; this is how a team of badass women in an action situation is done incredibly well… I’m looking at you, Ghostbusters remake.

The action and horror is heart pounding, the visual effects are impressive, the creature and environment designs are ambitiously beautiful, and the ideas the story eludes to are thought provoking. My only gripe would have to be with the framing device used to go back and forth in time with telling the story, I feel that is the weak link that is only present to provide useless exposition. Other than that, this is intensity filled sci-fi at some of its best. It irritates me that the film got such a terrible deal with its theatrical release and was basically sabotaged by its own producers financially, because of creative differences with its director. But the final result of the film is most definitely worth the watch.

Truth be told, Annihilation is probably the best sci-fi horror movie I’ve personally seen since James Cameron’s Aliens. Each member of the armed research team played by Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thomspson, and Tuva Novotny are some of the toughest and coolest female leads I’ve seen in years; in my opinion, these ladies should have become icons of the genre alongside Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley or Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor. Sadly, I don’t believe that will happen anytime soon, but I still hope for the cult following of this film to keep growing and maybe one day earn the appreciation it so rightfully deserves. Hell, that terrifying as f*ck mutant bear scene alone deserves all the love and attention in the world, let alone the rest of the movie as fantastic as it is!

Screw that creepy bear right there!

Screw that creepy bear right there!

Best Family Horror

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Horror is not strictly for the adults, the genre should be shared along with the rest of the family too! There’s plenty of spooky fun to be had, even in kids’ flicks; and the kids’ flicks from the last decade had some very admirable contributions to the horror genre indeed. I’d even say that some of these entries are destined to be future household staples or cult classics among the youngsters that eventually grow up with these family chillers.

ParaNorman (2012)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a misunderstood kid who can speak with the dead, but sadly the entire town of Blithe Hollow have mostly shunned the boy and ridicules him on a daily basis. Norman’s uncle Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman), on the other hand, insists that the boy’s gifts are meant for a purpose to keep the people of Blithe Hollow safe from an angry witch’s curse centuries old. Now Norman and his gang of misfits have to band together in order to stop the dead who have risen from wreaking havoc on the town.

ParaNorman is not only one of the best creepy family features to be released out of the decade, it’s one of the best family and horror flicks from the 2010s in general. Fantastically dark comedy that works for both kids and adults alike, the stop motion animation is some of the most stunning animation I’ve ever seen in any movie as the visuals make an effort in recreating that of an Italian horror movie, the scares are really creepy and pushes the envelope of how scary a family flick can be, the satire and social commentary is reminiscent of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead while still crafting its own identity, countless horror references and homages that feel genuine and pretty damn funny too, and the twists that go along with the witch’s curse is incredibly smart and truly heartbreaking.

On the surface, one person could look at the premise of a young kid talking to ghosts as some sort of tamed down rip-off of The Sixth Sense, that’s not what ParaNorman is at all. It’s a story about a kid dealing with some real issues as seemingly the entire world is bullying and picking on him for being different. And this movie has such a great moral to teach children about how it’s okay to be different, so long as they don’t let others dictate who they are or how they act. Bullying is hard to deal with, but never let that change the person you are or want to be. These heartfelt themes to me make it a quintessential watch for anyone who’s young and having a hard time.

The entire movie is basically a love letter to horror as a whole, as well as to all the weirdos in the world; the strange and peculiar, the goofballs, the artists, the outcasts, the ones deemed to be different and ParaNorman gives them a place to feel safe. Let anyone who can relate to Norman know that they aren’t alone and they should use their creativity as a form of expression, much like all of the filmmakers at Laika studio who produced this amazing picture.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Best Paranormal/ Supernatural/ Possession/ Haunting

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Arguably the most popular subgenre of horror to be released out of the last couple of decades; anything and everything that had to deal with the supernatural or paranormal; venturing into several different realms of what goes bump in the night from ghost hauntings, demonic possessions, cursed video tapes, evil genies, creepy Ouija boards, and even vengeful mirrors.

The Conjuring (2013)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: Paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) work to help the Perron family, who are being terrorized by a malevolent presence in their farmhouse in 1971.

Let’s travel back in time to the year 2013, a young and optimistic art school student had heard of a very intriguing upcoming horror movie by a talented director he was fond of called The Conjuring. That art kid convinced a few of his close friends that they should ditch school for a couple hours to see this latest creepy flick by James Wann together in the theater. So they did… I remember so vividly where we sat in the theater too, far over onto the left side of the giant room, practically in our own little section as the entirety of that theater was jam packed with dozens of other moviegoers. We sat there in the dark filled with anticipation for the projector to shine bright onto the big screen with our next two hours of terror. As soon as that first ominous note played of the musical score, my whole body became cold, and I remained that way for the rest of the show.

The Conjuring, to me, elicits a fear that I haven’t quite felt in any other horror movie in the 2010s; or even a couple decades prior for that matter. This is a special movie, one of the scariest movies I’ve ever witnessed, and I knew that as I watched it that very first time in the theater with my friends. I knew that this was a great haunted house flick that wouldn’t be topped for years to come, and thus far, it hasn’t; including the rest of the Conjuring franchise, which I largely enjoy and find plenty of frights to be had as well. This one though, the first Conjuring film, is the crowning achievement out of the decade for paranormal thrillers. This is the one that has made the biggest impact on cinematic history in general and proves to still be affective to this day as the series is still going strong, with the third Conjuring installment set to be released in 2021.

What makes The Conjuring so terrifying compared to all the others from the decade? Is it the creepy as hell musical score that practically makes me feel as though I am breathing the winter air? Yes. Is it the fantastic production design and cinematography transporting me directly into the early ‘70s as though I’m witnessing true and terrifying supernatural occurrences transpire? Yes. Is it the ghosts and demons and witches that burst suddenly into the scene or walk nonchalantly in the background haunting this family? Yes. All of those elements are definitely major reasons why this is one of the scariest movies out of the decade… but it’s also because this movie makes us care so damn much about this family, along with Ed and Lorraine, that it scares the utter sh*t out of me to see anything possibly harmful happen to any of them.

This movie, as well as the rest of the series, is masterful at creating sheer tension around characters we fall madly in love with. It’s one thing to craft a smidge of suspense in a scene, it’s another thing entirely to wrap that modicum of suspense around people we care deeply about and yearn to see make it through by the end. The heart of this film is truly why I think this film is as affectively scary as it is and why it overpowers most other entries in its respective horror subgenre of paranormal creep shows. Yes, it harkens back to those iconic horror movies like The Amityville Horror and The Exorcist, but it has an identity all its own and separates itself just enough to feel like more than just any simple throwback… This is the f*cking Conjuring!

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Best Creature Feature

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

There’s just something about a good monster movie that can span into being true blue terror or an effects filled showcase of a rollercoaster ride. Monsters over time in cinema history unfortunately became less and less commonplace; starting out on top with classic terrors such as the Frankenstein monster, Dracula, and the Wolfman in the first half of the century. Later spanning out into even more outlandish creatures, such as giant arachnids and faceless men from outer space. Evolving over the decades into Xenomorphs, killer sharks, intergalactic warriors hunting in the jungle, changelings that mimic humans, and demons spawned from pumpkins.

After the 1980s passed, arguably the best decade for creature features as the practical effects utilized at the time were some of the most ambitious and revolutionary in cinematic history, then monsters became less and less popular. Sadly, it doesn’t seem as though monster movies have made all that much of a comeback in the last decade, but there were still at least a few that managed to make their mark on the horror genre!

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Monster (2016)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: A mother (Zoe Kazan) and her young daughter (Ella Ballentine) find themselves being stalked by a terrifying monster when they break down on a deserted road in the middle of the woods.

Full transparency on my feelings about revisiting The Monster for the first time in four years, this was the one horror movie I was not looking forward to watching again. And not because of any negative aspects about the film necessarily, rather how emotionally affective this horror piece truly is, which made me strongly hesitate pressing play on the remote; unready for my heart to feel again the heavy weight and powerful wallop this raw story packs. Quote me here, there isn’t a bolder monster flick that came out of the entire decade, taking risks that I haven’t seen by many other horror films as it crafts its characters to such a realistic degree with warts and all inside this vastly troubled mother/daughter relationship; dealing with drug addiction and total toxicity brewing under their roof, pushing both of them to their moral limits, showing just how far these two can bend before they become monsters themselves.

For most writers, the most logical approach when writing a horror movie is to create likable characters that the audience invests in enough to yearn for them to overcome whatever horrible terrors heads their way. For writer/director Bryan Bertino, who also wrote and directed 2008’s The Strangers, had a slightly different idea in mind. Bertino clearly wanted to create the most in-depth character depictions he could involving a drug addicted mother who has done some horrid things because of her addictions; straining the bonds between herself and her daughter more and more every passing day, to the point where her own daughter begins to lose that purity of a child far too soon. This is the story of the love a mother and daughter share, but also how much damage it can withstand before possibly snapping.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Both actresses, Kazan and Ballentine, are incredible together as all of the emotional weight is carried through their performances alone and there’s not a single second where either one faulter. They carry each other beautifully in the film and work magic off each other as they delve deep into the darkly rugged flashbacks of their characters’ relationship, yet have great chemistry and feel insanely real. These are the perfect definitions of flawed characters, written and acted to an astonishing degree. This film isn’t afraid to dig deep into territories that could ruin that emotional connection between the audience and its lead, yet it follows through, fleshing out this mother and daughter in such a way that I feel as though I practically know their whole life. Growing my investment within their personal story, getting to know them on such an unflattering yet intimate level unlike most other horror films I’ve seen before or since.

Oh, right! On top of that, this is a terrifying tale of survival as these two young ladies fight for their lives against a bloodthirsty monster. Somehow the screenplay balances this heart wrenching drama amidst a creature feature that has me biting my nails for 90 minutes straight! One of the shining elements of this particular monster movie is the fact that this is only of a select sum from the decade that doesn’t rely heavily on CGI to create its monster, as the majority of its effects work seems to be executed as practically as possible. Even though I do enjoy some of the other creature features on this list, there’s simply something special about practical effects that can’t be trumped by the digital. This oil-black skinned monster is menacing and has a weight to it, it’s rather difficult to recreate that special element through the use of CG.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Monster is smarter than your average creature feature, focusing equally on the monster that lurks in the night trying to kill this mother and daughter, while also taking an unfiltered look at the monsters they are becoming in their own lives. We get an uncomfortable look at these girls’ everyday lives and we root for them to defeat the demons in the physical and metaphorical realm. We see that at the end of the day, they still love each other dearly and care for one another, despite everything that has built a giant wedge between them. Admittedly, there are a few third act character decisions that are fairly questionable only to coerce the story along a certain direction. Other than those few minor flubs, this is a great horror film that deserves a lot more love.

Best Witchcraft

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Full disclosure, I’m a total sucker for witchcraft flicks! The weird and creepy possibilities are endless in what strange magic can terrorize some poor souls. There’s just something about a group of angry women casting nefarious spells on unsuspecting dopes that scares the utter crap out of me… Well, I am a man… So of course it does. Still though, I absolutely can’t get enough of how wicked this particular decade could get!

Hereditary (2018)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: After a major death in the family, a married couple and their two children are left to grieve. Then strange and possibly supernatural occurrences start to transpire with the family, haunting them with disturbing sounds and images. Is it all in their minds or is there something more nefarious happening to them?

So… the fact that I included this in the “Best Witchcraft” section is a fairly huge spoiler, so I apologize for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie yet. But yes, the strange happenings going down with this grieving family is caused by a coven of witches, who are revealed in the third act. Even with that major detail given out here, Hereditary is still one hell of a creepy ride, watching this whole family unfold as one tragedy happens after another. The psychological strain weighing down on these people adds to the constant stress living between each of the characters as everyone is trying to figure out if they’re all going mad or if maybe there’s a way to channel another plain of existence beyond their own containing the dead.

Everyone gushes over Hereditary being one of the greatest horror movies around and is one of the most intense things ever put to screen… I am also one of those people who fell for Hereditary. I don’t know if it’s one of the greatest horror films ever made, but it certainly was one of the best to come out of the 2010s. This film played on a psychological level that I truly admired, instead of simply preying on our fear through spooky ghost effects or loud noises like what a lot of the mainstream horror scene does nowadays, it delves deep into what actually scares us on a very human level. This was great suspense with great intelligence applied into its scares. The effects are convincing, the acting is superb with Toni Collette performing her heart out, and the story is spiritually in the same vein as Rosemary’s Baby and Don’t Look Now. With the exception of maybe the literal last minute of the movie, I was riveted and dug the hell out of Hereditary. If you’re looking for something to strike real terror inside of you, look no further!

Best Psychological/Cerebral Horror

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Here are the films that don’t only scare us on any basic level, but dig deep into the mind. Terrifying us on a psychological level on top of feeding into our more common fears; forcing the audience to question what’s real, what lengths human beings are capable of holding onto their morality or what sick depravity we’re truly willing to commit when pushed beyond our limits, who should we truly fear or what, if it’s scarier to slowly find out whether you’re crazy or are actually right about the crazy sh*t happening, and see a glimpse of what true terror people are capable of in this world. Mostly playing into the realistic horror of humanity, although there are a few exceptions to the rule.

  • 'MA' (2019) Me = Happy Movie Review
    Once upon a time... there was a crazy Octavia Spencer that started hanging with the cool kids... until she had other plans for the cool kids... and the cool kids learn the importance of the motto "stranger danger"!

The Gift (2015)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: A young married couple move back to their small hometown as a means of starting fresh with their stressful lives from the city. Shortly after settling in, an old high school acquaintance from the husband’s past re-emerges to bring mysterious gifts. What starts out as small interactions with a seemingly harmless man trying to form a friendship, soon turns into a tension filled nightmare once a horrifying secret comes to light from a 20 year long grudge.

Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut, The Gift, is one of the few exceptions to the rule when classing a film within the traditional “horror” genre. Technically speaking, this would fall more under the Stalker-Thriller subgenre, but this is easily one of the most intense theatrical experiences I’ve gone through in decades! So much so that I felt compelled to include it on the list somewhere, recalling back to when I sat in my theater seat next to my younger sister, feeling as though I was having a panic attack throughout the entire 100 minute runtime.

When the story starts, we get a mostly familiar setup between an optimistic married duo being greeted by a certain strange individual with a possible deadly obsession over the loving couple; a premise akin to The Hand That Rocks the Cradle or even Single White Female. With movies like these, there’s typically a sense of fun to be had with the tone, almost similar to that of a Slasher where the enjoyment of the audience resides in how wild the ride can get and how over-the-top the villain might be performed. However, The Gift, does something very different from those other movies as it depicts this scenario of man stalking these people extremely realistic. And I mean that to the point of total terror.

When the married characters, played by Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, meet with the potential stalking kook, Gordon (Joel Edgerton), the atmosphere between them is relatively uncomfortable because of the slightly awkward behavior of “Gordo.” As the movie goes on, it’s left fairly hard to tell whether this guy is overstepping his bounds or if he’s simply socially awkward while trying to be generous. Balancing that thin line for so long, that it’s truly difficult to tell whether Gordon was being genuine in his efforts or maybe this is all some methodically planned out scheme in seeking revenge against Bateman’s character, Simon. Either way, something always feels somewhat amiss with Gordon, yet never enough to where it’s easy to describe how or why; making the uncomfortable situation even more unnerving when things intensify and there’s no way to prove Gordon is actually behind it all or not.

Then there’s the ending… Don’t worry for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie yet, I promise not to spoil anything, but I need to discuss it a little bit. Without giving any real info away, The Gift has one of the most brilliantly jaw dropping endings I’ve personally seen in any movie ever. This is no exaggeration, the third act is a heart attack and a half while containing a huge revelation that is the definition of mind blowing. Blurring the lines immensely as to who’s the true villain here and who is to blame for when things go south. Part of me wishes I could delve deeper, but I respect the film too much to ever cheaply spoil a single moment, especially the ending.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

For a first time directing and writing a feature length film, The Gift is a masterpiece in tension and remains one of the scariest movies from the decade. This was honestly an example of the few occasions I remember physically holding my breath for entire scenes without realizing before gasping for air again. Edgerton is as masterful in front of the camera as he is behind it, turning in an excellent performance where he brings in just the right balance of strange, yet not too off-putting to send obvious red-flags that would make our leads seem idiotic for speaking with him. Bateman also does an incredible job playing against type, being the voice of reason until we learn more and more about him. Making it impossible to know if we should be rooting for or against him by the time all things are said and done. A remarkable film that highlights the horrors of what could plausibly happen with a stalker in our own reality.

Best Found-Footage Horror

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Found footage horror flicks were all the craze after the first Paranormal Activity became such a big hit; and seeing how the budget for found footage horror was so ridiculously low, it was easy for studios to pump out literally hundreds… maybe even thousands of movies under the subgenre… too bad only a handful of them turned out good.

The Visit (2015)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: Two Siblings, Becca and Tyler (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould), go up to their estranged grandparents’ farmhouse to become acquainted with them while also making a family documentary in hopes of repairing broken ties between their mother and her parents. Although not all is as it seems as the two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents’ disturbing behavior.

Objectively speaking, it was difficult to say which found-footage horror was the best out of this specific bunch, as all of them do some rather remarkable things within the subgenre. The deciding factor of why I chose The Visit as the best scary found-footage movie significantly has to do with the fact that this was M. Night Shyamalan’s big and much needed comeback. Shyamalan was, and still is, a brilliant filmmaker with a distinct writing style all his own that anyone could point out. Originally directing a couple of comedies until he made his shift into horror with a huge benchmark in the genre, The Sixth Sense. From there he continued making some pretty great cinematic efforts… then something happened… he grew an ego.

Roughly around the time Shyamalan pushed out films such as The Village, Lady in the Water, and The Happening it became abundantly clear that this talented director was less interested in making films for everyone and more that he just wanted to shove his style in their faces. The quirky dialog and acting was elevated to levels of laughable absurdity, the stories were less about the characters and more about setting up that “gotcha” moment twist at the end, and the cinematography practically went out of its own way to scream “SHYAMALAN!” Then he went onto making The Last Airbender movie, which pissed off basically everyone, and After Earth; the movie Will Smith basically bought for his son to prove to everyone that Jaden Smith’s only likable acting was going to remain in The Pursuit of Happyness when he was a kid.

'After Earth' was simply a mistake on everyone's part...

'After Earth' was simply a mistake on everyone's part...

For myself personally, I thought that there was no coming back for Shyamalan as a writer or a filmmaker in general as he obviously had no interest in entertaining anyone outside of stroking his own ego in front of the camera for a couple hours. Although I will say that those cinematic blunders did come with some hilarious moments… I’ll never forget “jelly side down” from Devil, giant penis shaped hair in Last Airbender, and pretty much the entire runtime of The Happening. Then something amazing happened, he ventured back into horror for the first time in seven years with The Visit. Although not only any type of horror, but a subgenre he had never attempted before, which was found-footage. As it turns out, Shyamalan had it in him all along to make another damn good movie with genuine suspense and humor that wasn’t just him forcefully making a stylized spectacle out of it.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Visit works on a few different levels, as a strange horror movie where we can’t be too sure whether the grandparents are possibly crazy or have more sinister ulterior motives, or maybe there is just a giant misunderstanding between the grandparents and the kids. The movie also works as a comedy; working in laughs alongside the creepy moments, balancing both with the quirky nature of these grandparents as the kids try figuring out what the hell is going on while also trying to shrug off of their bizarre behavior to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s funny, it’s creepy, and the implementation of delving into this story as a found-footage flick is never distracting and also feeds into the heart of the film as well. It’s a great comeback for Shyamalan, which so far has paid off well.

Best Zombie/Infection Flick

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

For a good long while, from the early 2000s and far into the 2010s, Zombie flicks were extremely prominent within the horror genre and had pretty much an overabundance of Zombie movie releases throughout any given year. Seemingly every horror movie released either had to be yet another paranormal haunting or involve zombies in some fashion or another; especially in regards to the “fast running, screeching zombie” craze that went on after Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake in 2003. After so many additions to this particular subgenre, it felt as though Zombie movies needed to not rise again, but rather stay dead for a little while; recently it seems to be that’s exactly what happened as zombies rarely pop up much anymore. I even wrote an article on the matter of the rise and fall of Zombie movies.

Anyways, in the time that they were flying high, there managed to be a select few titles that stuck out from the rest.

ParaNorman [AGAIN] (2012)

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

The Plot: Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a misunderstood kid who can speak with the dead, but sadly the entire town of Blithe Hollow have mostly shunned the boy and ridicules him on a daily basis. Norman’s uncle Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman), on the other hand, insists that the boy’s gifts are meant for a purpose to keep the people of Blithe Hollow safe from an angry witch’s curse centuries old. Now Norman and his gang of misfits have to band together in order to stop the dead who have risen wreaking havoc on the town.

Yes, this is correct! ParaNorman won, not one, but two categories on this list as my pick for the Best Family Horror movie and the Best Zombie flick as well! Apologies to anyone reading who was hoping for something else, I will say that this was a slightly difficult category to fill out. Not necessarily because of how close in quality all the entries were, but because I wasn’t sure if it was right to include ParaNorman as the winner in two separate entries on the list. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that there was no question in my mind that ParaNorman is undoubtedly the best Zombie flick I saw all decade.

Why do I believe ParaNorman is the best Zombie film out of the 2010s? For starters, the zombies in this movie were the scariest ones I came across out of the entire subgenre I saw this decade. In Zombieland 2, they’re treated more for humor than instilling any sort of fear. Maggie handled the zombies more as a metaphor for disease. Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies was basically just one big funny joke. In Warm Bodies our lead is a zombie that we watch fall in love so there’s really not any scares going on there really. Overlord’s tone was more akin to a fun exploitation horror flick rather than one trying to scare the crap out of anyone. Cooties, The Crazies, and Train to Busan had some affective sequences. But the only zombies that stuck in my mind as scary, at least to begin with, are the ones from ParaNorman.

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Secondly, ParaNorman has the most unique take on the Zombie genre, because *SPOILER ALERT* the frightened townsfolk of Blithe Hollow act more like the destructive and mindless zombies than the actual zombies themselves. As it turns out, the zombies are the ones who wind up running for their lives and cowering in fear from the tyranny that these riled up citizens create in the streets. For myself, I’ve never quite seen that take on the Zombie genre where the “monsters” are turned into the victims while the real monsters are the normal and everyday public people. These are the reasons why I consider ParaNorman as the best Zombie movie out of the 2010s! That and all the other details I mentioned in the Family Horror section, of course… Duh!

Best Horror Movie of the Decade

lets-talk-about-the-best-horror-films-of-the-2010s

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, about deciding on what is the number one greatest horror film of the entire 2010s decade is remotely easy. Hell, as I write this paragraph now, I still have no clue what I’m going to choose for the “best” spot. Debating between what is the most important aspect about the horror genre in order to consider specific merits as more noteworthy than others. Is it enough to be scary? Or is there more to horror movies that warrants a higher priority? What level is technically the best level to frighten us on; spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, all of the above, or none of the above?

Many questions cycling through my mind as I contemplate on all the terrifying directions horror has given us over the years and how the 2010s either succeeded within those avenues; not to mention, which elements scare us on the deepest level. From haunted houses to demon possessions to home invasion to gory revenge, which is the scariest and why? Could a movie be considered more suspenseful because it stays somewhat grounded within a gory Slasher tone or is there more to fear in the unknown entities and spirits that haunt our nightmares?

There is no way on Earth I could ever come up with an answer to any of these questions that would appease everyone. There’s just no way. So I have to go off of completely how I feel on the subject of horror; what I find to be scary and what I believe accomplishes feeding on my fears. With that said, I’m not sure what creeps me out more; the prospect of a ghoul haunting the walls of my home, mindless flesh-eating corpses ripping me apart, ferocious creatures hunting by night, satanic cults sacrificing me to a fiery pit, strange upper class white folk trying to switch my brain out for some old guy’s, evil men wielding machetes trying to chop me up into bits, cannibalistic fashion models, or maybe there’s something I can’t quite describe that chills me to the bone. What if it’s an idea.. An idea which no one can be saved from. What could that idea be?