We’ve already done our best and worst horror movies of the year, but with 2020 upon us, we face not only the end of a year, but of an entire decade. So we thought it would be fun to do the best horror of the last 10 years. But to be honest, narrowing down to just 10 was a near impossible task, so we settled on the top 25.
This was without a doubt the hardest list to ever put together because there were so many great horror films in the last 10 years. So don’t feel bad if your favorites aren’t on here. So let’s take on this mammoth task and list the best 25 horror films of the 2010s!
25. RawOnly in Europe could something so gruesome, yet compelling be made! Raw is not for the faint of hear (or stomach), but it demonstrates how easy it is to down a dangerous rabbit hole, and makes cannibalism even seem a bit appealing. And we’re not okay with that!
24. As Above So Below
The decade saw way more “found footage” films than we needed, but this was definitely one of the better ones. The use of the camera felt justified, and it was incredibly claustrophobic. Plus, the fact that they actually filmed in in the catacombs of Paris is just all the more awesome!
23. The Last Exorcism
Aside from the previous film, this was the other great “found footage” movie of the decade. It’s disturbing ending proved to be divisive, but that was very much the point. It played with ideas of what is real and what is fabricated, and was able to explore them through the lens of demonic possession.
Mirrors have always had a creepy, supernatural element to them, and this just runs with it. Where Oculus really stands out is that between the mirror’s penchant for making people hallucinate, and the brother’s years spent in a mental hospital, we’re never sure what’s actually happening…just like the main characters.
20. Fright Night
This easily could have been another cheap remake cash grab, but awesome performances by Anton Yelchin (RIP), David Tennant, Toni Collette, and Colin Farrell captured the fun of 80’s horror, but in a modern setting.
We all know someone who’s a bit off, and this movie made us absolutely terrified of them. Its low budget style makes it feel all the more real. The final scene on the lake is absolutely chilling, not because it jumps out and scares us, but because it’s a terrifying (but real) idea.
18. Curse of Chucky
After the series went all an all time low with Seed of Chucky and was seemingly beyond saving, Don Mancini brought it back to its horror roots and gave us a slasher film that’s creepy, funny, and has brilliant old school horror aesthetics.
17. The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Going beyond simply remaking the original film, this one goes full meta and the results are absolutely brilliant. It felt like everything that Scream 4 was trying to be, except that it wasn’t limited by having to still be a sequel to the original, because here the original film still existed as a movie.
16. The Babadook
We’ve all experienced grief in our lives, and this movie simply took that feeling and ran with it to the absolute darkest place possible. The characters were very relatable, as were their challenges, and it made creepy parts all the more unsettling. Also, have we still not learned from Evil Dead and The Mummy to stop reading from cursed books?!
We truly got a great Venom movie in 2018, and it wasn’t the one that Sony made! Upgrade brilliantly combined dystopian horror/sci-fi with tense action, deep philosophy, and a very dark sense of humor!
Luring its audience slowly into dread, Midsommar holds nothing back with its grotesque brutality, once the time is right of course. There are films that scare, there are films that disturb, and this one is definitely the latter. It’s the kind of dread that sits with you weeks after seeing it. Also, we’re never booking a trip to Sweden in June!
13. The Final Girls
While it’s far from the first meta slasher to try and deconstruct the genre, no other meta slasher really captures or celebrates the spirit of the genre quite like this one. Maybe it’s the fact that it begins at a theater screening, or maybe it’s that it feels like a stand-in for any camp-based slasher of the 80s. Either way, it reminds us why we love the genre so much.
12. Crimson Peak
Technically not a horror movie, but a movie with horror in it, Guillermo Del Toro perfectly captured the feel of old school gothic horror that he clearly loves! Between that and Jessica Chastain’s movie-stealing performance, it’s a movie that’s hard to forget.
11. Get Out
Coming from the world of comedy, Jordan Peele showed us that he could use that brilliant sense of humor to make a bold statement about race and class, while also being legitimately creepy. And let’s not forget the amazing feat it accomplished by getting nominated for Best Picture, and bringing some much needed prestige to the horror genre!
10. Ready or Not
In many ways, this was The Purge but with a great sense of humor. It takes the ultimate anxiety about getting married and blends it with “The Most Dangerous Game”. It’s self-aware enough to get away with the tropes it uses, and that ending feels incredibly earned!
After kicking off the “torture porn” trend of the 2000s, James Wan and Leigh Whannell kicked off a new trend of demonic horror movies in the 2010s with Insidious. While on the surface, it’s a typical paranormal thriller, but Leigh Whannell took enough effort to subvert tropes and gave us something amazing.
8. Anna and the Apocalypse
It’s the British/zombie/Christmas/musical that we never knew we wanted! This premise could have easily been nothing more than a forgotten gimmick, but the truly catchy songs and compelling characters made it stand out, so that the “gimmick” only enhances it, and make sit more memorable.
7. Deliver Us From Evil
Blending genres can be really hit or miss, but in this case, blending demonic horror with gritty detective procedural really pays off. So many horror movies rely on the main character being a skeptic, but here it’s actually pretty fitting given Ralph Sarchie’s profession.
6. The Lighthouse
So many studios and promotional materials claim that their movie builds tension like The Shining, but honestly this is the only movie that’s ever come close. Leaning heavily into arthouse, The Lighthouse’s creepy aesthetic and isolated atmosphere truly makes us feel like we’re slowly going insane too!
On the surface, this is just another haunted house movie, but those “home movies” are without a doubt some of the most disturbing things ever put to film. Between the creepy visuals and haunting music, we feel like we’re actually watching a snuff film.
People either loved or hated this movie, and ultimately it came down whether or not they understood it. Styled more like a depressing family drama, Hereditary takes a long time to let the horror develop, but because of this, we feel much more for this character, and we feel the tension bursting off the screen. Also, where’s Toni Collette’s Oscar?! We’re looking at you Academy!
3. The Conjuring
Receiving an “R” rating simply for “terror”, The Conjuring is a truly unique film. James Wan flexed his supernatural horror skills with Insidious, but here, he perfected them. In the style of The Exorcist and The Omen, he gave us a film that truly felt like it could have come from the 1970s, and the fact that it spawned an entire cinematic universe speaks volumes.
2. Cabin in the Woods
We’ve already showcased a few great examples of meta horror on this list, but Cabin in the Woods is the undisputed king of the subgenre. To a true horror fan, it was not only a celebration of the genre, but an explanation for its entire existence. What’s amazing is how every single horror film we know and love could easily fit into the continuity of this one.
1. The Witch
Blending slow-burn tension with an absolute devotion to historical accuracy, The Witch is unlike any other film on this list. Everything from the sets, to the costumes, even to the dialect the characters speak in is entirely recreated from that of the era. As it builds its dread throughout, we feel desperately for this family who are torn between the supernatural horrors of witchcraft, as well as the horrors of religious extremism.
What were some of your favorite horror movies of the decade?! Let us know in the comments below! For more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!