Top 10 Horror Movies: 2010s

by WatchMojo about a year ago in movie review

In need of a good scare that will keep you up all night? Check out the best horror movies of the 2010s to satisfy your fear craving.

This decade is shaping up to be a classic for the horror genre. Welcome to WatchMojo's picks for the "Top 10 Horror Movies from the 2010s."

For this list, we’re looking at recent entries into the horror canon that are standing up gorgeously to their classic counterparts, and quickly redefining the genre. Once again, we’re omitting comedies or action-adventures with some horror elements in them, like World War Z.

A major critical and financial success, Oculus was something new and fresh for horror fans. As torture porn was dying away, fans were looking for more haunted house dread and atmosphere as well as less gory set pieces. The flick follows the original story of two siblings convinced that a mirror is responsible for many deaths, including those of their parents, as they attempt a series of experiments to prove it. Jumping back and forth in timelines gives the audiences the same dizzying sickening feeling the victims of the Oculus go through and sucks us in for good.

At a time when no classic horror movie was immune to the ridiculous remake machine, fans groaned at the news that George A. Romero’s B-movie The Crazies would not be one of them. So boy, was everyone surprised in 2010. This critical and box office success, about a town slowly getting infected with a virus that turns you violent towards your loved ones, surpassed the original in more ways than one. Leaving behind B-movie campiness and upping the ante on apocalyptic all-too-realistic dread and drama, this little gem gave the decade a well-deserved confidence boost.

What was going to be yet another victim of the remake machine turned into another surprise hit. The original Swedish production of Let the Right One In was such a rich and intimate take on a horrific subject that its American counterpart was rushed into production. But in the expert hands of artists who respect the medium and the source material, it became something new. Following the same arc of the bullied boy who befriends his young neighbor-slash-vampire friend, Let Me In deserved to be shared to a wider audience.

With The Woman in Black, Hammer Films announced its triumphant return to horror cinema. Having redefined what horror could be in the 1960s, here they go back to their gothic ghost story roots: old mansions, creepy children, and foggy landscapes. Based on a brilliant novel by Susan Hill, and with a surprising starring role by Daniel Radcliffe, fresh off Harry Potter fame, this story of a young lawyer snooping around old estates and finding the vengeful spirit of the woman in black may seem old-school, but scared the living daylights out of audiences.

The recent resurgence of more dark serious thrillers and less campy horror-fest in the new century has been attracting A-list actors such as Colin Ferrell, Patrick Wilson, and Liv Tyler to the genre. So it was no surprise that Ethan Hawke agreed to flex his dramatic acting chops as a tortured true crime writer, who stupidly moves his family into the murder house he is investigating in this slasher horror movie. After stumbling upon some 8mm film in the attic, he uncovers way more than he wanted. The effective mixing of the all-too-real with the paranormal and a brooding disquieting atmosphere with jump-scares is what turned Sinister into a critical success.

After the underground success of the first film, it seems like V/H/S may become a franchise of Paranormal Activity proportions. The sequel has the rare distinction of being immensely more creative than its low-budget and original predecessor, especially in regards to the over-abused found-footage style, following a frame narrative where our group of victims stumbles upon and watch a stack of very disturbing home-movies. It nevertheless brought back the horror anthology film, along with other franchises such as The ABCs of Death and gave up-and-coming directors more freedom to express themselves.

The writer/director team of the Saw franchise needed a new direction and new blood for the horror industry this decade. What they created was a massively successful new franchise, a new trend of big-budget supernatural thrillers, and the death of gritty torture porn. The touching but disturbing story of a family coping with their son’s coma, only to realize malevolent spirits were using his body as a conduit, was apparently just what the genre needed. Audiences were wising up, and gore and torture were trumped by atmosphere and a talented cast and crew with Insidious.

While some announcements of remakes scream blasphemy, this one received the original creator’s blessing... and with good reason. Leaving behind any of the campy fun, this retelling’s similarities stop at the set-up: a group of kids end up in a cabin, read a demonic passage they shouldn’t have, and unleash unspeakable evil. Although the nods to the original Sam Raimi classic are sprinkled throughout, this nightmare is demented originality through and through. With the poster boldly stating, “The most terrifying film you will ever experience,” audiences have arguably not experienced something this unrelenting since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Leave it to Joss Whedon to breathe new life into a dying genre. The slasher film had lacked originality recently, but not since Scream had we seen the genre so deconstructed and scrutinized. With a set-up that is all too familiar, as a group of diverse teens ends up in a creepy cabin surrounded by fog, not only is nothing what it seems in this Drew Goddard-directed flick, it’s also unlike anything you have ever experienced. Though The Cabin in the Woods does have comedic elements, it has enough originality to fill 30 other horror flicks, and inside jokes to make any fan drool.

Before we unearth our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

  • Los Ojos de Julia (2010)
  • Piranha 3D (2010)
  • I Saw the Devil (2010)
  • Mama (2013)
  • Fright Night (2011)
  • You’re Next (2011)

The five words that can make any horror movie even more terrifying than before: “based on a true story.” Ed and Lorraine Warren had been demonologists and paranormal investigators for decades, with famous cases such as Annabelle the doll and the Amityville house under their belts, and it took way too long before they got their own good movie. Another successful start to what may become a massive franchise from James Wan, along with a top-notch cast, we follow the Warrens as they investigate the Perron family in 1970s Rhode Island, and the disturbing events that made millions of movie-watchers’ skin crawl.

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