Since I recently posted my BEST horror movies of 2019 article, which came out very late in comparison to similar posts by other bloggers, I decided I could also do the same for a summary of the horror decade (2010-2019). During the forced lockdown due to the COVID-19 emergency, many of us are looking for good horror movies to watch to kill time, therefore I felt like this was an appropriate time to share a few of my favourite horror movies to have come out in recent years.
Unlike the “BEST horror movies of 2019” article, which I tried to make somewhat professionally, by combining personal preference with an objective approach to the movies, this list is entirely based on my personal opinion and on how much I enjoyed the films listed here. I just wanted to challenge myself to list the 10 (+10) horror movies that I loved the most from the past decade. This is how this list works: from 20 to 11, I’m going to list a few honourable mentions, whereas the TOP 10 horror movies of the decade is comprised of my absolute favourite horror films from the past 10 years. Aside from insulting me for leaving this or that movie out, I hope you’ll find some films you haven’t seen on this list, so that you’ll discover a few titles you’ll love as much as I do!
Continue reading and find out my 10 Best Horror Movies of the Decade (2010-2019)
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HONOURABLE MENTIONS (20-11)
20. Helter Skelter (2012, Mika Ninagawa): Based on a very controversial manga, Ninagawa’s Helter Skelter is a phenomenal mix of body horror and drama. This film is disturbing and (for lack of a better word) sexy at the same time, very bleak and stylised, simultaneously unnerving and beautiful. For me, this is the best Japanese horror film of the last decade… and considering how much I love Sion Sono and Takashi Miike, this is definitely saying something.
19. I Saw the Devil (2010, Jee-woon Kim): In this ultra-violent horror-thriller-drama from South Korea, we follow a secret agent whose fiancé was brutally murdered by a serial killer. He decides to take the matter in his own hands, by playing a game of capturing, torturing and then releasing the killer: in doing so, the agent finds out he underestimated his enemy… and he also realises he’s becoming exactly what he wanted to destroy. I Saw the Devil is extremely action-packed, brutal and gory, but it’s also a great psychological character study of two interesting individuals. Go watch it now!
18. Hereditary (2018, Ari Aster): Combining family drama with supernatural cult aspects, Ari Aster has crafted what’s now often considered as the best modern horror film. This is certainly a film that gets better with each viewing, due to the insane amount of hidden symbolism. Regardless, Hereditary combines a jaw-droppingly complicated script with outstanding performances, truly unsettling moments and spotless cinematography.
17. What We Do in the Shadows (2014, Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi): This is a hilarious mockumentary horror comedy from New Zealand that centres around four vampire roommates who share their thoughts and daily life to a film crew. Aside from the clever presentation and the comedic genius behind the core concept, What We Do in the Shadows stands out for its mesmerising script and hilarious performances, which make the comedy feel fresh and fun every time you re-watch the movie.
16. mother! (2017, Darren Aronofsky): One of the most anxiety-inducing films I’ve ever seen, mother! by the great Darren Aronosfky is a claustrophobic, surreal and metaphorical trip across the Bible as well as the struggle of dealing with a writer’s block. This is one of the most ambitious and disturbing horror films of the past 10 years and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone who’s down for a descent into insanity.
15. Spring (2014, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead): Putting Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead on the map, Spring is an absolutely unique mix of horror, romance and sci-fi that cannot be overlooked. From the emotional content of the story to the unsettling body-horror elements, from the washed-out colours to the spotless cinematography, Spring is one of the best American indie horror films ever made.
14. Midsommar (2019, Ari Aster): Ari Aster’s sophomore effort might be as great as his debut feature, but I personally love it even more. Midsommar is a fantastic addition to folk horror that enriches the sub-genre with multilayered commentary and unique visuals. The hallucination sequences alone are worth the watch, but the whole movie has very few elements to complain about. If you consider this movie derivative, it’s probably because you really didn’t get what was going on beneath the surface.
13. Under the Skin (2013, Jonathan Glazer): Aside from being a truly unsettling watching experience, Under the Skin features the scariest soundtrack to any movie: even without the visuals to go along with it, the score for this Scottish masterpiece is truly bone-chilling! Add to that an unflinching performance by Scarlett Johansson, an unspoken mystery, extremely disturbing imagery and unique social commentary, and you have one of the best sci-fi horror films of the last decade!
12. Train to Busan (2016, Sang-ho Yeon): Despite not being particularly original or ground-breaking, Train to Busan is just a perfect zombie horror movie in every way. Without a single flaw in terms of presentation and objective filmmaking elements, this South Korean film is extremely exciting and unnerving to watch from beginning to end. On top of that, the characters are super relatable and the emotion you get from witnessing their interactions is priceless.
11. Suspiria (2018, Luca Guadagnino): This is, without a doubt, my favourite horror remake of the past 10 years. Guadagnino understood that, to remake a great classic, you need to change things up: thus we got the new Suspiria, a film that benefits from immaculate cinematography, truly gruesome scenes, great shot composition and amazing editing. Oh, Tilda Swinton’s performance as three distinct characters? It’s simply the best performance in every horror movie that came out in recent years.
THE 10 BEST HORROR MOVIES OF THE DECADE (10-1)
10. Incident in a Ghostland (2018, Pascal Laugier): Take the director of Martyrs, give him complete creative freedom and he’ll come up with one of the most tense and hard to watch horror movies in recent years. Incident in a Ghostland is most memorable for its unforgettable plot twist, but every other element in the film (aside from sound mixing) is immaculate, purposeful and deeply effective. This is simply a wonderful horror film that everyone will love.
9. Excision (2012, Richard Bates Jr): AnnaLynne McCord stars in this quirky horror-comedy and she completely nails the role. Despite being filled with a very dark sense of humour, Excision is also quite disturbing (the ending is, especially, heart-breaking) and gory, even though it never loses touch with its surreal tone. On top of that, the obsessive search for symmetry in every shot gives this film a unique look that makes me eager to re-watch every few months.
8. The Babadook (2014, Jennifer Kant): The super divisive debut feature by Jennifer Kant is a terrifying dive into grief and depression, one of the very best examples of modern psychological horror. This is one of the horror films I watched over and over since it came out, and every time I do so I get deeply affected by it: I shiver, and I cry like a baby from beginning to end. I love Jennifer Kant and The Babadook, I movie I can’t get tired of.
7. The Skin I Live In (2011, Pedro Almodovar): Renowned Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar has won countless awards around the globe without ever renouncing his controversial approach to cinema. With The Skin I Live In, though, he surpassed himself and made a truly terrifying and disturbing psychological horror picture that will stuck with you. Described by the director himself as “a horror story without screams or frights“, The Skin I Live is a perfect and unique film every fan of extreme horror and psychological horror should seek out.
6. It Follows (2015, David Robert Mitchell): Great soundtrack, fantastic cinematography and memorable shot composition are the icing on the cake here. In David Robert Mitchell’s directorial debut what really stands out is the way this psychological/supernatural horror film communicates the fear of the unknown, whether you interpret it as death, loneliness or simply HIV. This is another film I can watch on repeat, as well as one of the few horror movies that manage to scare me.
5. The Wailing (2016, Hong-jin Na): This masterpiece follows the story of a South Korean rural village where, upon the arrival of a Japanese stranger, mysterious and frightening events start happening. Despite its imposing runtime, The Wailing never fails to deliver perfectly structured storytelling, unflinching scenes filled with terror, darkly comedic bits and wonderful visuals. This is one of the most complex and unsettling horror-noir movies I’ve ever seen, and I think you should all check it out immediately.
4. Goodnight Mommy (2014, Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala): I rave about Goodnight Mommy every time I get the chance, most recently when I reviewed Franz & Fiala’s latest film The Lodge. This is because I love every single aspect of this film, from the psychological terror to the slow build-up, to the phenomenal twist at the end. If you still haven’t seen this film and you love slow-burning psychological horror movies, you absolutely need to get your hands on it asap.
3. Climax (2019, Gaspar Noe’): Take a life-threatening dose of LSD and put yourself in a dangerous situation. That’s Climax for you. I’m not adding anything else, just watch the movie… unless you suffer from seizures.
2. Black Swan (2010, Darren Aronofsky): Darren Aronofsky is a master at turning dramatic situations into terrifying nightmares and, aside from Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan is the film in his catalogue that achieves that the most. Aside from the constant anxiety I experience while watching this film, Black Swan benefits from phenomenal performances (Natalie Portman winning Best Actress was nice to see), great music, fantastic cinematography, purposeful camera-work, flawless editing and more.
1. The Lighthouse (2019, Robert Eggers): Only a handful movies I’ve seen are both perfect on every level and connect with me in a deep, personal way. The Lighthouse is, definitely, one of them. This combination of genres (it’s not just a horror film) is tied together by Robert Eggers’ obsessive research for the script, perfect visual style and filmmaking choices, outstanding performances and, best of all, the opportunity to interpret the film in a dozen different ways. As I stated before, The Lighthouse is my favourite horror movie since Martyrs and, therefore, my favourite horror film of the decade.
This list was obviously limited, as I decided to write a Top 10 (+10) as opposed to mentioning all the movies I loved from the past decade. Therefore, so many horror films I love weren’t included, from The Witch (2015, Robert Eggers) to Berberian Sound Studio (2012, Peter Stirckland), from 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016, Dan Trachtenberg) to Demon (2015, Marcin Wrona), from The Crazies (2010, Breck Eisner) to Tag (2015, Sion Sono), from Bone Tomahawk (2015, S. Craig Zahler) to Brimstone (2016, Martin Koolhoven), from The Cabin in the Woods (2011, Drew Goddard) to Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010, Eli Craig) and a lot more!
Now it’s you turn! Let me know in the comments your TOP 10 Horror Movies of the Decade (2010-2019), I’m genuinely interested to know them 😊
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