The 2010s were revolutionary for the horror genre. After the dominance of J-horror and torture porn in the 2000s, the 2010s brought more original films filled with style and substance, particularly in the latter half of the decade. Horror films that at one point may have been stuck in the realm of “cult classic” from VHS/DVD sales could find wider success on streaming, films that may not have been made at all could be funded on Kickstarter. Directors who cut their teeth in the 2000s were given opportunities to create fascinating films that evoked the horror of the 1970s with all the bells and whistles of modern special effects. By the middle of the 2010s people were delivering masterpieces unlike any we’ve ever seen. As we exit the decade, it’s important to reflect on the films that influenced, inspired, conquered and scared us this decade. Here are the greatest horror movies of each year from 2010-2019.
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Honourable mentions: The Devil Inside (2010), It Follows (2014), Creep (2014), Goodnight Mommy (2014), Crimson Peak (2016), The Visit (2016), It (2017), Suspiria (2018), Mandy (2018), A Quiet Place (2018)
James Wan decided to take his particular brand of horror in a different direction from the highly successful Saw franchise with his turn of the decade hit Insidious.
Insidious came on the heels of Paranormal Activity, and was instrumental in helping create the paranormal horror films we have seen since. The film combines jump scares with creepy, slow burn moments, a feat that is seemingly difficult to achieve. Joseph Bishara’s score may be the most iconic aspect of the film; while the spooky strings have proliferated across the horror industry, they were truly innovative at the time and elevated the work beyond its earlier released comparable brethren. Insidious made $97million from a $1.5million budget, cementing Wan as a master of low-budget filmmaking and continuing Blumhouse’s growth into what would become the dominant force at the horror box office this decade.
2011: The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
The Human Centipede 2 is the mainstream peak of the shock-horror genre. It was created with the goal of disgusting audiences, and it succeeded.
The film features moments that will force viewers to look away (such as when the protagonist bashes out people’s teeth with a hammer) that can only be described as perfect for the film’s intent. Beneath the gruesome terror are signs of artistry and vision from the director, who differentiates between the clinical style of the first film and the more unhinged visual style of part two – each a representation of their main character. The black and white also discomforts the audience, while perhaps also saving them from full color gore and feces. The Human Centipede 2 accomplishes its goals in an impressive fashion, and one’s dislike only serves to prove that point.
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Sinister may not be an exceptional movie, but 2012 was far from an exceptional year for horror.
The Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange) directed film combines elements of the found footage phenomenon with modern paranormal tropes to good effect, showcasing the value first-person perspective can bring to a film without growing tiresome. The Super 8 snuff films, showing children murdering their families, are about as discomforting as horror gets, and Ethan Hawke’s performance as a work-obsessed father brings the entire film together, proving that characters make the most difference between a good horror film and a bad one.