Horror has seen drastic shifts in the last 10 years, with slasher returns, found footage exploration and the thrill of a paranormal presence, delivering a long list of impressive films. Because of the new evolution of horror, the past 10 years has brought countless options for genre fans, and we believe that there are 10 films worthy of representing a decade of horror.
We've often discussed the underrated Scream 4, and there's no chance that it can't be considered one of the genre's best nostalgia-based horror for years. Ghostface returned in a new decade with "new rules" and brought the originality from the first Scream into a more modern, but still respectful version of the classic Wes Craven slasher franchise. The film completely altered the audience's expectations going into the film, showing that you can continue a franchise and stay true to its core values. Who else is ready for Scream 5?
There isn't enough time in a day to fully dive into the Netflix horror film Cam, but let's just say it's an experience like no other. The Blumhouse film was dropped on Netflix (something new to the decade) and remains a massively unknown horror title that is eerie through and through. A "cam girl" who struggles with her own personal life works to create a reputation for herself until she's duplicated by someone with her face — making you constantly question what's going on. The film adds realistic themes that make the protagonist feel isolated, and the film's completely insane final act is something that will leave you wanting more.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Another underrated horror gem comes from The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a horror film about a father and son who own a mortuary. The two receive a "Jane Doe" that becomes an overwhelmingly creepy focal point in the film, and with each revelation about her death, the film only gets better. The film thrives in the atmospheric horror, using still images and music as something to really push it over the edge as a horror film that deserves your attention. The ending of a film can tend to remove the horror aspects after plot revelations, but Jane Doe's concluding moments only make it so much creepier.
We've seen a lot of Halloween movie's in our lifetime, with some being excellent and others being lackluster, but the 2018 film Halloween was the return we needed. Halloween is one of the longest-running horror titles, with an even bigger achievement in bringing back original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis to the iconic role of Laurie Strode. The film explores generational trauma and the will to concur your demons, which was so well-received that we'll be seeing two more Halloween films heading into the new decade. If that isn't impressive, what is?
The Last Exorcism
After The Exorcist became one of horrors most respected properties, it seemed unlikely that anything would come near the beloved film. While that may be (mostly) true, the small-budget film The Last Exorcism proved to be one of the best exorcism movies of all time. With a relatively unknown and very talented cast, the found footage horror film played into small-town darkness that is still prepared to scare horror fans of all ages. The performance by Ashley Bell from meek and lovable to ridiculously scary is a stand out performance that makes the film worth comparing to some of the best films in that sub-genre.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
This is probably one option that many will be surprised by because of the mixed reviews, but Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was a must-watch film in the franchise. In The Marked Ones, the film appears to initially be a side film but ends up directly tying into the events of the other PA movies. We see a character return from the second film in an important but brief role, and even a major crossover revelation that ties into the climactic first act of Paranormal Activity — making it a great film for jump scares, new faces and an appreciation for the films that came before.
Lords of Salem
Rob Zombie has made some controversial films including his polarizing reboot of Halloween, but it's one of his later films called Lord of Salem that remains spooky upon rewatching. The film features his wife Sherri Moon Zombie, who plays a likable character for the first time, as she comes into contact with some truly unsettling women who are tied to the Salem witch trials. The film uses demonic imagery, with subtle terror that is best crafted when visions plague the protagonist. The film is certainly a slow-burn, but the barrage of evil frames and chilling recurring themes makes this a lesser-known horror film that deserves to be seen.
Indie horror has begun to hit major markets, with the smaller budget films feeling more authentic and attainable to viewers. With the film V/H/S, a series of horror directors executed multiple short films to create one body of work, with each short focusing on different avenues of horror. When you first go into the film it seems like it may be a more perverse attempt at horror, but some of the shorts really discover new elements that haven't been done before. the film achieved a strong cult audience from its original methods of storytelling, spawning an equally scary sequel and enough spooks to make V/H/S one of the best indie-horror movies of the decade.
Cabin in the Woods
The Joss Whedon horror film Cabin in the Woods was something very different, being the most meta-film of the last decade. It wrangles various facets of horror films, uses them to create a thrilling ride, and makes audiences fully aware of the present-day formula of a horror film. Cabin in the Woods has a lot of comedy elements that make it worth returning to, and thanks to Whedon, we can now say that this is one of the strangest, most enjoyable horror films that has been made.
When you talk about horror from the last decade, there is one franchise that has certainly found an audience — and that's The Conjuring universe. The film spawned a sequel, another on the way, and several spin-off films as a horror franchise that will likely live on for years to come. The franchise has provided some brilliant jump scares throughout the impressive roster of titles, so regardless of if you personally enjoyed it, there's at least one film within The Conjuring universe that will give you a reason to return to the stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren.