Time flies by. Believe it or not, we’ve reached the end of the 2010’s. Arguably, it’s a decade that will likely be remembers as one the best for the horror genre. While found-footage continued to flourish, torture porn faded. Psychological horror and old-fashioned hauntings supplanted grisly dismemberment. We lost legendary filmmakers Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, and George A Romero. But the decade saw new directors emerge including James Wan, Ana Lily Amirpour, Jordan Peele, Jennifer Wexler, Ari Aster, Mike Flanagan, and Karyn Kusama, to name just a few. Now it’s time to stoke controversy and re-visit the best of what the decade had to offer. Welcome to Part I of the Top 50 horror movies of the 2010’s.
50 – The Crazies (2010)
Remakes will never go out of style in Hollywood. Coming in at Number 50 is the first of four remakes in this list. George A Romero’s low-budget cult classic, The Crazies, came out all the way back in 1973. That’s plenty of time for a remake to find a new audience. And 2011’s The Crazies is an intense, slick update that suitably honours Romero’s premise. In addition to its better production values, The Crazies upgrades the cast as well. Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell (Rogue, Silent Hill), and Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th) headline what’s a bloody, tightly paced thriller. If you’re going to do a remake, The Crazies was a good choice done right.
49 – The Visit (2015)
After a few dismal movies, M Night Shyamalan made his comeback with The Visit. No, it’s not perfect. Admittedly, it was a little disappointing to see Shyamalan resort to the found-footage format. And the acclaimed director still can’t resist the urge to include a twist. But this time it works. Moreover, The Visit remains a creepy movie with several unnerving images with or without its curveball ending. Terrifying, off-kilter performances from ‘grandparents’ Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie sell Shyamalan’s premise. Add in likeable performances from Olivia DeJonge (Better Watch Out) and Ed Oxenbould, and The Visit re-affirmed Shyamalan’s status as a premiere horror filmmaker.
48 – Krampus (2015)
The first of two Christmas-themed movies on this list, Krampus is a wickedly fun blend of horror and dark comedy. Anyone who’s braved long family get-together’s over the holidays should be able to relate. Director Michael Dougherty’s (Trick R’Treat) dark fairy tale manages to be funny, exhilarating, and, at times, emotional. Among some of the yuletide terrors are a monstrous jack-in-the-box and a living gingerbread man on a hook. Genre veteran Toni Collette (Hereditary, Fright Night, Velvet Buzzsaw) joins funny man Adam Scott (Piranha 3D). Both actors offer a heap of sardonic humor perfecting befitting of the movie. As for the titular villain, Weta Workshop’s Krampus is an achievement of design and effects.
47 – Baskin (2015)
Turkish horror movie Baskin accomplishes what great surrealist horror movies, like Phantasm, have done in the past – it looks and feels like a nightmare. Its story – five police officers respond to a call and end up descending into Hell – is simple. But the execution is perfect. Across its runtime, Baskin unleashes a steady stream of gruesome imagery alongside steadily mounting tension. Even if the story seems familiar, Baskin tells its story in a uniquely spinning fashion. This is a movie that lingers with you long after the credit finish rolling.
46 – Maniac (2012)
Of all the slasher remakes, Maniac seemed like an unlikely candidate. More grindhouse than slasher movie, William Lustig’s Maniac was a low-budget, grisly exploitation flick. But that didn’t stop producer Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Crawl) and director Franck Khalfoun (P2) from trying. To his credit, Khalfoun keeps the movie’s gruesome violence while adding some previously missing artistic sensibilities. Though it could have been little more than a gimmick, Khalfoun’s decision to film the entire movie from killer Elijah Wood’s perspective adds some interesting subtext. Essentially, Maniac implicates you in the movie’s violence as you watch it through Frank Zito’s eyes. And oh boy, Maniac is violent. Its opening scene – where a knife is jammed up a victim’s throat, clearly visible in the mouth, is a gut-punch.
45 – Starry Eyes (2014)
What would you give up for fame and wealth? Yes, we’ve seen this story told many times. Indie horror flick Starry Eyes may be a little heavy-handed with its subtext. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s story of a struggling artist who inadvertently sells her sole for a shot is all in the execution. Specifically, Starry Eyes evokes all the best aspects of the ‘Satanic panic’ movies from the 1970’s. In addition, Starry Eyes’ 70’s horror atmosphere is mixed with gruesome Cronenberg body horror. While there isn’t a lot of blood and gore, its some of the more shocking violence you’ll see in a movie. This makes those moments all the more effective. Ultimately, Starry Eyes is a disturbing tale of how an industry exploits and strips women of their dignity.
44 – Unfriended (2014)
Technology has always proven to be fertile ground for horror. While Unfriended divided horror fans, this found-footage supernatural thriller is more than just its gimmick. On the one hand, Unfriended is a familiar ‘bully-revenge‘ story. But director Leo Gabriadze shot the movie entirely on laptop screens using Skype, Facebook, and other desktop platforms. In spite of this limited setting the movie works. That is, Unfriended allows its story and mystery to unfold methodically. While it’s not a shocking conclusion, the final reveal still packs a punch. And Unfriended effectively exploits its technology to find new scares in an old story.
43 – The Void (2016)
This Canadian horror ode to horror movies of the 1980’s, particularly John Carpenter, is a testament to indie horror innovation. Like several Carpenter movies, The Void finds a group of strangers banded together against a siege of evil forces. Yet writer and directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie tweak things enough to elevate their movie about mere imitation. Expect some interesting story twists and some of the best practical creature effects in years. Simply put, The Void is a homage that still feels fresh, demanding multiple viewings.
42 – Mandy (2018)
What else can you say about Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy. This colourful, bloody revenge film transcends genre and explanation. You don’t so much watch Mandy as much as immerse yourself in it. Simply put, Cosmatos is more interested in creating a living nightmare than a coherent story. And any movie that allows Nicholas Cage to go ‘full Cage’ without going off the rails deserves credit. In a decade where horror still loved remakes and longed for shared-universes. Mandy stands out as a truly unique viewing experience.
41 – The Devil’s Candy (2015)
Director Sean Byrne’s long-awaited follow-up to The Loved Ones didn’t disappoint. On the contrary, The Devil’s Candy further illustrated Byrne’s firm grasp on what scares us. Byrne’s heavy metal horror tale of demonic forces haunting a struggling artist is a quietly unsettling movie. Most importantly, Byrne’s scares avoid lazy horror movie-making in place of mounting tension. Not surprisingly, Pruitt Taylor Vince (The Cell, Bird Box) continues to prove he is one the genre’s best villains. And Ethan Embry (Vacancy) and Kiara Glasco’s ‘father-daughter’ relationships lends the movie a strong emotional core.