Almost a whole month into 2020, and things are still the worst, but the 2010s were good for horror! I’ve always wanted to make a list of my tops for the decade, but never really put in the time or effort to carry on with my mission. Well, here it is folks! We have a horror website, so I’m gonna do what it do. The 2010s seem like the perfect time to get all of my favorite films in one article.
As we always like to say, lists are subjective to the writer’s taste. This list isn’t meant for everyone. It’s a list of the things that I loved. Take everything I say with a grain of salt (and I welcome your opinions on your favorites!). For the decade, my tastes were all over the place. I discovered movies that I hadn’t seen and movies that are still in my memory banks.
2010 – BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW (Dir. Panos Cosmatos)
When I said, “Fuck this, I’m gonna get Shudder.” MWK said, “Watch Beyond the Black Rainbow.” I went into this film not knowing what to expect. However, it made me feel like I was watching 2001: A Space Odyssey again. Beyond the Black Rainbow is slow-burning, beautiful, suffocating, and mind-blowing. It disorients you, but you stick with it ’til the end. You’re lost in the plot. You’re lost in the visuals. Panos Cosmatos is an extraordinary visual filmmaker whom you vibe with immediately. His work is so beyond the scope of what you think traditional genre film is. He’s a talented fellow, and for this to be his first feature film is fucking WILD.
HM: BLACK SWAN
A modern take on Black Swan that leaves you in a bizarre day-dream. I mean, it’s Darren Aronofsky, what do you expect? (Don’t see Mother!)
2011: FRIGHT NIGHT (Dir. Craig Gillespie)
I know you’re raising an eyebrow and screaming, “FUCKING FRIGHT NIGHT?!” As much as I liked You’re Next and adored Attack the Block, they didn’t catch me as much as the remake of Fright Night did! It’s such a fun remake that doesn’t try to do the same exact thing as the original. Gillespie made it funnier with an unbelievably talented cast.
HM: YOU’RE NEXT & ATTACK THE BLOCK
See?! They’re in my honorable mentions, because I do like them a lot!
2012: MANIAC (Dir. Franck Khalfoun)
THIS. FILM. NEEDS. TO. BE. TALKED. ABOUT. MORE. Besides Evil Dead (2013), which we’ll talk about in a hot second, Maniac is another film that WORKS. This Maniac is brutal and has a different point of view that makes you more anxious and tenser. Your body will be in knots after this film, because the camera work will make you nauseous (in a good way.) Elijah Wood is just too good in this film. You don’t expect to see the type of performance from him; there are no other words to describe except insanely intense. He truly found his niche in genre film, and Maniac is just one of the many cool things that he slays in. Watch the original 1980 film on Shudder immediately, then watch this film. You won’t regret it.
HM: THE LORDS OF SALEM
The Lords of Salem displays more of Rob Zombie loving his wife and witches. What’s not to love?
2013: EVIL DEAD (2013) (Dir. Fede Álvarez)
Evil Dead is a mountain of a franchise that a lot of people love. It’s an absolute beloved horror classic and, of course, there’s Ash. However, a lot of people did not want or did not need Evil Dead to be remade. Mostly because ED 1& 2 are such good (and robust) films. In my humble opinion, not a lot of people give Evil Dead (2013) it’s fair shake, because it is one of the BEST horror remakes to be created in a very fucking long time.
Evil Dead (2013) is a movie that no one wanted, but I’m so fucking happy that Fede Álvarez made. It’s gory, brutal, unapologetic, sexual, violent, gross, and just everything that original Evil Dead’s was, but taken up to fucking 5,000 volts. It has the best twist I’ve ever seen in a remake, and every single shot is ICONIC. If you’ve never seen Evil Dead, give it a chance. If it’s not for you, I completely understand. But holy goddamn is it ever good.
HM: THE SACRAMENT
The Jonestown Massacre in a found footage kind of way that makes you squirm all the way through. CULTS, BRO.
2014: A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (Dir. Ana Lily Amirpour)
I feel like I deep-dived headfirst into a lot of different movies because of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs. I avoided this movie so hard because I had heard SUCH good things about it and didn’t want to be disappointed. When Joe Bob showed it, it was finally my time to see it. I instantly fell in love.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night has got to be in my top-ten favorite movies of all time now. Ana Lily Amirpour is such a master of being able to tell a story with visuals only. I love it when a director thinks everything out. You won’t see most of it on the screen, but you can tell that there’s so much more to the story then what you see.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is also a character-driven story, which are my favorite types of movies alone with confined spaces (this movie can almost be considered as such). The vampire western you never thought you wanted with a filmmaker that defies the genre in a big way. Also, the White Lies ‘Death’ scene is … so fucking romantic. I think about it all the time.
HM: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS & CREEP
What We Do In the Shadows is just brilliant documentary-style vampire goodness at its best. Watch the FX show of the same name too. It’s fucking hilarious. Creep is found footage that completely unsettles you. Watch Blair Witch Project and Creep in a double feature.
2015: THE INVITATION (Dir. Karyn Kusama) & GREEN ROOM (Dir. Jeremy Saulnier)
If there’s one thing to know about me, please know how much I love confined-space movies. If there’s a film that takes place in a single space and leaves me feeling anxious and claustrophobic, I’m all the way fucking in. The Invitation and Green Room made me feel that way. They’re very different types of films, but each are confined to a space where you’re trying to get out and stay alive, and that’s the terrifying part.
The Invitation takes paranoia to another level. You’re left trying to wrap your head around what’s happening. The acting in The Invitation is top-fucking-notch. I’m a big fan of Logan Marshall-Green, so I’ll eat anything with him in it.
Green Room is a whole other universe. A universe filled with punk rock and Nazis, and both of those things mix in this space so well. Green Room is brutal and anxiety-inducing. It’s also a high-octane film as well that doesn’t stop when it starts. Anton Yelchin (RIP), Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, and the rest of the cast are … something spectacular.
HM: THE VVITCH
WATCH THIS MOVIE AND LIVE DELICIOUSLY.
2016: DON’T BREATHE (Dir. Fede Álvarez)
If you didn’t like or were disappointed in Evil Dead (2013), you might dig Don’t Breathe a little bit more. From the same director, it’s almost … the opposite of Evil Dead. There’s less everything in this movie, but still has some wild-ass twists that you wouldn’t expect. Jane Levy should be put up there as a Scream Queen for this generation. Stephen Lang is just … tremendous in this movie (watch VFW out on February 14th. Review coming soon!). Don’t Breathe will make you hold your breath for a long time and then suddenly release when the film is over. Don’t look at anything, even the trailer, before going into it. It’s just that good.
2017: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
2017 wasn’t really a year of horror movies (for me). My favorite movie out of this year was Logan Lucky. With honorable mentions being Logan, The Shape of Water, and Ghost in the Shell.(Don’t you dare roll your eyes; Ghost in the Shell is the shit). However, the one movie that got under my fucking skin was The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
It’s not your typical family drama or thriller. It has a lot of twists and turns. There’s an eerie vibe to it that makes you sit on edge. You wonder, are these people actually good? Is that Doctor going to bone the teenager? Is this Doctor into the weirdest kinks ever? You’re almost rooting for all these people to die just for them to live a happy life. This film also introduced me to how good an actor Colin Farrell can be and how brilliant Barry Keoghan is.
2018: MANDY (Dir. Panos Cosmatos)
Just like Beyond the Black Rainbow, this film is fucking eye candy. Starring the beautiful Andrea Riseborough and insane Nicholas Cage, Cosmatos’s sophomore film is such a sight to behold. Honestly, the best thing to come out of the 2010s (fight me, internet). Mandy is such a fever dream of a movie, but so memorable and will influence someone in the future. One thing that sticks out to me about Mandy is how much of an effect Andrea Riseborough had within it? She’s there for a combination of 20 to 30 mins onscreen, but she sticks with you like a ghost throughout. I could go on and on about this film, but if you want something that builds with the energy of chaos and revenge, watch Mandy now.
Also, you get to see Thomas Wayne’s dick, so … BONUS.
HM: THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT & CAM
The House That Jack Built is … A LOT. It’s a fucking lot. I don’t even want to say anymore about it cause it’s just A LOT. I wrote a review over on Nightmare on Film Street (coming to this side via the Blu-Ray/DVD release). The film comes out on February 4th.
If you want to, you should double-feature it with CAM, which is another just phenomenal film that makes you paranoid and icky inside (while you’re at it, read CAMGIRL, the book that inspired the movie. Just as wild.)
2019: MIDSOMMAR (Dir. Ari Aster)
Midsommar. Where do I start with Midsommar? If I could pick a favorite film out of the 2010s, it would be Midsommar. There’s so much more to this film than meets the eye, and I think that’s what captures me about it. Every time I watch it, I get more and more details. It’s a movie filled with an emotional weight that fucks with your head when you leave the theater. Florence Pugh is something special. You can feel every piece of emotion from her dripping off the screen as Dani. The rest of the cast is just as brilliant. The confined space that they’re outside. The rituals for the festival, the love lost, and the freedom. Midsommar has it all without holding your hand. You feel it. I wrote a whole thing about Dani because that’s how affected I was by this film.
HM: DANIEL ISN’T REAL & THE LIGHTHOUSE
Daniel Isn’t Real is a film that I wish I had in film school. I wanted to be a psychology minor, and I would have written a BOMB-ass dissertation on this film. This film will make your fucking head spin. It’s a lot of psychological mind games, but it’s so rich because of the characters.
The Lighthouse is another head trip that’s just fucking GORGEOUS. Made by Robert Eggers, the director of The VVitch, it’s a seaman’s tale that literally takes you and throws you out to sea and hopes you swim to shore and doesn’t drown in its brilliance.