TOP 13: THE HORROR MOVIES OF 2010 - 2019
When the clock struck midnight and we all watched the Times Square ball drop to bring in a new year a few days ago, we knew a few things--ABC missed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have Barbara Walters announce "This is 2020", two of the pieces of paper we saw in the confetti shower had notes my girlfriend and I had written while we were visiting Manhattan a few weeks ago, and a new year--and indeed, a new decade--had arrived. We also know something about when a new year and new decade arrive--we get lists of everything imaginable from the past year and past decade. While I have fought off the temptation to make lists of my favorite...anything...of the last year, I did decide to put together this little list of my favorite horror films from the years 2010-2019. I am doing 13 because that is my favorite number...it's not what you think. 13 was my jersey number when I played baseball years ago. I guess that whole bad luck/superstition works well for a horror list as well. Again, this is a list of my personal favorite horror and sci-fi films from the past decade. On with the countdown!
13. TRAIN TO BUSAN
I didn't know a lot about this 2016 film before watching it, but the South Korean zombie outbreak movie kind of blew me away. Not just a mindless zombie flick, this one combines a strong story with the chaos, making you care so much about the characters you may find yourself crying by the end.
12. THE CONJURING
Set in 1971 and released in 2013, The Conjuring is a genuinely creepy movie that relies not on jump scares, but absolute terror. The fact the movie is based on actual events and includes the real names of the people it's based on adds a lot to the creepiness. The cast, lead by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, is solid, the movie looks authentic, and it is that rare horror film that is actually scary. 7 years after its release, The Conjuring now has its own movie Universe, with no less than six additional films being released, with even more to come.
11. EVIL DEAD
I vividly remember hearing the news that Hollywood was remaking one of my all-time favorite movies, The Evil Dead, and being nothing short of livid. My girlfriend convinced me to see this one in the theatre when it was released in 2013. To an extent, the film managed to capture the gore and comedy of the original film, but the real appeal of this is how they took the story in a different direction. I loved watching this one on the big screen, and I have loved watching it at home many times since. If not for a very shaky ending, this movie would be much higher on this list.
10. INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2
Sequels are notoriously bad, but the followup to the surprise 2010 hit breaks the mold, creating a level of awesomeness that comes close to the original film. Our friend Patrick Wilson is also in this series, joined by Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey, and all do a fine job. The sequel introduces some new terrors, and is nearly as scary as the original.
9. ANNABELLE: CREATION
Remember that Conjuring Universe I mentioned earlier? Annabelle: Creation, released in 2017, is the fourth installment of it, and is also my favorite of the movies. A prequel to the three films released before it, this one gives us the back story of Annabelle, the possessed doll, and takes the uneasiness from the Conjuring films and turns it up to eleven. Even with the movies that have followed, Annabelle: Creation still stands as the scariest movie in the series.
8. THE RAVEN
Not a prototypical horror film, The Raven tells the tale of Edgar Allan Poe (played wonderfully by John Cusack) and his final days, as he teams with the police to hunt down a serial killer using Poe's writings as inspiration for his murders. The movie is visually stunning, the acting is phenomenal, and fans of Poe's work will love seeing it played out in the big screen. While not a huge box office success (not surprising, considering the story), The Raven is a favorite in my household, and ranks near the top of my girlfriends favorite movies of all-time.
"So we're going to make this movie, and it's not going to have gore, profanity, or nudity. It will have minimal violence. We're even going to get a PG-13 rating. We're also going to make it absolutely terrifying...so terrifying, people will call it the scariest movie they have ever seen!" I picture somebody pitching this movie using those words, and people looking at that person like he was mad, but that is exactly what Insidious is. This 2010 movie changed the way we looked at PG-13 box office releases and proved that you can forgo the horror staples and still make a really good, and scary, film.
6. TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL
Time to move from the sublime to the ridiculous. For every good horror comedy, there are dozens that are just awful--Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is one of the best ever made. Our title characters are played wonderfully by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, the bloodshed is hilariously unrelenting, and the situations our poor heroes find themselves in are fantastic. Other than the king of comedy horrors, Shaun of the Dead, Tucker & Dale probably has more laugh out loud moments from start to end than any other movie I have seen in the genre.
If I say "Arnold Schwarzenegger in a zombie movie", you will probably picture a machine gun laced, one-liner filled action movie with tons of blood and comedic moments--Maggie could not be further from what is in your mind. Instead, the big guy delivers a dramatic performance so wonderful you would never believe it until you see it. The entire movie is very atmospheric, and sets a mood that lasts well beyond when the film ends--I still get sad just thinking of the movie. This is a tragically underrated flick that fans of all genres should take the time to check out.
4. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
Another of the elite in the comedic horror genre, The Cabin in the Woods, from 2012, is fantastic at being both scary and funny, but in a rather bizarre way. The movie is not as funny as others, such as Tucker & Dale or Shaun of the Dead, but the elements of absolute horror more than make up for this. The story of the corporation unleashing the many evils on our poor heroes is unique, and the sheer number of different monsters and villains in the film is enough to make any horror fan giddy with excitement--the scene of all the monsters being unleashed is still one of my favorites of any movie.
3. IT: CHAPTER ONE
Another remake I was reluctant about, It: Chapter One more than lived up to the original Tim Curry mini-series we all love--some would say it even surpassed it. There really is nothing not to love about this movie--it is a visual masterpiece, Pennywise is horrifying, the kids in the Losers Club all turn in great performances, and the movie is so genuine you feel like you are in the 1980s with the characters. I have yet to see Chapter Two--here's hoping it is at least close to the level of awesome this film is.
Kevin Crumb, a man with 23 personalities, kidnaps three teenage girls. The girls must find a way out before the 24th personality, one that wreaks absolute havoc, makes an appearance. M. Night Shyamalan brought us this 2016 film that really brought back what you expected from the director when he was on top of the world 15 years prior. James McAvoy plays Crumb so well I said in my original review he deserved an Oscar nod--he didn't get it, this being a horror movie and all, but he certainly should have--you will not find many performances as good as his in this movie. The movie is very intense, and has a bonus scene that shocked everybody when they first saw it (unfortunately, what it promised didn't live up to expectation, but that's a discussion for another time)
1. GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
If you are a long-time reader of this site, you know I have been a fan of Godzilla since I was a child. While I enjoy the newer films (by newer, I mean anything that doesn't feature a man in a suit playing the monster), I never thought I would see a Godzilla movie I liked as much as the original...until I went to the theatre to see this one. Seeing all my favorite Toho monsters--Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah--all share time on the big screen is something I never thought I would see, but that is exactly what we have here, and wow, did they all look amazing! The action scenes are phenomenal, the acting is good for the most part, and the visuals are breathtaking. Kudos to my fellow Columbus, Ohio native Michael Dougherty for bringing my dream to life, and making it even more outstanding that I could have imagined.
Thank you for taking the time to check out my list. If you have a list, please share it in the comments section below. To read my complete reviews of these movies, click the links below. I can't wait to see what this decade has in store for us!