There’s quite a resurgence of horror going on these past few months. From stellar showings like Hereditary to last March’s Us to even this week’s remake of Pet Sematary, we are blessed and thrilled as fans and aficionados of the genre.
I’ve decided to recount the best horror films of the past decade. That means stuff that was made from 2009 onwards. I loved films like The Thing (Carpenter version), The Fly (again, Carpenter version), Dead Alive, Evil Dead 2, The Blob (80s version), and so forth. However, a lot of people have praised these older films to death.
I’m instead going to celebrate the best horror films in recent memory. You’ve seen some of them, heck, you’ve probably avoided most of them since they can be brutal and unflinching in its presentation and tone. Or just boring due to your really high expectations for scarefests and horror.
But that’s the beauty of them; you want to be frightened, shocked, disgusted, and above all, be entertained by the freshest and innovative films this generation has to offer.
So let’s dive right in; since there’s a lot to cover, I’ll divide this feature into three parts. Here’s the first one:
Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Trust a guy like Sam Raimi to work on a campy horror film and making the most out of the PG-13 rating. Sometimes funny, other times startling, the film gets props for featuring Alison Lohman as a tough-as-nails bank loan officer Christine Brown who is cursed by gypsies after a loaning incident. It’s full of mindf***s, psychological tension, and some laugh-out moments that walk the line between cheesy and gross.
If you want even more trippy visuals and crazy vague horrorscapes, Lars von Trier’s 2009 horror work Antichrist is just the antidote you need from all the newfangled films from Blumhouse to wipe that jaded expression from your face. It’s about a couple who retreat to a cabin to recoup after the loss of their son. Of course, they experience strange visions and bouts of violent sexual behaviour and sadomasochism.
This is von Trier’s way of expressing his depressive episode back in 2000 or so, which means what he sees and experiences is all on film and on display in the most disturbing manner possible. He sure as heck made use of his “R” rating here to the fullest.
Splice is basically Species done right and written well. It’s about two scientists who play God and will go through any lengths to make their science experiment be awesome. Said experiment is an evolving creature named Dren who gets more intelligent, cunning, and more humanoid over time.
It also delves into super-creepy territory since the creature learns how to seduce its target and goes so far as to turn the two geniuses against each other through her alien feminine wiles and child=like demeanour. Though to be fair, the both of them had some animosity with each other.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)
Two rednecks who want to just drink beer and go fishing end up being mistaken as inbred chainsaw killers by a group of preppie college kids. The rednecks are played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, so you can expect a ton of comedy to go along this horror gorefest.
It’s got a few legit jumpscares, but this film stands out because it subverts a number of slasher flick tropes by framing the story in a huge angle of misunderstanding. It never lets up and delivers the most laughs as a result.
Pirahna 3D (2010)
Pirahna 3D gets the spot here because of how schlocky it is with its presentation and delivery. It’s got man-eating pirahnas. It’s got blood and gore. It’s got boobies. It also has a detached penis floating in the water. It also has Doc Brown as an ichtyologist (fish expert) spouting exposition about the pirahnas.
It’s got a likeable cast of would-be heroes and ass-kickers; Ving Rhames is the standout. Pirahna 3D delivers on its expected B-movie thrills and just keeps at it; kind of like a lite-Troma film that knows what it’s doing.
Black Swan (2010)
You can’t beat Darren Aronofsky when it comes to thrillers and psychological horror with messed-up imagery. Natalie Portman is a ballet dancer who wants to make it big in Swan Lake, no matter what it takes. Her sanity and her health fluctuate from time to time, as she’s not sure what she’s going through is real or not.
Whether she actually made out with fellow ballet compatriot Mila Kunis or she’s experiencing injuries is left up in the air until the film’s climax. All in all, a messed-up yet artistically-shot affair.
Back in 2010, queasy-cam gorefests were the order of the day thanks to films like the Saw series. So it’s refreshing in a way to see James Wan returning to classic haunted house-style horror tropes with 2010’s Insidious. Unsuspecting family moves into big old house filled with all manners of haunted oddities halfway through the film.
With a great build-up and a cast you want to root for, alongside a visit from psychics and ghostbusters later on, Insidious is a nod to oldies like Poltergeist but for this generation’s horror buffs who want some slick camera and editing work out of their scarefests.
You’re Next (2011)
Half home invasion flick, half “whodunnit” story, this slasher horror flick will make you guess who the real victims and villains are. The film starts out like your ordinary flick: a family gets assaulted by a group of masked assailants using animal masks during their wedding anniversary getaway.
Then its story spirals unexpectedly where the show’s heroine Erin fights to survive. Fun stuff, if only because the twist and turns are executed well and are plausible given the scenarios.
The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
A bunch of kids party in a cabin set in the woods, while elsewhere a bunch of office and scientist guys are working on stuff within the vicinity. Really, that’s all you need to go with because saying more would mean giving up the entire plot.
Even up to this day, the show’s biggest 180 turn and its subversing of tropes remain its treasured highlight that should be seen to be believed. Not only that, it’s also a laugh riot that blends in its scares and thrills perfectly. Even with Get Out in the picture, no other horror film has surpassed The Cabin In The Woods in concept and execution.
Anthology horror films like Creepshow have been a VHS/CD/DVD staple for fans who want more than one scary story to deal with, at least ones that tie the overarching plot together. V/H/S is a throwback to that, but uses the found footage style of telling its jumpscare-savvy stories.
And it delivers for the most part. From a story about a threesome session with a foreign country hooker going wrong to sleeper agents using video chats to lure victims for the kill, you’ll find something to love here.
What started off as a simple vacation flick between bros and the girls they pick up end up in a pretty messed-up disaster horror flick. See, after an aftershock happened in the South American vacation spot they’re in, the nearby prison had its walls crumble. This means the baddest of thugs and rapists are on the loose to wreck havoc.
If it’s not the earthquake and collapsing rubble that kills you, it’s the inmates. And oh boy it’s pretty hard to stomach and watch as the second half devolves into torture porn territory.
That’s it for part 1. Stay tuned next week for part 2.