Another 10 years have passed by, and for me they have been incredibly important to my knowledge growth of the horror genre. The reason being that it was only around 12 years ago that I discovered my undying love for the terrifying genre, and therefore it’s truly been a discovery period for me, with both old and new films alike. However, this list focuses on horror films that were released in the time period and therefore I won’t be including any that were from previous years.
As our society and culture changes, so do the horror movies we watch; they adapt with the times and talk more about the relevant societal and cultural horrors we’re seeing throughout the world which makes them even more poignany. The last 10 years have given us some of the most horrific yet stunning horror films, so without further ado here are the ones that made an impact on me as a horror film fan.
25) Suspiria – 2018
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Grace Moretz and Mia Goth
An absolutely stunning remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 film of the same name, which I’ve grown to love more than the original film. Even though a lot of people were disappointed that they remade such a classic staple of the horror genre, Guadagnino pays tribute to the original film and adds his own take on it that works incredibly well with unsettling vibes, an outstanding cast and some really horrific scenes.
24) Hereditary 2018
Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro and Alex Woolfe
This was a film I had a lot of difficulty placing in the list, and in all honesty this might be too low on the list. Without rewatching Hereditary, it’s not been easy recalling on my emotions of this one and perhaps it is more because it really played on some of my personal problems. Hereditary explores family grief, devastation and trauma, all of which are trigger points for me in my personal life and therefore it was an exceptionally difficult film to watch. Aster certainly knows how to put power into a film that hits the audience in unimaginable ways.
23) Creep 2014
Director: Patrick Kack-Brice
Starring: Mark Duplass and Patrick Kack-Brice
This found footage horror film is one that seems to always slip under the radar a little, yet is fantastic. Duplass plays a strange man being filmed by Brice, however, he’s not quite telling the truth about anything and has sinister intentions. The greatest thing about Creep is that it’s hard not to really like Duplass’ character in this, even though we know he’s not a good guy. This spawned a second which was just as good, and it’s rumoured that a third will be coming soon. Plus, my cat is named after the werewolf PeachFuzz in this…
22) Maniac 2012
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Starring: Elijah Wood and Nora Arnezeder
That’s right, yet another remake on the list from the woman who once mentioned that remakes completely suck and shouldn’t be done… Manic is a remake of the 1980 William Lustig film of the same name, and personally executes the story even better. Although traditionally thought of as a slasher film, Maniac has an extreme horror feeling to it with gratuitous violence, gritty and disturbing psyhcological elements and a perspective that really gives you a killer’s view. Elijah Wood is incredible in the role of serial killer and fits the profile perfectly.
21) Proxy 2013
Director: Zack Parker
Starring: Alexia Rasmussen and Kristina Klebe
This is an independent horror film that really doesn’t get enough love, and deserves far more. The opening sequence of Proxy is bound to completely destroy you – it’s perhaps one of the toughest scenes to watch, coming close to the feeling you get when watching the rape scene in Irreversible. If you’re pregnant or a mother, watching the opening might make you not want to go any further so do be warned it’s triggering, but if you can stomach it, I would urge for you to watch the rest of the film. There are twists left, right and centre that keep the audience on their toes throughout the film.
20) The Witch 2015
Director: Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor Joy, Ralph Ineson and Black Phillip
Described as a historical drama online, this film might draw in some audience members who have no idea what they’ve just started watching. The Witch is the first film that had frightened me in a long time when I first watched this; the tone throughout the film is so unsettling and offputting that it keeps you on edge. Eggers understands how to create slow-paced terror without much really happening, similar to his 2019 follow up film The Lighthouse. This one seems to be one that has immediately gone on most people’s decade lists.
19) Come To Daddy 2019
Director: Ant Timpson
Starring: Elijah Wood and Michale Smiley
I saw Come To Daddy at FrightFest and it was one of the only stand out films that I managed to catch when I was there. The script of this film is tight as fuck, with every piece of dialogue having a specific place and flowing so well throughout. The film is also fucking hilarious and will have you howling with laughter at even the most inappropriate times. Both Wood and Smiley are perfect in their roles, and really get the audience engaged with everything that happens, and a lot happens. If you think you’re going in to see a creepy daddy issues film that has a supernatural element, then just you wait because everything takes a major shift before you can even see it coming.
18) Deathgasm 2015
Director: Jason Lei Howden
Starring: Milo Cawthorne and Sam Berkley
With a title like that, how is there any possible way that you won’t like this film? It is cladded with heavy metal, Satan, gore and comedy, all of which are a recipe for an epic film. Deathgasm is completely over the top, and feels like it should be one of those so bad they’re good films, but fortunately for Howden he skipped straight past the bad bit and just made an awesome yet mental horror film. There is one scene where people are killed with giant dildos, yes that’s right, death by dildo. You have to see it to believe it.
17) The Autopsy of Jane Doe 2016
Director: Andre Ovredal
Starring: Emile Hirsche and Brian Cox
This film genuinely terrified me, and that seems to be the general consensus from the majority of people that have watched it. Even though The Autopsy of Jane Doe doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, Ovredal sets the tone of fear just right and holds that throughout the entirety of the film creating a genuinely creepy and frightening supernatural film. He went on to make Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, which seemed a little disappointing as it didn’t seem scary enough, but then again it’s aimed more towards a younger audience so perhaps he was avoiding scaring the shit out of them.
16) The Guest 2014
Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe and Brendan Meyer
Wingard has always been a personal favourite of mine, and it was a tough throw up between The Guest and another of his films, You’re Next, which I loved so much I had tattooed on me. However, it seems that this one just tipped the edge due to it’s tense storyline that continues to grow until the very final minutes. The film has a heavy 80s vibe to it, which feels nostalgic for a lot of people watching and hints to some of the slasher classics from that era. The Guest has become a comfort horror film for me, one that can be watched multiple times and is always just as enjoyable to watch. Plus, there’s that Dan Stevens shower scene…
15) IT Chapter 1 2017
Director: Andres Muschietti
Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard and Sophia Lillis
I have always been a fan of the miniseries, which I watched at my 13th birthday party with friends – it’s safe to say it is probably the reason none of them ever came to sleep over at my house again. I also loved Stephen King’s book, which is so complex and detailed that to put it into film isn’t something easily done. Muschietti executed the first half of the story with precision, and really created something that is terrifying. Skarsgaard as Pennywise brings his own disturbing elements to the role, and quickly became my favourite version of the clown over Tim Curry’s portrayal. Unfortunately, IT Chapter 2 was a huge let down in contrast to this film, and didn’t seem to have the same feel to it.
14) Midsommar 2019
Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Florence pugh and Jack Reynor
Since this one came out, I’ve found it interesting to see the preference over Hereditary and Midsommar, the light and dark of Ari Aster. Even though both films deal with similar issues, they have completely different tones to them, with Midsommar being a more happier and enlightening tone than the former. Midsommar really spoke to me on a personal and emotional level, which is perhaps the reasoning it’s higher on this list than Hereditary is. It is like a spiritual awakening and experience, which left me reeling for days in both good and bad ways. Not many horror films have a happy ending uyet Midsommar manages to have just that, even though it is almost unbearable in nature.
13) Found 2012
Director: Scott Schirmer
Starring: Ethan Philbeck and Gavin Brown
Found is originally a book by Todd Rigney, which I would urge you to read as well as watching the film. The sotry focuses on a young boy who discovers that his older brother is a serial killer, which makes for a very disturbing concept. This film shows how extreme horror is more than just guts and gore (even though there is some here), it’s about something that really gets under your skin and is psychologically fucked up. The end scene of Found made my stomach churn and messed with my mind, purely because it’s just such a horrific imagining.
12) Get Out 2017
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams
This film is going to resurface itself on many of the horror film lists, purely because it’s an example of outstanding cinema. Even those who don’t like the film cannot deny the power that this film has and the message that it conveys. Get Out looks at racism through the eyes of the horror genre, which is such an intelligent way to make film; Peele understands that this is a genre where real life atrocities can be addressed and exacerbated to show how awful they really are. Through this film Peele made a name for himself and has gained a strong presence within the horror community.
11) Raw 2016
Director: Julia Ducournau
Starring: Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf
This coming of age film has a cannibalistic twist which focuses on sexuality and coming to terms with the person that you’re destined to be. Even though the film may focus on the eating of humans, the messaging behind it isn’t really about malicious cannibals that harvest humans for their flesh and organs, it’s much deeper than that. Raw is about the sexual awakening of a teenage girl who suddenly realises her primative and animalistic craving for flesh; to taste flesh, to drink pheromones, to feel the meat inside one’s body. I absolutely love the metaphor around sexuality through cannibalism, and as a young woman find it very easy to identify with this film.
10) Mother! 2017
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfieffer, Ed Harris and Domhall Gleeson
This was a film that caused a lot of controversy and discussion when it was released, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Aronofsky. Mother! is most certainly a marmite kind of film, you either love it for everything it has or detest it. It is easy to see why people would detest such a film as this – it is not an easy viewing experience and truly is designed to make the audience feel horrible during the watch. Similar to Aronofsky’s harrowing Requiem for a Dream. It is a masterpiece of anxiety and stress, nearly enough to induce a panic attack, which is perhaps why a lot of people don’t enjoy this film.
9) As Above So Below 2014
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Ben Feldman and Perdita Weeks
As Above So Below has never really received much attention nor much in terms of credit, but personally I think it’s an absolutely terrifying film. Everytime I watch this one, I get shivers from just how uncomfortable it makes me feel. It is extremely claustrophobic, intense and frightening from start to finish with a storyline that will keep you intrigued throughout. Dowdle also directed The Poughkeepsie Tapes, which is one of my favourite films from the past decade. Poughkeepsie is far more extreme and a very tough film to watch, but for me both of these just demonstrate how Dowdle knows how to instill terror without having to go above and beyond.
8) Resolution 2012
Director: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Starring: Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran
Firestly, I’d like to say that I’m slightly annoyed that I have been raving about this film for 8 years and no one paid any attention until The Endless came out. However, it’s very pleasing to see that Benson and Moorhead are finally getting the praise they deserve for their filmmaking and have gone from indie filmmakers to working with the stars. Resolution was a film that absolutely blew my fucking mind on the first watch, and it left me thinking about it for days. The Endless is their follow up to Resolution, and ties together so many aspects that the whole world they are building is just incredible. They’ll soon be releasing Synchronic which is the third part in the series and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us.
7) Antiviral 2012
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Starring: Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon and Malcolm McDowell
This has to be classified as one of my favourite horror films ever, purely because I just love everything about it. Antiviral was a random purchase in HMV many moons ago, and I’m so glad that I discovered this hidden gem. It’s another film that I think deserves more praise, and therefore I would urge anyone reading to give this one a watch. This body horror film features a lot of scenes that will leave you feeling queasy, but that’s to be expected when it’s made by Cronenberg’s son. Antiviral is a spot on portrayal of the unhealthy obsession with celebrities, and how the culture around that can lead to dangerous paths that often can’t be turned back on.
6) A Serbian Film 2010
Director: Srdjan Spasojevic
Starring Srdan Todorovic
Having this so high on my list may cause some outcries, but there is no denying the power and notoriety of this film. When it comes to horror, I feel this is the epitome of that; it is horrifying, disturbing and raises a lot of questions that we perhaps would rather avoid. Spasojevic didn’t just make a film purely designed to shock the audience, he used a strong visual concept to convey a political message that he felt he could not express any other way, which is why A Serbian Film is such an important extreme horror film. If we cannot use art to depict the most disturbing and fucked up elements of our world, then what can we use as an outlet?
5) The House That Jack Built 2018
Director: Lars Von Trier
Starring: Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman and Bruno Ganz
A little like Mother! This film is loved by a few and hated by most, which is one of the reasons that I like it even more. Von Trier seems to create films that piss people off, and from my perspective I feel he continues to do so as a fuck you to those who feel he shouldn’t be allowed to birth his creations into the world. Mat Dillion was an unexpected choice as a serial killer, yet he nails his performance so well in this and proves that he’s more than a goof in There’s Something About Mary. Many viewers claimed The House That Jack Built is ridiculous, over the top, misogynistic and too violent to be good, but I disagree in every sense. This film is not very extreme for violence, and is basically a piece of satirical humour that you either understand or you don’t.
4) The Devil’s Candy 2015
Director: Sean Bryne
Starring: Ethan Embry, Kiara Glasco and Pruitt Taylor Vince
There is a lot happening in this film, which is what makes it so special. It has heavy metal (a reoccuring theme in some of my favourite movies), a realistic and touching Father and Daughter relationship, supernatural happenings and a child serial killer. When I first watched this film, I saw it four times within a week and just couldn’t stop watching it; it has a badass soundtrack, a badass family, a badass storyline and the ending of the film is so badass that I can’t even describe it to you. However, throughout all of that, it has a very sombre and sinister tone that causes the film to be pretty depraved in some places.
3) Stoker 2012
Director: Park Chan Wook
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode
Whether or not Stoker is classed as a horror film can be argued, but horror is completely subjective and for me, this classifies. It is a gothic horror love tale, which is something that isn’t as common anymore as most horror stories are all about the nasty things that happen. Horror is far more complex than just blood, which is why Stoker is such an enthralling and mesmerising film to watch – every time you see it, there’s something new to be discovered. Although it’s stated as not a vampire film, with a title like Stoker, my gut instinct always takes me back to that conclusion because I feel the hints are incredibly subtle but definitely there. It’s a film that is open to interpretation, and allows you to decide for yourself what kind of film it should be.
2) Lords of Chaos 2019
Director: Jonas Akerlund
Starring: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferriera and Valter Skarsgaard
I think most people will be surprised that this film is in at number two, but the reasoning behind this is that it’s not necessarily a horror film, even though it kind of is. Lords of Chaos has now been watched by me a total of ten times and I can wholeheartedly say I will never get bored of it. Some films are made for some people, and it seems that Akerlund’s film was solely made for me. Lords of Chaos details what may be true and what may be false, with graphic violence to show a harrowing suicide, the blasphemic burning of churches and saddening eventuality of malicious murder.
1) Baskin 2015
Director: Can Evrenol
Starring: Mehmet Cerrahoglu, Gorkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu and more
When I first saw the trailer for this Turkish horror film, I already had a strong sense that there was going to be something captivating about it. Baskin is a nightmarish landscape built on cerebral fear that doesn’t hold back when it comes to showing the audience the most Hellish scenes. This is an example of how to create extreme horror without having to make something that is so nasty, only the smallest percentage of people will watch it. The storyline is coherent and intriguing, and with every scene something more is added into the plot that determines the fate of the characters that have been led like lambs to a slaughter. Baskin is perplexing, lucid and fucked up, yet you can’t take your eyes away from the evil that unfolds on screen. For me, this is the best horror film of the decade, so thank you to Can Evrenol for this masterpiece.