Top 10 Terror Films of the Decade (2010-2019)

December 7, 2019

We review in these 10 titles the main currents, names, authors and films of more importance within these years following a chronological order. Many important films are missing, but space is limited and probably some of these other films represent their style or sub-genre. What are your favourites?

Insidious (2010)

Director: James Wan

Cast: Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Andrew Astor, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson

James Wan’s first genuine supernatural film of the decade, although it recovered details from his ‘Dead Silence’ (2007) and made them more commercial, picking up the trail of ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2007), the director injected his Mario Bava influences and created a 21st century classic with little money and good ideas.

The Crazies’ (2010)

Director: Breck Eisner

Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker, Christie Lynn Smith, Brett Rickaby, Preston Bailey, John Aylward, Joe Reegan, Glenn Morshower.

Not all remakes are successful and, to tell the truth, George Romero has been quite lucky with his works from the 70s. Although it fails to capture any of his ideological concerns and the corrupt moral background of its protagonists, ‘The Crazies’ is a film of infected exemplary action and suspense and a tone of hopelessness that sets it apart from other similar films.

Black Swan’ (Black Swan, 2010)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Tina Sloan, Christopher Gartin, Sebastian Stan, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo.

Pure paranoia of echoes of Polanski, giallo and Satoshi Kon in which a broken Natalie Portman shines and manages to pass from anguish to anger to fear in her internal and external metamorphosis. The film that brought the European angle closer to the horror of 2010, and that could be considered the pioneer of the non-existent topic of elevated horror.

Stake land’ (2010)

Direction: Jim Mickle

Cast: Nick Damici, Connor Paolo, Danielle Harris, Kelly McGillis, Michael Cerveris, Bonnie Dennison, Sean Nelson, Traci Hovel, Marianne Hagan, Tim House.

Jim Mickle, at the beginning of the decade a promise that had not yet passed through Netflix’s blender of independent authors, took to the top the producer Glass Eye Pix in this too forgotten post-apocalyptic road movie in the form of cinema of initiation close to the western that anticipated ‘The Walking Dead’ in many aspects.

Kill List’ (2011)

Address: Ben Wheatley

Cast: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley, Emma Fryer.

Folk horror has already been established as a term of use and unuse but in reality it has always been there. In this modest production it was silent and did not explode until its anguished end, but we must recognize Ben Wheatley’s experiment of mixing pagan terror of the countryside and cinema of hitmen.

The Cabin in the Woods’ (Cabin in the Woods, 2011)

Address: Drew Goddard

Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Anna Hutchison, Jessie Williams, Amy Acker, Brian J. White, Tim De Zarn.

Driven by its hallucinatory final stretch, this horror comedy is often considered better than it is, but if it leaves a good taste in your mouth it’s because its climax – hastened and shorter than you remember in the reviews – really is a monster mash wonder taken to epic scale.

Sinister’ (2012)

Direction: Scott Derrickson

Cast: Ethan Hawke, James Ransone, Juliet Rylance, Vincent D’Onofrio.

Scott Derrickson continued his estimable ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ (2005) with a resounding reformulation of the sack man and pure evil along with modern haunted house codes, achieving one of Blumhouse’s greatest hits, which unfortunately reminds us of the production company’s best times.

Lords of Salem’ (2012)

Director: Rob Zombie

Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Christopher Knight, Dee Wallace, Clint Howard, Udo Kier.

Rob Zombie’s best film is this dreamlike exploration of Satanism and witchcraft according to the British horror house Tigon, the most irreverent Ken Russell or Fulci from his Eibon trilogy. A controversial work, with production problems that would have allowed us to see a clear precedent of ‘The Witch’ (The Witch, 2015) but is postulated as one of the most influential of this decade.

Warren File’ (The Conjuring, 2013)

Director: James Wan

Cast: Lili Taylor, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King, Ron Livingston.

We could put the second part as an example of sequel that changes and improves many of the findings of the original, but the commercial impact of this one makes it the key name to contemplate. Perhaps something more blurred in the end of routine exorcism, the set pieces of the palms and the basement are anthology, making Wan’s name is the only one repeated in the list.

IT (2017-2019)

Director: Andy Muschietti

Cast: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff…

Separating Stephen King’s ‘IT’ adaptation into two chapters is a commercial play, but in reality it is a single film that works as a complete story that takes on its true meaning when it finishes seeing its second part.

A bloody, daring, epic and beautiful commercial adaptation of the great American horror novel, with a Pennywise that has permeated popular culture in a surprising way. Inescapable and to be evaluated, it will pass as the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ of this decade.