Most serious film lovers who say that they don’t enjoy watching horror movies (or that they don’t watch them at all) cite one or more of these reasons to justify themselves: the plots are always the same, that most of them aren’t even scary, and that there’s too much unnecessary gore. And, if we’re being honest, they’re right. Way too many movies from this genre are simply unoriginal and look like they were made to please only hardcore horror fans. However, in the last few years, there has been a shift in the horror genre, and many movies have come out that are not just great horror movies, but also great movies regardless of the genre. They’re the kind of movies that, thanks to their story, cinematography, and even the music, are just as good or even better than the average critically-acclaimed drama.
So, if you’re in the mood for a nice, scary movie that’s also a great piece of cinematic art, you’re in for a treat because these are the best horror movies that have come out since 2010.
The Witch (2015)
In 1630s New England, a family is forced to leave their Puritan community to live on a secluded farm next to a dark forest. Soon after, the youngest son, who’s only a baby, is kidnapped by an unknown creature, and the family breaks down as they look for him, suspecting everything and everyone of being the culprit. As the movie progresses, more unexplained events plague the family, leading them to believe that the devil is behind it all.
It Follows (2014)
This modern classic plays with people’s fear of something much scarier than ghosts or monsters: sexually-transmitted diseases. It Follows tells the story of a teenage girl who is unwittingly drawn into a cult that spreads a kind of disease through sex. This disease involves an unseen spirit that follows the victim until it kills them, or until this person has sex with someone else and passes it on to them.
The Babadook (2014)
Who knew that a children’s book could be so terrifying? In this movie, a widowed mother reads a strange book to her young son about a mysterious creature known as The Babadook. The creature wears a big, black coat and a top hat, and goes into people’s homes to scare them, and by reading the book out loud, the mother is inviting it into their home, whether they like it or not.
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Two twin boys live with their mother in an isolated yet beautiful house in the outskirts of a small town in Austria. One day, their mother comes home after getting surgery in her face, which is completely covered in bandages, leaving her unrecognizable. However, it’s not just her face that’s different; even the way treats them has changed, leading the boys to wonder whether it’s really their mom or someone pretending to be.
Get Out (2017)
One of the most-talked about movies in recent years, and definitely a very different kind of horror movie, Get Out is a must-watch. It follows the story of a young black man who goes to spend the weekend at his white girlfriend’s parents’ house in a very wealthy and predominantly white neighborhood. While he was certainly wary of going there before meeting them, nothing prepares him for what that weekend actually has in store for him.
The Innkeepers (2011)
This great low-budget movie follows two young innkeepers taking care of a haunted hotel on its last weekend of operations. Far from being scared of the all the ghost stories they’ve heard about the place, they’re excited to spend the night exploring every room and floor, trying to get video footage of the supposed spirits. However, the hotel’s paranormal activity is much more than they bargained for.
Raw tells the story of a teenage girl who goes off to vet school in rural France. She’s very nervous because she doesn’t want to let down her family of veterinarians, but also because she’s vegetarian, and she doesn’t want it to become a problem for her in this new world. The school is much harder than she expected (both socially and academically), but it’s nothing compared to when she discovers that she has developed a taste for human flesh.
Black Swan (2010)
Although some people wouldn’t agree with calling it a horror movie, Black Swan’s greatness owes a lot to its horror elements. The movie follows a ballerina called Nina, who has devoted her whole life to ballet, and wants nothing more than to be a star. When her company decides to perform Swan Lake, she desperately wants to be the lead, who is both the white and the black swan, but the director doesn’t think she can do it, which provokes an identity crisis in her and leads to a series of supernatural events.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
There are many, or maybe too many horror movies about groups of teenagers who spend the weekend in a cabin and end up killed by a monster or a serial killer, but The Cabin in the Woods is not your typical teenagers-in-a-cabin story. The movie became an instant cult classic because it takes all the clichés from those movies and plays with them, bringing the horror genre into satire territory, and doing exactly the opposite of what the viewer expects.
Under the Skin (2013)
To round up the list with an even more different kind of horror movie, there’s Under the Skin, a hard-to-define combination of sci-fi and horror based on a novel by Michel Faber. It tells the story of an alien creature who invades the body of a young, attractive woman and uses to attract men and consume them. There are no blood-and-gore scenes anywhere, but the movie still manages to scare us thanks to the ambience and the otherworldly music.
So, there you go. Now, you have no excuses for watching bad horror movies (or worse, rewatching them).
Cover image: “The Witch” via Walskium