best top horror movies 2010s


Essential Halloween viewing: The top 10 horror movies of the past decade

The highest rated films from the genre released in the 2010s.

With limited options for Halloween activities this year, particularly in COVID-19 red zones like Montreal, watching horror movies is a great go-to for some escapist thrills. If you’ve exhausted the classics, this handy list of the top 10 highest rated horror movies of the past decade should offer up some fresh options.

As aggregated from Metacritic based on dozens of reviews per film, here are the critics’ picks for the best horror movies of the 2010s:

10. Us

Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out stands alongside its predecessor as a thrilling mix of horror, humour, and heady commentary. A powerhouse performance by Lupita Nyong’o anchors the film by bringing emotional depth to two characters, and Peele’s ability to toy with expectations results in a film that rewards a second viewing.

9. A Quiet Place

John Krasinski’s first two features (Brief Interviews With Hideous MenThe Hollars) failed to impress critics. But when he unveiled this high-concept horror film at SXSW in 2018, critics and audiences loved it. A Quiet Place’s core concept is that any noise will attract deadly monsters, and the necessity of silence lends extra tension to a film soaked in the guilt and grief carried by each family member.

8. It Follows

At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, few expected the director of The Myth of the American Sleepover to deliver one of the defining horror films of the decade, but that’s what David Robert Mitchell did. With exquisite control of camera and sound, Mitchell turned the suburbs into a playground for sexual paranoia, causing viewers to scan the screen for the unstoppable force hunting Maika Monroe’s Jay.

7. The Lighthouse

Robert Eggers’ 2019 follow-up to The Witch chronicles the downward spiral of two lighthouse keepers (the completely committed Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson). Set on a remote New England island in the 1890s (but filmed in Nova Scotia in 2018) and shot in 35mm black and white in the boxy 1.19 to 1 aspect ratio, the film traps viewers in a creepy tale of madness full of bravura filmmaking that could be viewed as a pitch-black buddy comedy or as a paranoid nightmare of crashing seas, whipping wind, and violent urges.

6. Under the Shadow

Set in 1980s Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war, writer-director Babak Anvari’s debut feature surprised critics at Sundance 2016 with its blend of scares and political allegory. When her husband is called off to war, Shideh (Narges Rashidi), a former medical student now living under Sharia law, is left at home with her young daughter, Dorsa. After a missile hits their apartment building, Shideh suspects a Djinn, a demon that travels on the wind, wants to possess Dorsa. In a brisk 84 minutes, Anvari intensifies the scares throughout, leading to a terrifying final act.

5. The Witch

Writer-director Robert Eggers won the U.S. Dramatic Competition Directing Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival for his debut feature about how superstition and paranoia take hold of a Puritan family in 1630s New England. With immaculate period detail, including dialogue inspired by court transcripts of the time, a goat named Black Phillip, an eerie score, and a stunning debut lead performance by Anya Taylor-Joy, Eggers sneakily concocts a “New England Folk Tale” of female empowerment. A forest treeline has rarely evoked such terror.

4. Get Out

After a surprise midnight screening at Sundance in 2017, Jordan Peele’s debut feature went on to permeate the culture (the Sunken Place is now part of our lexicon), win a best original screenplay Oscar (one of its four nominations), and make over $255-million worldwide. Peele’s directing chops allowed him to combine comedy, horror and social commentary into one of the most culturally significant films of the decade.

3. The Babadook

This 2014 Australian film from writer-director Jennifer Kent shares many attributes with the film in our #1 slot. It’s a debut feature. It deals with traumatic loss and parenthood, and its lead performance is a stunner. Essie Davis plays Amelia, the mother of six-year-old Samuel, a troubled boy who presents his mother with the pop-up book starring the creature of the title. Amelia’s grief at the loss of her husband and doubt about motherhood manifest in the Babadook, leading to an emotionally impactful and thoroughly scary ride. Kent’s follow-up feature, The Nightingale, might be even more horrific in parts, but that shouldn’t bother the Babadook, who lives on as a LGBTQ icon.

2. One Cut of the Dead

Would the Academy ever nominate a zombie comedy for best picture, director, actor, screenplay, cinematography, sound and score or, even better, award it the Oscar for best editing? It’s highly unlikely. But that’s what the Japanese Academy did for Shinichiro Ueda’s $27,000 indie movie about a director shooting a low-budget zombie movie in an abandoned warehouse where actual zombies come out to play. Is it scary? Not really, but it’s a horror-comedy about making a horror film that shocks, surprises, elicits plenty of laughs and spills a good deal of blood.

1. Hereditary

After premiering to rave reviews at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Ari Aster’s debut feature survived the post-festival hype to become the best-reviewed horror film of the decade. Creating a meticulously built atmosphere of dread through deft camerawork and sound design, Aster weaves together family trauma and the occult to lead audiences to a haunting and surprising finale. The film is held together by Toni Collette’s searing performance, one many thought should have earned her a second Oscar nomination.

For more film coverage, please visit the Film & TV section.