10 MOVIES WHICH PROVE HORROR IS MAKING A COMEBACK
By Sophie Sadler
Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s hard to deny the increasing prestige and popularity of horror. Record-breaking movies like It and Get Out led to 2017 becoming the biggest year for horror movie ticket sales in box office history, with It earning the title of the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. Both movies, as well as The Witch, The Lighthouse, Us, A Quiet Place, Hereditary and Midsommar (all released in the last five years) have Rotten Tomatoes ratings in the mid 80s to high 90s, almost completely unheard of for horror released in the fifteen years prior. With a shift towards at-home viewing due to Netflix and Amazon Prime, horror is a safe bet for studios, being low-budget to shoot and allowing more experimental scripts to make it to production. Meanwhile, more expensive genres like action or science-fiction are becoming bogged down by yet more Marvel or Star Wars sequels, producers unwilling to take the risk on new material due to high cost. Horror hasn’t seen limelight like this since the early 80s, when slashers like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street were cementing the golden era of horror, along with psychological thriller The Shining.
Here are ten of my personal favourite movies of the 2010s, which prove that horror is making a comeback.
Hereditary (2018): Previously unheard-of screenwriter and director Ari Aster’s debut film, there was little reason to suspect Hereditary would do as well as it did; indeed, it had A24’s biggest box office opening ever and went on to become its highest grossing film, ahead of Moonlight, Lady Bird and Uncut Gems. Its success is down to nothing less than genius scriptwriting and mesmerising acting; it’ll make you feel things you didn’t know a film could. It’s best to go into this one knowing very little, but it’s a family drama about grief after the loss of a beloved grandmother.
Us (2019): I’ve left Get Out off the list in favour of showing its lesser-appreciated sister, Us, some recognition. Funnier than the former, but with just as much to say about society, this film features an astounding performance by Lupita Nyong’o, when a family is visited by their murderous doppelgangers while on holiday.
It Follows (2014): If you’ve ever had a nightmare, you’ve already experienced a version of this film about a nameless entity which follows you relentlessly no matter where you run to. It Follows cleverly explores a metaphor for STDs, sexual shame, and anxieties about intimacy, becoming one of the first movies of the 2010s to prove that horror can go beyond cheap thrills to tell a layered story.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011): With a tone reminiscent of Scream, this movie is a must for anyone who loves horror. The Cabin in the Woods comedically explores the ridiculous tropes which befall unsuspecting groups of attractive young people in mainstream horror films, and why we’ve come back to that generic horror formula time and time again.
Happy Death Day (2017): With a soundtrack that slaps, characters who are genuinely likeable, and jokes which are actually surprisingly funny, Happy Death Day proves once and for all that a horror movie can be cheesy, silly and still good. If you don’t believe a horror movie can give you the same feel-good feeling a rom-com can, then this is the one to watch.
Ready or Not (2019): Wish Knives Out had retained its “eat the rich” philosophy and tongue-in-cheek humour, but featured a little more blood, guts and revenge? This movie fits the bill. Not as well-known as some of the others on the list, this will doubtless prove enjoyable even to those who don’t usually opt for horror, and features badass modern scream queen Samara Weaving in the main role.
It (2018): As already mentioned, what better to prove horror’s comeback than the highest grossing horror movie of all time? Needing little introduction, It is pure entertainment, featuring a likeable cast of characters and a nostalgic 80s feel, meeting a demand created by the success of Stranger Things.
Creep (2014): Not only does this film save the entire subgenre of found-footage movies from being an unredeemable mass of mediocrity and tedium (sorry Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project), it does so in only an hour and twenty minutes. As long as you’re willing to be repeatedly jumped out of your skin, Creep is a brilliant film and aptly named, featuring an unforgettable performance by Mark Duplass as the titular role.
Train to Busan (2016): South Korea has produced some of the best films of the last few years, including the phenomenal Parasite and The Handmaiden, and Train to Busan is no exception. Possibly the most enjoyable zombie movie of the last fifteen years, what this film shares in common with most on this list is genuinely interesting, intelligent and compelling characters.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018): This last one is technically cheating because it’s a TV series, but it received a seriously impressive response, with Stephen King himself calling it “close to a work of genius” and Quentin Tarantino naming it as his “favourite Netflix series, with no competition.” It’s no surprise; this show combines jaw-dropping cinematography with characters you desperately root for, and by far some of the scariest imagery that anything on this list can provide.