We’re almost at the end of this incredible countdown and to celebrate the announcement of our top 25 – 11 movies of the last decade, we’ve got a bonus list ready to share as well!
Ghostwriter G.C. continues down the path of critically analyzing films and what makes them special and gives us a special look into the top Remakes and Sequels.
Did you miss out on the previous countdowns? Find them here:
As always, you can find all things Horror on the new Horror Corner page of my blog.
25. Midsommar (2019)
One of the rare and scariest movies to be set almost completely in daylight, Midsommar is another study in grieving from Ari Aster, with a healthy dose of unexpected humor and insightful commentary on neglectful relationships. While not as scary as Hereditary, it’s a hell of a lot more fun to watch and parse. While the overall trajectory of the plot is predictable, on a moment-to-moment basis the film ranks among the more unpredictable on this list.
24. You’re Next (2012)
Belatedly released and overlooked at the box office due to the release of the more-hyped The Purge, You’re Next is a combination of dysfunctional family comedy of manners and home invasion genres, excelling at both in ceaselessly surprising and suspenseful ways. Even its take on the “final girl” is interesting, aided by a wonderful performance that effortlessly sells some of the film’s great twists. Easily one of my favorite films of the decade.
23. Us (2019)
There’s no doubting the brilliant, ambiguous yet crystal clear social commentary of Jordan Peele’s second film, which is also scarier and more technically accomplished than his first. But for all the initial talk of how strange and open to interpretation the movie is…is it really? I mean, I never felt it was, at least not compared to something as uncompromising as The Shining, to which it was often compared. Regardless, it’s Peele’s second straight horror movie – more intense but nearly as funny as his first – that fits that increasingly rare mold of iconic horror movies like Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street that are both scary and fun to watch.
22. The Invitation (2016)
It takes one of the great general movie set-ups – a group gathering for a dinner party – and keeps you guessing right up until the end.
21. Demon (2016)
This polish film is an insane, absurd and unpredictable blend of comedy and terror set at a wedding, unlike anything else yet most closely reminiscent to such groundbreaking films as Roman Polanski’s The Tenant, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration and Emir Kusturica’s Underground. The film’s director, Marcin Wrona, committed suicide while promoting the film, the knowledge of which lends this film even more eeriness and pathos.
20. Amer (2010)
A tri-part homage to the giallo films of Bava, Fulci and Argento, Amer obsessively focuses on the tactile textures that make the genre so compelling. It’s a film of pure sensation, an experimental horror movie that plays only the greatest hits while still telling a coherent story.
19. The Skin I Live In (2011)
One of Pedro Almodovar’s most masterful films, the narrative sinuously weaving its reveals with a slyness that is more than matched by the deliciously mad perversity of it all. The film harkens back and twists the formula of others I won’t spoil here, and is one of the rare pure thrillers from the director that prove that he could have been the next Hitchcock if only he wanted to. Even his melodramas conjure a bit of Hitchcock, and even this film conjures a bit of melodrama.
18. The Lords of Salem (2013)
Rob Zombie’s most mature film is a surreal departure from those that came before while continuing his natural progression as a uniquely transgressive filmmaker. The film is true horror, a slow burn intensity building to a wildly hallucinogenic climax, with a notable focus on surreally haunting imagery that sears the mind and lingers long after.
17. The Guest (2014)
A sly genre-hybrid (to spoil the genres would be to partially spoil the film), Adam Wingard’s best film holds its twists close to the chest and unfolds them with precision, all while maintaining a devilish undercurrent of humor and resonance. It’s a superbly edited film, with a crispness that emphasizes every bit of action. The feeling and perfection generated by the music, lighting, camera movement, editing and setting of the final 15 minutes makes for one of my favorite cinematic experiences of all time. The Guest and You’re Next are easily my favorite one-two punch of any director this decade.
16. Green Room (2016)
White-knuckle with white supremacists thriller fueled by raw punk rock energy and matched by lean, mean and ferociously focused filmmaking about a hardcore band who finds themselves trapped at their gig after witnessing a crime. The film is so effective and intense that Elliot reported being soaked in feverish sweat during his theatrical viewing. Notable casting is an against-type, quietly menacing Patrick Stewart and Anton Yelchin in one of his final performances, which distills crazy amounts of emotion and hope in the viewer that he will survive this film.
15. Revenge (2018)
When you decide to call your movie by the generic name of an entire subgenre, you better bring the goods, and Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge more than lives up to its title. It feels like the Ultimate B-Movie Dream, a dazzling, intense, hyperviolent, ultrachic, fiery feminist reckoning with a subgenre of film that makes women the subject of sexualized violence. Oh, Revenge does that too as it fully embraces the genre as well as its gaze, but it does so as an avenging angel of death, once left for dead in the desert, rising up with tattooed wings seared on to gain clarity after a hallucinogenic peyote trip.
14. The House that Jack Built (2018)
I’m very curious where this lands in future assessments of Lars von Trier’s career, but I haven’t watched it since taking the stance that it’s an uncompromising self-diagnosis, and therefore an important film, and so this alternately hilarious and brutal, tedious and philosophical horror movie sits high up on this list. That self-diagnosis is what I assume led the director to correct Bruno Ganz, cleverly cast here as a reflection to both his Wings of Desire and Downfall characters, when the actor said that the film was not that scary. Beyond its pretensions, von Trier manages to conjure up psychologically terrifying scenes that would have felt at home in the 1970’s or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, in which situations feel even more hopeless and victims feel even more helpless than in almost any other horror film I can think of. The payoff is undoubtedly the climax, as beautiful and strange as anything in the director’s oeuvre.
13. Mandy (2018)
Another B-movie dream, ripped straight from the imagination of a man who on some level has never left his mom’s basement, or the year 1983. It’s one of the most unique revenge films ever made, in that it isn’t interested in simply telling a corporeal tale of revenge, but in making one feel via a hallucinogenic mélange of textured, painterly video and psyche-tearing, drone metal audio the visceral emotion of revenge itself. I’d imagine if you watched this acid trip of a film while tripping on acid that you’d probably feel like you’re on acid for the rest of your life.
12. The Wailing (2016)
There have been some longer horror films made over the past few years (Midsommar, Suspiria, Doctor Sleep), but South Korea’s The Wailing is the striking magnum opus of the decade’s horror epics. A 157-minute police procedural that concerns a town’s spate of bizarre ritualistic killings that spread like hysteria and into multiple realms of horror, The Wailing is broad and focused enough to encompass multiple genres and haunting in the end for vague depictions of mysterious motives of characters – specifically a priest, a shaman, a mysterious Japanese man, and an enigmatic woman in white – who seem to be both fighting against one another at opposite ends of an earthbound, spiritual battle and somehow working as parts of an otherworldly system towards the same suspicious goal far beyond mankind’s comprehension.
11. Berberian Sound Studio (2011)
Like Amer, an ode to the giallo. But where Amer imitated Bava, Fulci and Argento, Berberian Sound Studio places black gloves on its projectionist and dives into a Lynchian freakout wherein a fish-out-of-water sound technician’s life becomes intermingled with the horrific film he is making. And if anybody is actually reading this, my major regret on this list is leaving director Peter Strickland’s latest film, In Fabric, outside of the top 50.
Breaking It Down: Remakes and Sequels
Surprisingly for a genre that has, up until recently, undoubtedly yielded the most remakes and sequels of any genre, most of the Top 101 consists of original films, with barely any remakes or sequels making the cut. To verify the strengths or weaknesses of such films – and to correct any ranking errors here or there – I’ve ranked the all remakes and sequels below.
Note: Especially egregious in all of this is my until now total omission of The Crazies, which is a very good remake that could very easily have made the Top 101, but which I had moved to this category pretty early on without considering it for the pre-lists. Ditto Fright Night, which is pretty good but feels a lot less necessary than The Crazies.
24. Leprechaun: Origins (2014)
23. Dracula 3D (2013)
22. Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
21. Dracula Untold (2014)
20. Poltergeist (2015)
19. The Wolfman (2010)
18. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
17. Carrie (2013)
16. Dark Shadows (2012)
15. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)
14. Knock Knock (2015)
13. Pet Sematary (2019)
12. Silent House (2012)
11. Frankenstein (2015)
10. Evil Dead (2013)
9. Fright Night (2011)
8. The Crazies (2010)
7. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015)
6. We Are What We Are (2013)
5. Depraved (2019)
4. Piranha 3-D (2010)
3. Suspiria (2018)
2. Maniac (2012)
1. Let Me In (2010)
65. Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010)
64. The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) (2015)
63. Yoga Hosers (2016)
62. Rings (2017)
61. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
60. Hatchet III (2013)
59. Victor Crowley (2018)
58. Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010)
57. Saw 3D (2010)
56. Jigsaw (2017)
55. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (2013)
54. Malevolence 3 (2018)
53. Hatchet II (2010)
52. Sinister 2 (2015)
51. VHS: Viral (2014)
50. Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)
49. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)
48. Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
47. The Nun (2018)
46. Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
45. Annabelle (2014)
44. Leatherface (2017)
43. The Collection (2012)
42. Chromeskull 2: Laid to Rest (2011)
41. Insidious 2 (2013)
40. The Thing (2011)
39. Rec 3: Genesis (2012)
38. Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2010)
37. Tales From the Hood 2 (2018)
36. The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (2011)
35. Bereavement (2011)
34. Phantasm: Ravager (2016)
33. Rec 4: Apocalypse (2015)
32. The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
31. The First Purge (2018)
30. Insidious 3 (2015)
29. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
28. Blair Witch (2016)
27. Scre4m (2011)
26. Wolf Creek 2 (2014)
25. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
24. The Purge: Election Year (2016)
23. It: Chapter 2 (2019)
22. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
21. Survival of the Dead (2010)
20. Final Destination 5 (2011)
19. Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
18. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
17. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)
16. 3 From Hell (2019)
15. Halloween (2018)
14. Cult of Chucky (2017)
13. The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)
12. V/H/S/2 (2013)
11. Curse of Chucky (2013)
10. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (2014)
9. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
8. Rec 2 (2010)
7. Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
6. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
5. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
4. Alien: Covenant (2017)
3. Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)
2. Purge: Anarchy, The (2014)
1. Creep 2 (2017)