With a surprise expansion this weekend for the new killer horror film It Follows, I take a look back at the best horror films from the decade so far. Some people are predicting a bit of a horror revival and that’s not far off at this point. Check out these five freaky films and bask in an often shunned genre’s glory!
The Loved Ones (2012)
Technically speaking, The Loved Ones has been out since 2009, but mainly in its home country of Australia. The film finally got a US theatrical release (limited), during 2012. I’ve seen it probably half a dozen times since. It’s not because The Loved Ones is particularly scary, it’s not even all that original, but it is made with such intense skill and commitment that it tickled my horror bone in a way few recent films have. It mixes dark comedy with brutal violence and a touch of coming-of-age story. The Loved Ones never wastes a moment and keeps eyes locked on the screen until the very end.
Excision has an ending that just made me sit there whispering “damn” to myself for five minutes straight. Not everything in the movie works, its overt sexual nature will put off some of the more squeamish viewers, but you can’t fully understand the nature of this film and its main character until the finale. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the basic story follows a strange young woman coming into her sexual phase in youth. It’s violent, eerily acted, and marvelously plotted. Excision flew under many peoples’ radar, but it’s well worth checking out.
The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring was huge when it came out. A critical success, a box office hit. It cemented James Wan as an arguable virtuoso of the genre. What makes it so good, is that what it lacks in originality it makes up for in cold hard dread. This is a fairly generic haunted house story with two key differences. It has fully fleshed out characters, from the main family, to the family of ghost hunters that assist them. It also has a worthy hand behind the camera, out to prove even an old genre can learn new tricks. The Conjuring is easy to track down and anyone who missed it during its theater and DVD releases should head to store or the internet to get this one right now.
The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook isn’t only the best horror film of 2014 by a wide margin, it’s one of the best films to hit in 2014 period. Following the story of a grieving widow and her young son dealing with a ghostly, top hat wearing figure of evil. What could have been a monumentally cliché movie wound up being one of the most hard earned morality tales in recent genre history. It seems like the point of the escapes some people, but for patient, attentive viewers, this movie is not only scary, but a damn fine film about loss.
It Follows (2015)
I actually held off on writing this article right away because I knew It Follows was getting a wider release and I knew it had the potential to make the list. Boy am I glad. It would be a shame not to rave about this movie immediately after seeing it. Along with The Babadook, this film gives me a lot of hope that there are still great horror voices waiting to be heard. It’s best to not know much about the movie going in. Just know it’s both scary, in the traditional way, and a fantastic coming of age mood piece. Sadly, if it does well at the box office it will probably get a lesser sequel or spin off, but this movie deserves the business anyway. If this movie opens near you, see it. Immediately.