So I wanted to make this list as inclusive as possible and not simply focus on American films.  I’ve compiled the 10 best films form the last 10 years from 7 different countries.  As per the usual, this list is not ranked and instead appears in alphabetical order.  Enjoy my best list of the best horror movies of the decade!

 

The Babadook

The Babadook [2014]

So very nearly experimental, The Babadook address the theme of paranoia and the anxieties of being a single mother and just oh so much more.  This film leaves one wondering if what is being depicted is actually happening or if it’s simply all in the mind?  It’s actually as linear as can be expected – trust your eyes, or can you?  Tenderly crafting and given genuine soul and purpose, rather than resort to “jump-out-go-boo” scares, this film instead elects to gnaw at your soul.  If Sinister wanted to be good, it’d be this.

 

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods [2012]

Similarly aware of the conventions of the Horror, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon team up to craft a film that incorporates every Horror convention under the sun and balls them up into a film that not only pokes fun at these conventions but uses the audiences familiarity with them, as a weapon to confound their expectations.  While the tone of this film is definitely on the lighter side of the Horror spectrum, this film knows what the fan-sluts want and knows how to give it to them.  Ever true Horror fan has those friends who just don’t understand the appeal of watching people blunder into the same situations time and time again, ad infinitum.  Well, this is a good place to start understanding.

 

The Descent

The Descent [2005]

Director Neil Marshall has a tendency to craft his films to handle more as genre tributes rather than simply another miniscule installment into that genre.  Marshall is acutely aware of the conventions of the genre he has decides to pay tribute to and consequently, love them or hate them, his films dare to push into new directions and keep the experience fresh.  With an all female cast that’s no stranger to pain, this film is the Horror fans dream with lots of goodies to sink your teeth into, either for Horror studies, for the film fan and everyone in-between.  If you know where to look, there are all kinds of moments that’ll bend your mind.  Be aware that this film was considered to be too down beat for North American audiences and as a result, the US release has a different ending.  Not expressly better or worse, just…different.

 

Grindhouse

Grindhouse [2007]

While more playful than serious, Grindhouse embodies the true spirit and tone of the grindhouse films of the 1970’s and 1980’s and infuses and delightful sense of humor.  While technically comprised of 2 films, it’s two films with a singular objective.  While most films strive to pay tribute to genres, this film attempts to recreate the atmosphere of American grindhouse film culture of the 70’s and 80’s – and to terrific effect.  Ideally viewed together and as a single entity, this film not only captures the essence of these forerunner films, but also pokes some much needed fun at them.

 

I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil [2010]

Employing a different brand of psychological Horror, Jee-Woon Kim’s I Saw the Devil [2010] plays out similar in tone to Old Boy [2003] but with a much darker journey.  Nobody does revenge like the South Koreans and I Saw the Devil wages a psychological war that you just have to see to believe.  The journey is long, dark and twisted and no stone along the depths of depravity will go unturned.  Cunningly crafted and assembled, the boasts more than just Torture Porn antics, this film draws quite heavily on both camps of Visceral and Cerebral Horror.  Do not undertake this journey lightly, or Jeen-Woon Kim will ruin you.

 

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In [2008]

Probably about as far away from the first three films as any film can get in terms of the aesthetic spectrum, there really is only one word to define this film.  Beautiful.  Embodying an Ingmar Bergman-esque tradition of meticulous beauty, Let the Right One In is the quintessential contrast of beauty and Horror, tranquility and savagery.  Through it all the film still manages to tell a genuinely compelling and touching story about growing up and fitting in.  It’s quite honestly hard, come finale, not to cheer for the “wrong team” as others get their comeuppance.  There’s just so much about this film that cannot be quantified in words and it simply needs to be experienced for oneself.

 

Martyrs

Martyrs [2008]

More than just Torture Porn, Martyrs is simply too methodical for that.  Instead of focusing on the act of torturing, the film instead places emphasis on pain and suffering – the cerebral counterparty to the very visceral, torture.  The film embodies all of the qualities that one would expect of a film of this type, which, above all, is demanding to watch – not expressly because of the visuals (though that certain is a factor, or obstacle for some, depending on how you look at it) but because of how candid and brutally honest the film actually is.  It would seem to be a difficult task to categorically distinguish itself from the Torture Porn subgenre however, startlingly, director Pascal Laugier manages to execute this feat.    Proceed with caution.

 

Pan's Labyrinth

Pan’s Labyrinth [2006]

While Let the Right One In [2008] is beauty marred by moments of abject horror, Pan’s Labyrinth is the antithesis – horror punctuated by moments of beauty.  With no shortage of imagination, writer/director Guillermo del Toro has drawn together and woven into a rich tapestry, threads of Fantasy, Horror, Drama and Period Films.  The result is nothing short of mesmerizing.  Del Toro creates his dichotomy by contrasting the horrors of the real world of the 1940’s Spain with the blissful escape offered to little Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) by her fantasy world are nothing short of crushing.

 

[Rec]

[REC] [2007]

Arguably one of the most successful attempts at the found footage Horror subgenre, REC stands alone as being singularly engaging, terrifying, gripping and blissfully concise this film manages to still find the time to be good ol’ fashioned fun!  Since the cast is largely unknown to North American audiences, the film is lent extra strength as there is no star power being utilized to draw in crowds.  The film is forced to stand on its own two feet and achieve its own success.  The is one of the first and the most successful attempts ever made to transport the audience into the events and experience them as close to first hand as is humanly possible.  REC  simply knocked it out of the park.

 

Zombieland

Zombieland [2009]

While confessedly, it’s no Shaun of the Dead, that doesn’t mean that it’s not good enough to stand on its own.  And that’s just what it does.  While similar in tone and presentation as Shaun, Zombieland makes some of its own observations and contributions to the zombie apocalypse canon of Horror.  Borrowing equally form Horror, Road Films and Comedy this film manages to walk a very narrow path parallel to Shaun, without stepping on its toes.  This particular telling is well rounded in every respects with no shortage of spirit, laughs, cries and gore, it’s certainly worthy of its spot right next to Shaun of the Dead.

 

What did you think?  Do you think I missed anything?  What should have made this list that didn’t?  What would you have dropped for it to appear on this list?

Written by James Ness

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