We're only a few weeks away from the first Halloween of the new roaring 20's. Personally, this is my favorite time of year. During a normal, non-COVID-19 year, the MLB playoffs are underway, the NFL is steadily approaching mid-season form, the NBA is beginning, and the NHL is starting as well. It's the best sporting time of the year in my eyes. Now, if you're a horror fan as well like myself, then this month is even better! I've been watching horror films since I was a kid and not much really terrifies me anymore, but I'm a new father so maybe that'll change with any kid-related horror flicks.
We're in a new decade now and I'd like to revisit some of the great horror films the 2010s gave us and what they meant to me: a die-hard horror fan. I'd also like to point out that this is strictly opinion based off the film itself, how I felt about it, if I'd watch it multiple times, and we're completely disregarding how well it did at the box office. Open your mind a little and forget whatever you might have heard about any of these films and please read through my explanations before dismissing it completely. I'll keep this as spoiler-free as possible.
It Follows - 2014
This was a controversial pick for me because overall, I thought this film was kind of weak and missed on a few chances they took. That being said, I loved the concept of the film and was disappointed in the execution of those great ideas. This film centers around a young girl who gets "haunted" or maybe more appropriately described "possessed" by a sexually transmitted demon. Yes, you read that correctly.
After a sexual encounter, main-character Jay awakens and finds herself trapped in a chair being used as bait by none other than the boy she just slept with. He apologizes and informs her that this thing will follow her and try to get close to her to kill her. The only way to survive is to sleep with someone else and pass it on. However once passed on, if the demon claims the victim, then it begins working it's way backwards to whoever had it before. There is no escape.
Now the concept of the film is weird but fresh. It's interesting enough to warrant the making of the film and I believe this one should be watched at least once, if you're a true horror fan. Also, the ending has some good moments. I personally laughed at several and scoffed at others. Watch it for yourself and let me know what you think.
The Belko Experiment - 2016
Do we list this film in the horror genre or action? Is it more of a thriller or a slasher? The answer is: yes. It's all of those things and more. In The Belko Experiment, a company issues a warning to their office employees that they must kill each other within a specific time-frame or else they will be killed at random. The entire building gets locked down without an exit and the employees are turned against each other, fighting for survival.
For lack of a better term, what ensued next was an absolute bloodbath. People are killing each other left and right. People are fleeing for their lives and it's terrifying to imagine being in their shoes. Could you survive it? Does anyone actually survive something like that? The answer to that lies within the ending that I cannot bring myself to ruin for you. Strap on your stomach of steel and enjoy this incredibly under appreciated gore fest.
The Witch - 2015
I'm going to get a lot of hate for this one and I'm willing to accept that burden on your behalf. I was told by several people to watch this film. I was told it was different with great writing and that it will surprise you. Well, it's definitively and surprisingly different than most horror films. This film drags on worse than knowing the outcome and still waiting for the Titanic to smash into the iceberg.
There were several different times when I wanted to turn this snooze-fest off. There were multiple moments where I asked myself:
"Self, why are you wasting your time on this piece of crap."
Then I remembered what my good friend who made the recommendation said to me and how I'd appreciate it after I finished it. Let me tell you, that is exactly why this film is a must-see. The biggest moments and surprises happen in the final 15-20 minutes of the film and they are worth it!
In the 1630s, a family is banished from their local colony due to a difference of religious beliefs and they lose a child, mysteriously at random. The eldest daughter Thomasin is blamed for the disappearance and accused of being a witch.
Some boring insanity ensues and in the final act of The Witch, it's revealed what actually happened to the child and what foul works were really at play. This film is a must-see and for those wondering if you should spend two hours of your life on something I'm honestly telling you is dull, the answer is unequivocally YES. Do yourself the favor of seeing it without reading anything further on it's plot details and I promise you a sense of surprise and fulfillment upon the end of your viewing.
Train to Busan - 2016
This is another horror film that was recommended by a friend and I had low expectations for it. Another zombie movie that is just like all the rest was not something I was over the top excited for. I was dead wrong, pun intended, about Train to Busan.
This foreign film takes place in South Korea amid the start of a zombie outbreak. A man and his daughter board a train heading to Busan when the outbreak happens just outside the train. Before they depart, one single infected makes it's way onto the train and havoc begins.
What's so different about this zombie film than any other you ask? I won't say it here. This semi-twist is unexpected and brilliant. See for yourself and get ready for the greatly anticipated sequel to this truly unique take on the zombie genre.
Tucker and Dale vs. EVIL - 2010/2011
It wouldn't surprise me if you haven't heard of this one or if you have heard of it and thought it was stupid. This has got to be the funniest pseudo-horror film I've ever seen and I loved every bit of it.
Two hillbillies on vacation to fix up their cabin get mistaken for psycho killers when a group of college students arrive to screw up their darn vacation. One of the students gets injured so naturally, the two fine young gentlemen help her out by taking her back to their cabin to nurse her back to health.
This goes so incredibly wrong as the others think she's been kidnapped and devise a plan for a heroic rescue. Amid their feeble attempts, the kids begin killing themselves in the most hilarious ways imaginable.
Take whatever you've heard about this film being a dump and throw it out the window. This one is a great horror-themed film packed with tons of fun, laughs, and the always incredible Alan Tudyk, which makes it 100% worth your time.
Trust me, you'll never look at a wood chipper the same ever again.
The Cabin in the Woods - 2011
- The best film on this list, in my opinion of course, is without a doubt The Cabin in the Woods. This film stars Chris Hemsworth, without his trusty Mjölnir, as a typical jock taking his friends away to a family cabin. This film pokes fun at all the typical horror film tropes very similarly to the original Scream. However what sets this apart, is the team of government officials cheering on the deaths of these kids and manipulating everything from the start.
- What makes this film so enjoyable is the amount of fun and Easter-eggs throw in to an otherwise genuinely scare-laced film. Everything from the casual "dumb blonde" to the "stoner whose weed is the answer to all the oddities occurring" is embraced with full force as this film takes place in a setting where these kids are being hunted by more than just a murderous-hillbilly family.
This film will surprise you with how much you'll jump, laugh, and genuinely care about the characters who are much more than your typical slasher-fodder. I cannot spoil the ending of this absolute gem, I can only implore you to see it for yourself and enjoy it!
Please let us know what you thought of these films. Have you seen them? Which ones do you agree with on this list and which ones do you think we got wrong here? Happy Halloween!