What a decade it was for film. Horror films, that is. By all counts, the 2010s provided us horror fans with plenty of the best ever made. Please forget The Dead Don’t Die. Not since the ‘80s had horror become ubiquitous with a time period. A few months back, I wrote about 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. It would most definitely seem that writers and aspiring filmmakers took note of its satire and statements, and thus began the great horror onslaught that might not ever be toppled.
If your sub-genre thirst was gore, you were covered with Kurt Russell’s Bone Tomahawk. Found footage? So many good ones, so I’ll just go with 2010’s Trollhunter. Zombies? Wyrmwood. Paranormal? It Follows. I could gladly do this all day, but my page is only so big, so let’s not waste any more room and get to the cream of the crop, the top 3 filmmakers of the decade.
Ti West – Coming in third, because his trifecta of greatness began in 2009 with The House of the Devil, Ti became a trailblazer for the resurgence of smart horror. One day, I hope to have the eloquence that Joe Bob Briggs possesses, so until I do, I strongly suggest you listen to his analysis on why Ti’s breakout film is such a stunner. He made Cabin Fever 2 the same year, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. Ti followed these up with 2011’s The Innkeepers, and 2014’s The Sacrament, proving he was quite comfortable over the whole spectrum of horror.
Lars von Trier – The runner-up, Trier delivered to us his “depression” trilogy, followed up by a stunner in 2018 staring Matt Dillon. Technically, Antichrist, about a married couple dealing with grief after the death of their child, appeared at the Cannes film festival in 2009, but didn’t make its way across the pond until the following year. This one goes off the rails so much so fast, that only a couple other films have managed.
Following up with Melancholia, I can only say dread. When you combine science-fiction and a depressing psychological drama, the result is a new kind of horror. The House That Jack Built came out this time last year, and is extremely polarizing. I’ll just say its an art house film that follows a serial killer, focusing on five incidents which molded his psyche.
Ari Aster – The prodigy. The new master. Ari has two films under his belt, and they are both masterpieces of the genre. Coming out of nowhere, Ari brought us Hereditary in 2018. This film will stick with you. The only thing more powerful than a few select scenes that you’ll never be able to get out of your head is Toni Collette’s performance. She would have an Oscar and Academy Award on her mantle if this film didn’t have the stench of horror on it. The color saturation and cinematography created a dreary dreadful setting for a family falling apart at the seams.
His follow-up film, Midsommar, came out in 2019, finishing the decade on a very high note. The first fifteen minutes are absolutely brutal on a human level. Most of us can empathize with a rapidly dissolving relationship. Before we even start diving in to the beautiful scenery of Sweden, Ari has us feeling uneasy and that tension stays with us until the credits roll. Rarely does an ending feel so rewarding.
In the future, I envision horror moviegoers to remember fondly on two decades. The ‘80s for its slashers, and for the ‘10s for its dreaders. That’s mine, I’m copywriting it.
Find Tim Bynum online at thefilmsnob.reviews and on Instagram & Facebook: @the_filmsnob.