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MFF Horror Special: Our 10 Favorite Horror Films Since 2010

September 22, 2019

When MFF contributor (and award winning director) Zachary Beckler and I put together lists of our favorite horror films of 2010s, then combined them to form a super list – we didn’t know what the results would be (listen to the podcast episode), because our tastes are so different. The end result is a fun mixture of mainstream, non-mainstream and incredibly non-mainstream horror. We definitely stretched the limits of the genre, and I think the list is better for it.

Before I get into our 10 favorite movies, here is 20-11. mother!, Berberian Sound Studio, The Guest, The Witch, Revenge, Insidious, The Cabin in the Woods, Ghost Stories, The Wailing and I Saw the Devil.

10. The Blackcoat’s Daughter

The reason The Blackcoat’s Daughter is on this list is because of a single line (and very good filmmaking). There is a moment when young Kat (Kiernan Shipka) just had a very mellow exorcism performed upon her, and she sees the evil demon/spirit/devil leaving her body. Instead of being happy about the evil leaving her she says, “Don’t go,” to the evil as it floats away. This is somebody who is alienated at her boarding school and is so lonely she doesn’t want something that paid her attention to leave. The “Don’t go” line and the final shot do something really cool because the two tiny moments make us feel for a murderer who decapitates her victims and offers them up to a demon in the school furnace. Director Oz Perkins does a beautiful dread establishing dread via a patient approach that depends on a melancholic tone, and all-in performances from the actors. You should watch The Blackcoat’s Daughter. 

9. The Neon Demon

Do you like Nicolas Winding Refn films that aren’t Drive? If you answered “yes,” then you will really appreciate The Neon Demon. It is empty, dirty, violent, and beautiful to look at. It is gloriously original, and features insane moments (AKA eye eating) that will make you squirm. If you are a fan of beautiful looking insanity, you will love this movie.

8. Hereditary

This is from John Leavengood’s (MFF’s John’s Horror Corner) review (read it!)

From Emotionally challenging and strikingly acted, Hereditary is really different in all the ways I like. Despite its lengthy over-two-hour running time, it wastes no time leading the audience into unease with revelations of the deceased matriarch’s secrets, their family history of serious mental illness, messages from beyond, and glimmers of hallucinations (or even spirits?). We find visions of the deceased, birds kamikazeing into windows, and grave desecration. There is disturbing imagery in the form of severed heads swarming with ants, mismatched reflections, being burned alive and a troubling séance. But that’s nothing compared to the traumatizingly surreal—or maybe way too real—suffering the family endures in response to each other’s hysterical manifestations.

7. Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk is a beautifully written horror western that plays with multiple genres while creating memorable characters. It takes its time getting to the violence and I applaud that decision. I understand why it has stayed on the fringes of the mainstream because it can’t be categorized and features lots of patience and extreme body mutilation. Director/writer S. Craig Zahler  pulled off a $2,00,000 dollar miracle and worked wonders with a brief 21 day shooting schedule. It is rare when a tiny horror western can gather such a great cast and gets nominated for multiple Independent Spirit Awards.

I love the pairing of Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and the fantastic Richard Jenkins. The four men bring something different to the table and they get to each build their own character while spouting great dialogue. This hurts my soul to say but Kurt Russell is overshadowed by his costars. Normally, Russell is the best part of any film but Richard Jenkins (Cabin in the Woods) steals the show. Jenkins deputy character is a good man who has seen war and lost his beloved wife. At first glance he comes across as the town jester but as the film moves along he becomes an immensely likable and original character. Jenkins gets the best dialogue and I loved this line in particular.

6. It Follows

I love It Follows and have spent a lot of time writing about it since it’s release in 2015. Director David Robert Mitchell takes my favorite aspects of horror (urgency, dread, patience) and combines them with a beautifully simple story about the dangers of sex. Mitchell lets the film breath, and this allows the story to unfold organically – and at it’s own pace. The main character Jay (Maika Monroe) stays in a sleepless state after the monster starts following her, and it creates a dreamy atmosphere that is captured nicely by the lingering camera and patient editing. The film moves at a methodically slow pace, yet, you’ll have a hard time catching your breath afterwards.

5. Raw

Raw is what happens when a badass director who loves David Cronenberg makes a movie about cannibalism at a French veterinary school. This will sound overly obvious, but, director Julia Ducournau has created a very raw film that humanizes its characters and doesn’t glamorize anything. The violence, blood and disembowelment feel grounded in reality and feel organic and natural to the story (this is rare). Raw centers around a first year veterinary student named Justine (a very brave Garance Marillier) dealing with college hazing, sexual encounters and cannibalism. I never knew where Raw was going and that is a attributed to Ducournau who has made a movie that is honest, brutal and in no way soft.

4. Get Out

Get Out is what happens when a director takes his 1970’s horror influences, modernizes them, and is able to create his vision unencumbered. Director Jordan Peele crushed his debut film (and his second film Us), and you can feel his love of Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives all over it. The soul-crushing paranoia, A-list talent and awesome ending combine to create a film that totally earned its 99% Tomatometer average and Academy Awards.  It’s the rare crowd-pleasing movie that has something to say, and you will make you will laugh, cheer and hold your breath until the final moments.

3. Under the Skin

Under the Skin is a mesmerizing film that captures Scotland’s dreary beauty while blasting us with a sensory overload with cool visuals. I love that there is zero backstory, or expository hand holding. It is a remarkably simple movie that still leaves many questions unanswered. It is a pure and unadulterated experience that could be vivisected or simply appreciated. My advice is to turn off the lights, turn up the volume and allow yourself to fully appreciate a spellbinding experience.

Under the Skin tells the story of Scarlett Johansson’s unnamed character driving around Scotland on the prowl for men/victims. She takes them back to uninhabited homes where they are doomed via black goop quicksand.  The scenes are slightly improvised and all lead to hyper stylized endings. As her journey progresses she seems to become more self-aware and curious. This doesn’t bode well for her because she is out of the protection of her motorcycle riding assistant/boss/owner.

The journey her character takes is a wonder of cinematic prowess and natural beauty.

2. Climax

Zachary Beckler wrote this review, make sure to check out his wonderful Letterboxd page.

Bodies in community destroyed by minds in disunity. The harmony established in the astonishing opening dance number devolves piece by piece as individuals segregate themselves from the group (in two-shot discussions, or singular framing that follows characters moving in and out of hellscapes). After a signature Noe credit sequence 45 min in, the rest of the film is essentially an after-credits scene that may be the worst trip ever committed to film, constructed as an hour-long unbroken shot. The horrors on display may not be the most graphic in his filmography, but they are the most potent, even on repeat viewings.

Climax establishes and shows the disintegration of a culture in seemingly real time. No one on screen is sharing the same perception of reality, lost in the abyss of their own personal hell. The revelatory final shot brings into focus Noe’s intent, as a fade to white illuminates the audience. There is salve, but no salvation.

Our Favorite – #1 – Green Room

We were very happy that Green Room ended up as #1 on our list because it legitimately deserves to be at the top spot. It proves that director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Hold the Dark) is an amazing director who knows how to deliver the goods (AKA insane amounts of tension). I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I love how Saulnier makes violence look so ugly and realistic. Nothing is glorified, and you will find yourself incredibly nervous for the trapped punk band, The Ain’t Rights, who put up a pretty decent fight against some real neo-nazis who aren’t afraid of committing ultra-violence. Also, Patrick Stewart is awesome as the Neo-Nazi leader who is simultaneously charismatic, calculating and insane. Please watch Green Room.

Great cast.
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2019 12:40 pm

    Reblogged this on John Hunt Fiction and commented:
    Great list! Three movies on there I haven’t seen and will add them to my must-watch list… If you love horror, give this a read.

  2. September 22, 2019 7:09 pm

    Nice to see Green Room get some love.

    Climax though was a horrible disappointment.

    • September 22, 2019 7:33 pm

      I get the dislike for Climax. It has really stuck with me though. Not many movies do that..

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