Top 10 Horror Movies of the Past Decade (2005-2015)

In celebration of the Film Junk Podcast’s 10 Year Anniversary, we decided to count down the best horror, comedy and sci-fi movies of the past decade. For more info, listen to the full discussion on Episode #530.

10. 28 WEEKS LATER (2007)
Dir. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

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Not only does 28 Weeks Later feature some amazing set pieces (opening farm house, “zombie” transformation, sniper sequence, night vision, etc.), but the film looks at the various ways in which people might react in a major crisis situation. Most would think that if a loved one was being ravaged by rage-filled “zombies”, you would NOT abandon them in favour of self-preservation. What 28 Weeks Later presupposes is… maybe you would?


9. KILL LIST (2011)
Dir. Ben Wheatley

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The first time I saw Kill List, I spent the majority of the film struggling to understand the characters thanks to some thick British accents. Now, having watched it a few times on Blu-ray accompanied by a helpful subtitle track, I can comfortably say I love the film. The tone is at times comedic, but overwhelmingly ominous and the hitman story is equally as satisfying as the horrific last act. You’ll likely be left with a few lingering questions, which will either frustrate you or encourage an immediate rematch. Fans of the first season of True Detective should definitely check this one out.

8. [REC] (2007)
Dir. Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza

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[REC] benefits from the “V.E.K. Effect.” It’s visceral, experiential, and kinetic. This is a found footage horror film done well, utilizing a single location to guide the viewer through an extremely effective on-screen haunted house. Watching the characters navigate its corridors is equally fun and terrifying.

7. THE DESCENT (2005)
Dir. Neil Marshall

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The creatures are effective and the scares are solid, but what makes The Descent stand out is the claustrophobic setting and intense moments of survival as these girls worm their way through the tiny crevices in a cave, which unbeknownst to them, serves as the home of an ancient evil that awaits them.

6. PONTYPOOL (2008)
Dir. Bruce McDonald

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It’s great to have a Canadian film on the list, but it’s certainly not obligatory. Pontypool is a genuinely unsettling, funny, well-realized and brilliantly performed single-location horror film that utilizes a “theatre of the mind” approach to its scares. And of course, Stephen McHattie’s performance as radio DJ Grant Mazzy is great as usual.

5. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
Dir. Tomas Alfredson

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Beautifully shot and simply told, Let the Right One In was a refreshing take on the vampire mythology at a time when the sub-genre was at peak saturation. The film is mostly quiet and character-driven, but there are also some memorable set pieces throughout (the pool sequence is an obvious stand-out.) The American remake, Let Me In, is great too.

4. SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)
Dir. Martin Scorsese

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Is Shutter Island a horror film? YES. I believe its main intent is to horrify and unsettle. But feel free to call it a “psychological thriller” if that will help you sleep at night. Scorsese approaches the material from a sort of gothic horror angle, making the most of the creepy locations and incorporating some classic horror imagery that resonates, whether it’s imagined or not.

3. PROMETHEUS (2012)
Dir. Ridley Scott

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Prometheus is full of big sci-fi ideas, but at its core, it follows a fairly traditional horror structure as the crew of the titular spacecraft are stalked and knocked off in various ways. Not to mention its third act dip into some Cronenberg-ian body horror and the overall sense of doom as the crew attempts to meet their makers.

2. IT FOLLOWS (2015)
Dir. David Robert Mitchell

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Logic and rules be damned, I thought It Follows presented a fresh, high concept that worked brilliantly as a spiritual successor to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Disasterpeace’s score is great, it’s confidently directed, and Maika Monroe is an absolute pleasure to watch on screen. What a wonderful young lady.

1. UNDER THE SKIN (2014)
Dir. Jonathan Glazer

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What makes Under the Skin a horror film? It’s horrifying. Sure, Scarlett Johansson’s character might be an alien, but her biological make up and place of origin doesn’t discount the unsettling imagery and horrific moments littered throughout this film. Like Prometheus, I feel it has a place on a sci-fi list but in terms of tone, execution, and intent: it’s pure horror.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

  • The Host
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • The Babadook
  • I Saw the Devil
  • Slither
  • Let Me In
  • Cabin in the Woods
  • Rogue
  • Cloverfield
  • Death Proof
  • Fright Night
  • You’re Next
  • The Mist
  • Black Swan
  • The House of the Devil
  • The Strangers
  • The Innkeepers
  • Vacancy
  • The Ruins
  • Thirst
  • Piranha 3D
  • Spring

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  • Indianamcclain

    Interesting to see It Follows so high. I didn’t realize Jay loved the film that much. I do appreciate nods to films that aren’t talked about anymore like 28 Weeks Later, and The Ruins. Good list.

  • Indianamcclain

    One other thing, I find it interesting how many of these films were scoffed at, and deemed bad when they came out. It seems like people rarely say that a horror movie was effective nowadays.

  • Paul White

    No love for The Conjuring? Not even as an Honourable Mention?

  • SweetBlus

    Never understood the hard one people have for The Conjuring.

  • Zac

    Same here. I guess people got suckered in by that funky Ryan Gosling track.

  • ReelJunkie

    The rave reviews for It Follows make no sense to me. It did nothing for me. Was expecting House of the Devil to be on Jay’s list instead, since both are slowburns.

  • Indianamcclain

    Jay’s stated on the podcast that he’s not that big a fan of the film.

  • Jameson

    I would say Under the Skin is horror first, sci-fi second. It’s the voyeuristic terror of Peeping Tom and Psycho.

  • Niklas

    What is it about The Innkeepers and House of the Devil that people like so much? I don’t mind a slow burn as long as something interesting is happening or the characters you hang out with are interesting but in both those movies they are dull.

    If the intent is to horrify I’ll take The Conjuring, Insidious or Sinister instead. Those aren’t perfect at all but at least something besides a girl ordering pizza or answering a babysitting ad is happening for the first hour and a half.

  • RockJoker

    Still can’t believe you didn’t mentioned Martyrs, Jay. In my opinion it’s one of the greatest horror films of all time. But it didnt even made it to your HM. I really hope you just forgot about it for some stupid reason.

  • Lee Harvey Cobblepot

    Was I the only one who really loved The Burrowers? I would put it well above stuff like Prometheus, which I generally didn’t care for.

  • FoxMulder

    You didn’t like the imo excellent The Hills Have Eyes remake directed by Aja or did you forget it? Came out in 2006.

  • devolutionary

    I liked the Burrowers, didn’t love it. Interesting premise, setting, and time period (like the minimalist tone) but I didn’t find the payoff that satisfying.

  • Lee Harvey Cobblepot

    Completely valid points. The whole hook of the film, the setting, the mood, the play with classic western tropes, that stuff really got me. I’ll admit, it fizzled a bit, but the very ending was dark and brutal, and left me happy.

  • devolutionary

    If you liked the Western setting, you might wanna check out Dead Birds. I find it a bit scarier but the plot isn’t as strong (though Michael Shannon is in it). I also preferred the tremors-esque angle of the Burrowers to the claustrophobic supernatural setting (I usually don’t) but it’s worth a poke.

  • Lee Harvey Cobblepot

    I have Dead Birds on DVD, actually. It’s fine. I realized back then that I really love western horror.

  • Anti Popup

    No mention of Martyrs. Bullshit.