By Jay Hunter – Those of us who work here at Jump Scare are often asked many questions about cinema and in particular our thoughts on horror cinema. But by one of the most popular questions is “why isn’t horror good anymore?” to which we reply “…it is”.
It’s true that the 1970’s and 1980’s spawned many, many brilliant horror movies. A lot of which are still remembered to this day. But that’s just the thing, time acts as a filter. So when looking at the 1970’s, instead of remembering The Bat People or The Savage Bees we remember Jaws and The Exorcist.
In fact, the last decade has probably been the strongest ten years for horror since those ‘glory days’, to prove it we’ve put together 25 MUST see movies from 2006 until 2016!
Honourable mentions; Girlhouse, We Are What We Are, Kill List
True-crime writer Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) is in a slump; he hasn’t had a best seller in more than 10 years and is becoming increasingly desperate for a hit. So, when he discovers the existence of a snuff film showing the deaths of a family, he vows to solve the mystery. He moves his own family into the victims’ home and gets to work. However, when old film footage and other clues hint at the presence of a supernatural force, Ellison learns that living in the house may be fatal.
Sinister is not without it’s flaws, but from it’s very opening shot it has a really intimidating mean streak throughout. An unnerving horror movie
24. The Mist
After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to gather food and supplies. Soon afterward, a thick fog rolls in and engulfs the town, trapping the Draytons and others in the grocery store. Terror mounts as deadly creatures reveal themselves outside, but that may be nothing compared to the threat within, where a zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) calls for a sacrifice.
Like many of the entries in this list, The Mist divides a lot of people. Whether you love or hate the bleak ending, you can’t deny that it stays with you.
23. The Loved Ones
After a classmate (Xavier Samuel) declines her invitation to the school dance, a teenager (Robin McLeavy) kidnaps him and makes him the guest of honor at her own twisted prom.
A twisted, violent and uncompromising horror movie, The Loved Ones is hard to watch at times, but there’s no denying you’ll root for the main character until the very end. Gripping.
22. Drag Me To Hell
Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But her heavenly life becomes hellish when, in an effort to impress her boss, she denies an old woman’s request for an extension on her home loan. In retaliation, the crone places a curse on Christine, threatening her soul with eternal damnation. Christine seeks a psychic’s help to break the curse, but the price to save her soul may be more than she can pay.
Sam Raimi at his dark comedy best, Drag Me To Hell is a meta-fun horror movie with some memorable gross out moments. Popcorn horror at it’s finest.
Parents (Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne) take drastic measures when it seems their new home is haunted and their comatose son (Ty Simpkins) is possessed by a malevolent entity.
Perhaps the second most popular horror franchise of today, Insidious’ first two acts as a blueprint of what to expect from it’s successor, The Conjuring. It’s third act however allows the audience to have more fun than what they would come to experience with James Wan’s later horror efforts.
22. The Woman In Black
Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer, is recently widowed and grieving the loss of his wife when he is sent to a remote village to put a deceased eccentric’s affairs in order. Soon after his arrival, it becomes clear that the villagers are hiding a terrible secret. Kipps discovers that his late client’s house is haunted by the spirit of a woman who is trying to find someone and something she lost, and that no one — not even the children — is safe from her terrible wrath.
The highest grossing horror movie to ever come out of the United Kingdom, The Woman In Black is a great throwback to the days England reigned supreme with the infamous Hammer Horror studio.
21. The Descent
A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves with her friends; after descending underground, the women find strange cave paintings and evidence of an earlier expedition, then learn they are not alone: Underground predators inhabit the crevasses, and they have a taste for human flesh.
Now infamous for it’s double ending, The Descent is a nail-biting claustrophobic terror train.
Nearly two decades after being committed to a mental institution for killing his stepfather and older sister, Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) breaks out, intent on returning to the town of Haddonfield, Ill. He arrives in his hometown on Halloween with the indomitable purpose of hunting down his younger sister, Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton). The only thing standing between Michael and a Halloween night of bloody carnage is psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).
Dividing critics and fans alike, Rob Zombie’s Halloween was never going to have an easy time, being a reboot of one of the most loved horror movies of all time. Whether you like it or not, you can’t deny Zombie put his unique stamp all over the movie and dialled the violence up to eleven.
19. The Evil Dead
Mia (Jane Levy), a drug addict, is determined to kick the habit. To that end, she asks her brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) and their friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) to accompany her to their family’s remote forest cabin to help her through withdrawal. Eric finds a mysterious Book of the Dead at the cabin and reads aloud from it, awakening an ancient demon. All hell breaks loose when the malevolent entity possesses Mia.
Building upon the brilliant original movie, the Evil Dead remake amps up the violence in a none stop horror rollercoaster. Even though it likes some of the comedy and charm of the original, it’s impossible not to have fun watching this movie, we recommend getting a few friends around to – watch!
18. Lights Out
When Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) left home, she thought that her childhood fears were behind her. As a young girl growing up, she was never really sure of what was real when the lights went out at night. Now, her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that jeopardized her safety and sanity. Holding a mysterious attachment to their mother (Maria Bello), a supernatural entity has returned with a vengeance to torment the entire family.
The most recent entry on this list, Lights Out is a brilliant opening entry from director David F. Sandberg, doing exactly what it says on the tin! – Review
17. Let The Right One In
A beautifully crafted love story with a horror twist, Let The Right One In follows Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden. When he meets his new neighbor, the mysterious and moody Eli (Lina Leandersson), they strike up a friendship. Initially reserved with each other, Oskar and Eli slowly form a close bond, but it soon becomes apparent that she is no ordinary young girl. Eventually, Eli shares her dark, macabre secret with Oskar, revealing her connection to a string of bloody local murders.
REC is a Spanish zombie horror film series. The original 2007 film was shot in Barcelona, Spain and the title is an abbreviation of the word “record”, as it appears on a video camera.
Although found footage had been popular for quite some time thanks to The Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, no movie had done it with such relentless intensity.
A serial killer (Elijah Wood) removes his victims’ scalps and attaches them to the vintage mannequins he restores in his late mother’s shop.
Shot entirely from the point of view of Elijah Wood, Maniac puts you in the shoes of it’s killer and outdoes the original movie in every way. An uneasy and tense watch.
14. We Are Still Here
Every 30 years, a lonely old house in the fields of New England wakes up and demands a sacrifice.
A beat by beat classic horror movie, but executed flawlessly. There’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s done at such a high level you can’t help but love We Are Still Here
13. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Residents of a worn-down Iranian city encounter a skateboarding vampire (Sheila Vand) who preys on men who disrespect women.
An artistic achievement in horror. The first ever Iranian vampire movie is shot entirely in black and white and boasts beautiful cinematography, must be seen to be believed.
12. The Conjuring 2
In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren come out of a self-imposed sabbatical to travel to Enfield, a borough in north London. There, they meet Peggy Hodgson, an overwhelmed single mother of four who tells the couple that something evil is in her home. Ed and Lorraine believe her story when the youngest daughter starts to show signs of demonic possession. As the Warrens try to help the besieged girl, they become the next targets of the malicious spirit.
Building upon the first movie, The Conjuring 2 may not be as bone-chilling as it’s predecessor but builds upon it’s own universe very effectively and feels like a more complete movie as a whole. You can check out our review – here.
Two teenage boys accidentally summon an evil entity by delving into black magic.
The Evil Dead of this generation. Jason Lei Howden delivers a fun, hilarious and blood soaked 90 minutes that will become a cult classic in years to come. You can check out our review with Jason – here.
10. You’re Next
The Davisons, an upper-class family, are extremely wealthy — but also estranged. In an attempt to mend their broken family ties, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Rob Moran) Davison decide to celebrate their wedding anniversary by inviting their four children and their children’s significant others to their weekend estate. The celebration gets off to a rocky start, but when crossbow-wielding assailants in animal masks suddenly attack, the Davisons must pull together or die.
A fantastically crafted slasher movie, it’s black comedy, gore and 1980’s atmosphere could see it slot right in side by side with other movies from the golden era of horror.
9. The House Of The Devil
Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes a mysterious babysitting job. When she arrives at the house, Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan) mentions a full lunar eclipse and explains there is no child, but that Samantha will be watching his mother instead. After exploring the sinister-seeming house, Samantha soon comes to realize that her employers are hiding a horrifying secret and have plans to use her, dead or alive.
An atmospheric slow burn of a movie, The House Of The Devil uses every tool at it’s disposal to make you feel uncomfortable, until it’s explosive final act.
7. Cabin In The Woods
When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams) arrive at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation, little do they expect the horrors that await them. One by one, the youths fall victim to backwoods zombies, but there is another factor at play. Two scientists (Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford) are manipulating the ghoulish goings-on, but even as the body count rises, there is yet more at work than meets the eye.
Taking The Evil Dead and giving it a tab of LSD, Cabin In The Woods might be the most fun you could ever have watching a movie with a group of friends. A brilliant satire at teen horrors with an insane final act.
6. The Orphanage
Laura (Belén Rueda) has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the place and help her convert it into a home for sick children. One day, her own adopted son, Simón (Roger Príncep), disappears. Simon is critically ill, and when he is still missing several months later, he is presumed dead. Grief-stricken Laura believes she hears spirits, who may or may not be trying to help her find the boy.
Del Toro delivers yet again with a twisted fairytale that all horror fans will appreciate.
5. Trick R Treat
Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents (Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker) of a small town face real ghosts and goblins on Halloween. Tales of terror reveal the consequences of extinguishing a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight and a grumpy hermit’s encounter with a sinister trick-or-treater.
Not since Halloween has a movie captured the spirit of the holidays quite so well. Trick R Treat is a must for all horror fans, especially when it comes to October.
4. The Babadook
A troubled widow (Essie Davis) discovers that her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home through the pages of a children’s book.
A dark psychological look, The Babadook definitely takes more inspiration from arthouse movies than pure horror, critically acclaimed, you’ll either love it or hate it.
3. The Witch
In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer (Ralph Ineson), his wife (Kate Dickie) and four of their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan’s faith, loyalty and love to one another.
Critically acclaimed on the festival circuit, The Witch is a masterfully made film. The tough final act could’ve let the whole movie down, but was handled so well it added to the atmosphere. A cinematic triumph.
2. The Conjuring
In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston) Perron. The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations are relatively benign at first, events soon escalate in horrifying fashion, especially after the Warrens discover the house’s macabre history.
If you asked me what movie on this list people will still be watching in 100 years, I would say The Conjuring. A horror movie in it’s purest form, not since The Exorcist in 1973 have audiences been so terrified. The Conjuring series cemented James Wan as the premier horror director of his time.
1. It Follows
After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns that she is the latest recipient of a fatal curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse. Death, Jay learns, will creep inexorably toward her as either a friend or a stranger. Jay’s friends don’t believe her seemingly paranoid ravings, until they too begin to see the phantom assassins and band together to help her flee or defend herself.
Often accused of style over substance, It Follows is the most divisive horror movie of the last ten years, many horror purest’s despise the movie and it’s understandable. For me however, it’s the coolest horror movie since 1996’s Scream. It oozes love for horror and love for cinema at every turn. It’s beautifully shot and it’s soundtrack screams nostalgia. Topped with a great original premise and great jump scares, It Follows is the best horror movie of the last ten years.
Do you agree with our list? Let us know in the comments below!