After the onslaught of torture porn and oh-so-many sequels of the ‘00s, the 2010s breathed new life into horror with innovative storytelling and thought-provoking social commentary.
This was the decade that slashers became even more meta thanks to filmmakers like Joss Whedon, who found a new way to honor — and troll — horror fans. “Being haunted” no longer became contingent upon moving into a spooky house: As It Follows taught us, it could also be a terrible side effect of your most recent hookup. The larger-than-life dystopian society of The Purge movies — in which all crime, including murder, is legal for one day every year — got closer to reality as each subsequent film in the franchise leaned further into America’s political division.
Yes, the 2010s were a great decade for horror, and the last 10 years have gifted filmmakers with plenty of potential material. It’s the decade that brought us Instagram and Snapchat — and the ability for further social media surveillance. It marks the global beginnings of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements and the presidency of Donald Trump. As movements got bigger, horror filmmakers found ways to incorporate real world struggles into their work, perhaps no one with greater success than Jordan Peele with his Oscar-winning racial commentary Get Out.
But not all horror films tackled social issues or flipped a subgenre on its head: Some just scared the crap out of us, which garners them just as important a place on this list.
Here are the horror films that really made noise in the 2010s.