Top 10 Horror movies of the 2010’s (So Far)

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Halloween’s here! Well, almost here. Every October, I like to take some time to talk about horror movies or Halloween-themed movies. This year, I decided to discuss my top 10 favorite horror movies I’ve seen since 2010. This has been a great decade and for me, it revived the horror genre.

The 2000’s seemed obsessed with torture porn, zombies, and found footage. Granted, we’re still stuck with a myriad of found footage movies, but we’ve also seen several cool aesthetics I hope to see more of. Horror movies are relying less on cheap scares and gore and more on psychological terror. We now have directors who are paying homage and splicing the genre with other genres.

Enough babbling, let’s get down to it!

10) V/H/S 2 (2013) – Yeah, I bashed a little on found footage and have a found footage movie on here, so what? Unlike its predecessor, V/H/S 2 has segments that flow better and each one increases its scares and visceral impact. The most standout segment is one where a guy films his bike ride on a GoPro, is attacked by a zombie, then we see his zombie rampage through the GoPro POV. If you’re going to make a found footage movie, take a some notes here.

9) Green Room (2016) – Those who follow my reviews and know me personally have heard me rave about this white-knuckle punk siege movie. It’s more of a realistic horror move, depicting just how potentially vicious, albeit incompetent someone might get in a fight-or-flight situation. And that’s all I’ll say since this might make my top 10 at the end of the year.

8) I Saw the Devil (2011) – It’s a Korean  revenge horror film about a spy versus a serial killer. With an insane body count, some memorably gruesome moments, and a surprisingly powerful story, I Saw the Devil is one of the more character-driven horror films in recent memory.

7) The Conjuring (2013) – I hate movies that pull the “Based on a True Story” card, but leave it to a horror geek like James Wan to win me over. This is a rare horror film that focuses more on suspense than cliches. What I like the most about The Conjuring is that it’s part horror film, part family drama. We spend time with the Warrens (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and see they’re a lovable couple, and maybe the first to make exorcisms look romantic (jokingly speaking).

6) ParaNorman (2012) – An animated horror film that’s a tribute to the 70s and 80s horror era, ParaNorman also features an investing Sixth Sense-style story. It’s an animated horror film that’s more for kids, ages 12 and up, but that’s okay. Horror can be for all ages if executed accordingly.

5) Oculus (2014) – Like The Conjuring, Oculus derives away from horror movie cliches. Director Mike Flanagan uses editing to trick the viewer into feeling like they’re hallucinating, like the main characters. It’s a disturbing movie about a pair of siblings trying to prove that a possessed mirror killed their parents, but the most frightening aspect is its ambiguous ending.

4) It Follows (2015) – How scary would it be if you contracted an STD in the form of a ghost that stalks you until it kills you? It Follows answers that question. It’s a blend of arthouse filmmaking and a John Carpenter tribute that had me looking over my shoulder repeatedly after seeing it.

3) The Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard delivered one of the funniest, bloodiest, craziest, and most twisted horror movies I’d seen in years. I watched this on Netflix after avoiding it and was blown away. I don’t want to say much for those who haven’t seen it, so just watch it!

2) The Babadook (2014) – The Babadook is a horror film that still gives me nightmares to this day. It’s an unsettling psychological study about a mentally unstable widow and her equally unstable son, and whether or not you believe the Babadook is real or imaginary, that’s part of the fun. Kudos to first-time director Jennifer Kent for using a minimum budget to design one of the creepiest creatures to date.

1) The Guest (2014) – Not many people have seen or even heard of Adam Wingard’s underrated gem. It’s an odd combination of 80’s slasher movies and action movies, making Rambo look like Michael Myers. It focuses on a soldier named David who befriends a family. He begins helping them make their life better, but once they realize he’s a supersoldier, the body count increases. It’s more thriller than horror, but its style and pacing qualify it as a brilliant horror homage.

Those are my favorite horror movies of this decade. Do you agree?

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“The Accountant”

Of the two Ben Affleck-helmed action flicks this year, I’ll take the non-Batman one. Still not happy between my options.

“The Accountant”stars Affleck as Christian, an accountant with a high-functioning form of autism. While he appears to be an average accountant, he moonlights as an assassin for criminal organizations. This is why the corrupt robotics company CEO (John Lithgow) should regret crossing him.

“The Accountant” is directed by the underrated Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior,” “Miracle”), and he’s a talented filmmaker. He’s a rare genre director, who makes unconventional action movies that are more about drama than the action sequences. The action scenes are spectacular in “The Accountant,” but they don’t top Affleck’s nuanced performance.

Affleck is quiet, expressive, and tragic as Christian. We get a sense of pain in his eyes whenever he’s alone. The backstory behind his character is far fetched, but still intriguing enough. The entire film has a problem between staying gripping and ridiculous.

The psychological study of Christian is the film’s selling point, but we spend more than half the movie focused on his cliched relationship with another accountant (Anna Kendrick). We also have JK Simmons as a seasoned treasury agent from Christian’s past, but all of his scenes are just exposition with no resolution.

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!

I admired the unconventional style of “The Accountant” between its twist-filled story, dramatic pacing combined with quick bursts of violence, and its puzzle-like cinematography. But the sloppy final act ruined my liking.

The last twenty minutes is where “The Accountant” completely falls apart. Simmons is introduced as a potential antagonist, but in the end, he’s a redeemed secondary protagonist without development. There’s a predictable twist behind a rival assassin (a wonderfully over-the-top Jon Bernthal) that made the climax anti-climactic. Lastly, the final twist in the end was ludicrous.

If there’s a sequel to “The Accountant,” I’ll see it for clarification. For now, we’re stuck with a miss.

Grade: C+

“The Girl on the Train”

Okay, “The Girl on the Train” is NOT another “Gone Girl.” If viewers are able to keep that in mind watching this ridiculous thriller, they should be able to enjoy it for what it is.

Emily Blunt plays Rachel, a broken alcoholic divorcee. She constantly harasses her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and Tom’s new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). As an escape from her misery, Rachel spies on an attractive neighbor Megan (Hailey Bennett) and fantasizes about Megan’s seemingly perfect life. Her outlet is broken when Megan goes missing and all fingers are pointed at Rachel, who seeks the truth behind Megan’s disappearance.

“The Girl on the Train’s” greatest aspects include one of Emily Blunt’s finest performances of her career, brilliant uses of an unreliable narrator, and some disturbingly provocative commentary on toxic relationships. It also has an unbalanced tone, making it an odd balance of neo-noir and Lifetime melodrama.

Starting with the good, Blunt’s portrayal of Rachel is raw and heartbreaking. We want her to find redemption and get her act together, so we’re endorsed in her story. Theroux and Ferguson both provide solid performances as Rachel’s “nice guy” ex-husband and the new wife, who has more depth.

The unreliable narrator is mashed in with drunken flashbacks, providing a unique spin on the trope. The pacing and tone don’t always compliment the mystery and twists, which is the film’s downfall.

Every major subplot involves characters sleeping with each other, revelations about pregnancies, and exposition regarding relationships. Laura Prepon (“That 70’s Show”, “Orange is the New Black”), an underrated and talented actress, is sadly used as an exposition tool.

I was also mildly disappointed that for a film with predominantly female cast, it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. Every conversation between two female characters revolves around one of the male characters, so that was frustrating at times.

The movie picks up in the final act once we get back to the main mystery, so its strong points are an engaging first act and a thrilling third act. The second act is the film’s weak link.

I accepted “The Girl on the Train” was just an entertaining soap opera with great twists and one Oscar-worthy performance.It’s worth seeing if you’re on a date, but otherwise, wait until it’s on DVD or Lifetime.

Grade: B