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The Best & Scariest Horror Movies of the 2010s

Updated on June 30, 2017

Are You Afraid of the Dark? You Should Be.

June 2016, India. A 65-year old man hailing from Andhra Pradesh suffered a heart attack while watching the movie The Conjuring 2. It is reported to have happened during the scene wherein the characters of demonologist couple Ed and Lorraine Warren were battling the demon Valak, the nun.

Such is the reputation of James Wan’s Conjuring series of movies that also include the spin-off Annabelle (2014), the doll from hell, that others who had seen the movie in theaters swore of misfortunes and hauntings that have followed them home. Whether this is true or not, or just an after-effect of the horrific experience of watching the movie, nurtures the fact that horror movies have the ability to instill terror in the mind, and thanks to CG and inspired storytelling, they are better and scarier than ever, and those who don’t have the nerve to watch them, should best keep away.

Some of the scariest movies have made their hauntings from the last 7 years, here, we present the best of the lot. BOO!

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

This amount of lung damage, though, I'd expect the body to be covered in third degree burns. It's like finding a bullet in a brain, but with no gunshot wound.

— Tommy

Directed by Andre Ovredal

In an old house with a basement-converted morgue, father and son coroners Tommy and Austin Tilden (Briax Cox and Emile Hirsch) are about to call it a day when the Sheriff brings in the corpse of an unknown woman. They work on the Jane Doe overnight and soon discover that the cause of death doesn’t match the state of her corpse. More mystery slowly unfolds just as a terrible storm strands them below. Eerie and claustrophobic, The Autopsy of Jane Doe combines eye-opening procedural with the creepiness of silence bound to ancient evil.

The Babadook (2014)

You're nothing! This is my house! You are trespassing in my house!

— Amelia

Directed by Jennifer Kent

In this Australian gem, an evil entity called the Babadook (a boogeyman that’s like a cross between the Grinch and Jack the Ripper) that resides in a children’s book comes to life to plague the household of a beleaguered, single mother Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). This is one of the best films to depict a mother’s anguish, perseverance and unyielding refusal to give up her child. But, are these enough to ward off the Babadook?

The Conjuring (2013)

There is something horrible happening in my house.

— Carolyn

Directed by James Wan

Based on the 1971 true story of the Perron family led by Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn (Lili Taylor) who settle in a farmhouse in Rhode Island with their five daughters. Soon, weird things start to happen. Famed demonologists Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are called in to investigate and they conclude that the place is indeed, haunted and must be exorcised but first, they must gather enough evidence to convince the Catholic church. The Conjuring is without a doubt, one of the most scariest movies ever made, and that it was based on facts doubles the amount of dread.

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

I know your name, demon, and that gives me dominion over you!

— Lorraine

Directed by James Wan

Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren return to help a family in England besieged by ghosts. Based on true events, the Enfield Poltergeist of 1977 deals with the family the Hodges, whose London house is the breeding ground of pure evil. The mother Peggy (Frances O’Connor) and her young brood are subjected to horrific experiences that sent them all packing. The Warrens’ investigation reveals that a demon named Valak resides in the abode and they try to vanquish it. James Wan’s follow-up to the original is just as terrifying (with some much needed light moments) and the sequences are more dynamic and in-your-face, making this one, a real must-see.

Devil (2010)

I don't believe in the Devil. You don't need him, people are bad enough by themselves.

— Detective Bowden

Directed by John Erick Dowdle

The mysterious suicide of a man who jumps from a building sends Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) to investigate only to find himself faced with an even more difficult task: five people are trapped inside a broken down elevator and they seem to be killing each other one by one. A religious security guard named Ramirez (Jacob Vargas) opines that it may be the handiwork of the devil himself. With story by M. Night Shyamalan, Devil is a claustrophobic whodunit supernatural thriller revealing its scares methodically—a psychological exercise in sheer terror. And like most of Shyamalan’s handiworks, it opens itself to interpretations after viewing.

Insidious (2010)

It's not the house that is haunted. It's your son.

— Elise

Directed by James Wan

As soon as Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) moved in to a new house that strange things begin to happen. Weird noises, doors open by themselves, and their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) suddenly falls into an inexplicable coma. They call on paranormal experts led by a medium named Elise (Lin Shaye) who reveals that Dalton is in an astral plane called the "further" inhabited by evil spirits and must be saved with time running out. Insidious is that kind of movie that's designed for one purpose only—to scare you to death. But, it’s the kind of dread that’s exciting (thanks to interesting characters) you’d almost welcome it.

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

If you call out to one of the dead, all of them can hear you.

— Elise

Directed by Leigh Whannell

Teenager Quinn (Stefanie Scott) always felt that her deceased mother has been trying to reach her from beyond. She goes to see a medium, Elise (Lin Shaye) to ask for advice, whom the latter says that she be careful (see quote above). When a freak accident forces Quinn to be confined in her house, weird things start to happen, something evil has answered her call. Elise arrives and is introduced to two internet ghost hunters Specks and Tucker, and they join forces to help Quinn. A prelude to the first movie, Chapter 3 is highly engrossing with many jump-scares, especially during Elise’s journey to the “further.”

It Follows (2014)

It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you.

— Jeff

Directed by Robert David Mitchell

A curse is passed on from one person to another through sexual intercourse which summons a supernatural manifestation which follows the victim relentlessly. 19-year old Jay (Maika Monroe) is the latest recipient of the curse and together with her friends must find a way to break it. Director David Robert Mitchell has crafted a back-to-the basics horror movie that has everyone looking back at the purity of the genre, the formula that makes horror movies classic, and...if somebody or something is following.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

The bible is filled with demons. If you believe in God, you have to believe in the devil. Jesus himself was an exorcist.

— Cotton

Directed by Daniel Stamm

Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), a charismatic preacher who has lost his faith invites a documentary crew to film his exorcism of a young farmhouse girl named Nell (Ashley Bell) whom he believes is just suffering from mental illness and expose exorcism as fake. But, things don’t go as planned, when the truth about demonic possession come slapping Marcus on the face. A found footage horror, The Last Exorcism is very grounded and interesting to watch as beliefs clash and the demon moves in to take over. The ending is a shocker.

Lights Out (2016)

Everyone is afraid of the dark and that’s what she feeds on.

— Rebecca

Directed by David Sandberg

Rebecca’s (Teresa Palmer) mother Sophie (Maria Bello) harbors the entity of her childhood friend named Diana who appears in the dark and disappears whenever the lights are turned on. The entity becomes malevolent and kills Sophie’s husband, then turns its attention to Rebecca and her half-brother Martin. Now, Sophie must do all she can to protect them. The scares in Lights Out depend on how long the characters could keep the lights on and prevent the entity from getting to them. The lights on-lights out, appear-disappear trick elicits a heart-pounding thrill that makes audiences literally jump out of their seats. Weak of hearts should be warned.

Oculus (2013)

It was the mirror!

— Tim

Directed by Mike Flanagan

An ancient, mysterious mirror which can manipulate the mind, was responsible for the deaths of Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim Russell’s (Brenton Thwaites) parents which they witnessed when they were children. Now, eleven years later, the grown up siblings resurrect their experience by bringing the mirror back and find out if what they had experienced is true. But, the mirror is already waiting for them. Oculus is an unnerving experience told through intermittent flashbacks, carefully orchestrated, which heightens the dread towards an ending that will have you shaking your head.

Oujia: Origin of Evil (2016)

He's gone. He lives in the dark and the cold, and he screams, and screams, and screams...

— Doris

Directed by Mike Flanagan

In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother Alice (Elizabeth Reaser), together with her two daughters Lina (Annalise Basso) and 9-year old Doris (Lulu Wilson) stage fake seances in their home as a means of living, helping people move on with their lives. When Lina brought in a Oujia board as part of their act, they inadvertently invite an evil spirit which possesses Doris. A priest, Father Tom (Henry Thomas) comes in to help them. A prelude to the first movie from 2014, this one is far more superior with characters that are very well-written and acted. And that retro look adds a certain feel that just makes everything more chilling. A word of advice, never use the Ouija glass as a telescope.

Sinister (2012)

When bad things happen to good people they still need to have their stories told, they deserve that much!

— Ellison

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Best-selling true crime author Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) moves his family into a house where a murder took place in order to gather material for his next book. In the attic, he finds a box of Super 8 home videos that depict gruesome murders connected to the house, and as he puts the clues together, he begins to start seeing things. Sinister is a movie that spends most of its time in the dark, or at nighttime, and basically, is a one-man show for Hawke. Well-written characters, great dialogues, a solid story structure and a lot of totally creepy home videos.

The Visit (2015)

Would you mind getting inside the oven to clean it?

— Grandma

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Two siblings in their early teens, Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) visit their grandparents whom they have never met. They settle in the old folks’ (who seem to be just too nice) country house where they document their stay with a camcorder—which becomes witness to the strange going-ons in the house, starting with their grandparents’ odd behavior during the middle of the night. This is found footage M.Night Shyamalan-style which proves he can deliver in that medium. The Visit is entertaining and spooky, and expect a great twist in the end.

The Woman in Black (2012)

I believe even the most rational of minds can play tricks in the dark.

— Daily

Directed by James Watkins

In 19th Century London, a struggling young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is given the awful job of securing the estate of a recently deceased owner in the marshland. The Eel Marsh house as it is called, is said to be responsible for a series of deaths of children, the townsfolk look at it with disdain. Arthur befriends a rich local named Daily (Ciaran Hinds), who helps him in his ordeal, and together they unlock the horrific secrets of the haunted estate. The Woman in Black weeps with generous amounts of scare—spine-tingling scenes that will have you clutching the armrest of your chair. If old school tales of terror is your thing, that's exactly what this movie would bring.

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