nine of the best horror movies of the past decade, according to reddit
In case Hereditary wasn't enough, Reddit users have ranked their top horror films.
Still from Hereditary
Reddit is a reservoir of fascinating content. Linger on the surface and you’ll find breaking news peppered with memes that perfectly describe the feeling when someone asks you to smile. Dive deeper and you’ll be debating whether you’d take a job as a cemetery groundskeeper with a house on the premises on Dreadit, the aptly named subreddit dedicated to horror films. As well as providing stimulating questions on your potential career trajectory, Dreadit has kindly compiled a definitive list of the scariest films of the past decade.
The top horrors have been decided by reddit’s relatively democratic ranking style -- upvote the ones you like, downvote the ones you don’t. And while it’s due to change as more eager Dreadittors pile in, they’ve already got a fairly decent list to help send you on your way to chronic insomnia. So we binged them all to give you the low down on each.
1. The Cabin in the Woods, 2012
What it’s about: The Cabin in the Woods is a horror comedy, which sounds like an oxymoron but makes sense when you think about it -- is there any better time to unleash a cathartic cackle than when all your muscles have seized up in a state of temporary paralysis? But it’s also a smart interrogation of the genre’s conventions, playing up classic horror tropes and stereotypes to satirise them. The plot centres on -- unsurprisingly -- a cabin in the woods, where five friends decide to spend a lovely weekend away. Unbeknownst to them, two scientists are manipulating the whole thing behind the scenes. It’s directed by Drew Goddard and produced by Joss Whedon, who previously worked together on the Buffy the Vampire series. Apparently the pair locked themselves in a hotel room for three days to write it, which I guess is one way to tap into the cabin fever mentality.
What reddit says: “The Scream of this decade.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 92%
2. Hereditary, 2018
What it’s about: You probably know about Hereditary. You’ve seen it on buses, in the cinema and in your nightmares. You should have at least read our interview with director Ari Aster about how he made it so disgustingly terrifying. But if you haven’t seen it, which is a very smart and rational decision to make, a recap: it’s a supernatural horror starring Toni Collette playing a minituraist artist called Annie. It’s about family secrets, trauma and grief, and what happens when you’re fated to a hellish destiny. Maybe not one to watch if you value your sleep.
What reddit says: “It sounds like bullshit since it’s new, but for me Hereditary is the best of the decade.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 90%
3. The Conjuring, 2013
What it’s about: A couple and their five daughters move to a rundown farmhouse in Rhode Island, but soon get swept up in a slate of paranormal activity. The first hint that something is awry comes when the family dog refuses to enter the house, and soon turns up dead (sorry, so sorry). What follows is a thrilling concoction of horror staples -- witches, killings and exorcisms. Good old fashioned family fun!
What reddit says: “So this is one of the first horror films that I left the theatre thinking, "I don't want to watch that movie again. NOT because it wasn't good, because it was phenomenal, but because of the sense of discomfort and terror I felt through it. After sitting on those feelings for a couple weeks now, I would definitely watch it again.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 86%
4. Green Room, 2016
What it’s about: Green Rooms are pretty terrifying enough places as they are -- the waiting room for musicians, comedians and actors to stew in angsty nerves ahead of their impending performance. They’re even worse if you’re the subject of the 2015 film starring Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart. It centres on punk band held hostage in a green room at a neo-Nazi bar, after they witness a skinhead murdering a girl. Just in case you needed anything else to put you off playing a gig at a neo-Nazi bar.
What reddit says: “One of the best films of the last decade, regardless of genre.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 90%
5. The Witch, 2015
What it’s about: The Witch is a 2015 film often stylised as The VVitch. Set in 1630s New England it focuses on a family of exiled Puritans, a devout strand of Christianity that believed in “purifying” the Church of England from Catholicism, and who also tried to cancel Christmas. When one the children is kidnapped by a vvitch, suspicions fall on the oldest daughter. More than strictly a horror, it’s a smart film with feminist themes interrogating how women were cruelly demonised for falling outside the norm. So, still relevant then.
What reddit says: “Slow burn savage film. I was stupid and went camping after watching it.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 91%
6. The Wailing, 2016
What it’s about: This South Korean film has all the hallmarks of a grade A blood curdler: a remote village in the hills, the arrival of a mysterious stranger, the sudden outbreak of a strange disease, a shaman, an exorcism, the sacrifice of lots of innocent chickens. Poor chickens. It first showed at Cannes in 2016 among a slew of other Korean films, which Vulture stated made “most American cinema seem clunky and unimaginative”.
What reddit says: “It’s a rare mystery horror movie with tons of underlying themes and explanations and theories and symbolism that are explained throughout the internet.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 99%
7. Let the Right One In, 2008
What it’s about: Take a sweet coming-of-age film about a bullied 12-year-old befriending the new kid in town, chuck it in a snowy Scandinavian setting, add some high-pitched sound effects and top with a relentless thirst for human blood. That’s just about Let The Right One In. The Swedish film is based on a 2004 novel of the same by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and while it’s since been sucked through Hollywood with a remake featuring a young Chloë Grace Moretz (Let Me In, 2010), this is the better version. The originals always are. Half romance, half horror, it’s just as much about a nuanced exploration of an unfurling relationship as it is about scaring you shitless.
What reddit says: “Definitely the greatest vampire movie I saw since Interview With A Vampire.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 98%
Honourable Mentions (they weren’t strictly 8th and 9th place, but they were great so we’ll include them):
The Guest, 2014
What it’s about: In The Guest, a guest -- an American soldier called David -- turns up to a family’s house and explains he was a friend of their son who died in the Afghanistan war. Suddenly, lots of people start getting killed, so the daughter, Anna, gets a bit suspicious of David. Fortunately there are a lot of other parts that are surprising, which is why the film enjoyed a decent amount of critical success. AV Film even said, “Dumb fun is rarely this smartly delivered.” Which is a bit of a backhanded compliment, but a compliment nonetheless.
What reddit says: “Not horror in the traditional sense, but The Guest made me feel really uneasy for most of it.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 89%
We Are Still Here, 2015
What it's about: The poster art for We Are Still Here is giving us very Edvard Munch The Scream vibes, which feels apt. The film hangs on a classic trope of the genre: a haunted house. When Anne and Paul’s son Bobby dies in a car accident, they move to a new (but actually very old) home in New England. Their neighbour Cat warns them to leave, explaining that it was built as a funeral home in the 1800s by the Dagmar family, who secretly sold corpses on the side to cop a bit of extra pocket change. Naturally, Anne and Paul ignore Cat, because nobody ever pays attention to sensible advice in horror films. Which is just as well, because then we wouldn’t have the scream-fest that follows.
What reddit says: “Reading the name of the movie even gives me chills.”
What Rotten Tomatoes says: 95%