A follow up of my first piece, this article covers the best horror movies of the 1990s, 2000s and the 2010s. After the success of horror movies in the previous decades, producers realized that horror movies could be made on a low budget and rake in huge numbers at the box office.
Major film studios shifted their focus from quality content to sequels and remakes of the 80s films. The major breakthrough for horror movies was The Silence of the Lambs. The movie accomplished the rare feat of winning the Big Five Academy Awards ( Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay). The film revolves around a young FBI agent who has to catch a serial killer. While assigned to this task, she receives the help of another cannibalistic killer.
Another movie which redefined cinema with its twist ending was The Sixth Sense. It had a simple plot with a child psychologist who helps a disturbed child. However, it is the twist which makes the movie memorable. Found footage genre also made its presence felt with The Blair Witch Project. Made on a mere budget of 60,000 $, the movie made 248 million $ in the box office. Critics praised the found footage concept and this gave rise to other movies such as the Paranormal Activity franchise.
The zombie-comedy genre was introduced with films like Shawn of the Dead and Zombieland which were a delight to watch. The focus shifted from blood, violence, and gore to psychological thrillers such as The Others ( which had a beautiful twist). Sadly, this decade also witnessed the rise of unnecessary remakes which were panned by critics. Paranormal Activity turned out to be a major success in 2007. It was criticized by some for its reliance on jump scares.
A major breakthrough was the rise of foreign directors and their success. The Devil’s Backbone is a good movie directed by the evergreen Guillermo del Toro. A Tale of Two Sisters is considered to be a benchmark in South Korean movies. The Thai film Shutter was based on a photographer who discovers ghostly and disturbing images in his photographs.
In this decade, horror movies relied on the internet and streaming services to improve their reach and fan base. The success of non-American films such as The Babadook (Australia), Train to Busan and I Saw the Devil (both South Korea) continued. We have also been introduced to The Conjuring universe. It is based on the true cases of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
In the second half of this decade, the focus shifted to TV shows. Some popular ones are The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, American Horror Story. Netflix’s A Haunting of Hill House has received rave reviews from critics.
Stephen King’s It remake reintroduced us to the terrifying clown Pennywise. The second chapter is set to release in September this year. Hereditary is an underrated movie that was completely ignored by the Oscars. Who can forget it’s decapitation scene?
In conclusion, horror movies are continuously evolving. Nowadays, filmmakers are not afraid to try something new. This is the very essence of cinema.