Graveyard Shift

The Best Horror Movies Of The 2010s That Didn't Take Place During The Decade 

Eric Luis
Updated January 2, 2020 1.3k votes 242 voters 4.4k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the movies that mined scares from the past to make a great movie for the '10s.

Looking back at the 2010s, it's hard to ignore the impact that horror movies had on the decade. In a landscape dominated by big-budget blockbusters, relatively small-budget horror films began to break out all over the cinematic landscape. It has also been a decade of horror nostalgia, and many scary movies of the last 10 years didn't actually take place in the 2010s. This was true of both indie horror films and bigger-budget movies, like IT (2017), which became one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time. 

Some of these films came from first-time directors, launching their careers into the stratosphere overnight. Others came from the twisted minds of well-established filmmakers. From the 17th-century Massachusetts wilderness to the scorching Summer of '84, these are all of the best horror films of the decade that took place in the past.

The Conjuring is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 2010s That Didn't Take Place During The Decade
Photo:  Warner Bros.

When Does It Take Place? 1971

Why Is This Setting Scary? The Conjuring is based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, and the film follows the duo as they investigate a haunted Rhode Island farmhouse in 1971.

What's The Best Throwback Scare? When a small child is nearly pulled out of their farmhouse bed.

Actors: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, + more

Released: 2013

Directed by: James Wan

One of the decade's best?

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IT
It is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 2010s That Didn't Take Place During The Decade
Photo:  Warner Bros.

When Does It Take Place? 1989

Why Is This Setting Scary? IT is based on Stephen King's hit horror novel of the same name. Set in the 1980s, the story follows the young members of the Losers Club as they uncover a menacing mystery in the small town of Derry, Maine. 

What's The Best Throwback Scare? Pretty much anything involving Pennywise, who is modeled after Victorian-era clowns.

Actors: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill SkarsgÄrd, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, + more

Released: 2017

Directed by: Andy Muschietti

One of the decade's best?

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The Witch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 2010s That Didn't Take Place During The Decade
Photo:  A24

When Does It Take Place? 1630s

Why Is This Setting Scary? Roger Eggers's film debut is definitely one of the best horror films of the decade. The movie follows a banished pilgrim family as they try to survive alone in the wilderness, only to come across a forest-dwelling witch that changes their lives forever. The period-accurate dialogue only adds to the film's sense of dreadful realism, and it shows what an often watered-down folk legend would look like in real life.

What's The Best Throwback Scare? The demonic rabbit that causes William's rifle to backfire.

Actors: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, + more

Released: 2015

Directed by: Robert Eggers

One of the decade's best?

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Annabelle: Creation
Annabelle: Creation is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 2010s That Didn't Take Place During The Decade
Photo:  Warner Bros.

When Does It Take Place? 1955

Why Is This Setting Scary? A chapter in The Conjuring universe, Annabelle: Creation reveals the origins of the horrifying doll, Annabelle. After the tragic end of their daughter, a toy maker and his wife struggle to overcome their loss. After they welcome a nun and group of orphaned girls into their home, the dark depths of their grief are soon revealed. 

What's The Best Throwback Scare? The bedsheet ghost in the bedroom.

Actors: Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto

Released: 2017

Directed by: David F. Sandberg

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