Plenty of horror movies have come out in the last decade, but not all of them get the attention that they deserve. Sure, there are tentpole blockbusters like It or The Conjuring, not to mention indie darlings that receive plenty of press like The Witch, It Follows, or Hereditary. But there have been many underrated scary movies of the 2010s that have flown under the radar of all but the most dedicated of horror fans. Even some critically acclaimed horror movies never got the attention they deserved.
Just because they aren't talked about quite as much, though, doesn't mean that these films are any less thrilling, terrifying, or thought-provoking than their more popular brethren. They may have been the victim of poor marketing or simple bad luck, but for whatever reason, these films didn't get quite the same buzz as some of their contemporaries. They're still worth checking out, though, especially for adventuresome horror fans who want some of the best and most underlooked films that the decade had to offer. For you, here are some of the most underrated horror movies of the 2010s!
- Photo: Tribeca Film
Found-footage horror movies and ghost movies have both been extremely popular over the course of the last decade - but they also both get kind of a bad rap among horror connoisseurs as being samey films made to appeal to the least-common denominator. At a glance, Grave Encounters looks like it'll be exactly that - a found-footage dark ride about the crew of a ghost hunting reality show who explore an abandoned mental hospital with a dark history, where they'll encounter plenty of kohl-eyed figures.
And, certainly, it has plenty of that to offer. But Grave Encounters also does things that most of its siblings don't dare, such as messing with time and space in ways that are genuinely disconcerting and reminiscent of more typically thoughtful fare like Picnic at Hanging Rock or the book House of Leaves.
- Actors: Alex Sander, Merwin Mondesir, Mackenzie Gray, Juan Riedinger, Fred Keating
- Released: 2011
- Directed by: Stuart Ortiz, Colin Minihan
- Photo: Xlrator Media
Sister act directing duo Jen and Sylvia Soska, who have recently remade David Cronenberg's Rabid, first exploded onto the genre scene with their 2012 black comedy horror film American Mary. Though it immediately earned them a name in extreme horror circles, American Mary still remains under-seen by the wider horror world. In it, Katharine Isabelle (of the Ginger Snaps series) plays a medical student who, in desperate need of funds, finds herself drawn into the world of extreme body modification.
Unfortunately, she is also the victim of a terrible assault from the doctors and mentors who are in charge of her residency, which leads her to a grisly revenge and into a cat-and-mouse game with the police. With a 60% at Rotten Tomatoes, the Critics Consensus says American Mary "utilizes pitch-black humor and striking visuals to deliver gory, freaky thrills for body-horror enthusiasts."
- Actors: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Paul Anthony, David Lovgren, Jen Soska
- Released: 2012
- Directed by: Soska sisters, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
- Photo: Phase Four Films
Director Mike Flanagan has made quite a career for himself by directing Netflix's mini-series version of The Haunting of Hill House, not to mention Stephen King adaptations Gerald's Game and Doctor Sleep. But one of his earliest horror film entries still remains under-seen, in spite of being part of what started his career in the industry.
The film follows Tricia and her sister, Callie. Tricia's husband has been missing for seven years, and she and her sister gradually begin to suspect his disappearance, along with those of many other people in the area, has something to do with a tunnel in front of her house. Just as Tricia is having her husband declared passed in absentia, he abruptly shows back up, bloody and barefoot, and surprised that anyone else can see him.
Of course, things only get freakier from there, as Flanagan showcases some of the skills that have made him a major name in the horror field in the years since.
- Actors: Doug Jones, Ian Gregory, Justin Gordon, Katie Parker, Brian Normoyle
- Released: 2011
- Directed by: Mike Flanagan
- Photo: StudioCanal UK
Not exactly a small-time production, The Awakening was made by the BBC and StudioCanal and stars actors like Rebecca Hall, who was in Iron Man 3, Dominic West, from 300 and Tomb Raider, and Imelda Staunton, from the Harry Potter franchise. Yet many people seem to have slept on this quiet but creepy haunted house chiller from 2011.
Hall plays Florence Cathcart, an author and professional skeptic who works with the police to debunk fraudulent spiritualists in the wake of WWI. When she is invited to a private boy's school where the ghost of a child may have caused the demise of another boy, her skepticism is tested by what she discovers. The movie may be at its best during the early debunking scenes, but all the actors give good performances, and there's plenty of chilly ambiance to be found all the way to the film's twisty ending.
- Actors: Rebecca Hall, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Ian Hanmore, Joseph Mawle
- Released: 2011
- Directed by: Nick Murphy