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!
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, + more
Directed by: Stuart Ortiz, Colin Minihan
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, + more
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
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, + more
Directed by: Soska sisters, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
In most horror movies, occult magic is shockingly easy to find and perform. So much so that it's a wonder people aren't calling up spirits and placing hexes left and right - which, if the number of supernatural horror movies out there are any indication, maybe they are. Not so in Liam Gavin's A Dark Song, a film that concerns two people - a woman grieving the passing of her 7-year-old son and an ill-tempered occultist - who are performing a grueling, months-long ritual.
Neither of them can leave the house for the duration of the rite, and its working through gradually takes a terrible (and possibly fatal) toll on the both of them. If this is the price of ritual magic, it makes much more sense that people aren't tossing it around willy-nilly.
Actors: Catherine Walker, Steve Oram, Mark Huberman, Susan Loughnane
Directed by: Liam Gavin