Halloween is just a few days away now, and following up this week’s list of the top 10 best horror films from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s is today’s list of the top 10 best horror movies of the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s. And of course, some additional excellent honorable mentions to flesh out the list and offer plenty more amazing scary content to chose from. These are strong years for horror production, so get ready for plenty of terrifying chills and top-tier Halloween entertainment.
Official poster for “X”
As usual, these are my own personal choices based on my own personal opinions, tastes, and rules for what does and doesn’t qualify for the lists. I obviously haven’t seen every movie ever made, so no doubt there are some wonderful movies I still sadly haven’t managed to see yet that could be strong contenders, but I have to work with what I have. And like yesterday, I’m selecting 10 films from each decade mentioned in the headline, so you’ll get three different top-10 horror lists all in one place.
Now let’s get started with the top horror movies of the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s! First up are my picks for the 2000s, and this is a decade with some of my personal all-time favorite horror movies, including some of the finest zombie flicks ever produced. This is also one of the few times I included more than one film from a single franchise on a decade’s list, because it just wasn’t possible to exclude these films. In no particular order, here are my picks…
It was hard to leave off some of these honorable mentions: Paranormal Activity, Bug, Trick ‘r Treat, Cloverfield, The Devil’s Backbone, Halloween (2007), and Pontypool.
Next ups is one of the undeniably greatest decades in horror cinema history, as the 2010s were packed with many of the all-time best horror movies ever made. It’s also a decade with some of the wildest and most impressive variety of storytelling, making it extremely hard to leave out so many terrific horror pictures — the honorable mentions is itself a tremendous list of movies deserving your attention. So here are the selections, in no particular order…
This was such an outstanding decade for horror, with big honorable mention going to Saint Maud, The Conjuring, Halloween (2018), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Midsommer, Creep, It Follows, A Quiet Place, Trollhunter, and The Cabin in the Woods.
I want to say again how painfully difficult it was to exclude any of the above honorable mentions from the final top 10 list. The 2010s were just so damn amazing.
The 2020s are only three years deep so far, so I considered only selecting a handful of films for this list, but instead decided there’s more than enough worthy content to fill out a top-10-so-far list. Considering how strong the past 23 years have been so far in horror cinema, I’m confident we’re in for lots more excellent scary filmmaking and that eventually a full decade-long list for the 2020s will be even more impressive than it already is so far. So here they are, in no particular order…
Already a strong start to the decade, with honorable mention going to Smile, The Black Phone, Werewolf By Night, Halloween Kills, Halloween Ends, and Sheep.
Once more, I must note the difficulties in making these choices. I was especially self-conscious about leaving out any of the Blumhouse Halloween revival films because I really love them a lot and it’s a franchise that spent several decades trying to get a sequel right and finally hit the nail on the head. I suspect in months or years to come, I’ll rethink the selections and one or more of these films will wind up joining the final list. And meanwhile, you can read my countdown and reviews of the entire Halloween franchise from worst to best right here.
And there you have it, dear readers, the top 10 best horror movies from each decade of the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s. Combine this list with yesterday’s list of the top 10 horror movies of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and you have 53 years and 60 films to choose from for your Halloween holiday viewing fun. I hope you find some films you haven’t seen yet on these lists and give them a look, and have a safe Halloween!