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10 underrated horror films from the 2010s

The 2010s ushered in a renaissance for horror movies, as it produced many groundbreaking hits such as Get Out, Hereditary, It, and A Quiet Place.

But as many great horror movies blew many audiences away, some terrific films didn’t get the reception that they deserved. Audiences looking to find some new scares should definitely check out these underrated horror movies from the previous decade.

It Comes at Night (2017)

A man screams in horror in It Comes at Night.

This A24 horror film follows two families who struggle to live together in a cabin in the woods after a mysterious plague destroys the world outside. While the virus is implied to have a supernatural source, it isn’t explained exactly what it is or where it came from.

The film instead focuses on how paranoia and the urge to survive can drive a group of normal people to destroy each other. Harkening back to The Shining and Night of the Living Dead, It Comes At Night is a harrowing psychological terror that leaves audiences with no answers — only sorrow.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

A dead woman on a slab with blood coming from her nose in The Autopsy of Jane Doe.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Emile Hirsch and Succession‘s Brian Cox star in this film about two coroners who examine the body of an unknown woman found at the scene of multiple homicides. Both men soon find themselves haunted by supernatural forces as they delve deeper into the mysteries held within the titular woman’s corpse.

It’s a clever, slow-burning horror film that blurs the line between reality and nightmares. And thanks to its confined setting and the realistic performances of Hirsch and Cox, the movie builds terror and suspense all the way up to its shocking climax.

Annihilation (2018)

Two women in military garb with automatic weapons in Annihilation.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ex Machina director Alex Garland takes audiences on a psychedelic odyssey into the unknown with this sci-fi horror adventure. After a meteorite crashes into Florida and starts mutating everything around it, a team of scientists investigates the resulting “Shimmer” and encounters countless cosmic horrors and wonders.

Simply put, Annihilation is an enthralling and terrifying rainbow shot straight out of the bowels of a Lovecraftian nightmare that way more audiences should have experienced.

The Lighthouse (2019)

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in character with a lighthouse in the background in The Lighthouse.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Director Robert Eggers (The Northman) followed up his indie hit, The Witch, with this, his second film with A24. When two old-timey lighthouse keepers are stranded on the island they’re stationed at, they both start to turn on each other as they succumb to starvation and cabin fever.

Filled with mythical and psychosexual imagery, The Lighthouse is a bizarre and terrifying voyage into the deteriorating minds of two toxic men left alone to their own devices. As a result, this masterpiece should’ve received much more fanfare and deserved to win many more awards in the festival circuit.

The Wailing (2016)

A man with demonic red eyes in "The Wailing."
20th Century Studios

This South Korean film follows a detective investigating a series of murders brought on by a mysterious illness. Eventually, he suspects a Japanese man who just moved to his village to be responsible for it all, and his daughter becomes infected too. This film has just about everything, including creepy ghosts, wicked demons, murderous zombies, and possessed little girls.

The Wailing keeps audiences guessing over who’s responsible for the horrors inflicted upon this once peaceful little village. All this is part of the film’s exploration of chaos and uncertainty, invoking fears and frustrations over how real-life deaths, tragedies, and acts of violence just seem to happen to people at random.

Overlord (2018)

Two characters with guns look fearful as they encounter horror in Overlord.
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Produced by J.J. Abrams, this grindhouse war picture follows a team of Allied soldiers who come across a French village where the Nazis experiment on the inhabitants to create an army of zombie super soldiers.

It’s a wild B-movie bloodbath that looks taken straight out of a Wolfenstein game and classic horror movies, but it’s one that’s done pretty well. Overlord holds nothing back as it presents some of the most gut-wrenching bits of gore and graphic violence ever seen on film.

The Final Girls (2015)

Three characters from The Final Girls standing in the woods.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This meta-horror comedy follows a group of teens who inexplicable find themselves sent into the world of the lousy slasher film they’re watching. The Final Girls hilariously calls out the many clichés found in classic slasher movies as seen through the point of view of the fans themselves.

It very much captures how everyone has imagined themselves and what they’d do if they were thrown into a scary movie scenario. It also tells an endearing story of a young woman coping with the death of her mother as she reunites with her in this hysterical homage.

Absentia (2011)

Two women gathered in front of a laptop in "Absentia."
Phase 4 Films

In Mike Flanagan‘s directorial debut, a pregnant woman must legally declare her husband dead after mysteriously disappearing for seven years. But when he finally returns home, weak and traumatized, she and her sister quickly learn of an even older, darker mystery hiding beneath the bridge across the street.

Featuring a unique story, a terrific cast, and plenty of surprising scares, this Kickstarter-funded film goes above and beyond its limited resources to present a harrowing masterpiece worthy of its massive acclaim.

Raw (2016)

A young woman with a nosebleed in "Raw."
Wild Bunch

Directed by Palme d’Or winner Julia Ducournau, Raw is a stomach-churning film about a college student who experiences a twisted coming-of-age as she goes from vegetarianism to feeding on the flesh of the people around her.

It’s a deeply disturbing depiction of a woman entering the brave new world of womanhood, at least the one created by society, and going far off the deep end as she tries to satisfy her cannibalistic urges. Just try not to stand up quickly after watching this film, as its gruesome content is not for the faint of heart.

It Follows (2014)

Maika Monroe bound to a chair with a man shining a flashlight behind her in It Follows.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It Follows centers around a young woman who becomes stalked by a murderous, shapeshifting entity that only she can see after a sexual encounter with her boyfriend. Such a film takes the horror trope of sexually-active teens getting killed and turns it into a suspenseful and unnerving battle against death itself, and the fear will follow audiences long after it’s over.

Blending the cinematic styles of John Carpenter and Stanley Kubrick, this movie unnerves the audience on many levels, mainly due to the disturbing visuals, the frightening score, the indiscernible time period, and the lead performance of Maika Monroe (Watcher).

Editors' Recommendations

Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
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