A Decade of Terror: The best horror films of the 2010s

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The Conjuring–Courtesy of New Line Cinema, The Safran Company, and Warner Bros. Pictures

The Conjuring (2013)

It’d be a disservice (and downright disrespectful) not to include James Wan’s work on a list of the best horror films of the 2010s. He may be off directing huge blockbusters like Aquaman now, but his influence on the horror genre is still reverberating as we wait ever so patiently for new films from the franchises that he got off the ground.

Though it could be argued that Wan’s Insidious is one of the scariest mainstream horror movies of the decade, The Conjuring is undoubtedly the definitive showcase for a filmmaker operating at the top of his game. Putting a fresh twist on old-school scares, Wan’s film delivers one terrific fright after the other with its blend of jump scares and classic supernatural spookiness.

It’s The Conjuring‘s heart, though, setting it apart from similar supernatural tales. Regardless of how you feel about the real-life Warrens, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson indisputably turn demonologists Lorraine and Ed into two of the most likable characters in all of horror cinema. Their love for each other is a light that shines through the darkest moments of the film, and the extent in which they care about protecting the family at the center of all the horror makes us infinitely more invested in their survival.

The financial success of The Conjuring and every subsequent sequel or spin-off is proof of how much audiences crave this franchise, and it all began here.