Decade of death: 10 greatest horror performances of the 2010s

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Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch–Courtesy of A24

Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch)

A star is born.

If you feel like you’ve seen Anya Taylor-Joy in a million movies the last few years, that’s because you have. The role of Thomasin in Robert Eggers’ directorial debut proved to be a breakout for the young actress, and the amount of success coming to her is unquestionable and well-deserved.

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In The Witch, Taylor-Joy plays the eldest daughter of a family who is banished from their colony over a religious dispute. They move to a secluded forest and build a farm where they hope to live off the land, but are faced with one horrifying event after another. The family begins falling apart, with Thomasin unfairly catching much of the blame, and Taylor-Joy shines in the role.

As the teenage Thomasin, the actress captures the aspect of being torn between the religious life her father wants for her, and the exciting freedom she wants for herself. The character feels stuck, bound by her family to a life she doesn’t belong in, and Taylor-Joy perfects the balance between loyalty and longing. We feel for her as she’s cast into a new world only for it to fall apart, and by the time the film wraps up and she’s been put through all sorts of emotional hell, we are ourselves relieved by her freedom – even though it comes at a terrifying price.

The Witch itself is one of the very best movies of the decade, and Anya Taylor-Joy is giving one of the greatest horror performances in it. Expect to see her in everything for quite some time.