Each decade, the horror genre changes. The ’80s were filled with trashy slasher movies. Then in the ’90s, the genre had started to grow stale and repetitive. It wasn’t until 1996’s Scream finally revitalized the genre, leading to the influx of “hip” and self-aware horror that bled into the 2000s.
The horror genre has now changed in the 2010s, for better and for worse. This list will look at the genre’s tropes within the last ten years, with some being a saving grace, while others that need to just go away. Here are five horror trends of the 2010s that need to die out and five that deserve to stay.
10 Needs To Die Out: PG-13 Slashers
Slasher films aren’t what you’d call “high art.” They are exactly what they need to be: stupid characters being killed off in creative ways by an unstoppable killer. The over-the-top kills are what make the genre watchable in the first place.
Within the last two decades, studios have decided to tone down the violence to PG-13, creating atrocious titles like Slender Man, Black Christmas, The Bye Bye Man, and many more. It’s definitely not a creative choice either, as it’s obvious the studios just wanted a PG-13 rating to help bring in more money. PG-13 can work in certain horror, but the slasher genre is reserved for an R rating.
9 Deserves To Stay: Horror Relying On Atmosphere And Visuals
Many horror fans hate jump scares. While some of them can be effective, they are generally reserved for the “cheap scare.” By the end of the movie, you’ve completely grown immune to it and forgotten most of them.
In the 2010s, we got many classic horror films that relied more on atmosphere, tone, and visuals. Films like The Witch and Hereditary stuck with their audiences long after the credits rolled. This is because a mood was set and the director stuck with it. With the right kind of imagery and intensity, a horror film can get under your skin in the best way possible.
8 Needs To Die Out: Cinematic Universes
The Conjuring Universe was a great idea on paper, but let’s face it, many of the movies have been pretty awful. The original Conjuring is a terrific film, no doubt, but since then, the movies within this universe hasn’t come close to the same quality.
Each new horror villain they’ve introduced has become a disappointment. Annabelle, The Nun, and The Curse Of la Llorona were all panned by critics and audiences (okay Annabelle: Creation was decent). It’s understandable why the studios want this, since the MCU is one of the most profitable entertainment products in history. Unfortunately, The Conjuring Universe hasn’t been able to capture the same magic.
7 Deserves To Stay: Horror TV Shows
The horror genre comes in many forms; movies, books, video games, and even TV shows. This past decade has shown that horror can be just as successful on the small screen as it is on the big screen. Television gives creators the opportunity for long-form storytelling and character development.
These shows include Haunting Of Hill House, The Walking Dead, and Ash vs Evil Dead. You could even put Stranger Things in that category, which is one of the most popular shows going on right now. With all of these hit horror shows, let’s hope that there’s more to come.
6 Needs To Die Out: Long Trailers That Spoil The Movie
Now, this is actually an issue with movies today in general. Movie trailers nowadays are just way too long, on top of having too many of them. It’s awful when a horror movie, especially a slasher, has a trailer where it’s made clear who is going to get killed.
A notorious example of this is the trailer for Halloween (2018). To be fair, a studio wanting to market a horror movie needs to show some sort of scares and kills. Except in Halloween, there were so many shots in the trailer where a character is seconds away from being killed by Michael. That robs the audience of the suspense going in.
5 Deserves To Stay: Horror That Relies On Sensory Deprivation
Throughout the last ten years, there have been some great horror movies where sensory deprivation is put into play. This means that an important sense, such as sight and hearing, is taken away from characters, resulting in some extremely tense sequences.
For example, in Hush, the main protagonist is deaf and is being stalked by a psychotic killer. When something as important as hearing is taken away from a character, this makes the audience feel as if they lost it as well. Other noteworthy mentions are A Quiet Place and Bird Box.
4 Needs To Die Out: Supernatural Technology
In the digital age, it was inevitable that studios would find ways to incorporate technology with supernatural horror. The problem is that these movies just end up feeling gimmicky, and even silly at times.
Unfriended is probably the most notorious example of this where the entire movie takes place on a Skype call among multiple people. It’s a terrific concept but it was executed poorly. Other atrocious movies have also jumped at this trend like Friend Request and, more recently, Countdown. For some reason, ghosts or demons just don’t mix well with technology.
3 Deserves To Stay: Worthy Stephen King Adaptations
In the ’80s and ’90s, films based on Stephen King’s work were being made like crazy, with many of them being cheap cash-grabs or made-for-TV products. The past ten years fans have gotten some really good adaptations from Stephen King novels such as IT, Gerald’s Game, 1922, and even 11/22/63 (not horror but still great).
Sure there have still been some missteps, such as Carrie and Pet Sematary, but it seems like King’s novels are getting adaptations from creators who respect his work. Even in January 2020, HBO has a series based on The Outsider with Jason Bateman. There’s still talk of a new miniseries on The Stand. Here’s to hoping that HBO produces it.
2 Needs To Die Out: Sequels, Prequels, & Remakes
The last decade continued on with the plethora of sequels, prequels, and reboots. While a lot less were made compared to the 2000s, they were still a mainstay in the genre. Sometimes, they just feel unnecessary. For example, no one asked for a prequel to The Thing. The ambiguity was one of the best things about it. Also, Halloween (2018) was not needed, despite being a decent homage to the original.
This isn’t to say that sequels, prequels, and remakes don’t have their place. It’s just that this past decade there have been a ton of great original horror movies that don’t need to be a part of an existing franchise to be successful.
1 Deserves To Stay: Thought-Provoking Horror
Sometimes referred to as “elevated horror,” the 2010s contained some of the best films the genre has to offer, whom of which will go down as a classics in the years to come. These films took the horror genre but applied it to though-provoking stories that delved into societal and political issues. These included Us, Midsommar, The Lighthouse, and The Babadook.
One of the best films of the entire decade, in general, was Get Out from Jordan Peele. It took a relatively simple premise of meeting your girlfriend’s parents but then delved into a hellish nightmare that commented on liberal racism. We hope that the trend of these great horror films continues on and the genre gets the respect it deserves.
NEXT: The 10 Best Horror Movies Of The Decade (According To Rotten Tomatoes)