After much hand-wringing, here's my top 20 horror films of the decade, followed by a further 10 runners up. In my opinion, the last ten years have been the most creative and vital for the genre since the '80s!
First, a quick comment on the state of the genre. Beyond pure entertainment value, one of horror's functions is to provide a relief valve for society, a way for people to let off steam. Whether explicitly or through allegory, the genre allows people to view the most pressing issues of a given era through a fresh lens. It's a cultural coping mechanism, a way for people to come to grips with the harsh realities of the world, and to sometimes even laugh at them.
With that in mind it's not surprising that contemporary horror has a lot on its mind. Some of the concerns addressed by this past decade's films were: environmental destruction; racism; misogyny; familial disintegration; sexually transmitted disease; cults; religious trauma; the economic divide; pandemic; authoritarianism; genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Holy motherfucking apocalypse!
Finally, a personal observation. My tastes have changed: there isn't a single zombie movie on this list. However, including the runners up, there are ten(!) films about the occult and/or cults!
Anyway, without further ado, here's my picks (please feel free to chime in with any disagreements or egregious omissions!)
A Serbian Film
Color Out of Space
I Saw the Devil