5 Underappreciated 2010s Horror Movies

The 2010s gave audiences a lot of horror movies to enjoy, in every sub-genre. There were blockbusters, returns to beloved franchises, and zombies everywhere you looked. More indie horror was recognized by the mainstream and directors like Ari Aster and Robert Eggers emerged to put their mark on the horror genre. But for every Scream 4 or The VVitch, countless other movies didn't get the recognition they deserved.

This list looks at 5 underappreciated horror films from the 2010s, featuring foreign standouts, evil music boxes, and the nasty side of folklore. There may be some movies here that have completely flown under the radar or some that just didn't sound appealing but each one has its own merits and is worth a first or even second look.

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Released in 2017, Wish Upon takes on the underused trope of wish fulfillment gone bad. Starring Joey King as Clare, a teenager haunted by the suicide of her mother and embarrassed by her dumpster diving, hoarder father Jonathan, played by Ryan Phillippe. On one of his dumpster diving excursions, Jonathan finds an old music box inscribed with Chinese and gifts it to Clare for her birthday. She translates some of the writing to mean seven wishes and immediately wishes that her high school bully would rot.

Of course, like the classic tale of the monkey's paw, the wishes Clare makes have consequences. For each wish she makes, someone close to her dies horribly. Even though it takes her a surprising number of wishes to realize this, and the fact that she continues to wish after the realization, Wish Upon actually has a lot to like. The deaths are inventive, the cast and acting are good and the ending isn't what you typically get from teen screams.

Starting as a discussion on his podcast and becoming a meme in the Kevin Smith community (Walrus, yes!), Tusk became Smith's second foray into horror after 2011's Red State. The premise of the film is simple, Justin Long stars as Wallace, host of the popular podcast The Not-See Part, who happens upon a posting for free room and board and plenty of interesting stories. Wallace arrives at the home of Howard Howe, an old retired seaman played by Michael Parks, who regales him with the tale of Mr. Tusk, a walrus that once saved his life. Unbeknownst to Wallace, he has been drugged and wakes up the next morning in a wheelchair with half of his leg amputated.

What follows is a grotesque slow boil that sees Howe attempting to fully transform Wallace into the eponymous Mr. Tusk through multiple surgeries. Michael Parks shines as the crazed seadog obsessed with the animal that saved his life while Justin Long also delivers a great performance as a terrified man facing a life-changing transformation. There is also a very strange cameo by Johnny Depp as Guy Lapointe doing a dreadful French-Canadian accent.

2016's Iranian film Under The Shadow is set in 1980s war-torn Tehran. Shideh lives with her daughter Dorsa and husband Iraj. Shideh, a former medical student banned from practicing medicine due to her prior involvement with leftist student groups while Iraj is a practicing medical doctor, who is called away into military service. After Iraj leaves a young refugee boy moves in with their neighbors and tells Dorsa of the legend of the Djinn, setting off a chain of events that threatens the lives of both Shideh and Dorsa as the legend of the Djinn becomes all too real.

Dorsa becomes ill, personal items disappear, and vivid nightmares plague Shideh all while missiles continue to fall around them and their friends and neighbors leave for safer spaces. Set in mostly closed quarters, Under The Shadow is led by fantastic performances from Narges Rashidi and Avin Manshadi and genuinely frightening jump scares that aren't the usual easy frights.

Released in 2012, Grabbers is a comedy monster movie that is set on a remote Irish island and follows new police officer Garda Lisa Nolan and her reluctant partner Garda Ciarán O'Shea as an alien invasion threatens their quaint island life. When mutilated whale corpses begin washing up on the shore it is only the beginning as tentacled monsters from space that subsist on blood and water try to drain the island and its inhabitants dry. One man inexplicably survives being attacked by the creatures and it turns out it's because he was more alcohol than man at the time and the creatures, dubbed Grabbers, are completely allergic to alcohol.

Starring Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, and Russel Tovey, Grabbers is an extremely fun monster movie with an absolutely ridiculous standoff as the town works together to become drunker than any town has ever been to ward off the aliens.

A much more serious Irish affair, The Hallow shows audiences the dark side of faeries. Conservationist Adam, his wife Claire, and their baby Finn move to a remote location so Adam can study the plant and fungal life in the local woods. The locals are less than happy to see Adam and his family have moved in and when officers respond to a report of vandalism at the family's house, they relay the legend of The Hallow, faeries, banshees, and baby stealers that are said to inhabit the woods. As Adam's studies unearth more and more instances of a strange fungus in and around the local flora and fauna it becomes clear that Hallow are more than a local legend and they want baby Finn for their ranks.

With disquieting mythology and truly horrible body horror, The Hallow reinvents and subverts what audiences expect from faerie tales, taking it from the magical to the horrific in a very short time.

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