The genre of horror is as enduring as the movie genre. Humans love being scared. With the world outside the multiplex seeming increasingly crazy, you might think that film fans would be looking for movie thrills from sources that are less disturbing or hopeful. This hunch would be wrong on the evidence of 2021.
Here, we have the 10 best horror films that were seen by the magazine in 2011.
Troma has produced live action He-Man movies, and they are probably better than Psycho Goreman. The work of Astron6 is a Canadian creative powerhouse who gave the world The Void in 2016 and it is true that there are more laughs than scares here. Every character in this story demands an action figure, and every idea and ingenuity fills the entire story.
How scary is it? You will laugh more than scream. You will not mind.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The eighth in the Conjuring Universe is a parody of the real-life 1981 trial of the first person in the US to claim demonic possession. It is the worst part of the main series and is often silly rather than spooky, but we are not bored of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren. We are in the queue for tickets to The Conjuring 32.
How scary is it? It is pretty scary, except when it is silly. These moments are used to breathe.
Social commentary and horror are not uneasy bedfellows. This sequel to Bernard Rose’s 1992 adaptation of the Clive Barker short story The Forbidden suffers from forgetting that it is a horror movie in-between important rhetoric on BLM, urban gentrification and white privilege. Robert Aiki Aiki Lowe’s score is amazing and the performances are bold, but this is a classy production. Candyman doesn’t need to make the film so frightening because the real-life events he riffs on are terrible.
How scary is it? Candyman floats into view for the first time? Nope.
The story of the British Board of Film Classification at the height of the ’80s moral panic can be read as a mediation on the film. The viewer needs answers that never arrive, though it is an unnerving watch. It is surprising that the whole thing is perversely funny, suggesting that the Welsh filmmaker has more colors in her directorial palette than you might find in the rainbow.
How scary is it? Quite. The opening moments of The Driller Killer are so nasty that it was banned in 1979.
Dashcam is a follow up to Host, a hit that was a hit last time around. The frights are mobile, and lead Annie Hardy is a revelation, playing a turned-up version of herself as she broadcasts an evening of chaos spent ferry.
How scary is it? Very. How good? You must watch the credits to see the rap by Hardy.
The Power is a powerful tale of trauma and traumatization that is frightening if overplayed. Rose Williams, as a new nurse named Val, delivers a frenetic, physical performance that makes her a new talent worth keeping an eye on. Hospitals are also a place that are frightening and we are not just talking about the food.
How scary is it? Consistently. You guys should wear a mask. You don’t want to be near a hospital.
It is difficult to see James Wan’s latest work now that it has been three months since its release, but the best way to experience it is to go into the film as cold as winter. Stop reading these words. Just stop. Go for a walk or empty the dishwasher. Malignant promises one thing, then delivers another. It is so messed up, so batshit, so inventive, so weird, that you need to experience it as nature intended, which is cowering with fear, confusion and delight.
How scary is it? You have no idea.
The Night House
The performance of Rebecca Hall as the grieving widow of a suicide victim who is looking for her husband’s secrets is what makes this film a really great one. Hall would join the likes of Toni Collette in winning the biggest of acting prizes if the Academy were more open about horror cinema.
How scary is it? Very, very much. Hall screams for all of us.
This folk horror is written by Valdimar Jhannsson and Sjn and only gets weirder from there. The ending of this slow-burn oddity is a bit boring, but Noomi Rapace is the star and she is the one who should be smiling.
How scary is it? It will make you rethink your lunch choices.
Last Night In Soho
Wright said that his psychological horror was inspired by his obsession with London. His infatuation is not wholesome. He told the Los Angeles Times that he was giving a sharp rebuke to himself because he was too nostalgic about previous decades. The film is about why it is wrong to romanticise the past. The film is often too sleek, there are too many jump scares, and the second half makes no sense. The depiction of Soho’s long-lost underside is thrilling. There is no Itsu in sight.
How scary is it? Wright’s tale will linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled, even though he is jumpy rather than scary.
The 20 best films of 2021.