There’s been a resurgence of horror in the 2010s that is welcomed by many. Smaller studios like A24 and a newfound craving for real horror has caused a substantial uptick in new horror IP and players. No longer is James Wan making every horror movie to hit the silver screen (although he is still making quite a few). So I thought, in honor of the spooky season, why not list some of the best horror flicks that have come out of one of the biggest players in the genre this decade, Blumhouse Productions?
For some background, Blumhouse Productions was founded by film producer Jason Blum 19 years ago. However, it wasn’t until 2006 that the studio began releasing films, and they didn’t hit the mainstream until 2009 with the now classic “Paranormal Activity.” Blumhouse has gone on to produce the entire “Paranormal Activity” franchise, as well as other popular horror like “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle.” They have also produced a number of non-horror flicks that have received critical acclaim, like “BlacKkKlansman,” “Whiplash,” “Upgrade” and “Split.”
At its core, however, Blumhouse is rooted in horror and thriller movies. While they have produced their fair share of stinkers, here’s some of the best in release order:
“Paranormal Activity” (2009)
This is the one that started it all. Before “Paranormal Activity,” horror movies had largely become gore fests without suspense, like the “Saw” franchise and “Final Destination.” It was the directorial debut of Israeli-American director Oren Peli, who has gone on to direct most of the “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious” films. If you somehow don’t know what the premise of the movie is, it follows a family being haunted by an evil presence but adds in the element of found footage. The film is shot entirely through handheld and security camera footage, including many scenes of people going about their lives or sleeping while scary stuff happens overtly or subtly in their surroundings. It’s a classic at this point, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s a must-watch for horror fans.
This was the first scary movie I watched that really clicked for me. I never understood the appeal of being scared. Why would I watch a movie that makes me feel like I’m going to die when I can watch “Toy Story” or “Jackass” or something? But with “Oculus,” I got it. The flick, directed by Mike Flanagan (“The Haunting of Hill House”) starring Karen Gillan (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), centers on a horror trapped within an old mirror. Between its cool visuals and suspenseful moments of tragedy, it’s an unforgettable addition to the Blumhouse lineup.
“Creep” (2015)/“Creep 2” (2017)
I’m cheating here by including both of the “Creep” films together, but they work best as a package deal, so I’m going to do it anyway. These movies are insane. I didn’t watch them until last year, and they carry on the trend of found-footage horror that was pioneered by “Blair Witch Project” back in the day. The first follows a documentarian who is hired by a cancer-diagnosed man to document his life in a tape he is recording to leave behind for his children. Let’s just say that isn’t the entire truth. The second follows the events of the first, but in a meta sense where someone attempts to hunt down the subject of the first film only to find herself lured in and trapped. Both movies are amazing and weird and manage to make mundanity absolutely terrifying.
“The Gift” (2015)
This movie introduced me to Joel Edgerton, and I’m so glad that it did. The indie darling actor stars in this suspenseful thriller/horror film alongside Jason Bateman (“Ozark”). The story is about a man (Bateman) who runs into an old friend (Edgerton) when he moves back to his hometown. He then proceeds to keep running into him as Edgerton’s character starts to act creepier and creepier and further crosses boundaries. This movie is a master class in suspenseful dialogue and doesn’t rely on jump scares to achieve its most tense moments.
“Get Out” (2017)
There is a debate to be had about whether or not Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, “Get Out,” is a horror movie. Peele himself referred to the film as a “documentary,” which certainly didn’t quell the arguments around the genre-bending film. Undoubtedly, there are strong horror elements in “Get Out,” and it manages to stay unique, interesting and tense for the entirety of its duration. The incorporation of racial tensions into the horror framework only serve to elevate the already extremely good film to an amazing one.
“Happy Death Day” (2017)/“Happy Death Day 2U” (2019)
Horror can be more than just scary, as we see in the “Happy Death Day” series. If the name didn’t tip you off, the goofy time loop horror series is a parody of a genre that it obviously has great admiration for. These movies are dumb fun, and I thought the second may have crossed the line into self-indulgence just a bit too much, but at the end of the day, they have some fun scares and big laughs. Consider this for something a little lighter as you gorge on discount bags of candy from Target.
“Truth or Dare” (2018)
This movie is not good. I would venture to say that it’s bad, quite bad actually. But in any horror movie list, there needs to be some genre towards the cheesy “so bad it’s good” subgenre that pervades in scary movies. The film follows a cast of fairly annoying teenagers as they initiate a deadly game of “Truth or Dare” that causes them to hallucinate and accidentally kill their friends. Yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds, and that’s what makes it so great. It’s a dumb, easy watch, made even more fun by the addition of alcohol if you’re of the age to do that kind of thing. If you’re into laughing and not getting scared at bad writing and acting, this one’s for you.