The 10 best horror movies of 2021

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You can’t expect a rebirth every 12 months; not all years will be record years. We may have been a little spoiled after a bounty crop or three incredible modern horror films, from the welcome new wave of female and POC filmmakers in the fold, to the two-pronged attack on the art audience and test (thanks, A24 and Neon) and the crowds at the Friday night multiplex (see you, Blumhouse). The level of quality horror – don’t call it “high”, please and thank you – that die-hard fans of the genre and casual moviegoers alike may have lapped up as blood from the freshly opened jugular veins was more than impressive in the late 2010. Yet all the waves eventually recede.

Add in production and release delays caused by external circumstances and, well, you’ve got a 2021 that delivered a pretty decent amount of scary movies … but nothing quite like, say, a 2018 – think Hereditary, the Suspiria redo, the Halloween to restart, A quiet place, upgrade – or the 3-2-1 punch in the middle of the decade of The Babadook, The Witch and Get out. It’s been a year to seize, spanning the gamut from studio duds and shrug-worthy sequels to a few indies that couldn’t get past the high-profile lo-fi throwback mode. (Say whatever you want about the Epstein-sploitation nugget The fearful of the sixty-first, it at least evokes the vintage spirit of Forty-Deuce.) And while some have courageously attempted to tackle our time of pandemic, no one has really offered a definitive take on the true horrors that still loom before our doors. It may be some time before filmmakers tackle this scourge of the 21st century.

Still, while you had to dig a little deeper than usual to find strengths, there were some incredible movies worth their weight in scares that crept and slumped into streaming services and theaters at. half capacity this year. From a supernatural punch from Britain to a mythological mother’s nightmare courtesy of Iceland, a slasher-classic update to the best entry in a long-running franchise yet – these 10 horror movies represent the best examples of the year of fear, on-screen and on-screen dread and dread.


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