25% Think This Is The Best Horror Movie Of The Last 10 Years — Why They're Wrong

(Welcome to Survey Says, a feature where we conduct a movie-related survey for a random group of people and explain why they're completely right, completely wrong, or somewhere in-between.)

The 2010s offered another decade of nonstop horror, in all its bloody, gory, and psychologically thrilling glory. Once we managed to drown out the endless conversations about "elevated horror" and embraced each new entry for its own merits, the modern-day classics were abundant. So now that we have a couple of years of distance, it might be time to ask the big, overarching question: which nightmare-inducing flicks stand atop the rest? And how can we even reflect on a pool of movies so wide?

No worries, /Film is back at it again, solving the unsolvable. In fact, we've already determined the answer! It was pretty easy, we just outsourced the work to the world's most reliable source of information: strangers on the internet! 635 of them, to be exact (all located in the United States because accuracy is a myth). This sample size of randos was asked to vote on the best horror movie of the last 10 years, and you can check out the results below. But steel yourselves, horror fans — the populist opinion may be too much to bear.

The Results Are In!

In reviewing the poll results, I went through a range of emotions and ended up much less annoyed than I would've anticipated. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with the 25% of people polled, who ultimately crowned "A Quiet Place" the best horror flick of the 2010s — but I've arrived at a place of acceptance. Crowdpleasers earn their name for good reason. John Krasinski's directorial debut was a widely appealing thrill fest with a real sense of heart. It put clever sound design to great use, had some pretty terrifying onscreen monsters, and made such great use of its unique premise that theaters worldwide were stunned into silence. It's a popcorn movie through and through, minus the part where you actually munch on popcorn because it created a theater experience so warped and uncomfortable that we felt the need to keep quiet ourselves.

"A Quiet Place" is immersive, scary, and emotional — but it should go without saying that it's nowhere near the complexity of other films included in this poll. If you want to talk nuance, intrigue or tension, then look no further than the film that came in second, but should clearly win first place overall: "Get Out."

A Crowdpleaser's Gonna Please

This is where we'll have to do the very difficult work of suppressing our anger. "Get Out" is the kind of movie that defines a decade: Jordan Peele's anxious social thriller is delightfully scary, absolutely hilarious, and unbelievably clever. It not only understands the flaws of America's present but knows exactly how to warp them for its narrative. On the surface, it achieves all the popcorn-munching delights you want from a thrilling horror experience — sharp scares, eerie silences, and well-timed surprises — but it thrives well beyond the crowdpleaser title. And yet, our poll disagrees.

While "Get Out" losing to "A Quiet Place" is the most egregious data point from our poll, it isn't exactly shocking. In fact, the rest of the results trend in a similar direction: third place went to Yeon Sang-ho's zombie-action thriller, "Train to Busan" and fourth to the 2016 sleeper hit, "Don't Breathe." These two lean towards crowd-pleasing experiences — action-packed and with their own share of emotional wallops — but toe the line more than the top 2 films. While "Don't Breathe" is grimy and relentlessly brutal, "Train to Busan" is loaded with commentary on the loss of loved ones, mixed up in the gory tale of a zombie takeover. 

Ultimately, they're both easier pills to swallow than the films that come in last — "The Witch," "Us," "It Follows" and "It Comes At Night." These four are harder to categorize when it comes to genre constructions and don't exactly share in the box office returns of the poll winners. But being easily digestible and causing thrills is hardly the marker of great horror — some might argue that the opposite is true. One of the genre's greatest assets is the vast difference between the many entries: since it's all a matter of personal taste, it's no surprise that the question of "best horror movie" skews to those with broader audiences.