Top 20 Horror Films of the Past 5 Years

by Larry Dwyer

Most ideas seem to come to me early in the morning. Maybe it’s because my brain is a bit rested and hasn’t yet had the chance to be beaten into submission by my job, my kids, and whatever other nonsense is going on around me. So, early yesterday, I found myself thinking about what my favorite “horror” films of the past five years were (I put horror in quotes because there will always be those that argue that something on the list isn’t horror). Well, I thought, let’s make a list!

I started by going back to “Top 10” lists and “Best of” articles that I did from 2014 to 2018 and I copied all of those titles into one spreadsheet of more than 60 movies. Then I started highlighting cells. My first round of selections got me down to 40 films and from there came the really tough task of narrowing it down to what I wanted – a Top 20. Well, I don’t actually like to refer to any list I do as a top anything; this is, after all, just my opinion so it’s more like “my favorite 20” or some shit like that.

So, here are my favorite 20 horror films of the past five years – in order by year and then alphabetical (don’t even try to get me to rank them!) Below the list, I added the remainder of the original list so you can see some other faves that almost made the cut.

I hope you enjoy the list and maybe even find some gems that you’ve never seen; one thing is for certain, this exercise made me realize that I really like foreign films!


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Persian film before but this one was recommended to me and I’m glad I saw it. There’s shady drug dealers and a vampire in this very artsy and slow-moving, yet very interesting film.

Big Bad Wolves (2014)

Outstanding movie about a suspected child molester and murderer who is kidnapped by the father of one of his victim’s who tries to torture the location of his daughter’s missing head out of him. Sick film out of Israel.

Starry Eyes (2014)

What will the lead girl do to make it big in Hollywood? Why don’t you watch and find out. Reminded me of 2013’s Contracted in some places (not a bad thing).

The Babadook (2014)

This super-creepy film is still one of my daughter’s favorites. Grief can be a bitch.

Goodnight Mommy (2015)

This was my pick for top film of 2015. This German film is very dark and depressing but really kept me wanting more and it delivered at the close.

The Witch (2015)

Period films are awesome. Especially ones with black goats named Phillip.

Green Room (2016)

Coming off of 2013’s Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier had high expectations to meet and he knocked it out of the park. Minor Threat shirts and Dead Kennedy’s songs in full effect.

Raw (2016)

A young vegetarian girl in France follows her older sister off to a veterinarian-party school and develops a taste for flesh…

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Some folks didn’t find this scary but watching it alone on my laptop at 1am scared the shit out of me.

The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

It’s not often that a director (Nicolas Pesce) can capture so much raw tension and emotion in a debut film.

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

One of the smartest “zombie” films I’ve ever seen.

The Greasy Strangler (2016)

Oh man, do I love this movie. Greasy is so over-the-top bonkers that I fell in love with it from first watch.

The Love Witch (2016)

Anna Biller is a genius. She wrote, directed, edited, costumed, and scored this fantastic throwback to the horror films of the 60’s.

Train to Busan (2016)

Another brilliant zombie film, this time out of Korea. Every time you think the zombie genre is dead…here comes another winner.

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

And more zombies…but this time in a holiday musical. Yup.

The Lure (2017)

I just really love strange movies, okay? Polish mermaids form an 80’s disco group.

The Transfiguration (2017)

Love, love, loved this “Martin-esque” take on the vampire genre. My pick for my favorite of 2017.

Cold Hell (2018)

Violetta Schurawlow is a powerhouse. She’s such a badass.

Mon Mon Mon Monsters (2018)

Not the first film to tackle the question of who are the real monsters – the humans or the “monsters” – but such a great example of it.

Terrified (2018)

Hands down one of the scariest films I’ve seen in years.


The ones that almost made it: A Quiet Place, Apostle, Bag Boy Lover Boy, Baskin, Better Watch Out, Bone Tomahawk, Cargo, Deathgasm, Don’t Breathe, Don’t Kill It, Get Out, Ghost Stories, Happy Hunting, Hereditary, Hold the Dark, Hounds of Love, Housebound, Hush, It, It Comes at Night, It Follows, Lake Bodom, Mandy, Mom and Dad, Overlord, Pyewacket, Revenge, Satan’s Slaves, Split, Summer of 84, Super Dark Times, The Cured, The Devil’s Candy, The Devil’s Doorway, The Taking of Deborah Logan, The Visit, The Void, The Wailing, Tusk, Under the Skin, Veronica, We Are Still Here & What We Do in the Shadows.


Stay gory my friends.

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