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One of the curious trends of the 2010s has been the stealth “return” of horror as a dominant force in cinema. I use air quotes there because horror, as a genre, has never really gone away as it’s fundamental to storytelling as a craft, same as drama or romance. However, horror has undeniably changed in how it’s perceived and how its made in the 2010s versus previous genres.
There are a lot of factors to this like the rise of indie art-house horror hits like Babadook, It Follows, and The Witch as well as the return of summer horror blockbusters like The Conjuring and Purge franchises. The biggest changeup, though, is in the spread of horror influences and how we’re making new films.
Despite the 2010s as an age of franchises and cinematic universes horror has doggedly rejected those trends, settling more into a ton of very individualistic and different films between one or two actual franchises. There’s not a lot of common ground between stuff like Lights Out, IT, You’re Next, and Krampus but they were all sizeable horror hits.
Even among the heavily sequalized horror series like Insidious, they don’t have the same spread and impact as predecessors like Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, or Saw. Now, in the waning days of the 2010s, that seems like it might be on the road to change with the coming of Danny McBride’s Halloween reboot, which will see the return of series star Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode.