1996-The present

February 24, 2023

In the face of these cheesy sequels and spinoffs, Scream emerged as a smash hit. Ironically directed by Wes Craven, a man who directed many films responsible for horror cliches, Scream’s self-aware nature resonated with teen audiences, and successfully rebirthed the slasher genre. Unfortunately, horror filmmakers looked to copy and capitalize on Scream’s vibe rather than learn the lesson of originality.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, four films marked the genre’s main future subgenres. M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense created an obsession with plot-twist horror, Saw created an increased interest in gore horror, The Ring represented Hollywood’s wishes to recreate international horror films, and the remake of Dawn of the Dead revitalized interest in zombie films. While other subgenres achieved popularity, these subgenres marked some of the most important and influential during the 2000s.

Horror as a genre gets harder to track during the 2010s because its effects have not been fully realized and because the genre has expanded so much. However, a few key films and genres are key to note in preparation for the future.

Primarily, paranormal horror found in franchises such as The Conjuring Universe dominated during the 2010s. The Conjuring Universe raked in a combined box office gross of $2.1 billion and ranks as the second-highest-grossing horror franchise of all time. Countless other films and franchises focus on similar supernatural themes and imagery and have also managed to reap enormous box-office profits.

Arthouse horror also emerged and garnered a strong following during the 2010s. Independent film company A24 has been one of the prime distributors of arthouse horror. The company has released almost two dozen horror films, most notably The Lighthouse, Midsommar, Hereditary, The Witch, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

Finally, international horror and psychological thriller films, such as Train to Busan and Parasite, have been able to reach widespread global success. Their success may mark a possibility for increased appreciation of international horror in the United States.

Though the genre of horror has always been filled with highs and lows, the medium has been able to change through the decades to represent the things that truly haunt the minds of individuals every day.

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