Whether you love the horror genre or not, it’s pretty incredible how successful it has been throughout the 21st century, especially in the modern era when so many films fail nowadays. Besides the success at the box office, there have also been some genuinely great slashers over the last few years too. As you probably know, the term slasher refers to a horror film that typically involves a serial killer who uses a bladed weapon to murder their victims gruesomely and violently. The term originated in the 1970s and 1980s, which many look back on as the peak period for slasher films.
Some of my favorites from this time include Halloween (1978), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), and Black Christmas (1974). While the campier films in the genre—Friday the 13th (1980), Sleepaway Camp (1983), or The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)—aren’t my preferred choice, I see the appeal and love for these film types within the genre.
Regardless, Slashers are back, and there’s plenty on the more serious side, such as X (2022) or Candy Land (2022) and others that are flat-out camp like the Terrifier franchise. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone interested in the genre, and slashers appear better than ever today.
Nostalgia, Satire, and Streaming
Nowadays, many people who grew up watching slasher films in the 80s and 90s are now adults with disposable income, and are nostalgic for the movies they loved as children. This nostalgia factor has driven the success of other revival projects, such as the recent trend of rebooting popular TV shows from the 90s.
As for the content themselves, Slashers are often characterized by over-the-top violence, and in recent years filmmakers have been using the genre to satirize and comment on the state of society. Furthermore, with the rise of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, there has been a huge increase in demand for content. Slashers are often cheap to produce and have a built-in fan base, making them an attractive option for streaming services looking to add horror content to their libraries.
During times like today, horror movies and slashers can serve as a way for audiences to escape from reality and indulge in the thrill of being scared. The resurgence of slasher films may be indicative of a desire for escapism and catharsis in current times. Whether that’s a pessimistic outlook or not, I leave that up to you.
While the slasher genre may seem disturbing to some, for others, it offers a sense of excitement and thrill that is not present in their everyday lives. These films also take place in fictional or isolated settings, such as a remote cabin in the woods, which allows viewers to immerse themselves in a world that is far removed from their own.
The characters in these movies are often stereotypical, and the situations they find themselves in are often exaggerated, further enhancing the sense of escapism. Like most movies, the genre gives viewers a chance to temporarily leave their everyday lives behind and enter a world of fear, excitement, and suspense.
Modern Slashers Worth Watching
You’re Next (2011) – When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.
Terrifier (2016) – On Halloween night, Tara Heyes finds herself as the obsession of a sadistic murderer known as Art the Clown.
X (2022) – In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.
Candy Land (2022) – A seemingly naive and devout young woman finds her way into the underground world of truck-stop sex workers.