The ‘00s were a great 10 years for the horror genre. There were so many memorable, and genre changing films. There were an incredible variety- zombies, vampires, mutants, ghosts, haunted houses, killer kids, serial killers, and many more. It is incredibly hard to pick my absolute favorite films of the last 10 years due to the wide variety, and the numerous criteria that I would have to try to decide on to choose my favorites- do I go by emotional impact, re-watchability, just plain fun, and so on. I have decided that instead of doing my top 10 favorite films (because I just can’t decide), I would instead just highlight 10 films of the ‘00s that I loved. There are many more that I loved, but that would keep me writing for hours and hours, and I would never finish. So at the end of this post I will just include some honorable mentions, and just let those speak for themselves, for now.
The Ring (2002)
The Ring remains one of the scariest movies I have ever seen in my life, and no matter how many times I see it, every time the deadly video starts playing, or we see the faces of Samara’s victims, I am instantly creeped out. The Ring was really the movie that began the J-Horror remake craze, and sparked many people’s curiosity about Asian horror. I have seen the original movie, Ringu, and while I may be in the minority, I prefer the remake. I just think it’s creepier. I love the mystery surrounding Samara, I love the research the Naomi Watts has to do in order to solve the mystery, I love the dark and somber tone, and the downer ending, and the creepy music…..and I love a killer kid, especially a ghostly killer kid.
The Descent (2005)
Caves are terrifying places. If you’ve ever been in one, which I have (although it was a touristy cave with a tour guide and everything), you’ll know that caves are scary places. They’re dark, and mysterious, and maze-like, and filled with weird creatures. Being in a cave that has been mapped is scary, so exploring a cave that no one has ever mapped out, where you can only see with the light of a torch, and have no idea where passages lead, and if there is even another way out, in case the way you came in gets blocked…..it gives me the creeps just thinking about it. So add to that grotesquely mutated creatures who only want to hunt you down and eat you, and the terror is intensified a million-fold. This is definitely one of the most terrifying, and unique movies I’ve ever seen in my life.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead was probably the first ZomCom I ever saw. I saw it in the theater with fellow Scared Shirtless blogger, Rebecca, without ever hearing anything about the film. I have to say that I was utterly blown away by its awesomeness. It definitely ranks up there in my all time favorite movies, not just horror movies. The humor in Shaun of the Dead is pop-culturey, British, and sometimes juvenile, but because its humor is all over the place, it has something that appeals to everyone. You may not get all the jokes, but it still works. It is also a loving homage to zombie movies, in subtle and not so subtle ways. Sure it incorporates one of the most famous of all horror movie lines, “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, but it also incorporates some more subtle zombie movie cues, such as music cues, that only the zombie movie aficionado would pick up on, and this allows the movie to work on several levels. Much as a Disney movie can work on different levels for kids and adults, but still appeal to both, this movie works with the beginning horror movie watcher, and the most jaded. The movie also works as a comedy about friendships and relationships in a world that just happens to have zombies in it.
The Others (2001)
I love haunted house movies, creepy kids, big gothic mansions, never-ending fog, and creepy housekeepers, so The Others works perfectly for me. The elements of this movie are brought together in a great atmospheric ghost/haunted house mystery. It joins The Innocents (1961), The Haunting (1963), and The Changeling (1980) as one of my favorite chilling gothic mansion haunting stories. Nicole Kidman is wonderful as the tormented mother of two children allergic to the light, who is trying to look out for her kids and their well being, while also desperately awaiting the return of her husband who fought in the war, and has never returned. When I watched this movie, I knew immediately that something was up with the housekeepers, but the twist came as a surprise to me- this was before I had watched a million other movies with a similar twist. One of my favorite parts of this movie is when Nicole Kidman leaves the mansion to try to get to town to visit the priest, and gets lost in the fog. That type of disorientation and having lost all sense of direction is just petrifying.
Final Destination (2000)
I think the Final Destination series is one of the funnest horror movie series to be created. Every movie is basically the same- some people escape a horrific accident when one of them has a premonition, but then death seeks them out and kills them in horrifying ways. They are great movies to watch for their inventive death sequences. A bit morbid, yes, but watching a chain reaction of events building up to the death of one the characters is somehow endlessly fascinating. Maybe it’s human nature to be fascinated with Rube Goldberg-esque devices, and the deaths in these movies are very Rube Goldberg-esque, at least in my opinion. The first movie stands out to me as a fun, creative horror movie, with likeable characters (some at least), creative deaths, interesting plot, and of course a Tony Todd cameo.
The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
The Firefly’s are one demented family. I loved House of 1000 Corpses (2003), our introduction to the Firefly clan, with Baby, Tiny, Mother Firefly, Otis, Rufus, and of course Captain Spaulding, and who can forget Dr. Satan, but I prefer The Devil’s Rejects. It might be because it is more realistic, and thus more terrifying. The hotel scenes are cringe-worthy, in a good way. We are able to spend more quality time with Captain Spaulding and his crazy clan. The soundtrack for this movie is awesome, and now whenever I hear “Freebird”, I can’t help but see the Firefly family being blasted away as they go out in a blaze of bullets.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
I love zombie movies. Something about the living dead just makes me happy, and I love George Romero’s classic zombie flicks, so I was very happy to see this remake and have it be so much fun. It’s not really a direct remake of Dawn of the Dead (1978). Obviously they both involve a group of non-infected the people holing up in a mall, but everything else is different. I was glad to see that it was not a shot for shot remake, because the original is so great, it didn’t really need improving on. Of course my favorite scene is the zombie celebrity shoot-out. I feel like this movie had great character development, I truly cared about a lot of the characters and I was invested in their fate. I felt especially sad about the fate of Andy!
Planet Terror (2007)
I absolutely loved this film the first time I watched it. For some reason I was iffy about it when I saw the trailers, with the machine-gun leg, but when I actually sat down to watch the film, I fell in love. The machine-gun leg was awesome, and inspired, as was everything else in this movie. It was gory, and gross, and funny, and endlessly re-watchable. I loved the tie in to Death Proof (2007), I loved the graininess, and the missing reel gag, and I loved Bruce Willis’ character. I loved the over-the-topness of it as well. I also love that it was unpredictable- poor Tony- “I want to eat your brain and gain your knowledge”. By the way, I LOVED Death Proof as well, but it’s hard to classify it as horror, although Kurt Russell’s character is definitely a horror villain!
House of Wax (2005)
This was such a fun movie, despite the fact that Paris Hilton was in it. There were likable characters, flawed characters that grew on you (I’m talking to you Chad Michael Murray), and an awesome setting with the wax town. For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated with wax museums, and movies about them- I must have watched Waxwork (1988) every time it showed up on cable when I was growing up. I love the fact that in this movie, it’s not just one wax museum, but a whole town that has been created. It’s so creepy to think that under a lot of those wax sculptures there are real people- and Jared Padalecki’s death has to be one of the most gruesomely, painfully awesome deaths that I’ve ever seen.
Trick ‘R Treat (2008)
In my opinion, Trick ‘R Treat has become my favorite horror anthology movie ever. I love Creepshow (1982), and Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) is fun, but never have I had the desire to watch them again immediately after viewing. When I finished watching Trick ‘R Treat for the first time, I just wanted to start it again and watch it all over. I wanted to explore the relationship between the stories, and get to know the characters better. This now comes in as a close second to Halloween as my favorite movie about Halloween ever.
Other great horror movies from the ‘00s
– 28 Days Later (2002)/28 Weeks Later (2007)
– 2001 Maniacs (2005)
– American Psycho (2000)
– The Amityville Horror (2005)
– Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
– Bloody Reunion (Seuseung-ui Eunhye) (2006)
– The Children (2008)
– Dead End (2003)
– Dead Silence (2007)
– The Devil’s Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo) (2001)
– Dog Soldiers (2002)
– Drag Me to Hell (2009)
– The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
– Feast (2005)
– Frailty (2001)
– Friday the 13th (2009)
– Frontiere(s) (2007)
– Funny Games (2007)
– Hatchet (2006)
– High Tension (Haute Tension) (2003)
– The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
– The Hills Run Red (2009)
– Inside (A L’Interieur) (2007)
– The Last House on the Left (2009)
– Let the Right One In (2008)
– The Mist (2007)
– My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)
– Oldboy (2003)
– The Orphanage (El Orfanato) (2007)
– Paranormal Activity (2007)
– Plague Town (2008)
– [REC] (2007)/Quarantine (2008)
– The Ruins (2008)
– Saw (2004)
– Silk (Gui Si) (2006)
– The Skeleton Key (2005)
– The Strangers (2008)
– The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
– What Lies Beneath (2000)
– Wolf Creek (2005)
– Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2003)
– Zombieland (2009)
I know that’s an extensive list, but I’m sure I’m still missing some!! There are also a multitude of films from the ’00s that I have yet to see, so although this is a comprehensive list, it is in no way complete, and of course, this is just my opinion.