As I reviewed The Strangers, I mentioned that there really aren’t many horror movies that set themselves apart from the pack. I see a lot of horror movies, and only enjoy a select few of them, but when they are good they can be something very great. I’ve restricted my time period to the past 10 years (199
89-2008). This list is based on the films that I have seen, so I may have missed your favorites…
This is a movie that succeeds on many different levels. First of all, it was a huge financial success that let Lionsgate make some different and great movies soon after. Also, it was genuinely suspenseful with a great twist and some very good scares. We, the viewer, were much like the characters, in that we were thrust into a situation that we didn’t understand and figured out things as they unfolded. It is a shame that they abandoned the template of the first film and instead decided to make haunted house ride kinda movies where it became just one room of gore to the next. If you haven’t had the chance, make sure you check out the one that started it all.
Slither was one of two movies on this list that successfully blended horror and comedy. It was a great sort of alien movie that didn’t take itself too seriously, but instead had fun with the things that were going on. Some good action and suspense coupled with some laughs make this a film that any horror fan should check out.
|8||The Sixth Sense (1999)
I was tentative in putting this movie on the list because of the fact that it is more suspense than anything else (plus it was PG-13, which in my mind is a big no-no). None of this can take away from the fact that it is a fantastic movie with a great twist and some nice scares. I personally believe this movie is somewhat of a blessing and a curse considering the hordes of PG-13 horror movies it spawned after its success. This is still a movie that no one will really forget (unless you got the ending spoiled like most people did).
Zodiac was another that was tough to categorize but given the suspense, the true life aspect and the fact that this is one of the best mystery movies I have ever seen, I consider it in some ways horror. It completely covers all of the investigations of the Zodiac murders along with showing them. Twists and turns throughout, along with some really original action sequences make this a movie everyone should see if they have three hours to kill. Read our review.
|6||28 Weeks Later (2007)
This was a film that I really wanted to hate. I thought of it as a bad idea because Danny Boyle would not be directing again, and that there was no need for a sequel to the almost perfect 28 Days Later. I was quite surprised that this was almost as good while being completely different than the first. It goes for big action sequences and a large cast of characters rather than the very small feel the first film had. Nonetheless, it is a creepy film that should be commended. Read our review.
|5||Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Some may disagree with this being on the list given that it is a remake of one of the most revered horror movies of all time. It does stay faithful to the original – only giving zombies some well-needed updates on their abilities. Zach Snyder shows a lot of talent with this movie, which is a lot of fun along with being scary and suspenseful. He needs to be applauded for reinvigorating the genre.
|4||Shaun of the Dead (2004)
This is the 2nd movie that successfully blends comedy and horror, and is the favorite movie of all time for many. It is somewhat of a spoof movie on the zombie genre, but not in the horrific ways that those rogue scary movie writers have been passing off. It has a great amount of affection for what it is spoofing along with some good action and gore thrown in.
While in theaters, this one was sadly a large disappointment financially which made them cut the fantastic 3 hour experience into 2 separate DVDs (Death Proof and Planet Terror), but I still consider it to be a singular experience. It is two great films rolled into one by two of the better action directors of this generation (Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino). If you haven’t seen this one check it out for sure – I don’t think you’ll be dissapointed.
|2||The Descent (2005)
This is one of the scariest movies that I have ever seen. It combines darkness and claustrophobia with carnivorous cave dwelling creatures. It scares the hell out of me time after time and really shows what darkness mixed with a desperate situation can do to a person’s decisions. Plenty of gore and scares put this one firmly near the top of the list.
|1||28 Days Later… (2002)
This is number 1 on this list for several reasons. First, great character development. With so few characters throughout most of the film, it makes the people involved seem very real and interesting. Secondly, it has plenty of action and gore, but also intelligently examines what the apocalypse may indeed be like. Third, great direction and chilling shots of an empty London coupled with superb acting and story compel this one high above all the others.
Now you may disagree with many of these choices for whatever reason, but keep in mind these are the films I have seen. If you like, write a comment with a few movies I may have missed. I will check them out and possibly adjust the list if necessary.