Listomania: My Top 10 Horror Films of The Decade

It’s October and that means I’m going to be watching as many Horror movies as I can in 31 days.  The golden age of Horror films seems to be mostly behind us but the last decade has brought us a handful of gems for your seasonal viewing.  Here are my favorite Horror films released between 2000-2009.

1. THE RING (2002)
The best horror film in a decade manages to overcome two potentially crippling handicaps: it’s a remake and it’s rated PG-13.  But it’s a good mystery, it’s scary as hell and the American version manages to improve upon the original in every way creating a modern horror masterpiece.    

It’s not a spoofEdgar Wright’s debut is a near perfect genre mashup: the Zom Rom Com.  Few films have succeeded as spectacularly at mixing horror and comedy, which puts the film in the rarefied company of Evil Dead II and An American Werewolf In London as a classic of it’s kind.

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve never seen anything quite like it.  It’s a horror film that puts its characters first, deftly handles switching between horror, dark comedy, and coming of age film and doesn’t shy away from gore.  The American version is great but the original is unforgettable.

While it contains many familiar horror elements, this underrated film spins them in such a way that you never know what will happen next.  The film starts out as Duel, becomes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and then turns into a full-on monster movie. 

5. 28 DAYS LATER (2002)
Danny Boyle’s (technically not zombies) film single-handedly resurrected zombies for the next decade (and beyond). Plays more like a story of survival than a standard horror film where the scares come from actually being invested in the characters.  While the film steals liberally from Romero’s Zombie Trilogy, it does so without ever feeling like a throwback or an homage.

6. THE OTHERS (2001)
A very creepy atmospheric ghost story in the vein of The Changeling and The Sixth Sense.  It’s a spooky well-made movie for people who don’t normally like horror movies.  It’s also probably the last time Nicole Kidman could move her face.

7. HOSTEL (2005)
Maligned for being “torture porn”, the scenes of gore are actually used sparingly, though for maximum impact.  While it’s not a perfect horror film (it’s a little fratty at times), it manages something that few horror films can nowadays: it’s effectively scary.

8. THE DESCENT (2006)
The less you know about it the better.  Contains some of the most claustrophobic scenes ever filmed as well as a 2nd act twist that spins the film in a whole new direction.

9. SAW (2004)
Guilty of spawning the “torture porn” genre as well as a half dozen terrible sequels, it’s easy to forget that the original Saw was actually a good movie.  (It even played Sundance!)  It was an original mystery (yes, with a few horrific moments), that kept the audience guessing until the end.

10. CLOVERFIELD (2008)
On the surface it’s Godzilla meets the Blair Witch project.  But Matt Reeves update of a monster movie was a pretty great thrill ride, especially to see it in New York.  (I recognized my street!) 

Probably the most fun horror movie of the decade.  Not as good as the original Nightmare on Elm Street, but better than pretty much every Friday The 13th movie.  Takes the highlights from 17 films and distills it to 90 minutes of nostalgic slasher fun.