New Horror day with some of the great!
After the disappointment that was most of the 1990s, horror has made a huge comeback in the 2000s. The rise of the indie film, the proliferation of streaming and VOD platforms and the accessibility of filmmaking technology have all helped contribute to the renewed vibrancy of the genre, giving birth to some of my favorite horror movies not just in recent years but probably of all time.
Is this list comprehensive? Of course not. There are omissions. More than 13 great horror movies have been made in the last 15 years. Is the list pretty traditional? Yes, because the greatness of many of these movies is pretty widely accepted. I did try to include a few surprises, though -- mostly personal picks for movies I love and consider great even if not everyone agrees.
More than anything, this is a chance to talk about horror movies and to champion a bunch of films that I love for the hundredth time. Here they are, presented in an almost completely random order:
1. The Descent (2005, dir. Neil Marshall)
2. Starry Eyes (2014, dir. Kevin Kolsch/Dennis Widmyer)
3. The Cabin in the Woods (2012, dir. Drew Goddard)
4. May and The Woman (2002 and 2011, dir. Lucky McKee)
5. The Innkeepers (2011, dir. Ti West)
House of the Devil to be his masterpiece, while West himself would call last year's The Sacrament the best work he's done. My heart still belongs to The Innkeepers, his wonderful horror comedy about a haunted hotel that serves as a beautiful metaphor about twentysomethings in a state of arrested development. Sara Paxton and Pat Healy are so, so good in this movie that, as I've said dozens of times, I would watch a movie about them even without any of the horror stuff.
6. Slither (2006, dir. James Gunn)
Night of the Creeps) is both a great practical effects horror movie and a brilliant comedy, featuring an insane cast of great character actors (Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry) and a fantastic leading man turn by Nathan Filion. It's a miracle this got made inside the studio system, even if it did pretty much bomb at the box office. Here's hoping that people outside it's ever-growing cult of fans discover the film now that Gunn is making hugely successful space operas for Marvel.
7. Drag Me to Hell (2009, dir. Sam Raimi)
8. Let the Right One In (2008, dir. Thomas Alfredson)
best vampire movie of the 2000s (and maybe one of the best of all time), Let the Right One In is dark and haunting and poetic and sad -- the exact opposite of the next movie on this list and a reminder of just how wide a spectrum horror can cover. I've also grown to love the American remake, Let Me In, but if there's only room for one adaption on this list it's got to go to the original.
9. Final Destination 2 (2003, dir. David R. Ellis)
10. Contracted (2013, dir. Eric England)
11. Insidious (2010, dir. James Wan)
Saw and again with both Insidious and The Conjuring. Here's another instance in which I think The Conjuring is the film that's more classically "good" and will probably have a longer shelf life, but Insidious is the James Wan film I suspect I'll return to most. It's a blast of a haunted house movie, one in which we care about the characters and have fun being scared all while the movie goes to intentionally wacky places. I like it more every time I see it.
12. The Devil's Rejects (2005, dir. Rob Zombie)
The Lords of Salem also makes this list too.
13. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006, dir. Scott Glosserman)