Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top 20 Favorite Horror Movies of the Decade

The end of the year is fast approaching, and that means it's time to make some tops. I've pondered about what kind of top to make for a while, and finally decided to make a Top 20 favorite horror movies of the decade, with the help of my brother, since it's by far our favorite movie genre and we watch a ton of horror movies. Notice this is not a list of the best movies, merely our favorites.

Making a top is kind of a tricky business, and so there are a lot of movies we ended up leaving out, for a variety of reasons: we decided not to include horror-comedies that relied more on humor than on horror (and so we were forced to leave the likes of Shaun of the Dead - which I love dearly - and Zombieland out), to only include movies we had both seen (so a lot of movies that are potentially great, like Ils, The Orphanage, Á L'interieur or Martyrs don't fit the list, simply because we didn't get to see them yet), (and to try to stick to a more specific definition of horror, leaving out movies like Cloverfield, Battle Royale or Pan's Labyrinth, that despite having horror imagery or moments, are not straight up horror). Still, we did this just for fun, so check out the top, and let us know with what you agree or disagree.

20. The Eye - Gin gwai (2002)

The original, of course. It probably suffered from being another one in a wave of ghost movies that were popular in the early 00s, but it's an intensely atmospheric and creepy tale that definitely deserves to be watched.

19. The Last House on the Left (2009)

One of those remakes that are actually good. Tense, dark and violent, the movie is well-acted and crafted, and deserving of a place on this list.

18. Wrong Turn (2003)

Yes, we've all seen the "canibalistic inbred mountain family" movie made more than once. But a solid cast, tense atmosphere, and grisly deaths make this one a little better than most. It's not groundbreaking, but it's almost guaranteed it'll deliver horror entertainment. We can forgive it for having spawned sequels, the last of which is downright unwatchable.

17. May (2002)

Definitely one of those gems that deserve to be discovered by a bigger audience. Good story, great performances, especially by the lead, Angela Bettis, who manages to keep her character sympathetic even at the craziest parts of the movie. It's really best not to reveal too much about it, because it'll enrich the experience of watching it. Rent it, buy it, just make sure you give May a chance.

16. The Others (2001)

This is an extremely atmospheric movie, beautifully shot, and very creepy. It's also very subtle, and it will unsettle you without ever showing much.

15. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

A remake of the 1974 classic. A bit torture porn-ish at times, it does have some strong performances, especially by R. Lee Ermey, who plays the deranged sheriff, and all in all managed to be entertaining all throughout.

14. The House of the Devil (2009)

To me, this was one of the surprises of 2009. A highly atmospheric movie that is a throwback to 70's/early 80's horror. It's a slow burning movie that suffers from a rushed ending, but that didn't detract from the experience, and I highly recommend it (besides, I love all the posters for it). Maybe it should be a little higher on the list, but it does get tougher and tougher to pick favorites.

13. The Mist (2007)

A big-budget adaptation of a Stephen King story, The Mist had a strong cast and a very compelling script. I was totally immersed in this story and I was quite fascinated by the behavior of the group of people stuck in the supermarket.

12. Saw (2004)

I don't care what anyone says, the original Saw is a solid horror movie, which managed to both scare me and surprise me. Forget about all the sequels (most of which are horrendous), the first Saw definitely deserves a place on this list.

11. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

A very entertaining dissection of the nooks and crannies of the slasher genre, anyone who is a horror fan should enjoy this. It does have some comedic elements to it, but it doesn't fully rely on comedy, so it was still able to make its way onto the list.

10. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Even with the fast zombies (that I know a lot of people don't like at all), this was a solid zombie movie that, despite being a little more focused on action than on scares, pleased a lot of horror fans worldwide. It was energetic and fast-paced. It was also a good remake, that never wanted to outshine the original material, but instead gave it a different spin. The opening scene remains one of my favorite openings of any horror movie.

9. Splinter (2008)

Some may disagree with this movie being in such a high position, or even in the list at all, but we greatly enjoyed it, and it serves as a testament how sometimes straight-to-DVD movies are better than big-budget, theatrical release horror (as was the case this year with movies like The Haunting of Molly Hartley and The Unborn, which were beyond bad and still got significant theatrical runs).

8. Trick 'r Treat (2008)

Another movie that I honestly don't understand why was kept under wraps for so long, never seeing a theatrical release. It's been a while since the last horror anthology film came along, and Trick 'r Treat is a very solid revival of that sub-genre, in which all tales intertwine and play along with the various traditions of Halloween. Bound to become an Halloween classic.

7. The Ring (2003)

One of the rare cases when we prefer the remake over the original. It was tense, it was unsettling, creepy and scary. And on top of that, it was elegant and mature. It may have spawned a landslide of J-Horror remakes, but to this day it remains the best re-telling of the original story, and a modern horror classic.

6. Dead End (2003)

A family on their way to Christmas dinner decide to take a short cut. That's the premise of this movie, and that might get you thinking you've seen it done a hundred times before, but this is actually a pretty original take on the "wrong way" movies, with a hint of Twilight Zone, a solid cast, and gripping plot. The ending and the way it relies on twists was a bit disappoint, but the ride there was great.

5. 28 Days Later (2002)

While technically speaking this is not a zombie movie (it's more an "infected" movie), this compelling flick marked the return of the zombie sub-genre, and, not only that, still remains one of the best entries on it. Unrelenting, vicious and a fantastic horror movie.

4. Drag me to Hell (2009)

Hands down my favorite horror movie of 2009, Drag me to Hell marks the return of Sam Raimi to the horror genre. His directing style is almost like a character in the movie. Raimi combines horror and gross-out humor like almost no other (I wish Peter Jackson would also return to his roots!), and the result is an amazingly fun movie that makes us laugh and gag in turns.

3. Paranormal Activity (2007)

I already discussed this movie at length so I won't do it again. All I will say is: this movie scared the bejeezus out of me, and so it definitely deserves to be on this list.

2. The Descent (2005)

One of the most claustrophobic movies I ever saw. This movie manages to be tense and scary at almost every turn, it literally keeps you in the edge of your seat. Filled with dread and very unforgiving, this is horror at its best, from this, or any, decade.

1. [REC] (2007)

If the hand-held camera style was ever used to its full potential, this movie was the one that did it. It throws you right into the middle of an apartment building where a zombie outbreak is taking place, and the acting is so good that it's easy to forget you're watching a movie. From then on, it doesn't stop. It may not be the most thought-provoking movie, but it's incredibly visceral and, most of all, it is scary and it'll stay with you long after it's over.

And so we conclude this list. Like I said in the beginning, there are some movies that didn't make the cut for one or other reason, but there are plenty other horror movies that were good this decade. Let's hope the next brings us more of the good, and less of the bad!

Happy New Year to everyone!


Mário said...

I dont agree with the comment on splinter!!!
The hunting of molly something was an awesome movie!! that everyone shoud see before the reaper comes.
A must!!!!A totaly not waste of time that you could spend inproving humanity.

I`m gonna see it again, everbody should! what a gem in filmaking! a tribute to the best of mtv movies!!!!!

Anonymous said...


Black Math said...

Esquecest claramente do IndyIV amor...

'Lil Ric said...

Great list...REC was easily the best horror film of the last 10 years. I don't think I've been that scared since I saw Nosferatu when I was like 4.