The 10 best horror movies of the 00s
Like black clothes and The Beatles, horror movies will never go out of style. Not all horror movies are created equal, though. In fact, some are horrifying only because they’re so awful.
Fortunately, we’ve been treated to some incredible slashers, thrillers and monster movies since the turn of the century. Here are our ten favourites. Disagree? Let us know in the comments!
28 Days Later
Britain is overrun by a horde of furious killing machines (don’t call them zombies!) in this tense and haunting thriller from Danny Boyle.
Unlike many zom… erm, ‘infected human’ movies of the early 21st century, 28 Days Later focuses on the effects of an outbreak on the survivors, from Cillian Murphy’s recently-awoken-from-a-coma Jim to a battalion of soldiers who’ve built their own mini society. It’s not all chit-chat though, with plenty of terrifying moments to get the heart racing (the tunnel, for example…).
28 Days Later has had a massive influence on the horror genre, with The Walking Dead the most obvious descendent (it even has a very similar opening sequence), although nothing that follows has quite managed to hit that sweet spot between emotional human drama and raw horror.
For some reason, a lot of people get a kick out of exploring dark caves with just a small helmet-mounted torch for company. They clearly haven’t watched The Descent.
The Descent follows a group of women on a weekend caving adventure. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that they’re not alone. What follows is one of the most intense, horrifying cinematic experiences ever, as the characters are hunted down by what can only be described as Gollum from Lord of the Rings angrier, hungrier siblings.
We highly recommend giving it a watch, but prepare to sleep with the lights on for a few nights.
After endless sequels featuring countless brutal torture sequences, it’s easy to forget that the original Saw was actually one of the most compelling and entertaining thrillers of the decade.
The film opens with two men chained to pipes in a bathroom. They eventually realise that they’re part of a game staged by the Jigsaw Killer, an oddly moral serial killer who puts people in horrific and fatal situations to test their will to live.
Although the film’s extreme violence gets most of the attention, Saw’s intriguing and shocking plot (which culminates in a killer twist) is the real highlight.
REC combines two of the most popular horror tropes of the 00s: found footage and rampaging zombies. Surprisingly, the result is possibly the scariest zombie movie ever made.
This Spanish horror follows a reporter on a routine assignment with a fire crew. They’re called out to free an old woman from her apartment after her fellow residents hear screaming. Of course, she’s not trapped at all; she’s actually been infected with a virus that’s turned her into a flesh-hungry killing machine. Cue chaos.
REC’s claustrophobic setting and fast-paced camera work make it a truly terrifying and unforgettable experience. The ending is especially scary, dragging viewers through a gruelling and dread-inducing sequence that (without spoiling too much) will make you want to seal up your attic as soon as the end credits roll.
Let The Right One In
Romance and horror aren’t traditional bedfellows. Sure, characters often hook up in slasher flicks but inevitably one of them dies before the end.
That’s what makes Let the Right One In so special. This Swedish flick follow the budding romance between a young boy who is bullied at school and the girl next door, who happens to be a vampire.
The relationship between the two is genuinely sweet, but is punctuated with moments of pure, unadulterated horror as Eli sates her thirst for blood and encourages Oskar to enact similar revenge on his bullies. It’s basically a coming of age drama with vampires.
Let the Right One In was remade as Let Me In in 2010. Both versions are decent, although we recommend checking out the original first.
There’s enough to be scared of in the world without having to worry about children’s storybooks too. But thanks to The Babadook, a generation of parents will be secretly worrying that the books they read to their kids at bedtime will unleash an all-powerful demon in their house.
The Babadook, an independent production from Australia, follows a mother who lost her husband in a car crash as he drove her to hospital to give birth to their son. Her son, now six, regularly acts out and strongly believes in the existence of monsters, particularly a top-hat-wearing chap storybook character named Mr. Babadook (who looks a bit like Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen).
The young lad turns out to be completely right, however, and Mr. Babadook torments the family to the point of insanity by predicting a series of horrendous events to come. The Babadook isn’t your standard monster movie, though, with the real demon revealed by the fantastic ending.
Although he’s now considered one of cinema’s finest monsters, Mr. Babadook has recently been adopted as a gay rights icon after the film was mistakenly labelled as an LGBT drama on Netflix.
The Australian outback is scary for a number of reasons: the giant insects, the lack of water, the myriad animals that can kill you with a single look. Wolf Creek, a low budget slasher flick, gives us another reason to avoid venturing out into the wild: crazed psychopaths.
Wolf Creek is the story of three backpackers who are pursued by a bloke named Mick Taylor, who subjects them to relentless torture and punishment for no reason beyond being a bit mad.
It’s not exactly light entertainment but that’s not the point; this is an intense, tough movie for only the strongest-stomached horror fans.
Horror movies have been around for over 100 years, so it’s no surprise the genre is getting a bit stale; there are only so many times you can watch a group of attractive young people being murdered before boredom sets in.
It Follows takes that basic slasher movie premise and twists it. Instead of having its good looking young protagonists stalked by a mass murderer, they’re followed by a supernatural force that constantly pursues them at walking pace and always knows where they are. The only way to rid yourself of the force (and avoid death) is to jump into bed with someone else.
It’s an incredible take on the genre and arguably the most original horror movie of the past five or so years. And, like all good horror movies, it has a strong dose of social commentary lurking under the surface too.
Jordan Peele is best known as one-half of the much-loved comedy duo Key and Peele. If you had to guess who would make possibly the decade’s best horror movie, he probably wouldn’t even be in the top 100.
And yet, here we are. Get Out, Peele’s debut feature, follows interracial couple Chris and Rose as they visit the estate owned by Rose’s parents. However, Chris starts to notice that Rose’s parents groundskeeper and housekeeper are acting strangely.
Get Out isn’t a traditional horror movie by any means, with more than a few funny moments and social commentary thrown in for good measure. But, like It Follows, it’s a unique and exciting take on the genre that feels extremely timely given recent world events.
Before The Ring, the only scary things about videotapes were having to rewind films at the end and the poor picture quality.
Then along came Samara and her strangely terrifying hair, crawling out of the TV and murdering anyone who dared watch her home movie (which is actually quite artistic; David Lynch would be proud).
The Ring was one of the first successful adaptations of Japanese horror too, which tends to be more supernatural than its Western counterparts. It inspired a spate of adaptations, including a sequel that gets a bit too wrapped up in its own mythology (but is still pretty decent).
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Here are the best horror movies of the 2000s:
- 28 Days Later (2002)
- The Descent (2005)
- Saw (2004)
- [REC] (2007)
- Let The Right One In (2008)
- The Babadook (2014)
- Wolf Creek (2005)
- It Follows (2015)
- Get Out (2017)
- The Ring (2002)