My best horrors for ten years of the noughties.

1999:

1. The Blair Witch Project – builds to a shattering climax that is pure terror
2. The Sixth Sense – strong horror elements, a classic of clever film-making
3. Stir of Echoes – creepy and haunting
4. Deep Blue Sea – big dumb fun!

2000:

1. Final Destination – not in the least bit scary but watching people die has never been more enjoyable
2. What lies beneath – mainstream cinema does horror and does it well
3. American Psycho – Huey Lewis has never been cooler then when accompanying an axe murder
4. The Exorcist: The version you’ve never seen – the spider walk!!!!

2001:

1. Joyride – classic horror scenario that seems entirely plausible
2. The Others – ponderous, stuffy but oh so creepy
3. Session 9 – truly unsettling and hard to shake
4. The Gift – Sam Raimi knows his stuff
5. The Devils Backbone – such powerful imagery

2002:

1. The Ring (US) – left me jumpy for days
2. Ju-on – had the worse night’s sleep ever after this one, creepy kid!
3. Red Dragon – Ralph Fiennes is truly truly scary
4. The Mothman Prophecies – understands the power of what you hear

2003:

1. 28 Days Later – Oh my god! They run!
2. Identity – tricksy, creepy and clever.
3. Wrong Turn – like an 80’s horror with better gore.
4. A Tale of Two Sisters – atmospheric and affecting, haunting.
5. Final Destination 2 – Fun and games.

2004:

1. Dawn of the Dead – The remake is better, gutsier and more cynical than the original.
2. Open Water – desolate and bleak, a nightmare on the screen.
3. Saw – bad acting, bad effects but what an ending! N.b. Forget the sequels – they suck.
4. Shawn of the Dead – very funny and still a little scary too – quite an achievement.

2005:

1. Wolf Creek – pure dread – compelling, honest and unforgettable. A film I can’t shake for days after viewing.
2. The Amityville Horror – Permeated with dread, very scary.
3. Dark Water – not great but effective imagery make it worthwhile.
4. Reeker – funny, inventive and easy to watch.
5. Masters of Horror, John Carpenter Cigarette Burns – made for TV but very, very disturbing.

2006:

1. The Descent (UK version) – brilliant, strong characters/sense of place/ creatures and a psychological layer that makes it so much more.
2. Hostel – hard and disturbing, so plausible it’s scary.
3. Shrooms – should’ve seen the end coming but didn’t; still good, fun horror.
4. The Night Listener – Not strictly horror but very creepy premise and Toni Collette is effective.

2007:

1. The Mist – A disturbing allegory for our ever-present Lord of the Flies possibilities with the cruellest ending ever.
2. Grindhouse – slow burning cleverness to the ultimate pay-off (and arguably the best car chase ever committed to celluloid)
3. Black Water – heart in the mouth all-too-possible alligator thriller, a great Aussie horror.
4. The Orphanage – Equal parts scary and sad, creepy kids rule.
5. 30 Days of Night – a vampire film with a real sense of place (Alaska) and a dark and dirty feel, gory and cool.
6. Halloween Remake – a clever remake that integrated what you expected to see with what you wanted to see, perfectly cast too (just skip the trashy sequel)
7. Wind Chill – little known two-hander ghost story that certainly creeps up on you
8. Rec – a balls out thrill ride from start to finish – oh zombies… how I love thee.
9. Pan’s Labyrinth – by turns nasty and enchanting, not sure if this is a horror but it certainly has enough horror elements to get your heart racing – Pale Man anyone??
10. Vacancy – It’s the central idea that is the best thing about this film – wanna be the star of a snuff movie? Me neither!
11. Disturbia – a spin on Rear Window that worked for me though was a little soft in the end.
12. Primeval – a fictional account of the hunt for Gustave, the legendary real 20 foot crocodile that lives in Africa. This film also makes a strong political statement about the genocide in Burundi.

2008:

1. Eden Lake – hard, brutal, terrifying and really really good
2. The Ruins – a big surprise for me in how effective this was, I cared about the characters and found their killer plant plight totally engrossing.
3. Quarantine – Rec remade with Americans – just as scary.
4. Let the right one in – more a feeling then a film for me, more atmospheric then frightening, but memorable and a real achievement in film-making.
5. Shutter – for a pg American remake this worked for me and even gave me a few good jumps. Yes pg film-makers – it can be done.
6. The Strangers – although ultimately disappointing for me, I loved the lengths it was willing to go and the hard line it wanted to walk.
7. Splinter – trashy silly and cheap but lotsa fun.

2009:

1. Paranormal Activity – sheer terror for me, slept with the lights on for three nights – can’t say any movie has done that to me since I was a child.
2. Orphan – a unique twist on the creepy kid genre elevates this from really good to great for me. A must-see.
3. Lake Mungo – VERY creepy, sad and realistically set in suburban Australia. A totally original idea (rare!) brilliantly fed out throughout the films running time so that when things get going you are totally invested and intrigued. Features one of the scariest moments i’ve seen on film.

4. The Last House on the Left remake – as disturbing as the original with the parent’s revenge explored so much better in this version. Just turn it off before the final coda – that little bit at the end almost ruined all that had come before it.

5. Zombieland – the most fun I have had at a horror movie in years. Hilarious and full of zombies – brilliant!
6. Drag me to Hell – silly, zany and gory. Welcome back Sam Raimi.
7. Donkey Punch – starts off as porn, then takes an abrupt turn into kill or be killed territory, all too plausible UK horror.
8. The Descent 2 – seen apart from the original this is good and creepy, in comparison it is woefully under-cooked. It does however feature some truly edge-of-your-seat set pieces.

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