10: Jeepers Creepers (2001)
To get us started is 2001’s Jeepers Creepers, starring Justin Long and Gina Philips. The two played a brother and sister driving home for spring break, when they suddenly encounter a fearsome creature called The Creeper. The monster was terrifying and a constant threat. It proved to be a fun, scary movie that ended up coming out with an actually solid sequel in 2003. There has also been a third film stuck in development hell for years. You can’t beat the first one, though.
9: Drag Me to Hell (2009)
The next film is directed by one of the masters of the genre himself, Sam Raimi. While most people remember him for directed the first three Spider-man films, there are others who know him as the genius behind the Evil Dead franchise. He returned to horror with this film and what a triumphant return it was. It featured everything from his past films; crazy camera angles, bodily fluids and blood spewing everywhere, and dark humor throughout. The film proved to be a great time with a gut punch of an ending.
8: Final Destination (2000)
Final Destination proved to be a surprise hit for horror films. The story is about a kid that essentially cheats death when he has a vision of the plane he’s on exploding. Naturally, after him and some classmates are taken off, the plane blows up and Death starts coming after the survivors. The idea of Death being the villain was a brilliant move, he was a constant threat and you had no idea who was next. The death scenes are some of the most inventive in the genre, with constant red herrings and Rube Goldbergian type deaths. Tony Todd was especially creepy in his small role as a mortician who may know more than he’s letting on. The film ended up spawning four more sequels. While they were also good, they never matched the brilliance of the original.
7: The Devils Reject (2005)
Musician Rob Zombie proved he was more than a one time wonder when it came to directing films. The Devil’s Rejects, sequel to Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, was an excellent film that far surpassed the original in every way. This is one of the most brutal horror films I’ve seen. The Firefly clan was some of the most sadistic group of people put on screen, yet I loved every minute I was with them. William Forsythe was fantastic as the sheriff determined to bring them down. This film proved Rob Zombie was a force to be reckoned with in the horror genre.
6: Rec (2007)
[Rec] proved yet again what has been proved time and time again. No Americanized horror flick has ever surpassed its far scarier foreign counterpart. This film is about a journalist and a team of firemen who are called to an apartment building in the dead of night. Once there, they are locked down by government officials and told that a contagion has infected the building and nobody is allowed to leave. The film is shot in first-person, making the scares realistic and even freakier. The suspense grows throughout the film, leading to one of the scariest endings I’ve ever seen. Don’t watch this one with the lights out!
5: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
This is one of the films that proved that not all horror remakes are bad. A remake of one of the most iconic horror films of all time, it tells the story of five young adults who end up in the way of Leatherface and his sadistic family. The film had a constant sense of dread, which only made it scarier. Andrew Bryniarski was excellent as the chainsaw wielding maniac Leatherface, making him look scarier than ever. R. Lee Ermey was fantastic as Sheriff Hoyt, being one of the most menacing villains I’ve seen in a long time. This was a great remake and one of the better films in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Plus, it features a hot Jessica Biel running around in a white tank top. Scary and hot.
4: Hostel (2005)
Eli Roth’s follow-up to Cabin Fever was even better and showed a lot more of his talents. The film tells the brutal story of two American travelers who stay at a hostel, having no idea of the gruesome tortures that awaits them. Roth did two great things with this movie. First, he explored how Americans perceive and act in other countries while traveling. Second, he created one of the most brutal, unflinching horror films in history. It also has the dubious honor of being the film that made the sub genre, torture porn, so popular for a while. This film proved that Eli Roth was here to stay in the horror genre and made a lot people rethink about traveling abroad.
3: Saw (2004)
The film that spawned a modern horror franchise. While the later films gave in to the torture porn craze that gained popularity, this one decided to go with a more psychological route. The film is filled with a sense of dread and paranoia, creating a hugely entertaining horror movie. The villain, Jigsaw, is one of the greatest horror villains created. He becomes even more fascinating as his backstory is revealed in the sequels. The theme song called “Hello Zepp,” has become one of the most iconic songs in the history of horror. A great movie with one of the best twist endings I’ve ever seen in a movie to date. While the sequels have all been good, the original is still the best.
2: The Descent (2005)
This is one of the most terrifying films ever made for two simple reasons; underground, cave-dwelling monsters and claustrophobia. The film tells a story of a group of female friends who explore an underground cave, only to end up trapped and relentlessly pursued by the creature living there. The creatures look absolutely scary, enhanced by the fact that they hunt by sound. The main scares of this film, though, come from the claustrophobia feeling. The camera is done in a way to really enhance that feeling, showing the girls crawl through tiny holes and being shrouded in constant darkness. An excellent film that will make you never want to explore any uncharted caves for the rest of your life. Also, don’t watch if you have claustrophobia.
1: 28 Days Later (2002)
28 Days Later did what almost seemed impossible to the zombie genre: make an original and entertaining movie. What makes the zombies in this film so terrifying is how relentless they are. They will run, jump, crawl, whatever it takes to get their next victim. The shots of an abandoned Britain are both beautiful and haunting. The movie enhanced this feeling by shooting in a found footage style, years before it became the next big thing in horror. The film was so successful, it spawned a sequel 28 Weeks Later. Both films proved to be great, original zombie films. This film, though, is the one that started it all.