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Horror Movies of the Decade

Movies, Year-End, Reader Lists | January 13, 2010

Top 13 Horror Movies of the Decade

Check out our list to see how it compares with our readers' list.

Today, our readers weigh in on the Top 13 Horror Movies of the Decade. With the exception of Grindhouse, which we ranked second and you left off The Top 13 altogether, you agreed with the movies near the top of our list. The bottom half was another story; gone are Saw, Dawn of the Dead, A Tale of Two Sisters, and Trick 'r Treat. In their places, you picked American Psycho, House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Backbone, Antichrist, and The Strangers.

We already told you why we like many of the movies on this list, so we'll let the reviewers elaborate on those. But for your new picks, we'll let you know why we think you made good choices.

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28 Days Later. . .

1

28 Days Later. . .

2002

Chicago Sun-Times 28 Days Later is a tough, smart, ingenious movie that leads its characters into situations where everything depends on their (and our) understanding of human nature. New York Post A good horror movie scares the daylights out of you. But a great horror movie turns your hair white while delivering biting social commentary. 28 Days Later tackled politics - both familial and governmental - as well as the health care industry and how deplorable man can be when all societal norms are removed.

Let the Right One In

2

Let the Right One In

2008

Arizona Republic John Ajvide Lindqvist's script (from his novel) nails adolescent pain perfectly and is realized by Tomas Alfredson's expert direction. . . . Let the Right One In doesn't find joy in those landscapes, or those experiences, but it does allow us into them with unflinching honesty. Toronto Star The exceptional Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In warms your heart as it chills your blood, and that's the most disturbing thing about it. . . . The more you think about this movie, the more it seeps into the darkest corners of your mind, as all great horror must.

Shaun of the Dead

3

Shaun of the Dead

2004

New York Post There is no easy way to classify this zombie movie that lampoons the genre while simultaneously rewriting the rules. That's why it lives in its own subgenre: the rom-zom-com. The Boston Globe Edgar Wright's and Simon Pegg's Shaun of the Dead is a British zombie flick that works not because of the crowds of undead, but because the guy trying to exterminate them was himself running out of reasons to live.

The Descent

4

The Descent

2005

Time What makes Marshall's style unique is that he doesn't rely too heavily on gristle and gore. In the film's first half, he leads you to believe you're watching a psychological thriller. But have no fear, horror fans, the gore gets going full throttle once the carnivorous cave creatures appear and the characters have to battle their way out. Marshall could very well be the Caravaggio of the B-movie. The Detroit News . . . a sharp hammer to the head and a claw to the gut, a blood-drenched creep show that wants to eat you alive. Beware, and bon appetit.

American Psycho

5

American Psycho

2000

Adapted from the best selling novel by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho is the film that made Christian Bale a star. Bale, who played the narcissistic, soulless, and homicidal investment banker Patrick Bateman to perfection, is joined by an outstanding supporting cast, including Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, and Justin Theroux. Part horror (mainly because of the unbelievable violence throughout the film) and part comedy, the film vividly portrays the shocking excesses of upper class New York City in the 1980s. Bateman's insanely hysterical monologues about 80s musicians like Huey Lewis and Whitney Houston are also unforgettable.

Drag Me to Hell

6

Drag Me to Hell

2009

The New York Times At a time when horror is defined by limp Japanese retreads or punishing exercises in pure sadism, Drag Me to Hell has a tonic playfulness that’s unabashedly retro, an indulgent return to Mr. Raimi’s goofy, gooey roots. Los Angeles Times Raimi's Drag Me to Hell does everything we want a horror film to do: It is fearsomely scary, wickedly funny and diabolically gross, three stomach-churning states that argue for taking a pass on the $10 box of popcorn.

The Ring

7

The Ring

2002

San Francisco Chronicle In fact, The Ring is so good it's scary. The Ring keeps you squirming, right up until the end - and then a little after that. This is a Yogi Berra thriller - it is really never over until it is over. The final payoff shocker will have you talking when you leave the theater. Entertainment Weekly . . . a horror film built around a videotape so sinister that anyone who watches it dies in seven days. The best thing about the movie, which is a very elegantly crafted piece of gothic snuff hokum, is the way it teases and intrigues us with the revelation of what's on that tape.

The Host

8

The Host

2006

New York Post The Host is a horror movie with a difference. South Korea's biggest box-office hit ever, the thriller - by director-writer Bong Joon-ho - is a fantastical genre-buster. . . . The Host is great. Rolling Stone A blockbuster in South Korea, this monster flick is now working its way into your cineplex. By all means, embrace its ugly-ass terror. . . . Their individual stories bog down the film's pace, but The Host recovers quickly to redefine horror for the new millennium. This you have to see.

House of 1000 Corpses

9

House of 1000 Corpses

2003

The one film we were a little surprised to see make your Top 13, House of 1000 Corpses is the bizarre - but ultimately compelling - directorial debut of White Zombie lead singer Rob Zombie. The story, which Zombie also wrote, focuses on two couples who, while writing a book about offbeat roadside attractions across America, go on a fateful hunt for a local legend known as Dr. Satan. Instead, they are attacked by a murderous and cannibalistic family of freaks. House of 1000 Corpses spent almost three years in the can, as Zombie was unable to find a distributor for his ultra-violent original cut.

The Mist

10

The Mist

2007

CNN The Mist is far from perfect, and it's woefully humorless. But such reservations have to be weighed against a mind-blowing ending, so bold I can hardly believe Darabont got away with it. Don't they test-screen movies any more? The Mist may not be Oscar bait, but it's a horror movie of real conviction. It deserves to be a hit. Associated Press Yes, something is in the mist. Lots of things are in the mist. They're gorgeous and frightening and strange and elaborately detailed, and the effects used to create them allow them to blend in seamlessly with the live action. They'll make you jump, all right. Quite a few times. But it's what the humans to do each other that's more likely to shake you to your core.

The Devil's Backbone

11

The Devil's Backbone

2001

This Spanish gothic horror film was created by two of the most respected foreign filmmakers around in writer/director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) and executive producer Pedro Almodóvar (All About My Mother, Talk to Her). Set in 1939 at the end of the Spanish Civil War, The Devil's Backbone, like all of del Toro's films, is colorful and visually stunning. The plot focuses on a young boy who is abandoned at an isolated orphanage only to be told by a former resident who has returned as a ghost that "many of you will die." It's worth seeing this film to find out whether the ghost was right.

Antichrist

12

Antichrist

2009

Our readers' second horror film from last year to make The Top 13, Antichrist was written and directed by Lars von Trier, who is responsible for several noted indie drams, including Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark. This Danish film tells the story of a couple (played by the stellar Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) who try to come to grips with the death of their young son by heading to a cabin in the woods. But the husband and wife find none of the solace they seek. Viewers of can't relax either, as they are bombarded with visually arresting, yet gruesome images of sexual violence.

The Strangers

13

The Strangers

2008

An absolutely petrifying film, The Strangers stars Liv Tyler (who screamed so much during filming that she came down with tonsillitis) and Scott Speedman as a young couple who are shockingly terrorized by three young masked assailants who break into the remote vacation home in which they are staying. There is no happy ending; in fact, the movie gets more and more violent as it progresses. Although originally marketed as based on a true story, director Bryan Bertino acknowledged that it is merely inspired by the Manson family murders. Regardless, we wouldn't recommend watching The Strangers while vacationing in the country.

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Comments Leave a comment

jason ★★

I had to turn off The Strangers after about 10 minutes because it freaked me out too much. I guess that means it's a pretty good horror movie.

9:51 AM   Jan 13, 2010

stillathreat ★★

The Strangers was great. House of 1000 Corpses, however, was awful. Not sure how people didn't vote Let the Right One In as the number one. It's arguably a top 13 best movie of the decade, let alone horror movie of the decade.

11:45 AM   Jan 13, 2010

ajay ★★

I expected 28 Days Later... to get the top spot, but the presence of House of 1000 Corpses is baffling. Personally, Rob Zombie's films have no class like others on this list. Give me its far superior inspiration, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, any day. I would have included American Psycho on my list if I thought of it more as a horror film than a psychological thriller. The Strangers is a great addition. It had the most basic scares, but was incredibly effective.

5:29 PM   Jan 13, 2010

holmessss 

Antichrist is a terrible, terrible movie. I prefer my horror movies fun and/or frightening. Not masochistic and pretentious. Though I did enjoy the talking self-eating fox saying Chaos Reigns! But I also hate Von Trier, who I think wallows in the worst aspects of human nature.

1:01 PM   Jan 14, 2010

ajay ★★

I just saw Antichrist and I would have to agree with holmessss. Other than The Five Obstructions, which immediately made me loathe Von Trier, this is the only film of his I've seen. Based on Antichrist, I have to assume he's sexist. I would really like to hear an argument to the contrary.

12:27 AM   Jan 17, 2010

Darclaus11 

American Psycho is still my favourite movie ever.

4:19 PM   Dec 18, 2010

rbchurst 

Shaun of the Dead is my favorite. I love Simon Pegg, he is a fantastic actor. Does anyone know a good website to purchase the best selling movies
? I haven't found one i liked yet.

12:15 PM   Aug 26, 2011

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