TOP TEN HORROR MOVIES OF THE LAST TEN YEARS (2005-2015)
In celebration of the Film Junk Podcast's 10 Year Anniversary, I counted down my top ten horror films of the last ten years. For more info, listen to the full discussion on Episode #350.
- 1.Under the Skin (2014)What makes Under the Skin a horror film? It’s horrifying. Sure, Scarlett Johansson’s character might be an alien, but her biological make up and place of origin doesn’t discount the unsettling imagery and horrific moments littered throughout this film. Like Prometheus, I feel it has a place on a sci-fi list but in terms of tone, execution, and intent: it’s pure horror.
- 2.It Follows (2015)Logic and rules be damned, I thought It Follows presented a fresh, high concept that worked brilliantly as a spiritual successor to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Disasterpeace’s score is great, it’s confidently directed, and Maika Monroe is an absolute pleasure to watch on screen. What a wonderful young lady.
- 3.Prometheus (2012)Prometheus is full of big sci-fi ideas, but at its core, it follows a fairly traditional horror structure as the crew of the titular spacecraft are stalked and knocked off in various ways. Not to mention its third act dip into some Cronenberg-ian body horror and the overall sense of doom as the crew attempts to meet their makers.
- 4.Shutter Island (2010)Is Shutter Island a horror film? YES. I believe its main intent is to horrify and unsettle. But feel free to call it a “psychological thriller” if that will help you sleep at night. Scorsese approaches the material from a sort of gothic horror angle, making the most of the creepy locations and incorporating some classic horror imagery that resonates, whether it’s imagined or not.
- 5.Let the Right One InBeautifully shot and simply told, Let the Right One In was a refreshing take on the vampire mythology at a time when the sub-genre was at peak saturation. The film is mostly quiet and character-driven, but there are also some memorable set pieces throughout (the pool sequence is an obvious stand-out.) The American remake, Let Me In, is great too.
- 6.PontypoolIt’s great to have a Canadian film on the list, but it’s certainly not obligatory. Pontypool is a genuinely unsettling, funny, well-realized and brilliantly performed single-location horror film that utilizes a “theatre of the mind” approach to its scares. And of course, Stephen McHattie’s performance as radio DJ Grant Mazzy is great as usual.
- 7.The DescentThe creatures are effective and the scares are solid, but what makes The Descent stand out is the claustrophobic setting and intense moments of survival as these girls worm their way through the tiny crevices in a cave, which unbeknownst to them, serves as the home of an ancient evil that awaits them.
- 8.[REC] (2007)[REC] benefits from the “V.E.K. Effect.” It’s visceral, experiential, and kinetic. This is a found footage horror film done well, utilizing a single location to guide the viewer through an extremely effective on-screen haunted house. Watching the characters navigate its corridors is equally fun and terrifying.
- 9.Kill ListThe first time I saw Kill List, I struggled to understand the characters thanks to some thick British accents. Now, having watched it a few times on Blu-ray accompanied by a helpful subtitle track, I can comfortably say I love the film. The tone is at times comedic, but overwhelmingly ominous and the hitman story is equally as satisfying as the horrific last act. You’ll likely be left with a few lingering questions, which will either frustrate you or encourage an immediate rematch.
- 10.28 Weeks LaterNot only does 28 Weeks Later feature some amazing set pieces (opening farm house, “zombie” transformation, sniper sequence, night vision, etc.), but the film looks at the various ways in which people might react in a major crisis situation. Most would think that if a loved one was being ravaged by rage-filled “zombies”, you would NOT abandon them in favour of self-preservation. What 28 Weeks Later presupposes is… maybe you would?