The guidelines: (1) Had to have been released in the United States since the year 2000. (2) These aren't the scariest, per se, just the greatest films that happen to occupy the horror genre. (3) We're pretty strict with the term "horror" - basically if Netflix or IMDB wouldn't categorize them in the genre, then they don't count.
  1. Audition
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    Beneath the over-the-top sadism lurks a potent, discomfiting thesis about ostensibly benign forms of sexism It’s the very best kind of horror movie, capable of making you think and hurl at the same time.
  2. It Follows
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    It Follows may be brand new, but it works in the primal manner of something much older, like a revered Halloween staple or an urban legend passed down through the ages.
  3. The Babadook
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    Jennifer Kent’s harrowing haunted-house picture cranks up the genre’s usual “eerie shadows and strange noises” until they become almost unbearably intense—and does so in the movie’s first half-hour, too, rather than waiting for the climax.
  4. The House Of The Devil
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    The House Of The Devil illustrates Ti West’s devotion to getting the details perfectly right, both in the film itself and in the way it was marketed. He doesn’t just honor his oft-disreputable inspirations. In many ways, he tops them.
  5. 28 Days Later
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    In 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle's talent for intensity boiling over into insanity comes through as loud and clear as it ever has.
  6. Drag Me To Hell
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    It' pure popcorn entertainment, a pulpy tale of Gypsy curses and demonic possession in sunny Southern California that highlights Sam Raimi’s strengths.
  7. The Descent
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    Neil Marshall builds the relationships and ratchets up the dread so effectively, it’s easy to forget it’s supposed to be a monster movie. It’s scary enough watching the friendships dissolve as the women are sealed inside a coffin of rocks.
  8. Cure
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    Ditching shock cuts and crescendos in favor of ambiguous ellipses and creepy wide shots, Cure teaches the viewer to fear empty spaces and unfamiliar gestures. Few movies are so purely scary.
  9. Let The Right One In
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    Unfolding in a chilly concrete apartment block in the suburbs of Stockholm, the film takes a quiet, restrained approach to a story punctuated by moments of bloody violence, building to a dark climax that could be read as wish fulfillment and a haunting final image.
  10. Inside
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    By the end of the movie, enough gore has accumulated to fill the elevator from The Shining, and CGI-assisted images of the baby writhing in pain will have sent squeamish viewers running for the door.
  11. The Ring
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    In lieu of gore, The Ring offers a careful balance of immediate and abstract threats—with the spooked horse that leaps to its death in the propellers of a ferry falling somewhere squarely between the two.
  12. The Orphanage
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    The Spanish film The Orphanage is terrifying largely because of where it draws the line between real-life tragedy and the supernatural.
  13. Pulse
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    Long before web-phobia became a cliché, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse painted a haunting portrait of the way our technological devices—and internet-aided interconnectivity—foster greater individual and societal isolation.
  14. The Cabin In The Woods
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    The movie accumulates clichés and touchstones until it twists itself into a full-on monster mash, arguably geekier than the Scream series. Cabin isn’t the most terrifying recent horror film, but the big, delighted laughs it generates don’t drown out an appropriately doomy conceit that refuses to pull any punches in the end.
  15. The Devil's Backbone
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    Guillermo Del Toro has never struggled with creating striking visuals, but few of his movies carry the emotional weight of The Devil’s Backbone. It remains unique because of its intimacy and fatalistic sadness.
  16. Trouble Every Day
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    The film is at times appalling but it’s no shock-and-awe ploy. The discomfort that lingers at the end doesn’t just stem from what’s seen on screen but from the all-too human question the film poses: What does it mean to be consumed by desire?
  17. The Host
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    Elements of horror, comedy, melodrama, action, agitprop, and several other genres intermingle in Bong Joon-ho’s crazy-quilt creature feature, about an enormous amphibious mutant that suddenly crawls out of Seoul’s Han River one day.
  18. The Kill List
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    Paring down the exposition, Ben Wheatley keeps the audience aligned with his in-the-dark hired guns, though every dread-filled frame cries that something’s amiss. Lo and behold, it emerges that what they’ve taken on is, almost literally, the job from hell.
  19. Wolf Creek
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    Unfairly lumped in with the likes of Saw and Hostel, this backwoods gauntlet owes its nightmarish power not just to the “charms” of its cackling human monster, but also to the unforgiving sprawl of the Australian wilderness.
  20. May
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    May is a slasher flick with an inverted perspective, as if Friday The 13th had been told from the viewpoint of the kid who drowned in a lake because the lifeguards couldn’t be bothered to stop humping each other.
  21. 28 Weeks Later
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    Frantic blasts of cannibalistic action set to squealing guitars generate adrenalized terror, though more chilling still is the overarching allegorical portrait of a United States failing to maintain control over a rabid, rampaging horde of infected-by-madness enemies.
  22. The Others
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    A rare gothic horror throwback that’s scary and affecting rather than campy, The Others is so well-acted and well-crafted that it works even after viewers know all its secrets.
  23. The Strangers
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    What makes Bryan Bertino’s film seethe with nail-biting tension is the masterful use of space and silence. The home becomes a sieve, a place where a threatening presence can intrude upon the frame from any angle.
  24. Ginger Snaps
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    Ginger Snaps cleverly subverts horror's tradition of regressive gender politics by positing lycanthropy as an allegory for a girl’s sexual and physical maturation. The film is empowering in its depiction of a world where female sexuality is a potent, violent, and righteous force.
  25. Martyrs
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    There are those who find Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs to be one of the most unsettling and provocative horror films ever made, and then there are those who haven’t seen it yet.