Greatest Horror Movies Since 2000: Part Four
Throughout the opening weeks of publication, Agony founder and horror fan Andrew Nicholls will be contributing a list of what he believes to be the greatest horror movies released since the year 2000. This list will be published in five parts, with films filed in no particular order.
Obviously, as with all lists, plenty of people are bound to disagree with the movies chosen and it would be a little upsetting if that wasn’t the case. If you’re one of those people, please do offer your own suggestions in comment form at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
THE WOMAN IN BLACK (2012)
META SCORE: 62
SYNOPSIS: Arthur Kipps, a widowed lawyer whose grief has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased eccentric. But upon his arrival, it soon becomes clear that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret. Although the townspeople try to keep Kipps from learning their tragic history, he soon discovers that the house belonging to his client is haunted by the ghost of a woman who is determined to find someone and something she lost…and no one, not even the children, are safe from her vengeance.
STARRING: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer, Shaun Dooley, Liz White, David Burke.
DIRECTED BY: James Watkins.
CRITICS SAY: “Director James Watkins expertly uses shadows and empty spaces to create a percolating sense of dread, and he waits until the last possible moment before allowing his audience the catharsis of a shock.” -Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph.
WE SAY: “Besides deviation from the original story and some nonsense involving a rocking chair and the dismissal of the laws of physics, The Woman In Black is an entertaining and traditional horror yarn that chills and raises tension throughout.”
DOG SOLDIERS (2002)
META SCORE: N/A
SYNOPSIS: British director Neil Marshall’s directorial debut Dog Soldiers resurrects and embraces the low-budget horror-comedy. Sergeant Harry Wells (Sean Pertwee) leads a team of British soldiers on a routine expedition to the Scottish Highlands. The six men would rather be at home watching the game, but they are even more dismayed when a carcass lands on their campfire. The next morning, they happen upon a severely injured Captain Richard Ryan (Liam Cunningham) and the bloody remains of his squadron. Soon they are attacked by giant werewolf beasts and chased through the woods, only to be saved by zoologist Megan (Emma Cleasby), who explains some of the truth about the creatures. They all take refuge in an old farmhouse while the threat of the monsters looms increasingly heavy.
STARRING: Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Emma Cleasby, Liam Cunningham, Thomas Lockyer, Darren Morfitt.
DIRECTED BY: Neill Marshall.
CRITICS SAY: “One of the best all-out, no-apologies, hell-bent-for-leather horror films to emerge from the beginning of the 21st century” -Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique.
WE SAY: “Ever wondered what would happen if a small group of soldiers went head to head with werewolves? No? Why not?”
THE MIST (2007)
META SCORE: 58
SYNOPSIS: David Drayton and his young son Billy are among a large group of terrified townspeople trapped in a local grocery store by a strange, otherworldly mist. David is the first to realize that there are things lurking in the mist–deadly, horrifying things–creatures not of this world. Survival depends on everybody in the store pulling together, but is that possible, given human nature? As reason crumbles in the face of fear and panic, David begins to wonder what terrifies him more: the monsters in the mist or the ones inside the store, the human kind, the people that until now had been his friends and neighbors?
STARRING: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler.
DIRECTED BY: Frank Darabont.
CRITICS SAY: “By catching his protagonists between equally oppressive horrors, Darabont successfully finds the squelchy heart of King’s story, and keeps it pumping until the ugly end.” -Tasha Robinson, AV Club.
WE SAY: “With one of the cruelest endings we’ve ever witnessed, The Mist is a surprising movie, a quality adaptation.”
YOU’RE NEXT (2013)
META SCORE: 66
SYNOPSIS: A chilling warning scrawled in blood on a neighbor’s wall starts an evening of bloody mayhem for the Davison family. A lively reunion is abruptly brought to an end when a gang of mysterious killers, disguised in animal masks, wage an all-out assault on the Davison’s secluded home. Using a series of sophisticated traps, axes, crossbows and machetes, the family are slaughtered one by one until nowhere is safe. But neither the attackers, nor their victims, have counted on Erin; an innocent girlfriend who has the killer instinct to fight back…
STARRING: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Sanberg, Margaret Laney.
DIRECTED BY: Adam Wingard.
CRITICS SAY: “Given its title, you can be forgiven for assuming that Adam Wingard’s home-invasion thriller will be just another blood-soaked body-count flick. But You’re Next is better than that. A lot better.”
WE SAY: “You know a gang of killers is serious when they remember to properly punctuate the bloody writings they leave on the wall.”
GHOSTS OF MARS (2001)
META SCORE: 35
SYNOPSIS: By the year 2025, the planet Mars, long inhabited by human settlers, has become the manifest destiny of an over-populated Earth. Nearly 640,000 people now live and work all over Mars, mining the planet for its abundant natural resources. But one of those mining operations has uncovered a deadly mother lode: a long dormant Martian civilization whose warriors are systematically taking over the bodies of human intruders. Lt. Melanie Ballard of the Martian Police Force is on transport assignment to bring James “Desolation” Williams, the planet’s most notorious criminal, to justice. Williams has no plans to make Ballard’s job easy. What begins as a battle of force and wits between cop and criminal soon turns into something more fundamental: a battle for human survival in the realm of the Martian warriors. It’s civilization against civilization as Ballard and Williams join forces in mortal combat with the Ghosts of Mars.
STARRING: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Pam Grier, Clea DuVall, Jason Statham, Liam Waite.
DIRECTED BY: John Carpenter.
CRITICS SAY: “It loves being quick and dirty, and it wants you to love it too. That honesty can be hard to resist, even when the film itself starts to falter.” -Rob Vaux, Flipside Movie Emporium.
WE SAY: “It’s no masterpiece, but Ghosts Of Mars reminds you that what you don’t know, can most definitely hurt you.”
META SCORE: 55
SYNOPSIS: Two adventurous American college buddies, Paxton and Josh, backpack through Europe eager to make quintessentially hazy travel memories with new friend Oli, an Icelander they’ve met along the way. Paxton and Josh are eventually lured by a fellow traveler to what’s described as a nirvana for American backpackers — a particular hostel in an out-of-the-way Slovakian town stocked with Eastern European women as desperate as they are gorgeous. The two friends arrive and soon easily pair off with exotic beauties Natalya and Svetlana. In fact, too easily. Initially distracted by the good time they’re having, the two Americans quickly find themselves trapped in an increasingly sinister situation that they will discover is as wide and as deep as the darkest, sickest recess of human nature itself — if they survive.
STARRING: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson.
DIRECTED BY: Eli Roth.
CRITICS SAY: “Portrayed the way Transylvania was in a 1930s vampire film, with lascivious beauties intent on seducing and drugging their unwitting American dates so they can be fed into the machinery of recreational death.” -John Anderson, Variety.
WE SAY: “After watching you can settle your mind by reminding yourself that Hostel is just a movie, but really, such dangers could certainly await unweary travellers in the darkest corners of the world.”
META SCORE: 47
SYNOPSIS: Frank is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill.
STARRING: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Genevieve Alexandra, Megan Duffy, Jan B Felt.
DIRECTED BY: Franck Khalfoun.
CRITICS SAY: “Each killing is suffused with a strangely surreal empathy for both murderer and victim that recalls Jonathan Demme’s genre-redefining The Silence of the Lambs.” -Keith Uhlich, Time Out.
WE SAY: “Shocking, bloody and at times overwhelming, Maniac is Elijah Wood as many haven’t seen him before.”
FREDDY VS JASON (2003)
META SCORE: 37.
SYNOPSIS: Get ready for the ultimate showdown! Freddy Krueger, the psychopath from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series resurrects Jason Voorhees, the equally iconic madman from the “Friday the 13th” film series. With a terrified town in the middle, the two titans of terror enter into a horrifying showdown of epic proportions, alternating between the world of dreams and the harsh reality of the living world. Who will win and who will lose in this battle to end all battles?
STARRING: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, Katharine Isabelle.
DIRECTED BY: Ronny Yu.
CRITICS SAY: “It’s completely daft, and the one-liners are by now just plain cheesy, but there’s a good deal of gore to keep the faithful amused, if not completely happy.” -Kim Newman, Empire Magazine.
WE SAY: “It isn’t groundbreaking, but then it was never meant to be, Freddie Vs Jason sees two of slasher horrors biggest names go head to head in a killer soundtracked ride that leaves bodies on the floor.”
META SCORE: 76
SYNOPSIS: Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam’s superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small-town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who’s not particularly thrilled about her return.
STARRING: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Ross Harper, Cameron Rhodes, Ryan Lampp.
DIRECTED BY: Gerard Johnstone.
CRITICS SAY: “Housebound winningly sticks two fingers up to tired genre persuasions, effecting a barnstorming crowdpleaser populated by people you want to root for and tension you can chew. It’s the stuff Friday nights at the movies were made for.” -Matthew Thrift, Little White Lies.
WE SAY: “Perhaps a little deeper and smarter than it needs to be, Housebound is a chiller perhaps let down by its hateful protagonist that’ll keep you interested throughout.”
META SCORE: 57
SYNOPSIS: Mama is a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.
STARRING: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet.
DIRECTED BY: Andres Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti.
CRITICS SAY: “Instead of delivering buckets of guts and gore, this ghost story offers a strong sense of time and place, along with the kind of niceties that don’t often figure into horror flicks.” -Manohla Dargis, New York Times.
WE SAY: “Mama is scary, but it isn’t just pure lazy gore. Psychological and chilling, it chills its audience to the bone while ensuring that, at all times, they can’t look away- even if they want to.”
Look out for part five soon.