Greatest Horror Movies Since 2000: Part Five
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!
RESIDENT EVIL (2002)
META SCORE: 33
SYNOPSIS: A secret experiment…a deadly virus…a fatal mistake. Based on the wildly popular video game series, Resident Evil is an action-packed thriller starring Milla Jovovich in a battle of good and evil, human versus computer, the living against the Undead.
STARRING: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Pasquale Aleardi.
DIRECTED BY: Paul W S Anderson.
CRITICS SAY: “On its own terms, Resident Evil updates the zombie genre with an anti-corporate message while still scaring its audience and providing heart-pounding action.” -Robert K Elder, Chicago Tribune.
WE SAY: “It may have been nasty enough to bring Milla Jovovich back to the mainstream and lame enough to put Michelle Rodriguez in a stereotypical-lesbian soldier role, but Resident Evil, perhaps not so faithfully produced as Silent Hill, was a badass adaptation that proved to be completely watchable, even if it was a little too action-packed and not enough survival-based.”
QUEEN OF THE DAMNED (2002)
META SCORE: 30
SYNOPSIS: The second and third novels in author Anne Rice’s popular book series The Vampire Chronicles provide the inspiration for this horror sequel starring ill-fated actress and recording artist Aaliyah, who was killed in an airplane crash before the film’s release. Stuart Townsend is the vampire Lestat, who has awakened from a century-long slumber and turned his considerable energy to rock music. His vampirism identity mistaken for a gothic hard rock publicity stunt along the lines of Kiss or Marilyn Manson, he quickly becomes a pop music sensation. Lestat’s powerful music reaches the ear of the slumbering Akasha (Aaliyah), the millennia-old “queen of the vampires” who was the first immortal bloodsucker. Akasha is soon free and embarking on a quest to seize control of the world with Lestat at her side. In the meantime, Lestat becomes an object of fascination for Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau), member of a secret order studying the supernatural called the Talamasca, and a band of ancient vampires come together in an effort to stop Akasha, even though her destruction could potentially cause their own deaths.
STARRING: Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Perez, Paul McGann, Lena Olin.
DIRECTED BY: Michael Rymer, Paul Goldman.
CRITICS SAY: “Michael Rymer stages high-tech sequences combining gore, romance, and gothy music, and he has enough conviction to make what could have been very silly strangely provocative._ -Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader.
WE SAY: “Aaliyah may have pretty much killed the movie with her cringeworthy performance as Akasha, but Queen Pf The Damned, with its killer soundtrack, was a great movie, even if it was packed with cliches and ridiculous stereotypes.”
FROM HELL (2001)
META SCORE: 54.
SYNOPSIS: Jack the Ripper was the first tabloid star of the twentieth century and remains the most notorious and enigmatic serial killer in history. After five heinous, ritualistic murders are committed during a ten-week span in London in the fall of 1888, Scotland Yard Inspector Frederick Abberline’s new assignment is to investigate the brutal “Jack the Ripper” murders in the Whitechapel district of London. Along with a string of mutilated prostitutes, he uncovers a conspiracy involving the government, sex, and blackmail that could lead straight to the Royal Palace.
STARRING: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, Robbie Coltrane, Lesley Sharp.
DIRECTED BY: Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes.
CRITICS SAY: “The movie feels dark, clammy and exhilarating — it’s like belonging to a secret club where you can have a lot of fun but might get into trouble.” -Robert Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
WE SAYS: “It may have played fast and loose with the truth, but From Hell, despite a lot of very weird moments involving Depp’s Abberline, was an intriguing and watchable take on the Ripper Story.”
WHAT LIES BENEATH (2000)
META SCORE: 51.
SYNOPSIS: It had been a year since Dr. Norman Spencer betrayed his beautiful wife Claire. But with Claire oblivious to the truth and the affair over, Norman’s life and marriage seem perfect–so perfect that when Claire tells him of hearing mysterious voices and seeing a young woman’s wraithlike image in their home, he dismisses her mounting terror as delusion. However, as Claire moves closer to the truth, it becomes clear that this apparition will not be dismissed, and has come back for Dr. Norman Spencer… and his beautiful wife.
STARRING: Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford, Diana Scarwid, James Remar, Miranda Otto, Joe Morton.
DIRECTED BY: Robert Zemeckis.
CRITICS SAY: “What lies beneath What Lies Beneath are the good bones of Alfred Hitchcock.” -Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly.
WE SAY: “With plenty of moments that will make you hide your face behind a pillow, What Lies Beneath is predictable but chilling.”
THE AWAKENING (2012)
META SCORE: 53.
SYNOPSIS: Set in London in 1921, Florence Cathcart, author of the popular book “Seeing Through Ghosts,” has devoted her career to exposing claims of the supernatural as nothing but hoaxes. Haunted by the recent death of her fiance, she is approached by Robert Mallory to investigate the recent death of a student at the all-boys boarding school where he teaches. When students at the school report sightings of the young boy’s ghost, she decides to take on the case. Initially, the mystery surrounding the ghost appears nothing more than a schoolboy prank, but as Florence continues to investigate events at the school, she begins to believe that her reliance on science may not be enough to explain the strange phenomenon going on around her.
STARRING: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Shaun Dooley, Joseph Mawle.
DIRECTED BY: Nick Murphy.
CRITICS SAY: “The film benefits enormously from having the luminous Rebecca Hall as its lead. It also gains an ominous gravity from the haunted, wounded and wobbly England in which it’s set.” -John Anderson, Wall Street Journal.
WE SAY: “With one of those twists you’ll kick yourself for having not seen coming, The Awakening isn’t particularly scary, but has all the charm of a real Victorian ghost story.”
THE PURGE (2013)
META SCORE: 41.
SYNOPSIS: In a futuristic America plagued by crime, the government sanctions a 12-hour period once a year in which all criminal activity is legal. When an intruder breaks into the home of James Sandin and his family, they must try to survive the night without compromising their personal moral code.
STARRING: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield.
DIRECTED BY: James DeMonaco.
CRITICS SAY: “The Purge is not subtle. But why should it be? It’s not a movie about class or morality, but about the need for violence — our own. We are the audience, after all, and we must be purged, too.” -Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine.
WE SAY: “With Trump in the White House and the Conservatives ruling Britain, The Purge make us wonder one thing- could this happen?”
THIR13EEN GHOSTS (2001)
META SCORE: 30
SYNOPSIS: 13 Ghosts is a state-of-the-art remake of the classic William Castle horror film about a family that inherits a spectacular old house from an eccentric uncle. There’s just one problem: the house seems to have a dangerous agenda all its own. Trapped in their new home by strangely shifting walls, the family encounters powerful and vengeful entities that threaten to annihilate anyone in their path. Soon the family is joined by an offbeat ghost hunter who is determined to free the spirits imprisoned in the house. Caught in a frantic race to save themselves before it is too late, the human inhabitants realize the house is a riddle, which contains the key to their imminent salvation – or destruction.
STARRING: Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, Shannon ELizabeth, Alec Roberts, Rah Digga, Embeth Davidtz.
DIRECTED BY: Steve Beck.
CRITICS SAY: “Beck maintains a satisfyingly high level of heebie-jeebies throughout.” -Joe Leydon, Variety.
WE SAY: “It was of course damned by critics for being cliche-ridden and full of unintelligent, mindless scare that somewhat insult its audience, but Thir13en Ghosts is bulked up by the fantastic backstories and intrigue of the ghosts that haunt it.”
DARKNESS FALLS (2012)
META SCORE: 23.
SYNOPSIS: As a young boy, Kyle Walsh claims to have accidentally woken up out of his sleep, just in time to see the Tooth Fairy trying to kill him. From that point forward he is considered crazy by everyone in town–except his childhood sweetheart, Caitlin, and her little brother, Michael. Years later, Kyle must return home to confront his troubled past, and save Caitlin and Michael from an unrelenting evil that has plagued the town of Darkness Falls for over 150 years.
STARRING: Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Lee Cormie, Grant Piro, Sullivan Stapleton, Steve Mouzakis.
DIRECTED BY: Jonathan Liebesman.
CRITICS SAY: “A very flawed but entertaining and cheesy monster flick that would be fun to watch around a crowd with some popcorn.” -Felix Vasquez, Cinema Crazed.
WE SAY: “The legend of a killer Tooth Fairy couldn’t possibly be scary, could it? You’d be surprised.”