My Top Ten Horror Movies Of The 21st Century

**This list was updated March 2019 for a lot of new additions. There have been some fantastic horror films the last couple of years.**

It’s probably obvious to regular readers that I’m rarely a fan of modern day horror films. I’m sure I come across as quite picky since my ratings for current horror films, even ones I seemed to enjoy, are usually pretty low. I’d never call horror my favorite genre (it’s sci-fi) but that’s probably because there are far more bad films within this genre than in any other. But when a genuinely good horror comes along, I love it! Unfortunately, the good ones have just been few & far between since about 1987 (when the awesome A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors was released). 😉

So, even though horror films of the Seventies & Eighties will forever be my favorites, I wanted to prove that I have actually liked a few since 1987. However, most of the movies on this list still come nowhere near the genius of things like The Shining & The Omen but there’s been an improvement in the quality of horror releases the past couple of years. Hopefully this continues.

One quick note: I’VE EXCLUDED HORROR COMEDIES! When working on this list, I ended up with lots of them as I’ve liked so many since the year 2000. As I already did a list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies, I’ve decided to leave them out to keep things simple. I’m also leaving out some films I like that I don’t consider horror and see more as “thrillers”, such as my guilty pleasure The Purge films & the excellent Battle Royale, and some monster movies like Cloverfield & The Host. I’ve also left out Slither, which I put into My Top Ten Body Horror Movies list.

So, here are My Top Ten 21st Century Horror Movies counting down to my favorite (but let’s be annoying & make it a Top 20…):

TOP TWENTY:

20. The Secret Of Marrowbone
19. The House Of The Devil
18. Ginger Snaps
17. [Rec]
16. Land Of The Dead
15. Gerald’s Game
14. The Others
13. Final Destination
12. A Quiet Place
11. The Orphanage

TOP TEN:

10. TIE: A Tale Of Two Sisters & Let The Right One In

9. The Descent

8. Mandy

7. The Mist

6. 28 Days (& Weeks) Later…

5. It Follows

4. Train To Busan

3. It (2017)

2. The Babadook

1. Dawn Of The Dead

Some Honorable Mentions:
Saw (first film only – hate the rest)
The Conjuring
The Innkeepers
The Boy
Absentia
Honeymoon
The Wailing
Pontypool
Hereditary
Us

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Dog Soldiers (2002) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

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Dog Soldiers (2002)

Directed by Neil Marshall

Starring:
Kevin McKidd
Sean Pertwee
Emma Cleasby
Liam Cunningham
Darren Morfitt
Chris Robson
Leslie Simpson
Thomas Lockyer

Running time: 105 minutes

Plot Synopsis:

Werewolves.

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My Opinion:

This is another film I watched for my Halloween Horror Fest. See a great review of it from vinnieh HERE.

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The above review is much better than mine will be. It’s now Halloween and I have to crank out three reviews still. Oops! Dog Soldiers, Berberian Sound Studio, and Grabbers. I really liked Grabbers so will spend a bit more time on that one but I don’t have a clue what to say about the other two!

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As I watched The Descent for the first time for this horror fest and I liked it a lot, it was worth also checking out the same director’s (Neil Marshall) first effort with Dog Soldiers. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this one very much.

I love a good werewolf movie but this is certainly no American Werewolf In London. I did think it started out pretty good and felt like a pretty standard werewolf flick. The characters were fairly believable and they were out in the lonely wilderness and all that. It did have a great feel. At first…

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Where it fell apart for me a bit was when they got to the house and the battle then started. Oh, and also when one of them had his intestines hanging out but was then able to run around and fight werewolves after he was bandaged up a bit. It was like that Prometheus abortion! And, okay – I have to admit that I fell asleep in the middle of all this. I’m guessing I missed between 15 to 30 minutes but I didn’t care enough to rewind (if you still call it that on a DVD). And, I’m sorry but the werewolves didn’t look that great.

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Oh well. You can’t love ’em all! I don’t think I exactly *hated* this movie. I’ve certainly seen worse and, like I said, it started out quite strong. And I liked that that Trainspotting guy was in it but I just kept thinking “Why did they have to cancel his Journeyman TV show just as it was getting really good?”. Anyway. To be honest, I can see how Neil Marshall went on to make the (far superior) The Descent. Dog Soldiers is definitely a strong debut film and I’ll just shut up now as it’s not like I’ve ever made a movie. Plus I now have to go write that Berberian Sound Studio review – trust me, that review will suck even more than this one because I have no clue what was going on in that film.

My Rating: 5.5/10

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The Descent (2005) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

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The Descent (2005)

Directed by Neil Marshall

Starring:
Shauna Macdonald
Natalie Mendoza
Alex Reid
Saskia Mulder
MyAnna Buring
Nora Jane Noone

Running time: 99 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
A year after tragedy strikes for Sarah, one of a group of adventurous female friends, the women decide to reunite for a caving expedition in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. When part of the cave collapses, trapping them inside, the group of friends must find another way out. They soon find themselves fighting for survival when they realize that they aren’t the only ones in the caves.

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My Opinion:

This is my third review for Halloween Horror Fest (and I have a lot more to go!). I first reviewed From Beyond followed by ParaNorman. I’d always wanted to see The Descent and was finally convinced to check it out after reading Kim’s very positive review of it at Tranquil Dreams HERE.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I find pretty much all modern horrors a huge disappointment. I love old school horror (well, mainly from the 70s & 80s but that’s old school to the new generation). I’ve liked very few horror movies in recent years. So, I’m happy to say that I did really enjoy The Descent.

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I know that The Descent is quite a well-liked film. It has a rating of 7.2 at IMDB which is REALLY high for a horror. I can kind of see why as I think it was really a film of two parts and those very different parts tick the boxes for more than just one type of horror fan.

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For someone like me, I found the first half of the film to be the most satisfying. The film takes its time introducing us to the characters & giving us a decent backstory for the main three friends. We then find out later that there’s something much more to the story of Sarah and a girl named Juno, who is the one who has planned this caving expedition. The movie gives us the clues to figure out exactly what happened between these two in the past without ever assuming the audience is stupid and actually spelling it all out to us. Great stuff. I loved their story and it’s what made the film for me. I cared about Sarah’s character. Too many horror films have poorly developed characters that you either hate or just don’t care about so how refreshing to not have that be the case here.

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The other thing that worked for me was the beginning of the expedition into the caves, before things even turn violent. I think claustrophobia is a pretty common fear (I will never ever EVER use the tube in London again during rush hour – I started hyperventilating once and thought those damn doors would never open at one point when I was thoroughly squished!). So when the women start crawling through some VERY tight spaces, I couldn’t bear to watch. Especially when, of course, one of them gets stuck and starts panicking. As I would. I looked away, which I only ever do during gory scenes. It was stressing me out. And I thought the caves looked pretty damn good, too, considering they were just sets built at Pinewood Studios.

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When the violence starts, The Descent turns into a much different film. Now, I’ve known for years what’s in the caves and I think it’s always been fairly common knowledge but maybe I should put POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING here to discuss it…

As far as horrors with “creatures” go, I’m sometimes a fan and sometimes not. I guess it depends on how good the film is overall and how well they do making the creatures look believable or, at least, not laughable. I didn’t have too much of a problem with the creatures in The Descent. They were believable enough and you could almost buy into their existence (as far as fantasy movieland is concerned). This is the point of the movie where it was less “my type of horror” and more for other people but, hey – that’s why this film has done so well: there’s something for everyone. And there was plenty of blood spewing all over the place for the gorehounds but it actually wasn’t TOO over the top (as far as horror films go) for someone like me. I didn’t even really have to look away so that was nice. So, even though this part of the film wasn’t “me” so much, I actually ended up liking it and it didn’t make me like the film any less overall.

AND – as I was moaning on Twitter the other day, most horror films have really horrible endings. It’s not very often that I find the end of a horror film very satisfying. But, yeah – I did like the ending for The Descent. Luckily I had the British version of the film. After later watching the American ending online, thank god that’s not the original one I saw. That was rubbish! So be sure to watch the British version if you’ve never seen it.

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Summary:

The Descent is a solid modern horror film that will keep various types of horror fans happy. It’s full of strong female characters who kick some ass, make *some* smart decisions, and don’t go around just screaming and ripping their tops off (I know this might be disappointing to male viewers but how nice this was for a change for female horror fans). You care about the lead character and are rewarded with an interesting backstory that is kept subtle enough to not turn things into a soap opera. The claustrophobic caves alone were enough to scare me but, for those who think all of the above sounds boring, the film also has plenty of blood splattering all over the place as well (without being ridiculously over the top). I’m glad I’ve finally watched it and will now be watching Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers within the next week based on how much I liked this.

My Rating: 8/10

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This is probably the only horror film that I and the crazy horror movie maniac I work with (I swear that guy has bodies under his floorboards) will ever agree on.

Halloween Horror Fest

I’m sure a lot of bloggers will be doing something similar in the run up to Halloween. I’ve really gone off horror films the past several years as I’ve found modern horror, other than some foreign film exceptions, a major disappointment. So through October I’ll try to watch & do as many reviews of horror movies as I can.

What I’d really like to do when (and if I ever) have enough time is ask for film recommendations from all of you. But I wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone if I don’t have time to watch their films so, in the meantime, I’ve chosen some horror films that I’ve already discussed with fellow bloggers or I liked the sound of after reading their reviews. So these are the films I’ll (try very hard to!) review throughout October for my Halloween Horror Fest:

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The Descent – Kim at Tranquil Dreams gave this a very positive review HERE

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Insidious – Reviewed by Celluloid Junkie HERE and an Insidious 2 review from Silver Screen Serenade HERE

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ParaNorman – Reviewed by Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are HERE

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Grabbers – Reviewed by Eric of The IPC HERE

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Berberian Sound Studio – Despite a disappointing review from Rhino’s Horror HERE, I still want to see this.

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Pitch Black – Quite a few reviews of this with Riddick having just come out. I never made a start on these as I’m not a Vin Diesel fan but I suppose I can give this a go. Pitch Black reviewed by MovieRob HERE and by Dan The Man’s Movie Reviews HERE plus a Riddick review from Gregory Moss at Mossfilm HERE.

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Dog Soldiers – If I get time & if I actually like The Descent. Review from Vinnieh HERE. 🙂

Plus I’ll review these which I’ve seen very recently but not yet reviewed:

From Beyond
Nosferatu (1922)
Sisters (AKA Blood Sisters)
The Innkeepers
(In the middle of watching this, I actually paused to look it up at The IPC to see if Eric had reviewed it. Yep! And, luckily, he liked it. You can read his review HERE.)

And Maybe:
High Tension (AKA Switchblade Romance) if I manage to actually force myself to watch it….