Because of the success of the remake of Stephen Kings It we made a shortlist of the best horror movies of this Century.
We live in scary times that can often feel like lot more unsettling than any Scary Horror Character, but some of the best horror movies tap into real world terrors — and that’s especially true of the highlights from the last two decades of the genre, one of the most varied in its history. From graphic depictions of gory showdowns to subtler looks at psychological dread, the best horror movies of the 21st century typically focused on a handful of people struggling to survive a dark force beyond their comprehension. Who can’t relate to that? We created this list because of this Friday we will be able to experience the remake of Stephen Kings novel It.
“The Descent” (2005)
Neil Marshall’s economical monster movie takes place almost exclusively within the confines of a shadowy cave and the terrible, terrible things lurking within it. After a gradual beginning in which coworkers and friends venture into a cave during their weekend gateway in the Appalachian Mountains, the group winds up trapped in an unknown labyrinth and terrified about their prospects of finding an exit. In other words, “The Descent” is already a claustrophobic nightmare even before the monsters show up. But once they do, Marshall turns the slow-build suspense into a rollercoaster, with the survivors attacked from every corner by blind, monstrous humanoids craving blood. Using the contained setting to his advantage, Marshall makes the characters’ ceaseless terror as much a special effect as the monsters; the vivid performances draw us into the visceral quality of running and crawling from an unstoppable force that no amount of physical dexterity can possibly deter. Rooting the drama in the plight of a heroine already reeling from the death of her daughter, the movie also takes on a keen allegorical quality, as if the never-ending paths of caves represent far greater challenges taking place in the beleaguered woman’s man.
“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)
Ridiculously entertaining proof that you can have your cake and eat it, too, Drew Goddard’s “The Cabin in the Woods” isn’t only a very satisfying horror movie about a bunch of sexy twentysomethings who choose the wrong AirBnB, it’s also a smartly self-reflexive look at the value of horror movies themselves. Co-written by Joss Whedon (and co-starring a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth), “The Cabin in the Woods” plays by the rules of the game even as it breaks them one-by-one — the film is as fluent in its genre as “Scream” ever was, but Goddard isn’t content to simply subvert the familiar tropes about who’s going to die and how, it uses its knowledge to confront their meaning and implicate our bloodlus
“You’re Next” (2011)
“You’re Next” didn’t break new ground in the horror genre, but it stuck to rules that work. Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett have yet to do better than this tightly-wound survival story that’s replete with disarming humor to hold the whole bloody mess together. The result is like Chuck Jones by way of John Carpenter. After a morbid prologue in which two unnamed characters meet their doom at the hands of an unseen menace, “You’re Next” settles into a family reunion at an isolated vacation home deep in the woods. The affluent heads of the Crampton household, parents Paul (Rob Moran) and Barbara (Aubrey Davidson), invite their grown children and their respective significant others to a dinner party that quickly turns grim.
Before the danger begins, however, Wingard and Barrett neatly set up the family dynamic. Klutzy college professor Crispian (AJ Bowen) shows up with his levelheaded girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson). Aimee (Amy Seimetz) brings her indie filmmaker boyfriend Tariq (horror director Ti West), while the neurotic Felix (Nicholas Tucci) has the mysterious goth Zee (Wendy Glenn) in tow. Joe Swanberg rounds out the cast as the smarmy Drake — not that you need to keep track of all of them, because the body count rises fast. Arrows stream through the window and put the entire household into shock mode.
“The Human Centipede (First Sequence)” (2009)
Easy to deride, and easier to dismiss, “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)” nonetheless works as a calculated provocation. Demented in premise and execution, Dutch filmmaker Tom Six’s grotesque exercise in shock cinema has enough competence on its own terms to allow for a deeper reading. Put bluntly, the movie involves a mad German surgeon kidnapping a trio of foreigners and sewing them together – mouth to anus, twice over, linking their gastric tracts – to create the multi-human apparatus of the title. Spoiler alert and warning to anyone with an aversion to graphically exploitative images: He succeeds. Ew, right? But the astonishing thing about “The Human Centipede” is that Six takes the gimmick at face value and delivers a monster movie for the ages, aided to a large degree by Dieter Laser as the most deranged mad scientist in history. Josef Mengele with an anal fixation, Dr. Heiter shows no sympathy for the victims of his terrible experiment. Once their survival instincts kick in, the movie plays like a hybrid of gross-out comedy and visceral horror. It’s such a shocking gamble that it compelled the movie to pop culture heights, making it one of the biggest horror movies of the past 10 years. It’s certainly one of the most innovative, but as Six’s less-than-satisfying followups showed, the concept of the human centipede isn’t the only selling point. The movie works because it’s a bonafide form of body horror that goes places body horror has never gone before. It’s totally gross, and at the same time, totally origina