1) Haute tension / High Tension / Switchblade Romance
If there was a graph showing the highs and lows of this decade, the release of Haute Tension would be a pretty big high point. It came out in the midst of films such as Jeepers Creepers 2 and House of the Dead, and reminded us what a horror film should be. It was raw, powerful, and unrelenting suspenseful horror — fitting of it’s name.
2) The Descent
Released in 2005, the Descent was the biggest surprise of the year for me. It was a pretty big year for horror: Land of the Dead, Hostel, as well as the highly disappointing Saw II and The Ring II were released. Yet here was a film that IMHO blew the others clear out of the water. Dark, atmospheric, and bloody scary.
3) The Devil’s Rejects
Another 2005 gem — this one sold me on Rob Zombie’s filmmaking abilities after what I found to be a shaky start with House of 1000 Corpses. Well acted, well directed, and overall just a great throwback horror flick.
A brilliant, sadistic, cleverly mean film which (don’t shoot the messenger) would have been great had it stopped after the first one.
5) Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
An entertaining and successful deconstruction of the horror genre, which aside from the intellectual aspect was also a solid horror film. Filled to the brim with clever homages and scenes to make any horror geek smile. Though props go out to Fido and Silent Hill for being other 2006 horror flicks which were still entertaining and solid in their own right.
6) 28 Days Later
While most remember 2002 as being the year of hype for Ghost Ship, FearDotCom, The Ring, Jason X, Halloween Resurrection, and Resident Evil, it was also the year of House of 1000 Corpses, May, Dog Soldiers, Cabin Fever, and 28 Days Later to name a few. Love it or hate it, Danny Boyle delivered one of the great horror flicks of the year.
7) Ginger Snaps
I almost forgot about this one, mainly because it was released in 2000 at the start of the decade. I thought it was fresh, creative, and a good take on the werewolf subgenre (which aside from Dog Soldiers was largely neglected).
8) The Hills Have Eyes
It was a toss-up for me whether to place Hatchet here or The Hills Have Eyes. Both I found entertaining, and while I normally try not to encourage remakes, during this past decade there were a few that I honestly enjoyed, starting with Th13teen Ghosts, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, and this one. It’s tough to neglect Hills Have Eyes, just because it was so damn solid and contained a good deal of atmospheric and outright tense scenes. While this may be my weakest selection on the list, I’ll stand by it.
9) The Orphanage
Another pleasant surprise. When I saw the film, I had heard next-to-nothing about it, and wasn’t sure what to expect. But from the very opening it caught my attention and took me on an atmospheric and oh-so-creepy journey which proved in my mind that foreign horror was the dominating force in this past decade.
10) Paranormal Activity
A dirt cheap production which managed to generate an enormous buzz and direct some positive interest in the horror genre. Well paced, the film speaks volumes about the talent of the director who was able to make a genuinely creepy film with next-to-no budget. A good way to leave the decade, IMO!
Lastly, honourable mentions include: Uzumaki (2000), Final Destination (2000), Undead (2003), Oldboy (2003) and while it isn’t horror it deserves a mention, Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hatchet (2006), Halloween (2007), 30 Days of Night (2007), Diary of the Dead (2007), Mother of Tears (2007), Inside (2007), Midnight Meat Train (2008), Cloverfield (2008).