Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The 21 greatest horror movies of the 21st century

Time for another Wizard "Best Of" feature!

With Halloween happening tomorrow (or in two days going by American time), it's appropriate they came up with this list.

Can’t get to a costume party this Halloween? Soil your pants at home instead!

By Jake Rossen

Posted October 29, 2007 12:55 PM

21. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Proof positive that “existential zombie film” isn’t an oxymoron: With help from the U.S. Army, survivors of the “28 Days Later” plague try to repopulate, with mixed (i.e., disastrous) results.

20. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Seamlessly blurring two disparate genres—the gripping courtroom drama and the demonic possession freakout—“Rose” provides all the more scares for the matter-of-fact way it treats the supernatural.

19. High Tension (2003)
Brutally efficient and with nary any bothersome subtext, this tale of a killer who slaughters a family and terrorizes their houseguest is a study in screw-turning suspense. As the hunted, Cecile de France (left) constitutes a heroine worthy of Ripley’s wife-beater.

18. Slither (2006)
A mucus- and slime-infested tribute to schlock horror, “Slither” is quite possibly one of the most disgusting movies ever made. As otherworldly creepies infest a small town—and invade orifices—you’ll be squirming as much as they are. Bonus cool: Pam from “The Office” as a hick receptionist!

17. Ju-on (2000)
Man up and deal with the subtitles: This Japanese inspiration for the stateside “Grudge” is the superior flick. When the ghosts of murdered innocents start popping up, you’ll be fetal before too long.

16. The Others (2001)
While the plot sounds hokey and dated—single mom thinks her new house is haunted—it’s executed in true Gothic fashion, with a subtlety that’s rare in Hollywood horror (until Nicole Kidman grabs a shotgun, anyway).

15. Ginger Snaps (2000)
After a werewolf attacks a menstruating teenager, her best friend tries to deal with her change in…appetites. As much a movie about adolescent angst as it is lycanthropes, “Snaps” delivers on its snarky premise right up through its final, heartbreaking scene.

14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Co-starring Jessica Biel’s delts (pictured), this gritty, gory update of the ’70s iconic classic is appropriately nasty: R. Lee Ermey’s oily, degenerate sheriff might be creepier than Leatherface himself.

13. Grindhouse (2007)
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to turn back the clock and offer a ’70s-era movie experience: two B-movies, grainy film stock and a host of faux trailers. In QT’s “Death Proof,” we even get to see a Snake Plissken-esque Kurt Russell again. Sweet.

12. Dog Soldiers (2002)
Slipping in under the mainstream radar, this British flick—about a group of commandos who run afoul of werewolves in Scotland—comes off like the bastard lovechild of G.I. Joe meets “The Howling.”

11. Wolf Creek (2005)
For a while, this Australian flick seems harmless enough, just like the Good Samaritan who helps two backpackers with their stalled car. Then everything turns into an unholy nightmare. You’ll never watch “Crocodile Dundee” the same way again.

10. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Marketed as a parody of the zombie genre, “Shaun” (left) is actually one of the better undead movies to come along since George Romero grabbed a camera. Who knew the “Batman” movie soundtrack makes for an awesome projectile?

9. Saw (2004)
Finding genius in simplicity, “Saw” (pictured) takes a barren concept—two men wake up chained to the wall—and exhausts the gruesome possibilities. As serial killer Jigsaw, Tobin Bell channels a Hannibal Lecter who’s read way too many EC comics.

8. Dark Water (2002)
A single mom and her daughter must deal with the sentient, haunting presence of water in their new apartment. The creepy, atmospheric Japanese original far outstrips the more recent American remake (the drinkable Jennifer Connelly aside, naturally).

7. Hostel (2005)
Preying on the fears of foreign travel, gore raconteur Eli Roth made his bones on this deeply unsettling look at the commerce of human suffering. That this movie helped coin the phrase “torture porn” should tell you everything you need to know.

6. The Host (2006)
With Godzilla busy fighting for his dignity—and losing—this Korean entry resuscitated the giant-ass monster movie genre. Rising from a river infected with toxic waste, the creature’s rage has some environmental undertones. It’s edu-tastic!

5. The Descent (2005)
It was Wizard’s movie of the year for ’06, so how can you go wrong? You can’t, sillypants! A group of cave explorers find themselves trapped and hunted by a new breed of evil in this claustrophobic thriller; if you ever thought about spelunking, this should cure it.

4. 28 Days Later (2002)
Awakening from a head injury, Cillian Murphy finds the U.K. to be a wasteland populated by flesh-chomping victims of a new virus. He actually takes it pretty well; viewers will be left nibbling on their throw pillows.

3. Frailty (2001)
“I had a vision, kids. We gotta kill demons, ’cause God told me to. But, um, they’ll look like regular people. Here, give me that ax.” Bill Paxton stars in and directs the creepiest dad movie ever.

2. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Before “300,” Zack Snyder made a name for himself with this remake of the Romero classic: Trapped in a shopping mall, a group of survivors try to plot a way out of the rapidly growing circle of zombies (below) that surround them. Smart and intense, with Snyder’s trademark eye for kinetic visuals.

1. The Ring (2002)
With a killer mythology—watch a cursed videotape and die within seven days—“The Ring” did its Japanese inspiration proud, getting the morbid job done with nary a drop of blood. The secret? A reliance on the most mundane conventions of our daily lives: the telephone and television. We dare you not to jump if your phone should happen to ring during the flick, and we double-dare you not to squeal like a little Girl Scout when undead antagonist Samara (below) pays Martin Henderson a visit through his coaxial cable. Watch this alone and you’ll need counseling—not to mention a lifetime supply of Ambien.

Now everyone knows while I'm a big fan of Wizard's lists, I don't always agree with their choices. And such is the case for this feature.

The Ring is #1? The freaking Ring!? And it's not even the original Japanese version that's featured...it's the lame-ass Sarah Michelle Gellar AMERICAN version! What the hell are the people at Wizard watching!? Ju-On, which is HEAPS better than The Ring (except for that last part of the ring when you find out what's really happening), finished only #20? Get out of town.

Fantastic that Dawn of the Dead finished 2nd, though Shaun of the Dead should have finished higher. And really...where are the Evil Dead movies? Heck, if you're going for horror comedy like Shaun of the Dead, then Army of Darkness should be in there at least!

1 comment:

Roger said...

Couple notes:

SMG wasn't in The Ring... that was Naomi Watts. SMG was in The Grudge.

And Evil Dead didn't make the cut because it's a list of 21st century horror movies. Sam Raimi's been a bit busy with radioactive spiders so far this century.