by Nick Neidorf.
Not a horror aficionado by any means, but I think I can manage 10. Here goes:
10. Dawn of the Dead (2004)- Another good "fast zombie" movie. It doesn't have the original's depth, but it makes up for it through the sheer awesomeness of its violence and humor (the celebrity sniping game was pretty sweet). It's almost like it was adapted from a video game, it's so quick and shallow and fun.
9. Saw (2004) - Fuck the sequels, this ended perfectly. The acting may not always be great, and the final twist is maybe too far beyond belief, but it's so good that it doesn't matter if it reaches a bit too far. A fantastic concept that was unfortunately, inevitably, stretched super thin by a nonstop series of watered down imitations.
8. Cabin Fever (2002) - Wears its influences on its sleeve, but what of that? Disturbing/suspenseful/funny/weird (the rabbit suited dude in the hospital? brilliant), it's what keeps me believing in Eli Roth, despite the disappointing Hostel movies and their even worse imitators.
7. 28 Days Later (2002)- "Not a zombie movie"? Whatever. Still the definitive "fast zombie" movie in the zombie canon. Sure, the soldier stuff drags the movie down a bit, but the empty London sequence and the scenes of the zombie soldier running amok in the mansion are worth the price of admission alone. I'm embarrassed by how many times I saw this in the theater.
6. Frailty (2001) - It's criminal this movie was so slept-on. May not be the out-and-out splatter-fest some people might crave, but it is so well-acted and plotted, it stunned me. The closest I've seen any modern horror film get to the high water mark set by the psychological thrillers of the late 60's/70's (Don't Look Now, Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, etc.). Bill Paxton is the man.
5. Drag Me to Hell (2009) - A horror homecoming for Sam Raimi. I loved how relentless it was, how it wasted no time in diving into the suspense. The most fun I had in theatres, horror-wise.
4. The Mist (2007) - The CGI is kinda sub-par, but the ensemble cast makes up for it. And that ending; holy fuck, what a shock coming from the director of Shawshank Redemption.
3. The Ruins (2008) - A great concept, solid cast. Like the Descent, a breath of fresh air when held up against its mainstream peers. Body horror at its peak.
2. The Descent (2005) - The best out and out horror film. I was creeped out before the women even encountered the cave people, just because of how claustrophobic and dangerous everything seemed. This movie had not only the requisite gore and violence, but well-acted and distinct characters, not to mention a refreshing feminine spin on a very male-dominated genre.
1. Grindhouse (2007) - I feel like I'm cheating with this, but whatever. Planet Terror provided the gore and humor (and the better use of the "missing reel" gag), while Death Proof had style to spare and a great twist on the "pretty girls stalked by a killer" genre.
Sublist: Horror Comedy Honorable Mentions
Shaun of the Dead (2004) - Nothing need be said.
Club Dread (2004) - Severely underrated. The live action Pac-man game is worth seeing this for alone.
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) - A fucking bonkers premise, but Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis, under Don Coscarelli's direction, pull it off admirably. Thank you, thank you very much.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)/Friday the 13th (2009) - Not sold as comedy, but c'mon. They're both entirely self-aware and hold no pretensions towards being anything more than over-the-top gorefest filled with absurd characters ripe for the slaughter. All-dials-in-the-red brilliant.
Nick Neidorf is a self-proclaimed blue-eyed devil and misanthrope currently living in Los Angeles, California. While attending Bennington College, he was one of only two people that Randall knew he could depend on when an Annabel Davis-Goff class turned ugly. He blogs regularly at http://blueeyeddevil.tumblr.com/, or you can follow him on Twitter.