Happy New Year, dear readers! It’s 2016 and we’ve now had 2015 years of 21st century horror to look back on. Ready to feel a bit nostalgic? Because here’s my top 50 horror films for new millennium so far! Please note, I am kinda picky. I wanted to do a top 100 but could only come up with about 80 or so films in the last 15 years that I thought were deserving of this type of list. No body does top 80 lists. So, I whittled it down to 50 and here we are!
50. Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt) (2006)
The Norwegians just get it. They don’t make a ton of horror films, but the ones they make are almost universally awesome. This slasher film is no exception. A group of young snowboarders are forced to take shelter in an abandoned hotel after one of them breaks his leg. In this decrepit building in the middle of a snowy no man’s land, they find that they are not as alone as they thought.
It’s atmospheric, desolate, and original. They introduce their very own slasher icon who would go on to appear in 2 more films (the equally-if-not-more awesome Cold Prey 2 and the unfortunately mediocre Cold Prey 3). Great characters in an original situation with lots of tension and mystery as to what is really going on.
49. Deathgasm (2015)
The rock horror film was a staple sub genre of the 80’s that has fallen by the wayside so it’s refreshing to see a new one just this year and for it to be just so amazing slaps it on this list. This horror comedy sees 2 metal heads inadvertently unleash a demonic evil upon their town, forcing them to save it.
The movie is pure gold, a gory laughfest with amazing characters. It’s the type of horror comedy film that we only see one of every few years.
48. Lake Mungo (2008)
Simply described as “a supernatural drama about grief”, Lake Mungo is a mockumentary about a family dealing with the aftermath of their daughter drowning.
It’s a well written film with a lot of twists and turns, giving a supernatural edge to a very realistic scenario.
47. Baby Blues (2008)
This is a pretty gritty film about a family on a secluded farm. One day the mother suffers a psychotic break due to postpartum depression and the eldest child must try to protect his younger siblings from the woman who has cared for them all of their lives.
It’s a very emotionally charged film in that you really see this dynamic between all of the characters involved. This isn’t some stranger trying to kill these kids, it’s their own mother. Added to this aspect are some very disturbing scenes.
46. Bastard (2015)
Retro slashers are done fairly regularly these days. But never before have I seen one nail it so perfectly. The film involves a two runaways, a suicidal gay cop, and newlywed serial killers all crossing paths and coming into the crosshairs of a masked killer at a rural B & B.
The characters in this film are really well developed. The directors had stated that they wanted each character to be strong enough to support a movie just about them and they pulled off this endeavor fantastically. And the overall feel of the film is perfect late 70’s- early 80’s slasher.
45. Almost Mercy (2015)
Almost Mercy tells the tale of two burgeoning sociopaths as they grow up and their lives and relationship evolve.
The film actually had me thinking of Donny Darko in that it is a film that just feels like the story is going to spiral off into complete chaos at any time. You know it’s going to happen, you just don’t know when. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, anticipating it.
44. Escape from Tomorrow (2013)
A truly psychedelic experience, the film is about a family’s trip to Disney World spiraling into chaos and insanity.
There’s a lot to talk about here. The story itself is insane, the camera work is done all in black and white, and this is perhaps the greatest achievement in guerilla film making in the history of film making. This is due to the fact that the movie was shot at Disney World entirely incognito without Disney knowing about it. The Disney company has since become aware of the film, but is almost going out of their way to ignore its existence, perhaps knowing that legal action would only increase the movie’s publicity to new heights unimaginable.
43. Splinter (2008)
There probably isn’t any greater creature feature in recent years than Splinter (Possibly barring The Hallow. I have yet to see it, but hear really good things). The film is simple in its premise but masterful in its execution, seeing a young couple and a convict trapped in a gas station as a parasite, which turns its hosts into deadly creatures, attempts to kill them.
The big thing with this one is great characters and great practical fx all made on a pretty small budget.
42. Pontypool (2008)
A novel approach to the zombie genre, Pontypool sees the staff of a rural radio station as a virus spreads among the populace through infected words in the English language.
This movie is all about the character interaction. The entire movie takes place in the radio station as the staff reacts to what is going on outside and deals with it as it begins to encroach on the building. It’s a very original take on a worn out genre.
41. Invalid (2015)
Described as a “psychosexual thriller”, Invalid is about a twenty-something girl tasked with looking after her paralyzed, catatonic older brother. But when she starts hearing him talking to her in her head, telling her how to make him well, things slowly go out of control.
The film has amazing acting and a very disturbing plot that leaves the viewer wondering at the end what is the reality of what they just saw. Did the sister really hear her brother talking to her? Or was she just slowly slipping into madness?
40. Jeepers Creepers (2001)
A brother and sister on a road trip run afoul of an ancient, evil creature bent on devouring them.
The popularity of this film and the series as a whole is evident. All one must do is look at all of the people who have been demanding a third film. The creeper is one of the most originally and mysterious horror villains to ever grace the screen.
39. Mr. Jones (2013)
A found footage film dealing heavily in Lovecraftian influence, the film is about a couple who has retreated out into the wilderness to work on their relationship, only to encounter the mysterious Mr. Jones as reality itself is imperiled.
The film is heavy on character interaction and mystery and has a very original story. Highly recommended.
38. Afllicted (2013)
You know, found footage gets a bad rap. But there really are quite a few good ones. Afflicted is a found footage vampire movie about two friends on a trip overseas. When one of them becomes infected with a strange condition, they try to find a way to stop it before it’s too late.
This is the 2nd best vampire movie of the new millenrium. Really well shot, terrific acting, and great effects.
37. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
A film by Sam Raimi, Drag Me to Hell is about a woman cursed by an old woman. Now she races to find a way to stop the curse before it takes its toll.
The film is pure Raimi. All of the goodness here is style and story. Great camera work and more than a little humor thrown in, both staples of the man who brought us the Evil Dead films.
36. Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a horror comedy that makes satire of the hillbilly killer genre. It sees the roles reversed as two rednecks are on the side of the angels against a yuppie college-aged psychopath.
This is a film that you can literally watch over and over. It never stops being funny! It’s an amazingly hilarious twist on an old trope.
35. Fido (2006)
A zomcom that breaks the mold, Fido is a clever film that takes place in the recovery after a zombie apocalypse. Zombies can now be controlled with special collars and are often used to labor or as companions. Fido is the new addition to the family and the story that follows can best be described as what is Lassie was a zombie instead of a collie dog.
34. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Remember how everyone loves Scream for breaking down the tropes of the slasher genre with clever satire? Nothing. Nothing compared to Behind the Mask, probably the greatest slasher film of the 21st century so far. Leslie Vernon is the next great slasher icon and give a film crew permission to observe his preparations before his first spree.
The movie is clever, smart, and funny. Nathan Baesel is amazing as Leslie, with his acting ranging from a friendly character with an almost Jim Carrey movement quality and ability only to give way to his true menace.
PS: Writer/director Scott Glosserman is the man! Huge thanks to him for allowing Leslie to have a cameo in my upcoming slasher comic We Kill The Dead!
33. Trollhunter (2010)
Norway makes its second appearance on this list with the imaginative and original Trollhunter. In this found footage film, a film crew finds and then follows a man who is actually a part of a government agency that keeps the troll population under control.
This is a horror fantasy film that is really just all about the originality and creativity. It’s a great film packed with entertainment value and can definitely be watched over and over again.
32. Zombieland (2009)
Probably the greatest horror comedy so far this millennium, Zombieland is the hilarious film about a group of survivors trying to make it in the post zombie apocalypse world.
Full of pop culture reference, laugh out loud moments, clever dialogue, and a star studded cast, its hard to beat this film as far as horror comedies go. Here’s hoping that sequel actually happens.
31. Them (Ils) (2006)
Another European film for the list. France’s Them, or Ils, is an atmospheric, tension packed home invasion flick about a couple who wake up to antagonists in their home.
A great film with a great, disturbing reveal at the end.
30. The Conjuring, Sinister, Insidious (2013, 2012, 2010)
Let’s face it, we’re stuck in an era devoted almost exclusively to paranormal and/or exorcism films. Most of them suck. These three are all tied for 3oth,, 29th, and 28th for being of equal quality to each other and superior quality to their contemporaries. All three also manage to be big budget theater films that aren’t just cheap knock offs and were actually creepy with great characters. All three are also spawning (so far) enjoyable sequels.
27. 28 Days Later (2002)
This film reinvented the zombie genre. It introduced us to the concept of infected, running zombies. They’re not dead, they’re sick. And vicious as hell. When a guy wakes up from a comma to find the world is overrun by these guys, he bands together with other people he meets to survive.
Honestly, this film can be a bit of an acquired taste I think. I actually turned it off after 3o minutes the first time I saw it. But I rewatched it and now it’s one of my favorite zombie films of all time. The sequel is awesome too.
26. V/H/S (2012)
V/H/S is an anthology horror film with all of the vignettes being found footage. All vary greatly in concept but are very entertaining and original, adding up to the 2nd best horror anthology film of the new millennium.
25. Saw (2004)
Sure, the sequels have most of us sick of the franchise at this point. But the first film basically invented the entire torture porn genre. And it was unique in that 90% of the film took place in one room. It’s like the horror version of 12 Angry Men in that aspect. One of the most successful indie films of all time and it catapulted James Wan’s career.
24. American Psycho (2000)
American Psycho is one of those horror films that transcends the genre and is considered an all around classic. It shows us the downward spiral of one Patrick Bateman, business man and psychopath, with his own inner monologue narrating to boot.
Christian Bale is a powerhouse actor in this, years before he would be Batman. (hmmm… Bateman… Batman… coincidence?)
23. Trick R’ Treat (2007)
Trick R’ Treat is the best horror anthology film of the new millennium so far, and one of the best ever. With uniquely clever, often witty, intertwining vignettes all themed for our favorite season, it’s a true classic.
And, of course, it introduced us all to that lovable little Sam.
22. Ginger Snaps (2000)
Let’s face it, there are not a lot of good werewolf movies. But Ginger Snaps is one of the best by far. The the goth sister duo of Emily Perkins and scream queen Katharine Isabelle, there is a lot of great character interaction of this tale of two sisters.
After Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf, her sister Brigitte tries to save the only person she has ever related to. But as Ginger gets more out of control, the layers of their relationship are stripped away to reveal that things weren’t as good as Brigitte thought.
21. High Tension (Haute Tension) (2003)
France makes another appearance on the list with the gritty High Tension. This is a terrific film about a girl getting abducted by a man, only for her friend to go off and try to save her. Infamous for its twist ending out of left field, this is true cult classic.
20. Ju-On: The Curse (2000)
More foreign horror making the list, this time from Japan. Ju-On basically kickstarted the entire Japanese horror film industry as we know it and it’s creepy as hell. Maybe creepier than any other film on this list.
19. [REC] 2007
Another found footage film appears on the list, this time from Spain. [REC] is about a camera crew shadowing a fire department for the night. When they get called to an apartment complex, they are suddenly quarantined inside with the infected tenants and need to try to find a way out.
This is a fast paced, high tension thrill ride that went on to be remade stateside as Quarantine. But while Quarantine had one lousy sequel with Terminal, [REC] is still going strong 3 sequels later, though it has abandoned the found footage aspect with [REC]: Apocalypse.
18. Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
It’s telling of the treatment towards indie horror when one of the top 20 films on this list doesn’t have an official home media release to this day. Yes, bootleg only here folks. One of the only times I condone it is with lost films like this or the formerly lost Halloween 6: Producer’s Cut.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a spine chilling mockumentary about a fictional serial killer who was never caught. It’s disturbing as hell and very clever in its delivery.
This is an amazing film. If I had the cash I’d bankroll its distribution myself. This film deserves a release.
17. Noroi: The Curse (2005)
One mockumentary follows another with this film from Japan. This one documents strange events connected to the legend of a demon known as Kagutaba.
This movie is nearly 2 hours long without commercials and uses this time to build a very complex story full of interesting characters. On top of that, it has some seriously disturbing and creepy scenes. As far as sheer nightmare causing horror, this one is way up there.
16. Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Playing on the trope it is named for, Joss Whedon turns it on its head in one of the cleverest, wittiest, most enjoyable satires ever. He hits every point on the head and gives nods to more franchises than I can even list here. An instant classic like few others.
15. Dog Soldiers (2002)
Like I said, there are not a lot of good werewolf films. But this one is the best. Yes. Ever. Better than AWIL, better than The Howling, better than Ginger Snaps.
It is an action packed thrill ride with spec ops vs werewolves in the woods of Scotland. Great practical sfx, terrific action, excellent story. This movie is what got me looking for more military horror movies to try to satiate the appetite for that genre this movie caused. I’ve yet to find an equal.
14. May (2002)
May tells the story of the titular character, a socially awkward girl with a traumatizing childhood, as she tries to connect to those around her with ever increasing desperation which begins to unhinge her.
Again, this is another original story which breaks the mold and focuses on character interaction over cheap scares.
13. The Battery (2012)
With the zombie genre so overdone, I have found that the best zombie films are not films that focus on zombies, but rather films in which zombies serve simply as a backdrop upon which character drama plays out. This is the case with The Battery, a film about two at-odds former baseball players trying to survive both zombies and each other in the post apocalypse.
Without question, the best zombie film of the new millennium so far.
12. Creep (2014)
A found footage film about a cinematographer answering a craigslist add finding out that his initially friendly-but-eccentric client may in fact be very, very dangerous.
This film focuses entirely on 2 actors who both do a phenomenal job in their roles. This is another film with a plot that seems to careen towards chaos. A matter of when, not if, that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
11. It Follows (2015)
Probably the best horror film to make it into theaters this year, It Follows is a unique film, seeing a teen girl being pursued by a curse she obtained after having sex with a boy. The curse passes from person to person through sexual intercourse and attempts to get close to that person and kill them, appearing as anyone it wants to that person and being invisible to everyone else.
An original concept paired with skilled execution and creepy scenes make this movie one that will remembered.
10. Inside (2007)
Notice all the foreign horror on this list? Here’s another film from France. Inside is an intense, brutal film about a pregnant woman alone at home who is besieged by a disturbed woman who wants to take the protagonist’s baby.
The film is high tension and extremely gory in places. It’s a home invasion film that none can match.
9. Found (2012)
Found is a film about a young boy who discovers his older brother is a serial killer.
It’s a simple plot that can be described in one sentence. The film itself shows the amazing characters dynamic between 2 brothers in a family that is falling apart against the backdrop of extremely disturbing scenes and gore. And the actor playing the older brother is talented and menacing.
8. Pieces of Talent (2014)
When Charlotte signs on for a film project of the initially-friendly David, she doesn’t know what she’s in for.
One of the best indie horror films of 2014, Pieces of Talent is made by its riveting plot and the impressive acting talent of antagonist David Long. Veering wildly between eccentric and psychotic, he’s the type of character that steals the scene and doesn’t give it back.
7. Starry Eyes (2014)
Starry Eyes is intelligent and clever monologue on the movie industry. It tells the story of a hopeful actress trying to get her start. When opportunity presents itself, she is initially excited but soon learns there is a price to pay.
Phenomenal acting and original, intelligent story make this film a must see.
6. American Mary (2012)
The greatest film in a catalog full of awesomeness from the Soska Sisters, American Mary stars scream queen Katharine Isabelle as a medical student overcome with debt who finds a way to pay her bills through underground surgeries. But as time goes on, Mary becomes more and more inwardly monstrous while working on her patient’s outward appearances.
Just an amazing film with excellent character writing and interactions carry this film down into the darkness as the protagonist slowly careens out of control. A truly unsettling, riveting experience.
5. Flowers (2014)
Five dead girls wake up in the crawlspace of their killer’s home and slowly come to terms with what has happened to them.
This is pure art horror. There is no dialogue to this movie which consists of vignettes of each “Flower” as she explores her surroundings and expresses emotion solely through physical acting. There is also some top notch practical fx that is a sight to behold. This film is a thing of grotesque beauty.
4. Let the Right One In (2008)
Arguably the greatest vampire film ever, this Swedish film tells the story of a young bullied boy named Oscar who makes a friend with the girl down the hall of his apartment building. Her name is Eli and she’s a vampire.
This is a beautiful film about a strange friendship formed between these two characters. It shows the vampire in a light never really seen before. And I don’t mean as sparkly Sally’s. I mean as deadly predators who are still very complex individuals.
3. Babadook (2014)
This Australian film is about a widowed mother and her young boy who are under attack from a creature known as the Babadook after the boy finds a strange popup book.
The Babadook shows a great character dynamic between mother and son and depicts children in a realistic manner not shown in most films.
The Babadook itself can be interpreted as a metaphor for mental illness and loss and is shot very well, not revealing much of the creature, shrouding its form in shadow.
2. Goodnight Mommy (2015)
Goodnight Mommy is an Austrian film about the mother of two boys coming home from having plastic surgery done to find that her children are now convinced that she has been replaced by an impostor.
The movie is well shot and very creepy in places. It grabbed audiences with a trailer that led them to believe that the story would go one way, only to become more complicated and go in a different direction. Combined with a great twist ending and I can safely say that this is the second best horror film of the new millennium.
1. Spring (2015)
Yes, the best horror movie so far this millennium just came out this year. A romance horror film, it tells the tale of a young man who goes on a trip to get away from the loss of his mother back home. He meets a girl and falls in love with her, only to discover she is in fact a centuries old Lovecraftian creature.
Beautiful and atmospheric, with tremendous acting and story, this film is truly magnificent. I honestly cannot find a single flaw in the execution of this beautiful, heartfelt film.
Be My Cat: A Film For Anne
Unfair bias of being executive producer of this film prevents me from entering this film officially on this list. However, the movie has received enough accolades that I will simply leave them here for you to judge for yourself.
This found footage film sees a young Romanian man becomes obsessed with casting Anne Hathaway in his film. He records a video, tricking three local actresses into being in a movie he intends to send to Anne to prove his directorial abilities. Unfortunately for the actresses, the director is perfectly comfortable with going to extreme lengths for his art.
Winner of Best Film at A Night of Horror film festival in Australia
Called “potentially revolutionary” and “potentially dangerous” by Dreadcentral
Holder of the highest review score ever given by foundfootagecritic, with a 9.7/10 “amazing”.
Rewarded the position of #6 of the top 10 horror films of 2015 and #44 of the top 100 horror films of the new millenium by audienceseverywhere.
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Very loose definition of horror. Very loose definition of 21st century.
Yes, TECHNICALLY the 21st century did not start until 2001 and I have a couple of films on here from 2000.
As far as the films being “loosely” horror, I think you will find horror as one of the genres for each of these on imdb.
The Descent. The Taking of Deborah Logan, Bite, the Eye (orig Japanese), the Host, As Above So Below. Still, good to see the Babadook so high and also Afflicted there.
Great list, but with some mistakes you might want to fix… It’s Patrick Bateman, not Norman Bateman. None of the college kids in “Tucker and Dale” is a psychopath. Also, I think you meant “meditation,” not “monologue” (“Starry Eyes”).
good call on bateman. my bad. 😛
i personally think that the main antagonist kid in Tucker & Dale fits the definition of a psychopath pretty well.
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number one is a joke as a horror movie. goodnight mommy was ten times better. Spring should be at the bottom of the list. Also this list seems biased against american movies of which there are some awesome productions.