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Top 10 Favorite 21st Century Horror Movies

There is no denying that horror movies are not what they used to be, going from being made by some of the best filmmakers in the business to becoming a dumping ground for any low tier director to generate a quick buck before they can move on to directing bigger and better things. That being said, the 21st century have still managed to generate some gems.

The exceptions to the norm is what we are specifically going to be looking at today seeing as October has finally arrived meaning the main focus on the website will be horror related throughout the entire month., What are the 10 best (or at least my favorite) horror movies released from the 21st century so far? Like we all know, they are currently nothing in comparison to what we got last century so this is not going to be the most incredible list of films you have ever seen. There have however been some gems in recent years but I must stress that I obviously have not seen every single horror movie made in the 21st century as there are quite a few out there so if there is one you miss on the list that probably should have been on there - go ahead and tell me in the comment section and I will make sure to tell you if I have not seen it or why it is not on there if I have. I am also not including comedy horrors like 'Shaun of the Dead' (which would otherwise top the list), I will be focusing solely on horror movies or horror thrillers so without further ado, let us begin the countdown.


10. Sinister (2012)
Despite a shockingly predictable mystery, 'Sinister' manages to envoke several scares out of the audience through its well crafted atmosphere and dare I say rather "sinister" plot. For people who are not really into horror movies and want an easy target that does not require a whole lot of attention - 'Sinister' is surely the movie that will leave you with several nightmares. Ethan Hawke carries the whole thing and makes the movie a whole lot more memorable through sheer star-power. It also helps that he is not exactly playing the most likeable character ever written - which is not a bad thing. The main problem with the whole movie is that the whole mystery is so easy to solve and it becomes quite frustrating after a while when the main character just cannot see what is happening even though it is quite literally starring him in the face.


9. Evil Dead (2013)
In my opinion, one of the best horror remakes of the 21st century. 'Evil Dead' is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed in the theatre by the sheer audacious fact that we just do not get wide released movies like this anymore. While naturally it does not hold a candle to the original trilogy, 'Evil Dead' does a good job of trying to stand on its own while also paying homage to those movies (specifically the first). Clearly this is not a movie for everyone. In fact, I cannot really recommend it unless I know what kind of movies you enjoy. The ridiculousness of it all made the theatre experience one of the best of the whole year because as expected - the audience ate it up. 


8. Oculus (2013)
This movie came as a big surprise for me as the only reason I was even remotely interested in it was all thanks to Karen Gillan (of 'Doctor Who' fame) starring in it. What it turned out to be is one of the most inventive and clever horror movies I had seen in a long time and is actually one of the few times when I would not actually be totally against seeing a sequel (although I am not really craving for one). This is not a movie riddled with jumpscares, this is not a movie that is desperate to scare you every single second of its running time - it takes its time, develops the characters and the story and builds the tension through clever direction and writing before ultimately paying it all off in a very satisfying way.


7. Let Me In (2010)
These next two movies are quite similar, in fact - they are telling the same story. Originally I was actually going to put this above the original Swedish film but the reason I ultimately decided not to is because the characters are a bit sharper in 'Let The Right One In' and as a cohesive whole it is more memorable. 'Let Me In' however is a fantastic movie in its own right. If you were going to remake a movie THIS soon after the release of the original - at least do some things different and the changes this movie made is actually really good. In fact in many ways it made me enjoy it MORE than the original. Chlöe Grace Moretz just owns the role and Matt Revees' direction is really well done with some wonderfully handled scenes (the car crash scene anyone?). The ending also leaves the story in a way that can either make you feel good about yourself - or utterly horrified by the possible implications of it. For me I prefer imagining the latter because the sublety in the narrative just makes it all the more creepier.

6. Let The Right One In (2008)
So here we go, the Swedish original. Currently one of the few Swedish movies I can stand watching - and even then I still cringe. The problem for Swedish people (like me) and Swedish movies is that it is actually quite difficult for us to take the language seriously. Writing Swedish dialogue is incredibly tricky because it can so easily sound ridiculous. Apart from that however, this is a masterfully told vampire movie.

5. Saw (2004)
It is quite a shame that a lot of people do not look very fondly towards this movie thanks to most of the piss-poor sequels, I am sure many do not even want to watch this as they think it is just torture porn because it has 'Saw' in the title. What this movie really is though, is a very smart and intriguing mystery thriller that gets you enthralled all the way through. The biggest standouts of the whole thing is the writing and the directing - which is usually not something I can say for a modern horror movie. So many iconic moments are here that left a mark on the entire landscape of horror movies and let us not forget that it brought to light probably the best studio-horror movie director working today, James Wan.


4. It Follows (2015)
These last three years has had one fantastic standout horror movie (see number one and two on this list) and for 2015 it is 'It Follows' written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. This is pretty much the 'Halloween' of the 21st century so far as it was produced on a very low budget in some American neighborhood with a very simple story. We also have the music which is very reminiscent of the John Carpenter score for 'Halloween'. The sad thing though is that out of all the films on this list, this is the one I am the most angry about because it could EASILY have been a masterpiece because where this movie sadly fails is the third act where the characters seemed to lose a couple of IQ points and it did not quite get you as excited like the third act of 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' did as well as the fact that it constantly goes against what we learned about the monster.  It cannot be understated that this is a great movie nevertheless and is definitely shining next to the typical horror movies that we have gotten this century.


3. The Babadook (2014)
Conceptually, this is probably the best horror movie of the 21st Century as it is only let down by a few uninentionally comedic moments by the end (in my opinion of course) but 'The Babadook' managed to actually creep me out which usually never happens (there is actually only one other movie on the list that managed to pull that off). Thanks to masterful performances and stunning direction from Jennifer Kent, this horror movie stands out from the rest as one that will be remembered for many, many years. 




2. The Others (2001)
It is actually quite ridiculous just how neck and neck these top two movies are, if I were to make like a "Top 1000 Favorite movies", they would literally be right next to each other. I actually just saw this quite recently and I am so glad that I did before finishing the list because this is such a masterfully told horror/thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat at every single moment. Nicole Kidman gives an amazing performance that probably ranks up as my personal favorite of her career. The children really do stand on their own and manages to even steal several scenes next to the adult actors. The writing is impeccable and the direction is crystal sharp. It is one of those films were after you have finished it - you can go back and see the hints throughout the film and how everything really is supporting what happens in the final act. This is another movie with no bullshit jumpscares without any buildup to it and no fakeout scares - atmosphere is everything in this film and it knows it. 


1. The Conjuring (2013)
Yes, my number one is actually one of those bullshit "based on a true story" big studio horror movies - but hear me out. In late 2012 when I began looking through the upcoming releases - never would I have expected that a horror movie written by the people who had only written garbage and produced by people who had only produced garbage would somehow end up becoming my FAVORITE movie of 2013. 'The Conjuring' is this weird anomaly that brought together a bunch of people who do not make good movies on their own and somehow create a wonderfully layered and very smart horror movie. Every character is memorable and likeable to such a degree that we really do not see in horror movies anymore. The story - while obviously quite recycled - is very fascinating to watch and it has possibly the best exorcism scene since 'The Exorcist'. 'The Conjuring' is my favorite horror movie of the 21st century for the sole reason that it is not only extremely well made in seemingly every aspect - it is also amazingly re-watchable as you notice something new every single time you see it. Surely most people see this as just another typical studio horror movie - but if you actually dive into the fabric of the film you will see that it is a lot smarter than you may give it credit for. Every scare is earned - and set up ahead of time, everything that happens serves a purpose to the plot and all the characters are enjoyable to watch and most importantly - it is actually interested in telling a story. Yes scaring the audience is what a horror movie is ultimately trying to do - but 'The Conjuring' knows that, that is just not enough. You need an engaging story for the audience to be invested and thus it also knows that you need character development and scenes WITHOUT pointless scares. There is so much more I can write about this film so I will save most of it for my eventual review (I mean, there IS a sequel coming) so I will wrap it up here. 'The Conjuring' is amazing - not just as a horror movie, but as a MOVIE.

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