Retrospective: Top 20 Best Horror Movies Of 2000-2013 | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Retrospective: Top 20 Best Horror Movies Of 2000-2013

It's the time of the year again! Come tomorrow on 31 October, it's Halloween day! So if you're not going out for any Halloween party, why not stay at home or maybe call out a bunch of friends and watch some horror movies? Last two years, I have covered a blog about horror movies for Halloween season (click here) before. This time, I have compiled my list of "Top 20 Best Horror Movies Of 2000-2013". So here goes:


Imagine the Death has set a pattern for you that no matter what you do, you will never escape death! That is the juicy premise for James Wong's FINAL DESTINATION. It's fun, entertaining and full of creative gores. Sure, the whole plot is fundamentally silly but who cares?

2. SESSION 9 (2001)

One of the creepiest psychological chillers of the decade, Brad Anderson's SESSION 9 is only his second feature movie and he already proves to be such a filmmaking expert. The movie's locating setting itself -- the abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital -- is genuinely frightening. All of the technical credits here are top-notch, including Climax Golden Twins' shivering piano-laden score and Ute Briesewitz's atmospheric cinematography.

3. 28 DAYS LATER (2002)

Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER is a well-crafted zombie movie. It's edgy, gritty and also creepy. The opening scene, which features a bike messenger character being left on a deserted street of London, is worth the price of admission alone.

4. CABIN FEVER (2002)

Writer-director Eli Roth pays amazing homage to the '70s and the '80s low-budget, exploitation horror cinema ranging from DELIVERANCE to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE EVIL DEAD in CABIN FEVER. Blessed with witty dialogues and sharp script, CABIN FEVER is more than just being grisly and fun. Deep down, it's also a brilliant analogy similar to AIDS epidemic.


Like the first FINAL DESTINATION, this sequel is just as silly but fun. The opening scene, which features a series of spectacular pile-ups on a highway, is one of the best set-pieces ever staged for a horror movie. Even the gore effects this time around are more imaginative.


While the surprise third-act twist may have been preposterous, Alexandre Aja's feature debut in HAUTE TENSION (also known as HIGH TENSION in the US) is a down-and-dirty horror picture that heavily indebted to some of the most iconic horror genres in the 1970s. It's extremely violent and definitely not for the squeamish.


No doubt that the original 1974's TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was one of the most iconic horror movies ever made. Whatever sequels that came after the original were simply inferior. Then along came the studio remake in 2003. I was skeptical at first, but Marcus Nispel's feature debut here surprises me a lot. This remake gets all the down-and-dirty feel and atmosphere just right. Even the young cast are above-average, especially a memorable role from Jessica Biel. Then there's the legendary R. Lee Ermey as the sadistic sheriff and of course, the hulking Leatherface himself (played by Andrew Bryniarski).

8. SAW (2004)

SAW is a great puzzle for a horror movie. It's fun to watch how the survivors tries to outsmart their way out from all the elaborate booby traps. It's sick, twisted and extremely violent. And best of all, SAW was actually directed by our very own Malaysian-born filmmaker James Wan.


This is a zombie spoof at its best. A sleeper hit in the UK, Edgar Wright's feature debut in SHAUN OF THE DEAD is an effective mix of George Romero's zombie classic crosses with British romantic comedy and a dash of wacky humor thrown into good measures. The gore effect is top-notch, and so does the witty humor. The cast is excellent, with a notable comic performance from Simon Pegg.

10. SAW II (2005)

SAW II is a rarity. Despite the fact that this sequel is made fast after 2004's SAW, it manages to improve upon its successful predecessor and takes the wicked formula into a whole new game of life-and-death situations. Even the cast are more engaging this time around.


Forget about HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. Former shock rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie gets better here with a gritty sequel, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, that pays a knockout homage to the '70s exploitation horror cinema. The violence is downright graphic, while Zombie fills his cast mostly from the forgotten '70s B-grade thespians. Among them is Sid Haig and Bill Moseley. Added to the bonus is Zombie's real-life wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, who gets to showcase her comedic and dramatic acting talent.

12. THE DESCENT (2005)

THE DESCENT is one of the most terrifying British horror movies ever made. Neil Marshall's direction here is taut and masterful. This is a gripping cinema about how the survivors tries to make their way out beneath the ground. The twist ending is particularly a standout (and whatever it is, don't watch the alternate ending for the US version. It sucks).


Mention the word "exorcism", the first thing that immediately comes to mind is 1973's THE EXORCIST. In 2005, there is one exorcism-themed movie called THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE. But before you brushes this off as a wannabe, this horror movie proves to be one hell of a surprise. Well-directed by first-timer Scott Derrickson, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE brilliantly combines psychological horror and courtroom drama with top-notch performances from Jennifer Carpenter, Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson.

14. HOSTEL (2005)

This is the horror movie that gave birth to the infamous "torture porn" subgenre. HOSTEL is only Eli Roth's second directing effort after 2002's CABIN FEVER, and here he is game enough to feature some of the most gruesome violence ever depicted in a horror-movie cinema.

15. INSIDE (2007)

INSIDE is one of the most shocking horror movies ever made in the French cinema. Mind you, this French shocker is extremely graphic in term of its gore and violence. It's frighteningly intense, yet scary enough to make you wince upon watching this movie. And oh, that scissor...

16. [REC] (2007)

Among the best "found footage" horror movie. [REC] is a Spanish shocker that makes brilliant use of its popular concept with fresh approach. Shot in a POV camera technique, the movie is highly intense from start till the end. The particular scene where a character climbs up to an attic and looks around almost made me jump out of the seat.

17. EDEN LAKE (2008)

James Watkins' feature debut in EDEN LAKE is one rare gem of a British chiller. Cleverly blended in the vein of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and LORD OF THE FLIES, this movie is a terrifying experience. Anchored by two strong performances from Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender, the movie is a cut above than your standard genre fare, thanks to Watkins' keen observation of depicting the social concern on "chavs". It's a term applied to English working-class people, mostly white youth associated with juvenile delinquency, soccer hooliganism and violent behavior while their parents are just as inadequate yet protective enough to support their kids regardless their bad images. The "cruel-twist-of-fate" ending is especially disturbing.

18. DRAG ME TO HELL (2009)

Sam Raimi's long-awaited return to horror genre since EVIL DEAD trilogy is a fun horror ride. DRAG ME TO HELL is a highly-entertaining homage to B-movie that relies on old-school shock tactics. Raimi knows well about timing is everything to make a great horror movie. No doubt the horror scenes are genuinely frightening (especially the highly-suspenseful scene at an underground parking garage), while Raimi's trademark morbid humor is wildly over-the-top.


One of the most popular "found footage" horror movies since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999), Oren Peli's feature debut in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (mostly) works because of its minimalistic approach to elicit sense of dread and fear that gradually builds to its unbearable level of tensions. This is the kind of horror movie that doesn't shock you per sec. Yes, it's a slow burner but when the horror suddenly kicks in, it's scary enough to give you goosebumps.

20. THE CONJURING (2013)
Apart from the first SAW, director James Wan is definitely at the top of his game here in the supernatural shocker THE CONJURING (read my review here). He knows well about the power of suggestion and right timing to stage a series of frightening moments with terrific camera placements. This is one of the best supernatural horror movies ever made in a long while. And of course, not to forget also is the scene-stealing performance from Vera Farmiga.

So there you go. What do you think of the choices above? Feel free to comment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

no Insidious?