The Final List: The Top Ten Horror Movies of the 2000s


Kari Degraffenreed, Reporter

Finally, we’ve entered into a more familiar realm of film. If you were born between 1995-1999, these were the trailers that came on TV that frightened you. As you grew up, they became the first horror movies you saw in theaters. If you’re a horror fan, you hold them dear to your heart, as they are staples of your impending adulthood and the realization that your parents could no longer protect you from everything.

The films themselves tried to stay with the times, updating the special effects and storylines to keep the audience on their toes and cringing at every moment. A new genre with countless names emerged, most commonly known as “Splatter Films”, but can be referred to as, “Gorno” or “Torture Porn”. The movies became less and less about the story and character development, and more about how high the creators could up the body count. The end result can be entertaining, in a sick, twisted way, but is far removed from the original scary movies of the 1930’s and 40’s of monsters and ghosts attacking. The splatter films are bone-chilling on a different level, as we see real people committing real, horrific acts against human beings. It only perpetuates that modern belief of “There’s just something scary about a guy with a knife who just… Snaps.” – Scream 4 (2011)


Dragmetohell10. Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Any movie with Justin Long is going to be on this list. Except for his new movie, Tusk. I shudder to think what that movie holds. Drag Me To Hell, however, is one of his movies that I can go back and be scared at over and over. Although, it becomes less scary and more funny the more I watch it. Christine Brown is a sympathetic loan officer (with a boyfriend played by Justin Long who doesn’t have a huge part but will be mentioned no matter what) trying to get a promotion in her office. Unfortunately, her boss tells her she has to be more ruthless if she wants to be moved ahead. Next thing Christine knows, she’s getting attacked by toothless, old, gypsy woman in her car, stealing buttons off her coat for denying her another extension on her home! Poor Christine, don’t you know you never mess with Russian gypsies. Especially those that try to bite your chin off with no teeth… I shudder to think about that scene.

haunting9. Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

“Based on a true story.” Scary music plays as we all jump in our seat, waiting to see the horrors that this family truly endured! Or as true as Hollywood would like you to believe. The Campbell’s move to a new home in Connecticut to be closer to their son, Matt’s cancer treatment center. This story right here is the reason that real estate agents have the full disclosure law. After almost getting strangled by a shower curtain (we’ll see this pop up again later on our list… I’m thinking rip off) and mopping the floor with blood, the family learns that the house had been a morgue/funeral home back in the day. Now, all the spirits of those who died want Matt! So naturally, the family should keep Matt sleeping in the basement every night. You know, the same basement that was used to dissect bodies. Oh, parenting.

final8. Final Destination (2000)

If you had the chance to see when you were going to die, would you take it? If you got that chance, would you do everything you could to avoid it? That’s exactly what Alex Browning does after boarding a plane to France with a few of his friends from school. I’ll skip the boring plot lines of the movie, because, let’s be honest, people only watch this movie to see the creative ways the characters are killed off by Death. We’re a twisted society, nowadays. One of my very favorite scene’s from the first installment of this franchise, is Alex’s teacher, Ms. Lewton’s death. Seriously, look it up, it’s the most suspenseful moment I’ve watched since Janet Leigh was killed in the shower in Psycho! Ah, and now we come back to the shower curtain strangler… One of Alex’s friends is strangled… by a shower curtain… Like, Haunting in Connecticut just straight ripped off Final Destination, or something. All in all, decent movie. Awful story, but some intense killing scenes. And hey, if you ever get a vision about your impending death, just remember, “No accidents. No coincidences. No escapes. You can’t cheat death.”

exo7. Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Hold up, let me go pull the covers up over my head before I talk about this movie. I was eight when my best friend and I snuck into her mom’s room to watch this from behind the couch. I had nightmares for years. This movie is the reason I have to turn on my lights if I wake up at 3:00 AM to go back to sleep. Exorcism of Emily Rose stars Jennifer Carpenter (You know, the chick from Dexter) and is based on true events – more true than say, any haunted house movie, ever. It’s based on the case of Anneliese Michel who was believed to be possessed by the devil and died during an exorcism. The movie starts off in a courtroom and we are taken on a journey through flashbacks of witnesses on the stand talking about the traumatic events that occurred. When the movie ends, you’re left wondering if she was possessed or not… though, I’m going to go out on a controversial limb here and say, she was.

url6. Hostel (2005)

Ew ew ew ew ew ew. Ew. That’s my chant whilst watching Hostel. Director, Eli Roth creeps me out when he’s behind the camera. Don’t get me wrong, as an actor he’s great. Inglourious Basterds is one of my favorite movies, however, his second full length movie as a director has never been watched by me again, because I, personally, am not a huge fan of this “gorno” stuff. As with Final Destination, it’s almost pointless to tell you the plot line, because no one goes into Hostel thinking, “Oh man, I can’t wait to see the screenplay for this movie. I bet the writing and dialogue are just phenomenal.” Hostel is all about the gore. It’s “How much blood, guts, and ripped flesh can we show without getting an ‘X’ rating?” BUT, it’s number six on the list because this was one movie that was very instrumental in the torture porn genre. However sick that genre might be…


paranorm5. Paranormal Activity (2007)

I think by now we all know that Paranormal Activity is not real “found footage”. Katie and Micah are actors, none of the events we see in the movie really happened. If you didn’t know, I’m really sorry to burst your bubble. This was the experiment after the experiment. Blair Witch Project had come out eight years earlier and was marketed the exact same way. The lost videos of these people were found and exploited for all the world to see. Talk about a low-budget film, Paranormal Activity only cost $15,000 to make and made $193 million worldwide. It went on make four more sequels, Paranormal Activity 2, Paranormal Activity 3,  Paranormal Activity 4, and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, while a sixth sequel is to be released in March 13, 2015, Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension. Unlike Blair Witch Project, the creators of this film had no intentions of keeping the faux found footage a secret. Actors, Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat appeared on talk shows and social media outlets after the release of the movie.

strangers4. The Strangers (2008)

I love scary movies, I do. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers – just a few of my favorite killers. Why? They’re supernatural. There’s no chance you will ever see the real Jason at a summer camp coming for you. The Strangers thoroughly scared me to the point where I had to pause it every four minutes to catch my breath, turn the lights on, lock the doors, and pace around the room till I got my confidence up enough to start it again. An on the verge of breaking up couple (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) go to a vacation home to relax and work through some relationship-y stuff when they are attacked by three masked beings that break into the house. The absolute scariest part is at the very end, when Liv asks why they’re doing this to them, and on answers, “Because you were home.” Nope. Nope. Nope. Human beings killing other human beings, for real. No ghosts, ghouls, goblins. No curses, no dreams, no revenge. Just psycho killers intent on murdering you. If that’s not the most frightening thing you’ve ever heard… Stay out of my neighborhood and don’t come a-knocking on my door. You might be a little psychotic too…

saw-movie-poster3. Saw (2004)

You wanna play a game? Here’s a hint: Say no. The very first of the seven movie franchise, this movie is interesting because while we get some backstory of the Jigsaw killer, John Kramer, we really don’t get the whole origin story. Not that it matters, Saw is famous for it’s intricate traps and suspensefulness. This is not the movie to see if you want a great story. And, it’s really sad to see Cary Elwes (Dr. Lawrence in Saw) chained to a pipe, sawing off his own leg. Let’s all have a moment of silence for poor Westley… No Buttercup for you, you cheating doctor.

the-ring-movie-poster-2002-10201898182. The Ring (2002)

Don’t watch cursed video tapes, but, if you do, do not, I repeat, do NOT, answer the phone after you watch it. The Ring is a remake of the Japanese horror movie, Ring. It stars Naomi Watts and Martin Henderson as Rachel and Noah, ex-couple who try to figure out the mystery of the video tape that killed four teenagers, one of them, Rachel’s niece, Katie. Urban legends killing people, not a new storyline, but this movie really involves the technology of the day for it’s murderous actions. You watch a VHS tape, you get a call on your home phone, you die seven days later after Samara climbs out of your television. Ah, early 2000’s, you thought you were so advanced. How cute.

gruge1. The Grudge (2004)

Sarah Michelle Gellar is perfection, first of all, so this movie is automatically #1. However, The Grudge is actually a remake of a much scarier Japanese version titled Ju-On: The Grudge. Seriously, everything before 2007 was not original and we basically stole every storyline from the Japanese. Gellar stars as Karen, a foreign exchange student who moves to Japan with her boyfriend, Doug, played by Jason Behr (Buffy The Vampire Slayer mini reunion!). Karen gets a job as a caretaker for an old woman in a cursed old house, what could be better? Till the old woman dies, Karen sees the ghosts of all the dead bodies, and runs back to America to live her normal life, marry Doug, and have 2.5 kids and live in house with a white picket fence. Oh wait, no. She has to find out what happened in the house, of course. After finding out the dark history of the house – which has almost as many ghosts as the Murder House in the first season of American Horror Story – Basically, everyone dies except for Karen and we’re set up for a sequel. Just a quick warning, don’t watch it alone.


Honorable mentions:

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Let The Right One In (2008)

The Others (2001)

28 Days Later (2002)

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)