Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

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Holden
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Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

Post by Holden »

My second love, after music, is horror movies. Additionally, I've been spending a lot of time on Scaruffi and Christgau's guide websites lately, so I decided to make my own guide to the part of horror history where I'm most adept, that being recent horror. Here are my ratings of every horror film I've watched from the 21st Century. The ratings are based on a scale of one to ten. Six or above can be considered my recommendation.

10/10
The Wailing | Na Hong-Jin | 2016
If anyone wishes to remake this film in the United States, I would have to recommend that they create a miniseries instead of a film. There is just no way that any other director or creative team could translate this maze of a film into an adequate remake. At a sprawling two and a half hour length, The Wailing fills every minute with an amazing mystery that refuses to unravel until it feels like we have reached the point of no return. Tapping into religious superstition, the pain of childbirth, and xenophobia, we watch a bumbling protagonist forced completely out of his element as everything falls apart around him in an artful and terrifying series of twists and turns that are brought to an impossibly satisfying conclusion.
Hereditary | Ari Aster | 2018
Ari Aster, when setting out to create his debut feature film, knew one thing about all great horror movies: that they have to be about something. So he made his movie about decay. This film isn't going to make you jump in your seat many times, or make you gasp in awe at horrific violence or gore, but it will wear down your defenses until you have nothing left to give to it, before it demands more. Five of the most perfect performances in any horror movie this decade have come together to show how family is a lie, how nothing matters, and how forces beyond our control command us. Every scene is a memorable thrill ride, and every single frame remains a masterwork that needs dissection on rewatches. You best wait a few weeks before your second go-round, though. Want to make sure you've re-prepared yourself for what's ahead.
9/10
Lake Mungo | Joel Anderson | 2008
In Australia, around 2005, Joel Anderson decided that he wanted to kill off one of horror's most infamous genres. He wouldn't get the chance to until 2008, but upon Lake Mungo's release, it was clear that found footage horror had no where left to go. There have certainly been many found-footage films after, several good ones in fact, but this was the culmination of everything the genre had been working towards since the release of the Blair Witch Project. At once a deconstruction of the found footage genre, a drama about a familial unit's destruction, and a well-made documentary that could stand on its own, this film might be the scariest film of the century. Not because of its undoubtedly well-constructed moments of horror or its starkly real and reflective characters being thrust into uncomfortable situations, but because of how it makes you question your very senses. Never before have I seen a film that shook me so rawly right up until the credits finished rolling. I rarely find myself scared after the screen goes dark, but I made sure my basement remained lit after watching this film.
Let the Right One In | Tomas Alfredson | 2008
If this entire film was a complete piece of trash, had no redeeming qualities, and was insulting to every person who watched it, yet the climax remained identical, I would say that this was a film worth watching. Thankfully, the film before the last twenty minutes is an amazing ride through exhilarating scenes, ideas of young love, and horrific imagery. A vampire movie like no other, we immediately find ourselves the worried parents of two amazing child actors who suddenly have the weight of the world thrown upon them. No truth is more universal in the world of Let the Right One In than the idea that childhood is both horrible and also beautiful, often at the same time, and Tomas Alfredson allowing all of us viewers to partake in that experience is a debt that really can't be repaid.
Demon | Marcin Wrona | 2015
If you've ever seen the film The White Ribbon, then you will be well prepared for the experience awaiting you when you turn on Demon. The sins of the previous generations pervade this film with each shot as we watch the degradation of Piotr, our protagonist. Even more than being scary (which it is) or being satirical (which it is) a sense of helplessness and sadness is the centerpiece of Wrona's final film. Ultimately, what truly makes Demon a masterpiece is how it translates a specific set of circumstances with a specific idea into a message that could largely be applied to anyone watching, with characters that feel both real and complex as well as reflective.
Get Out | Jordan Peele | 2017
If amuses me to no end that the best film made about modern racism throughout the 2010s pointed its crosshairs straight at white liberals. Jordan Peele really pulled out all the stops with a fearless piece of biting satire and insane moments of terror. One of my main problem with so many horror films is that they don't understand how to hold their cards, we finally have one that displays exactly what needs to be shown at exactly the right time. Perhaps the most perfect mixing of horror and social comedy that has ever graced the big screen, I could watch this film a thousand times and still not become bored of it.
Mother! | Darren Aronofsky | 2017
Back in 2017, most critics sort of struggled to decide whether Aronofsky had created an ingenious masterpiece or a terrible mess of art and violence disguised as an art film. Audiences certainly hated it. Well, my vote is in. This an ingenious masterpiece, a film whose ideas are so extravagant and whose visuals are so striking that you really have no choice but to watch in awe as it unfolds. The film is carried by a career-best Jennifer Lawrence in an unflinching performance that must be seen to be believed. It's no wonder that so many people walked out of this film; to anger some people seems to be kind of the point. Certainly not a film for everybody, but anyone who can stomach the themes and sit through to the end will be in for one of the most challenging, but rewarding films of the last decade.
The Empty Man | David Prior | 2020 | 9
Someone at 20th Century Studios gave David Prior a shockingly large budget before then saying that he could make whatever kind of movie he wanted. Maybe they watched the silly trailer and thought it was highly marketable. I guess I don't really care why they gave him the money, I'm just so happy that they did. With The Empty Man, Prior turns what could be an incredibly gimmicky horror cash grab into an amazing journey. Opening with an Exorcist-style prologue that chills you to the bone, a sharp transition to our protagonist (played excellently by James Badge Dale) looking into a missing friend quickly turns dark and horrible, with some of the scariest movie moments I've seen since the rise of Ari Aster. Don't look into anything else about the film, I implore you. Just start it up and let Prior take you on a terrifying and thought provoking ride.
8/10
Ginger Snaps | John Fawcett | 2000 | 8
28 Days Later... | Danny Boyle | 2002 | 8
The Descent | Neil Marshall | 2005 | 8
The Host | Bong Joon-Ho | 2006 | 8
Attack the Block | Joe Cornish | 2011 | 8
The Conjuring | James Wan | 2013 | 8
It Follows | David Robert Mitchell | 2014 | 8
What We Do In THe Shadows | Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi | 2014 | 8
Green Room | Jeremy Saulnier | 2015 | 8
The Invitation | Karyn Kusama | 2015 | 8
The Witch | Robert Eggers | 2015 | 8
Under the Shadow | Babak Anvari | 2016 | 8
The Void | Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostansski | 2016 | 8
The Killing of a Sacred Deer | Yorgos Lanthimos | 2017 | 8
Annihilation | Alex Garland | 2018 | 8
Climax | Gaspar Noé | 2018 | 8
A Quiet Place | John Krasinski | 2018 | 8
Midsommar | Ari Aster | 2019 | 8
Ready or Not | Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett | 2019 | 8
A Quiet Place Part II | John Krasinski | 2020 | 8
The Invisible Man | Leigh Whannell | 2020 | 8

7/10
Frailty | Bill Paxton | 2001 | 7
Mulholland Dr. | David Lynch | 2001 | 7
Shaun of the Dead | Edgar Wright | 2004 | 7
Noroi: The Curse | Kôji Shiraishi | 2005 | 7
Pan's Labyrinth | Guillermo Del Toro | 2006 | 7
Inside | Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury | 2007 | 7
The Mist | Frank Darabont | 2007 | 7
The Orphanage | J.A. Bayona | 2007 | 7
Splinter | Toby Wilkins | 2008 | 7
The Last Exorcism | Daniel Stamm | 2010 | 7
Black Swan | Darren Aronofsky | 2010 | 7
Monsters | Gareth Edwards | 2010 | 7
The Tunnel | Carlo Ledesma | 2011 | 7
The Cabin in the Woods | Drew Goddard | 2012 | 7
Sinister | Scott Derrickson | 2012 | 7
Oculus | Mike Flanagan | 2013 | 7
The Babadook | Jennifer Kent | 2014 | 7
10 Cloverfield Lane | Dan Trachtenberg | 2016 | 7
Raw | Julia Ducournau | 2016 | 7
Train to Busan | Yeon Sang-Ho | 2016 | 7
It | Andy Muschietti | 2017 | 7
The Endless | Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead | 2017 | 7
It Comes At Night | Trey Edward Shults | 2017 | 7
Mandy | Panos Cosmatos | 2018 | 7

6/10
Trick 'R Treat | Michael Dougherty | 2007 | 6
Cloverfield | Matt Reeves | 2008 | 6
Triangle | Christopher Smith | 2009 | 6
Zombieland | Ruben Fleischer | 2009 | 6
Drag Me to Hell | Sam Raimi | 2009 | 6
The House of the Devil | Ti West | 2009 | 6
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil | Eli Craig | 2010 | 6
Insidious | James Wan | 2010 | 6
The Bay | Barry Levinson | 2012 | 6
The Taking of Deborah Logan | Adam Robitel | 2014 | 6
February / The Blackcoat's Daughter | Oz Perkins | 2015 | 6
The Autopsy of Jane Doe | André Øvredal | 2016 | 6
The Shallows | Jaume Collet-Serra & Sérgio Graciano | 2016 | 6
Tigers Are Not Afraid | Issa López | 2017 | 6
Apostle | Gareth Evans | 2018 | 6
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark | André Øvredal | 2019 | 6
It Chapter Two | Andy Muschietti | 2019 | 6
Us | Jordan Peele | 2019 | 6
Relic | Natalie Erika James | 2020 | 6
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It | Michael Chaves | 2021 | 6

5/10
The Others | Alejandro Amenábar | 2001 | 5
Pulse | Kiyoshi Kurosawa | 2001 | 5
The Ring | Gore Verbinski | 2002 | 5
Eden Lake | James Watkins | 2008 | 5
The Children | Tom Shankland | 2008 | 5
Antichrist | Lars Von Trier | 2009 | 5
Shutter Island | Martin Scorsese | 2010 | 5
Under the Skin | Jonathan Glazer | 2013 | 5
The Monster | Bryan Bertino | 2016 | 5
Don't Breathe | Fede Alvarez | 2016 | 5
The Ritual | David Bruckner | 2017 | 5
What Keeps You Alive | Colin Minihan | 2018 | 5
Cam | Daniel Goldhaber | 2018 | 5
Halloween | David Gordon Green | 2018 | 5
Crawl | Alex Aja | 2019 | 5
His House | Remi Weekes | 2020 | 5

4/10
[Rec] | Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza | 2007 | 4
Splice | Vincenzo Natali | 2009 | 4
Trollhunter | André Øvredal | 2010 | 4
Afflicted | Derek Lee & Clif Prowse | 2013 | 4
Backcountry | Adam MacDonald | 2014 | 4
Last Shift | Anthony DiBlasi | 2014 | 4
The Conjuring 2 | James Wan | 2016 | 4
Split | M. Night Shyamalan | 2016 | 4
Hush | Mike Flanagan | 2016 | 4
The Vigil | Keith Thomas | 2019 | 4
Host | Rob Savage | 2020 | 4

3/10
May | Lucky McKee | 2002 | 3
Martyrs | Pascal Laugier | 2008 | 3
Would You Rather | David Guy Levy | 2012 | 3
As Above, So Below | John Erick Dowdle | 2014 | 3
Ghost Stories | Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman | 2018 | 3
The Hole in the Ground | Lee Cronin | 2019 | 3
1BR | David Marmor | 2020 | 3

2/10
Truth or Dare | Jeff Wadlow | 2018
Countdown | Justin Dec | 2019

Any thoughts or recommendations? Please comment below!
Last edited by Holden on Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:10 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"The better a singer's voice, the harder it is to believe what they're saying."
Schüttelbirne
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Re: Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

Post by Schüttelbirne »

Holden wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 4:47 pm
Any thoughts or recommendations? Please comment below!
The first ones that come to mind:

Let Me In (Matt Reeves, USA/UK/Sweden 2010) [American remake of Let the Right One In, better than it sounds]

Sinister (Scott Derrickson, UK 2012) [The first half is incredible, but it kind of falls of in the second one. Worth a watch though]

Frankenweenie (Tim Burton, USA 2012) [Animation film playing with classic monster movie tropes; obviously not very scary]

Evil Dead (Fede Alvarez, USA/New Zealand 2013) [Actually a very good remake, lacking the pulpy fun, but increasing the gore]

Ich seh, ich seh [Goodnight Mommy] (Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz, Austria 2014) [Austrian horror film about twins growing convinced their mother was replaced; very intense]

Climax (Gaspar Noé, France 2018) [Not sure if this can be called horror, but it works similar to a horror film and drags the viewer in]

Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino, Italy/USA 2018) [Another remake that is unlike the original, this one is not as good, but it's very nice to look at]

Saw (James Wan, USA 2004) [Never actually saw one of the dreaded sequels, but the original isn't all that bad]

The Hills Have Eyes (Alexandre Aja, USA 2006) [I didn't intend to have this many remakes here, but there seem to be more good ones than I thought; this one offers a nice spin on the original]

Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, USA 2007) [Similar to Saw, this franchise was beaten to death, but the beginning is very interesting, even if it may not be very scary]

박쥐 [Thirst] (Park Chan-wook, South Korea 2009) [Very good take on the vampire movie]
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Re: Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

Post by Holden »

Schüttelbirne wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 9:40 pm
Holden wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 4:47 pm
Any thoughts or recommendations? Please comment below!
The first ones that come to mind:

Sinister (Scott Derrickson, UK 2012) [The first half is incredible, but it kind of falls of in the second one. Worth a watch though]

Climax (Gaspar Noé, France 2018) [Not sure if this can be called horror, but it works similar to a horror film and drags the viewer in]
Thanks for the recommendations! These two above I’ve seen, Climax I forgot to add (it never got a big release so my memory-jogging searches missed it), and Sinister I just completed! I’ll add the ratings at some point as I watch more movies. Tonight I plan to go see the new “A Quiet Place” film, so after I get back I’ll update the ratings. I plan to go through and add little blurbs to get more specific in my thoughts on each film as well.
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Re: Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

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The 2007 Halloween, Paranormal Activity 2, Saw III
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Re: Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

Post by Nassim »

Disappointed to see Don't Breathe get only 5/10 ! One of my favs of the past decade.

Other recommendations :

On the arty side, politically aware side : A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

On the "meta" side of things : Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Less meta but still turning the slasher genre upside down : You're Next
Scream 4 is also fairly good (definitely not Scream 3 though)

Haute Tension (2003, Alexandre Aja) is a great example of how a dumb, forced twist can ruin what was until then a pretty great horror movie. I still think the first hour is really great.

Dumb fun : Final Destination series, at least the first 2 (heard the last one is good too but haven't seen it)
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Re: Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

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Nassim wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:44 pm
Dumb fun : Final Destination series, at least the first 2 (heard the last one is good too but haven't seen it)
I haven't seen any of the Final Destination films, but Sight & Sound -- whom I thought of as the ultimate in stuffiness, because of their once-a-decade Top 10 poll that's content to shuffle around old and very old films for all of eternity -- once published an article extolling the pleasures of Final Destination 3.


Forgotten Treasures of the Multiplex
https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/ ... eam-movies
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Re: Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

Post by Nassim »

Live in Phoenix wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:54 pm
Nassim wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:44 pm
Dumb fun : Final Destination series, at least the first 2 (heard the last one is good too but haven't seen it)
I haven't seen any of the Final Destination films, but Sight & Sound -- whom I thought of as the ultimate in stuffiness, because of their once-a-decade Top 10 poll that's content to shuffle around old and very old films for all of eternity -- once published an article extolling the pleasures of Final Destination 3.


Forgotten Treasures of the Multiplex
https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/ ... eam-movies
The only consensus seems to be that the 4th movie (The Final Destination) is the worst, due in large part to the 3D gimmick.
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Re: Holden's Guide to 21st Century Horror

Post by Holden »

I've updated the list! Here are the films I've added, and some I've updated:

Updated:
The Wailing: 9 -> 10
A Quiet Place: 7 -> 8

New Films:
The Empty Man: 9
Ginger Snaps: 8
Climax: 8
A Quiet Place Part II: 8
The Tunnel: 7
Sinister: 7
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It: 6
Pulse: 5
Eden Lake: 5
The Vigil: 4

Additionally, I've given short reviews to each movie 9 and above! I hope to add them to each film here, but that's over 100 at this point, so will see where that goes.
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