BEST MOVIES OF THE DECADE – LL’S LIST
BEST HORROR MOVIES OF THE DECADE 2000-2009
by L.L. Soares
(NOTE: The thing about “Best of the Decade” lists is that you’re always going to miss something. Ten years is a long time. But I did my best trying to cobble together a list of what I thought were the best movies of the 00’s. One movie I regret I couldn’t put on the list was Takashi Miike’s AUDITION. I thought it was within the time frame, but it came out in 1999, and just missed making it onto this list. ~LLS)
10. WOLF CREEK (2005)
One of the bleakest serial killer movies to show in theaters in a long time. This one actually opened on Christmas Day as part of a very dark publicity stunt. Set in the Australian outback, this one features a Crocodile Dundee-type guy named Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) whose hobby is killing tourists. Vicious stuff. Directed with real atmosphere by Greg McLean.
9. MAY (2002)
A very strange girl who has trouble making friends decides to “make” her own. Featuring an unforgettable performance by Angela Bettis as May, and a great supporting performance by the underrated Anna Faris. Director Lucky McKee gave us a really quirky, enjoyable film.
8. MOTHER OF TEARS (2008)
Another movie I’ve gotten a lot of grief for defending. Director Dario Argento’s last installment in his “Three Mothers” trilogy is one of the most fun movies I saw all decade. Most people were hoping for a serious, dark masterpiece like his first film in the series, SUSPIRIA (1977), which many people consider his best film. But MOTHER OF TEARS takes off in a totally different direction, and at times is absurd and downright campy. Dario’s daughter Asia stars as a woman who was born to fight the evil Mother of Tears, a powerful witch bent on world domination. Don’t take it too seriously, and you’ll have a good time.
7. THE MIST (2007)
Frank Darabont’s mostly faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s beloved novella adds a very dark ending that took major balls. A movie that has actually grown on me more over time. A weird mist covers a Maine town and brings lots of monsters along with it. A supermarket full of people fight to survive hell on earth. With a strong lead performance by Thomas Jane.
6. GINGER SNAPS (2000)
The best werewolf movie of the decade told the story of two Goth sisters, Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) who live on the dark side for real when Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf. Brigitte tries to find a cure, as things go from bad to worse, and high school will never be the same. Smart and well-acted, this little movie, directed by John Fawcett, made a big splash at the time. It also spawned two interesting sequels (one was actually a prequel).
5. HOSTEL PART II (2007)
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten more flack for a movie choice than I did when I praised Eli Roth’s HOSTEL movies. But I really enjoyed them. These are the ones (along with the inferior SAW movies) that started the whole controversy over what is now called “torture porn.” The first movie, from 2005, about backpacking American kids who travel around Europe and end up as fodder for a secret society that pays to kill humans, was an interesting surprise. But it’s HOSTEL PART II that is the superior movie – and is also a very dark comedy – especially the plotline about two average-seeming guys (Roger Bart and Richard Burgi) who aren’t victims, but who give us a peek at the kinds of people who would actually pay money for the experience of killing someone.
4. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
Easily the best vampire movie of the decade, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a Swedish film about Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a pale, skinny kid who doesn’t have any friends and gets picked on regularly by bullies. It doesn’t help that his parents have just split up. Enter his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), a strange girl who only comes out at night and doesn’t go to school. Oh yeah, and she’s a vampire, and she has even darker secrets than that. But Oskar is willing to overlook it all for the sake of finally having a friend. If you’re a fan of the TWILIGHT films, this is probably not going to appeal to you. It’s quite dark, and often moving. Director Tomas Alfredson gave us a true classic in 2008.
3. INSIDE (2007)
This one, along with MARTYRS, shows that France has been turning out some of the best horror movies of the decade. Directed by Alexandre Bustillo & Julian Maury, INSIDE takes place over the course of one long, agonizing night, as a pregnant woman named Sarah (Alysson Paradis), all alone in her house, is repeatedly attacked by a psychotic woman (Beatrice Dalle) who wants her baby. Calling this movie intense is an understatement.
2. THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005)
I liked Rob Zombie’s debut movie, HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES (2003), a lot, but it was flawed. What the hell, it was his first time directing. But then in 2005, he came out with this sequel and it blew me away. He turned everything up several notches in the story of a psycho family (Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Sheri Moon Zombie) that goes on a killing spree while a sheriff (William Forsythe), who is just as insane, tracks them down. It was a non-stop thrill ride in the spirit of the old grindhouse flicks of the 1970s. I loved every second of it. While I’ve been disappointed with his stuff since (his HALLOWEEN movies), DEVIL’S REJECTS proves Rob Z has the talent. I just hope he makes something this good again.
This was also my pick for the best movie of 2009, but somehow it topped this list to. The movie’s imagery just stays with me. It’s the disturbing story of a girl who is kidnapped as a child, escapes, ends up in an orphanage, and seeks revenge once she turns 18. Her name is Lucie (played by Mylene Jampanoi). The girl she meets at the orphanage who sticks by her no matter what is Anna (Morjana Alaoui). What unfolds is a tale of revenge and madness, and then the movie goes in a completely different direction you weren’t expecting. The last part is very hard to sit through. But that’s why I loved it.
Director Pascal Laugier actually apologizes for making the film in the introduction on the DVD. But he has nothing to apologize for.
Love him or hate him, I think Quentin Tarantino is in a category by himself. And he turned out three of the best movies of his career in the 00’s (* and one fun experiment).
KILL BILL VOLUME 1 (2003)
KILL BILL VOLUME 2 (2004)
GRINDHOUSE (2007) * in collaboration with Robert Rodriguez
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (2009)
HONORABLE MENTIONS (Horror and Non-Horror Films)
Some other movies I enjoyed a lot last decade:
PUNISHER WAR ZONE (2008) dir. Lexi Alexander
WATCHMEN (2009) dir. Zack Snyder
CLOVERFIELD (2008) dir. Matt Reeves
SIN CITY (2005) dir. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller
ANTICHRIST (2009) dir. Lars von Trier
JACK KETCHUM’S THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (2007) dir. Gregory Wilson
IRREVERSIBLE (2002) dir. Gaspar Noe
ICHI THE KILLER (2001) dir. Takashi Miike
DEVIL’S BACKBONE (2001) dir. Guillermo del Toro
HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES (2003) dir. Rob Zombie
PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006) dir. Guillermo del Toro
HEADER (2006) dir. Archibald Flancranstin
TOKYO GORE POLICE (2009) dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura