Dread Central’s Best Horror Films of the Decade

What a decade. Talk about an insane ten years. In it we’ve seen sequels top originals, remakes up the ante, and a precious few bits of original content do what all quality cinema does — become instant classics. Join us now for a look back at the decade that was 2000-2009!

Being that Foy covered the worst of the decade already (and who better to do so?), we collectively voted on the best so this truly is Dread Central’s definitive list. Now let’s get to it, starting with the title that garnered the fewest votes all the way up to the one that got the most.

best2010s - Dread Central's Best Horror Films of the Decade

10: The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Well before the much abused re-imaginings known as Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II were conceived by the unpredictable writer/director, he was honing his craft on a taut and dark little film called The Devil’s Rejects. While Rejects is more of a revenge/road trip type feature than it is a straight horror movie, make no mistake; it wears its genre heritage proudly on its sleeve and at times can be brutally nightmarish. It’s in your face and gritty with no pretty colors or artsy scenes to make you ooh and ah. There’s just the realism of violence and depravity.

And the performances are nothing short of amazing. Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, William Forsythe, Priscilla Barnes, and yes, even Sheri Moon Zombie really turn the heat up to new levels, but the show stealer is without question Leslie Easterbrook. When she’s on screen, it’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off her. The rest of the cast is seemingly comprised of a who’s who in the horror genre: P.J. Soles, Ken Foree, Michael Berryman, etc.

The Rejects themselves may have come to a bloody Bonnie & Clyde type cinematic ending, but these characters are guaranteed to live on through fans all over the world for decades to come well beyond the 00’s.

9: Saw (2004)

Forget the endless stream of sequels. The first time you watched James Wan’s directorial debut, you were impressed. Admit it. We’ll agree that some of the acting is shoddy and the editing borders on obnoxious (remember that car chase between Ben Linus and Murtaugh?), but it doesn’t matter.

The sheer genius of Wan and [Leigh] Whannel’s script is enough to knock you flat. From the concept of a serial killer that’s never actually killed anyone to the endlessly twisting narrative, Saw took the horror community by surprise. And then it took the rest of the moviegoing public by storm. Beyond that, it (along with the next year’s Hostel) is recognized as being almost solely responsible for the oft-maligned “torture-porn” subgenre that continues to pollute video shelves (and Netflix queues) everywhere.

In the wake of all that, it’s easy to forget the rock solid little film that the original Saw is. There probably isn’t a more influential film on this list and, having recently revisited the film for the first time in years, we’re happy to say it’s still worthy of the praise. Forget the convoluted nature of the sequels and savor this influential original. The genre wouldn’t be where it is today without it – whether or not that’s a good thing.

8: The Descent (2005)

Having already made the kickass Dog Soldiers, director Neil Marshall hardly needed to prove himself as a major genre talent. That’s exactly what he did with this claustrophobic masterpiece, however, instantly cementing his status as one of the greatest modern horror filmmakers.

The Descent spends lots of time with its core characters, developing their friendships (even going so far as to suggest deep-seated transgressions in one case) in an effort to make them as believable as possible. It’s not just the humanoid inhabitants of the mountain cave that pose a threat, but the clashing personalities of narcissism and atrophy that threaten to doom them all. As a monster movie, it’s an effective reason to be afraid of the dark, but it’s the psychological aspects that reward multiple viewings and create something far more impressive.

The fact that you’ll likely never set foot inside a cave again after seeing this is a small price to pay. Here’s one of the few modern horror films that has the power to truly terrify its audience. It’s one of those films that made us realize that we weren’t too old to be scared, and we’ll always love it for that.

7: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

It’s easy to be sick of this British zombie classic already; every movie website in the word hasn’t quite finished singing its praises and the sheer amount of merchandise for this, the little zombie film that could, borders on the absurd. And while saturation isn’t good for anything, it’s perfectly understandable as to why Shaun of the Dead has garnered such goodwill. It’s bloody fantastic.

Unlike the recent Zombieland, Shaun succeeds as both a hilarious comedy and a legitimately great zombie apocalypse flick. Writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright aren’t afraid to flesh out their lead characters, taking them beyond the comedic archetypes (i.e., the slacker guy, the aloof best friend) to where they become actual people. It’s true that we’re a little tired of this one now, but when we think back to our first viewings, we laughed until it hurt. And when we weren’t laughing, we were tickled pink by the endless stream of George Romero references strewn about the film. Sure, anyone can enjoy Shaun of the Dead, but it’s the horror fans who get the most out of it. Every time.

6: Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

E. Elias Merhige burst onto the scene at the start of the decade with his cleverly constructed film-within-a-film Shadow of the Vampire. The notion that Max Schreck’s performance in Nosferatu was so successful because he really was a vampire is played totally straight by John Malkovich as obsessed director F.W. Murnau. Popular cross-dressing comedian Eddie Izzard is a revelation as Gustav, and he and Malkovich are matched note for note by a deliciously over-the-top Willem Dafoe as Schreck.

Shadow of the Vampire is a rare treat. Not only is it a great vampire flick, but it also perfectly evokes the eras it details: both the Twenties, when Nosferatu was filmed, and the Victorian times in which it was set. With its star power, a sort of surreal realism, and cinematography to die for, Shadow of the Vampire more than deserves its spot on this list.

5: Frailty (2001)

The Sixth Sense may have put the twist ending back on the map, but two years later Bill Paxton’s directorial debut, Frailty, perfected it. The story, told in flashbacks, revolves around a single father (portrayed by Paxton) who believes he and his two sons were commanded by God to kill demons that happen to be living in human bodies. In the present day one of the brothers (Matthew McConaughey) is telling his family’s story to FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (the uber creepy Powers Boothe).

Frailty takes its audience on one of the most interesting and intricate journeys through the darker side of human nature that they’re likely to see now or in any other decade. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Brent Hanley’s script throws everything out the window and you’re left wondering about the true nature of religious fanaticism and whether or not to trust your own perceptions. It’s sheer beauty on celluloid!

4: Paranormal Activity (2007)

When we first put up our review of Paranormal Activity back in October of 2007, readers rightly questioned our claim that it was “the most frightening ghost story of the year“. We encouraged their skepticism because we knew once they saw it for themselves, they’d agree with us. Unfortunately, it took two freaking years before we had the opportunity to redeem ourselves, but considering this little film that could went on to become the highest grossing “R” rated thriller of the last decade, we’d say redemption is pretty damn sweet.

If you are a fan of ghost stories who has felt disappointed and short-changed by the lack of quality material in that subgenre over the past several years, then you should be as pleased with Paranormal Activity as we (and apparently most of the rest of the world) were. It’s a bite-your-nails, squirm-in-your-seat bonanza of spookiness with a healthy dose of holy-shit-I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened thrown in for good measure. In short, it’s effective as hell and is a prime example of how to win an audience over and keep their attention in a highly constrained, claustrophobic atmosphere in the most unpretentious way possible.

Unfortunately there’s sure to be an endless supply of PA rip-offs and knock-offs littering the airwaves over the next decade and beyond, but at least we at Dread Central can take comfort in the fact that we were 100% right in our prediction that “something this good won’t stay undiscovered for long.

3: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

When the news first broke that upstart director Zack Snyder dared to sign on for a remake of George A. Romero’s iconic Dawn of the Dead, well, saying the fans were upset would be a bit of an understatement. In fact, they were mad as hell and talking boycotts and protests. But in the end they gave it a chance, and this version of Dawn, one that had every right to suck, ended up working. It worked so well, in fact, that it landed in the Top Three of the Decade. Yes, a remake can be good … something we’d pretty much forgotten during the long dry spell between the last good ones (John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly) and Snyder’s Dawn redux.

The main reason for this minor miracle is that Snyder and company played it smart. Instead of trying to out-Romero Romero (and who could possibly do that?), they opted to bring their own take of what happened on the day of the outbreak. Essentially Snyder gave us more Dawn of the Dead with some skillfully placed homages along the way that offer a wonderful nod to the source material. And the actors (especially Sarah Polley, Jake Weber, and Mekhi Phifer) seem like real people, just like us. Cameos are given to original alumni Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, and Tom Savini; the WGON traffic copter makes an appearance; some of the trucks outside the mall are from the same company, B.P. Trucking, that loaned them to the production of Romero’s original film; and one of the stores in the mall is even named Gaylen Ross! The best part? None of these ins is ever slammed over your head or is even remotely distracting. They’re just there as part of the movie. That’s how you honor the past and make your mark in the present. Bravo.

2: The Mist (2007)

In watching The Mist repeatedly since its release, we’ve come to think of it as the greatest film that George Romero never directed. The bleak microcosmic look at modern day America feels like something George would’ve churned out at some point in his career had he been able to secure the funding.

This one works so well because it clicks on numerous levels: as the aforementioned examination of society, as an over-the-top and gory monster flick, and as a genuinely unsettling psychological horror film about the evils of man (and woman). Tom Jane nails the everyman trying to navigate a seemingly impossible situation while Marcia Gay Harden was robbed of an Oscar nomination for her role as Mrs. Carmody – arguably the most detestable screen villain of all time. The fantastic supporting cast all contribute a great deal to the proceedings as well: Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden, William Sadler, and Jeffrey DeMunn.

And you can’t talk about The Mist without discussing the controversial ending. Most of us love it. It’s the cinematic equivalent to a punch in the gut and conveys the ultimate hopelessness and desperation of our characters. Sure, Darabont could’ve adhered to the King novella and gone the more ambiguous route, but the film would have lost much of its impact … and probably wouldn’t be on this list.

1: Trick ‘r Treat (2008)

Without question, Michael Dougherty’s ode to Halloween is the film that brought fun back to the genre – something that’s been absent for far too long. There were other, more unsuccessful attempts at this over the last few years (Slither comes to mind), but Trick ‘r Treat succeeds effortlessly.

The interlocking vignettes seethe with atmosphere and a strong sense of fun, ensuring that each piece of the film is somehow more delightful than the last. Couple that with some of the best performances the genre’s seen recently (Dylan Baker’s especially), and you have the greatest movie about October 31 since John Carpenter chronicled the night HE came home. (On a side note, try to count the references to Carpenter’s early works – it’s a fun thing to look for while you’re watching the film a second or third time.)

The big question continues to be why Warner Bros. decided to dump this sucker onto Blu-ray and DVD after sitting on it for almost two years, but we take solace in knowing that it’s already found an audience – one that’ll continue to grow for decades to come.

Honorable Mentions: Let the Right One In, The Host, Behind the Mask: The Rise and Fall of Leslie Vernon, 28 Weeks Later, The Signal

The Dread Central Staff

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What do you think?

Written by Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.


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  1. For no particular reason, other than that I recently rewatched The Descent, here’s my top 11 of last decade.
    11. Fido
    10. The Devil’s Backbone
    9. Frailty
    8. End Of The Line
    7. Slither
    6. Shaun Of The Dead
    5. The Descent
    4. Pontypool
    3. Trick ‘R Treat
    2. Let The Right One In
    1. Pan’s Labyrinth

  2. YES!! Most of those were on my fave list also. We waited such a long time for Trick r Treat to come out and it turned out to be a big winner (in my book anyway). I would have put some not so well known ones on my list, but I think you got it covered. BTW the ending of The Mist had me laughing for HOURS!

    Dear Diary, tonight I realized on the inside, i’m pretty fucking ugly.

  3. While I’m sad that Let The Right One In only merited a Honorable Mention and that Grindhouse is nowhere to be seen (and as a Vinnie Jones fanboy I must throw in my support for The Midnight Meat Train), I otherwise fully agree with this list. Saw has had a major influence over the genre since it came out (even if it itself took a word or two from the likes of Cube and Se7en), Paranormal Activity is easily the scariest movie I have ever seen, and The Devil’s Rejects is proof posative that Rob Zombie does know how to make a good horror movie (he should really do it again sometime). And while I would’ve bumped The Descent up a slot or two, and swapped Shaun for Dawn (the former just never gets old for me), I can find no fault with #2 and #1. Both amazing movies, horror or otherwise.

  4. It’s hard to argue with a lot on that list…

    As far as Frailty is concerned…I liked that movie a hell of a lot better than The Sixth Sense and the twist ending, IMO, was better than The Sixth Sense…An excellent movie certainly worthy of any top of the decade horror list…

  5. ok heres mine

    1.Mulberry St

    2.The abandoned

    3.Trick r treat

    4.Shaun of the dead


    6.Dead Silence

    7. Drag me to hell

    8. The Grave Dancers

    9. Masters of Horror CIGARRETE BURNS

    10.Paranormal Activity

    • I just want to step in an say Kudos to you for Mulberry Street. While I don’t have it as The Best of the Decade, that’s an awesome movie that needs more love.

  6. My Top Ten

    10. From Hell
    9. Cabin by the Lake 2
    8. Riding the Bullet
    7. Friday the 13th
    6. American Psycho
    5. Dawn of the Dead
    4. ‘Salem’s Lot
    3. Antichrist
    2. Halloween II
    1. Trick ‘r Treat

        • When it came time to compile my best of the decade list, I approached it as trying to narrow down the best representations of the various subgenres of horror (vamps, zombies, ghosts) as well as the best remake, sequel, anthology, etc. In addition, I included a few films that I feel have had a lasting impact/influence or were just too creative and visionary to ignore. Six of my picks made the final cut:

          Saw, Dawn, Frailty, Shadow, Paranormal, and TrT.

          The other four were 28 Weeks, Repo, Hostel, and Night Watch. I really wanted to include The Others also, but Paranormal Activity inched it out by a nose in the ghost category.

  7. i guess I’ll add to the comments on the list. I’m not gonna make my own, though. I’ve never been good at that. It’s like picking your favorite kid. I like certain movies for different reasons. To pick one major standout above the rest makes me feel dirty (although, if you held a gun to my head and asked, I’d say The Signal).

    As much as I loved Hatchet, I can see why it didn’t make the list. It was fun, and very well done, but nothing definitive or genre-altering.

    Hell, the only thing that I even remotely disagree with is Dawn of The Dead. It’s a great movie, don’t get me wrong. I just think a sub-genre that’s been as done to death as Zombie Apocalypse movies need only one rep on the list, and Shaun Of The Dead does that nicely. Then one of the other great movies in your Honorable Mention such as Let The right One In could’ve been bumped up. JMO.

    As for comments on the staff’s intentions: DC could’ve done what reviewers on other genre sites did with their lists. They could’ve wrote a paragraph long explanation/disclaimer on what their criteria was, and why certain expected fan favorites aren’t listed. Basically the journalistic equivalent of walking in a bar and pussing out to a guy you’ve never met who you think can kick you ass before he even notices you’ve walked in.

    Instead, they said nothing. I’m guessing they figured their readers, while they may disagree with the staff’s picks, could debate the list like adults and not start questioning the staff’s motives so condescendingly. I guess, in respect to a few people, that assumption was DC’s fault. 🙂

    I’m really just fucking around. It’s a horror movie list, not Healthcare Reform, don’t take it so seriously.

    To wrap up: Love Trick R’ Treat. It’s actually playing on my TV as I’m typing this. I’m in total agreement with your assessment of the original Saw. All in all, good picks. I guess I’ll have to check Frailty out now. Lastly, even though a review on this site has yet to truly steer me wrong, I’m still skeptical about Paranormal Activity. I smell a hint of the rat that got me to sit through the atrocious Blair Witch Project. I know lots of people loved it, I didn’t. Guess I’ll have to find out about PA on my own.


  8. I know, I know, opinions and all and I am more than willing to accept that there are movies that will go down as classics of the genre that I will never enjoy (I cannot fathom the greatness some people see in “Frailty” that puts it even a peg above “forgettable”).

    But the “Dawn of the Dead” name cash-in is on the list and “28 Days Later” is not? I mean from the perspective of movies that put zombies back on the map you have to give it to “28 Days Later”, “Dawn” was HEAVILY influenced by it, as far as I am concerned it had better characters, it had monkeys, and perhaps most importantly it lacked a zombie baby (outside of “Braindead” I cannot imagine a zombie baby working). Perhaps it ended up with a split vote between it and people who preferred its sequel?

    I can even understand “Let the Right One In” not being on the list to a certain degree since it did not get a wide release in the US, but I really am having a hard time with “Dawn” getting more love and memories than “28 Days Later.”

    • Hear hear. Well said.

      That’s why I insist that the DC people were more concerned with style than substance. Look at the first trailer for Dawn 04. It is obviously influenced by Danny Boyle’s film.

      Hell there were even some shots that mimicked scenes from 28 Days Later.

      • “That’s why I insist that the DC people were more concerned with style than substance.”

        Oh, give it a fucking rest already. You wanna know why I personally voted for Dawn of the Dead over 28 Days Later? Because I like Dawn more than Days. I derived more enjoyment from watching Dawn of the Dead than I did 28 Days Later. Amazing, huh? Two good movies but I somehow prefer one over the other and it’s not about style or substance or acting like holier than thou film snob. Something simple as enjoying one more more than another. What an astonishing notion.

        • You’re sexy when you’re mad. I stand by my opinion. Not everyone is going to agree with the list. Accept it, man.

          “or acting like holier than thou film snob”

          Glass houses, Foy. Glass houses.

          Now give us a hug.

          • I couldn’t care less whether anyone agrees with the list. What irks me is when you make bullshit statements like “That’s why I insist that the DC people were more concerned with style than substance.” That’s when I chime in and tell you to put a sock in it already.

            And congratulations on being the first person in history to try and insinuate that I of all people am a film snob. Glass houses, my ass.

          • “I couldn’t care less whether anyone agrees with the list.”

            And that, my friend, is the problem. You should care because hearing differing opinions is what makes lists so popular. Don’t get so offended, it’s merely an opinion. I figure you of all people would encourage open discourse and not shun it.

            Guess I was wrong.

          • I couldn’t care less whether anyone agrees with the list because I don’t consider it something worth getting worked up over. I don’t have any problem with anyone else expressing their disagreement with our picks or listing their own. I don’t even agree with half the films listed. Nobody is shunning or censoring discourse here or and I am certainly not offended by it. What offends me is you qualify your dissenting opinion with insulting statements about what you incorrectly believe to be our mindset, which you’ve just done again by immediately jumping to the conclusion that my not caring whether someone disagrees with the list is because I want to stifle dissenting voices.

          • I’m not defending him but the first paragraph of the article includes the following:

            “…we collectively voted on the best so this truly is Dread Central’s definitive list.”

            When you call something definitive, tempers are gonna flare even over shit as goofy as this. It’s one of the reasons I suggested a readers poll so people can get their bitchiness out and everyone can have fun comparing the two.

          • Operative words being “Dread Central’s Definitive List” and not EVERYONE’S definitive list? LOL!

          • And you have readers who identify with the site as much as the writers. It’s Dread Central’s Definitive Staff List. There’s a difference. You guys write the articles but without the readers it’s just words on a screen that no one reads. By claiming it’s a definitive list without prefacing whose list it is, it’s making a statement for an entire community where there’s likely disagreement.

          • I agree that this site is very much the reader’s site as well … but none of the readers participated … only staff did! I thought that was pretty apparent. LOL

          • For the record, this is EXACTLY where I saw this going when I decided to argue the merits of “28 Days Later” over “Dawn.”

          • It’s a fucking list! I don’t think UC traveled to the burning bush and came back with two stone tablets and this is God’s list or anything. Have some perspective. Don’t like this list go to another horror site. They’re are plenty of them.

          • “It’s Dread Central’s Definitive Staff List.”

            No, it’s the Dread Central List. If you want to start a Dread Central Reader’s List, then have at it, hoss.

            Seesm like the main issue is the word “definitive”. I think that a true “definitive” list would be along the lines of what the “Black List” does with scripts. Every script that appears on anyone’s list is included, and rather than having a “top ten” they’re ranked by the number of mentions. Definitve has a certain connotation that an averaged-top-ten doesn’t really deliver. Of course, it’s easier to do that with something like the black list because you’re asking hundreds of people to pick three scripts from the year, not trying to compile a decade-best list from a relatively small pool of “voters”.

            So in essence, I’ve said nothing of note, and will now slink back into the darkened corner from whence I crawled out…

            BTW, I like the list. Don’t like all the entries, but with the well thought-out write-ups it’s hard to argue.

        • 28 Days Later is actually pretty good. It’s not a great movie and yes, it’s not an original take on the material, but it is effective. I understand why the Dawn Remake is on the list though; the mere fact that it turned out to be as good as it was is a miracle.

    • For me Grindhouse is a movie that doesn’t hold up with repeated viewings. I loved it when I first saw it but these days it’s pretty much lost its novelty. I wasn’t big on Planet Terror, and Death Proof is pretty difficult to sit through.

  9. My list…
    1-Session 9
    2-Let the right one in
    3-Pan’s Labyrinth
    6-Leslie Vernon
    8-District 9

    In my opinion…the Rec sequels are far better than the Dawn remake, it takes the “zombie” genre and amps it up to 10.
    I also feel there is a lack of quality(good acting, script etc…) horror flicks on the list…
    Rejects has fun moments but the acting (like all Zombie flicks) is of the Ed Wood school…arguing over ice cream?
    Same goes for PA, good concept but lousy movie….compared to Session 9, it looks like some student film.

    Again just my opinion…Here’s too a new year of horror.

    The mind is like a parachute…it only works when it is open.

  10. Just a thought but since this functions as staff picks, why not do a reader poll for best horror films of the decade? I’m not saying one is better than the other, and there will likely be some overlap (Shaun, Descent), but I think it would be interesting to see what the results of DC’s readers list would be.

  11. I actually said the exact same thing to myself as someone else did with Saw. I hated that movie with a fiery passion as well. The concept was cool, I just hated the application. Very disappointed with the exclusion of silent hill, which I thought was fantastic. As was the ring. My top 10, as of this moment, (aren’t they constantly changing anyway, lol):

    10: Jennifers Body
    9: Martyrs
    8: Pan’s Labyrinth
    7: The Ruins
    6: Drag Me To Hell
    5: Paranormal Activity
    4: The Orphanage
    3: Silent Hill
    2: Trick r’ Treat
    1: The Ring

    obviously, almost everyone hated jennifers body, so I passed the theatrical run. I watched the extended cut, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This list is basically made up of movies that could watch repeatedly and not tire of.

  12. My Top Ten of the Decade:

    5. INSIDE
    6. MARTYRS
    9. THE MIST
    10. KAIRO

    • Here’s my Top Ten List (I have not seen Let The Right One In, Inside or The House of the Devil by the way)

      10. Trick ‘R Treat
      9. Splinter
      8. Drag Me To Hell
      7. The Ruins
      6. REC
      5. The Mist
      4. Paranormal Activity
      3. Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
      2. The Descent
      1. The Signal

      If I had to do a Worst Top Ten List, they would be the following…

      10. Saw IV
      9. Alone In The Dark
      8. The Collector
      7. Friday the 13th Remake
      6. The Hitcher Remake
      5. Strawberry Estates
      4. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II
      3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest
      2. Scarecrow 1
      1. Monster (AKA God Awful Piece of Shit)

  13. Can we do an overrated list because I’m certain Saw would be #1 on my list of most overrated films of the decade. And I agree that PA probably is too new to be on the list. Personally I would have picked The Ring which is the best horror film remake of the decade and at least since The Thing.

    • I’d take out The Mist. It’s a good movie but hardly one of the best of the decade. As well I’d also take out Dawn of the Dead. Again an entertaining time killer, but not on the same wavelength as Let the Right One In or Leslie Vernon. It’s quite surprising it’s even on the list. The movie is so damn flawed it’s not even funny. The more I see it the more I pick out the plot holes and bad performances and terrible script. This one seems based on more preference for style and not substance.

      One thing you guys did right was include Trick R Treat. I’ve seen that movie twice and twice it’s been more fun than the last. It’s original, entertaining, and just a wonderful Halloween movie all around. I’ve haven’t seen anyone capture the essence of the holiday since Carpenter’s film.

  14. Oh, more lists! Let’s slap another one, then:)

    In no particular order:

    A Tale of Two Sisters
    Haute Tension
    Session 9
    The Descent
    Let the right one in
    The Abandoned
    The Mist
    Pan’s Labyrinth

    Honorable mentions: Trick R’ Treat, Lake Mungo, Cloverfield, The Host, Martyrs, Frailty, Kairo, 28 Weeks later, The Devil’s Chair, Ju-On, Behind the Mask, The Dark Hours, Dead Silence, Identity, The Orphanage, Shaun of the Dead, Eden Lake, Silent Hill, The Others, The Ring, Hatchet, 30 Days of Night, Saw, The Children aaaaaand Drag Me to Hell.

  15. I don’t know. It seems like PA and Trick or Treat did well because they’re still fresh in people’s memory being recent films. I don’t think either is going to hold up well in 10 years, especially PA. I think the biggest glaring omission from this list is Session 9. It’s better than almost everything here, used the twist ending better than Frailty, and had such a dark, claustrophobic vibe to it that it’s still damn creepy to watch. But yeah, there were a bunch of better movies that missed the cut:

    Session 9
    Let the Right One In
    The Host
    The Others
    The Orphanage
    Pan’s Labyrinth (if Devil’s Rejects can make it…)
    Haute Tension
    Audition (was released in most countries in 2000)
    The Devil’s Backbone

      • Hostel is unfairly maligned because of the shit it inspired, but the movie is actually very good. It’s a lot more intelligent than people give it credit for, mostly because Eli Roth comes across as a mouth-breathing frat boy. The movie is a sly response to the paranoia and fear the world got thrust into post-9/11, with some nice satire on American chauvinism and the disturbing trend of anti-Americanism abroad. Seriously. It has some great moments like the jaded businessman towards the end giving a speech about why he wants to kill someone, or the scene where the lead tries to humanize himself to his torturer by pleading with him in his native tongue. I think the negative response towards Hostel has more to do with blind hatred for Roth and/or its poor imitators than it does for the actual quality of the movie.

        • Wow, talk about pulling shit out of thin air. I think you have it all wrong, personally. I’m annoyed people still think Roth’s movies are more intelligent than we think. I think Alvin and the Chipmunks had more intelligence than the homophobic Hostel and the misogynistic Hostel II.

  16. /facepalm

    Now; I know top 10 lists can be a bitch to put together ’cause you’ll always do at least 30 other films an injustice, but… To Not have A Tale of Two Sisters on this list of yours is just pure, damn, unrated, unadultered mother of all fails, guys.

    It fits on any top 10 lists, this decade/genre or not, and is easily superior to half – hell, 3/4! – of the flicks mention on your list, ffs! Fo’ shame, DC staff; fo’ fuckin’ shame!

    • I don’t know … I was never that impressed with that film in the least.

      It borrows A LOT from a much better film – The Other (1972) without as much of the impact.

      Just my two cents, but that’s why I didn’t even consider it.

      • Good shout, The Other – it is indeed brilliant and another one of my favorites. But, A Much Better film? In what way, exactly? Considering the films in the DC top 10 list, the argument of “too much borrowing” really doesn’t seem particulary fair.

        In fact, “too much borrowing” argument, as is, just doesn’t fly in 2010, especially when it comes to genre cinema. It’s how good you pull it off is what counts. Like, for instance, The Other; should I mark such a great film (and hundreds of other horror films, for that matter) down just because there was a “little” flick called The Innocents made in 1961? Hell no.

        • I hear you, Day.

          While I can’t speak for everybody else who voted, I can tell you why Two Sisters didn’t make my list.

          I felt it relied too heavily on the “surprise”, which I pegged from the very beginning. I’m not suggesting that the film lives of dies by that aspect, only that I was disappointed with the story.

          The psychology was interesting and pretty darn heartbreaking, but the familiarity prevented me from being truly impressed.

          I’ve seen the film twice and I doubt I’d ever revisit it again.

    • The flick made it to a couple of lists, just not enough to get it on the master one. In all honestly no matter what we put on the lists, no matter how inclusive we could try to be, you just can’t make everyone happy.

    • Just last night I sat down to watch A Tale of Two Sisters. Honestly? This wouldn’t have made it on my list of the decade at all. It had a couple of really good moments and it was shot exceptionally well but in the end it for me it was just more pretentious, muddled, over-done, over-stayed Asian horror.

  17. No Let the Right One In or Leslie Vernon? Come on, Dawn 04 was entertaining but it wasn’t good enough to make this list. From the plot holes, to the numerous musical montages and irritating characters Dawn 04 was a very flawed little number and it gets dumber with every viewing. And The Mist is too high up on the list.

    Excluding 28 Days Later but mentioning 28 Weeks Later? Come on. This was an alright list I guess. It kind of shows how the staff is more concerned with style over substance.

    And thanks for sparing us the continued praise of Hatchet.

  18. Pretty good list. I would’ve included Let the Right One In, but hey, whatever, that’s already been explained. The thing that does honestly surprise me is that 28 Days Later wasn’t on the Top 10, and while it’s not in the honourable mentions, it’s sequel is. I have nothing against 28 Weeks Later, loved it in fact. 28 Days Later just seems like one of those huge horror movies of the decade. If any one horror movie was to be on a non-horror “best of the decade” list, my money would be on it.

  19. Here’s something to keep in mind about the above list. The people who particpated weren’t given a specific list to make their choices from. Every title that made it was chosen independently by staff and ended up being separated by one or two mentions at most. It was REALLY close the whole way through. Given that the number of times a film showed up on the staff submitted lists determined if it even made the master list you now see, we decided to order the ones that did numerically. Again, it’s purely subjective and in the end “just a number”, but the results were both fascinating and in some cases — surprising.

    Devil’s Rejects beat out Let the Right One In by a single vote and got the ten spot. Agree with it or not, that was the long and short of it. The honorable mentions listed were basically the overflow of the top ten. All the titles you’ve all been asking the whereabouts of were included in the staff submissions, just unfortunately not enough.

    As for pick of best of the decade … Again Trick ‘r Treat made it to every staff list except for one. That’s a pretty big milestone especially for a film that was sat on for years until swept onto home video. I couldn’t be happier for the film.

  20. Nice respectable list….I love the inclusion of Frailty and Shadow of the Vampire. I personally would have included May, Ginger Snaps, Dog Soldiers, Grindhouse, The Orphanage, even Hostile or The Manson Family…..over The Devil’s Rejects, Saw and Paranormal Activity.
    It’s hard to argue too much though. It was a great decade for horror with alot of great movies.

  21. Nothing by Rob Zombie should ever be in a “Top 10” of anything. ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ was positively average until that dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers ending revealed Zombie’s true, retarded colours.

  22. Dump The Devil’s Rejects and put Let the Right One In on the list and you’re pretty much spot on. I’d agree with Foy and just call it the best (not top ten) horror movies as putting things in numerical order tend to get the masses riled.

    Seriously, who loved The Devil’s Rejects? It was OK, but as pointed out, there were so many more memorable movies that came out. Hell, I liked Jack Brooks more.

  23. Personally, I hated the first Saw with a fiery passion and still had some hate left over for all the sequels.

    I also don’t think PA would be in the top 10 of the year let alone the decade.

    So, remove those two and put in the most epic horror film of the decade in KIng Kong and by far the most unsettling film of the decade in Session 9 and you’d have a worthy list.

    Trick r’ Treat is great.

  24. Ok list but some weird choises, The devils rejects better than Let the right one in? And wheres The Orphanage? Come on!! I crap more horrifying turds than The devils rejects (great song in the films credits though)


  25. Some excellent choices on this list.I’m particularly glad to see The Mist get some love. Watching that movie was like being sucker punched in the gut.

    Just a couple of areas of disagreement on my part:

    -I thought Saw II and Saw VI were better films than the original. I’ll concede that the first helped launch a sub-genre of horror but, honestly, it’s actually a pretty mediocre movie that happens to have a decent core premise and terrific twist at the end.

    -Paranormal Activity was creepy and well made to be sure, but one of the best of the decade? Gotta strenuously disagree there. Personally,I’d choose either The Host or Diary of the Dead instead.

    -Trick R’ Treat was great..and deserves to be in the top ten. But the best? The Descent was better and should have nabbed that spot.

    Honorable mentions would include Jack Brooks:Monster Slayer, Hatchet and Midnight Meat Train

    • Except for one person, all the staffers who participated included Trick ‘r Trick in their picks, hence its #1 spot.

      And the real meaning of “best” is bound to be subjective. We mostly mean creative, influential, and game changing, which Paranormal Activity certainly was. Its impact will be felt long past the end of this decade.

      • Still don’t agree that Trick R’ Treat is the best of the decade…but as you pointed out, it’s all subjective anyway.
        I see where you’re coming from with PA, so to some degree I agree with you..but I also think it was influenced as much as it will influence others. Creative? Maybe in the way the film was made for such a low budget, but the storyline was fairly standard haunting fare..couple besieged by entity come to bad end. Hardly ground breaking writing either…the dialogue was often adequate at best. That movie succeeds as well as it does because of the direction. The staging of the supernatural elements was brillaint.
        I do agree that it will (hopefully) spark a revival of studio interest in backing indie films.

        Then again, consdering some of the crap imitators which followed in the wake of The Blair Witch Project, I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing. 🙂

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