(Photo by Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection)
The 80 Best 2000s Horror Movies
Welcome to the new millennium. The decade horror came home to America. The decade horror went global. Welcome to the 80 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s.
If horror movies reflect the fears and concerns of a people, it’s notable that America claimed torture-porn as their de rigueur subgenre. Something in Saw and its ilk’s slow-roasted dismantling of human flesh appealed to a nation consumed by post-9/11 paranoia and a bombardment of wartime images and atrocity. But while torture-porn movies made a killing at the box office, none were ever particularly well-reviewed; only Hostel arrives here. Recovering from the ’90s doldrums, the best horror movies came from overseas, as digital cameras lowered the cost to film and the rise of the internet made knowledge and dissemination of these movies as simple as a mouse click. In fact, of the top 10 movies here (which includes the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Host), only two were shot in America. Other trends seen during this decade: Asian originals and occasional remakes (The Ring, Thirst), found footage (Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield), the return of the living dead (Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later), and nostalgic throwbacks (Slither, Death Proof). The only stipulation for a movie to be considered for this list was a Fresh rating from at least 20 reviews, before we ranked them all by Adjusted Tomatometer.
Time to add some scary MIDIs to your MySpace and set AIM status to away (FOREVER), because here comes the best scary 2000s movies!
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Adjusted Score: 60.728%
Critics Consensus: An artsy horror flick, Wendigo effectively creates an eerie atmosphere.
On a snow-covered road in the woods of upstate New York, Manhattanites George and Kim, and their eight-year-old son Miles,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65.012%
Critics Consensus: Poultrygeist may be relentlessly tasteless and juvenile, but it's also a lively slice of schlocky fun.
For anyone who has ever felt genuine fear while pondering what's really in that oddly shaped chicken nugget they're about... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64.844%
Critics Consensus: This gory, senses-assaulting slasher film is an unpretentious, effective mix of old-school horror stylings and modern 3D technology.
A psychopathic miner terrorizes the town of Harmony in this retelling of one of the most underrated slasher films of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62.982%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and tense from start to finish, the French horror film Them proves that a lack of gore doesn't mean a dearth of scares.
A young couple lead a happy, quiet life in the countryside. But little do they know they're being surrounded. When... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64.601%
Critics Consensus: Death Proof may feel somewhat minor in the context of Tarantino's larger filmography, but on its own merits, it packs just enough of a wallop to deliver sufficiently high-octane grindhouse goods.
In Death Proof -- director Tarantino's take on such peddle-to-the-metal shockers as White Line Fever -- Kurt Russell stars as... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64.138%
Critics Consensus: This Russian horror/fantasy film pits darkness and light against each other using snazzy CGI visuals to create an extraordinary atmosphere of a dank, gloomy city wrestling with dread.
In modern day Moscow, supernatural armies of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, gear up to do battle. Set on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66.115%
Critics Consensus: If nothing else, Happiness of the Katakuris scores points for its delirious, over-the-top originality.
One of an amazing seven features directed in 2001 by Japan's prolific shock auteur Takashi Miike, The Happiness of the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64.204%
Critics Consensus: Featuring lots of guts and gore, Hostel is a wildly entertaining corpse-filled journey -- assuming one is entertained by corpses, guts, and gore, that is.
Two adventurous American college buddies, Paxton and Josh, backpack through Europe eager to make quintessentially hazy travel memories with new... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64.395%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Esther is an ambitious 30-year-old woman. One fateful night at a party, she seriously hurts her leg, however can't seem... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65.538%
Critics Consensus: Ichi The Killer is a thoroughly shocking gorefest that will surely entertain those with strong stomachs and a penchant for brutal violence.
Maverick auteur Takashi Miike spins this unsettling, blood-soaked yakuza yarn adapted from Hideo Yamamoto's cult manga Koroshiya 1. When mob... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65.323%
Critics Consensus: A Svankmajer movie is not for everyone, but he displays his usual creative flair for surreal imagery.
A man who fears he's edging into madness gets a fresh perspective on what insanity really means in this frantic,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64.697%
Critics Consensus: Day Watch is frequently cheesy but it offers enough twists, surprises, and inventive action sequences to maintain viewer interest.
The apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Day Watch (aka Dvevnoy Dozor, 2006) constitutes the second installment in a planned supernatural trilogy by... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65.651%
Critics Consensus: More gory than scary, Cabin Fever is satisfied with paying homage to genre conventions rather than reinventing them.
As a last hurrah after college, friends Jeff, Karen, Paul, Marcy and Bert embark on a vacation deep into the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65.692%
Critics Consensus: Relying more on atmosphere than gore, Session 9 is effectively creepy.
Writer/director Brad Anderson, known for whimsical romantic comedies like Next Stop, Wonderland, was inspired by the astonishing, creepy visage of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65.955%
Critics Consensus: As Diary of the Dead proves, time hasn't subdued George A. Romero's affection for mixing politics with gore, nor has it given him cinematic grace or subtlety.
Horror icon George A. Romero effectively hits the "reset" button on his hugely influential Dead series with this scaled-back look... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68.342%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
An apocalyptic tale of a viral pandemic that sweeps across the United States, and four fleeing friends who discover that... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66.455%
Critics Consensus: Conventional ghost tale with a few genuine scares.
A corneal transplant sets the stage for terror in this supernatural thriller from directors Danny and Oxide Pang. Blind from... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66.796%
Critics Consensus: Identity is a film that will divide audiences -- the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you.
Ten strangers are brought together during a weather emergency, only to discover a far greater danger awaits them in this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67.322%
Critics Consensus: In this creepy story of a man and his rodents, Glover seems born to play the oddball title character.
Willard is a social misfit who is made fun of by his co-workers. When he is squeezed out of the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68.016%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
The fictitious TV show 'Crime Scene' conducts new jailhouse interviews with the members of Charlie's Family as they recollect the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68.542%
Critics Consensus: A twisted and bloody spoof on office life, Severance nicely balances comedy and nasty horror.
An international arms dealer rewards his six-member sales division of corporate execs with a weekend team-building retreat in the mountains... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69.211%
Critics Consensus: Above average slasher flick.
May has always been a bit of an outsider--you might consider her a quirky girl. If you passed her on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69.305%
Critics Consensus: It relies too heavily on American slasher cliches, but Tormented is a timely, funny, and even somewhat touching entry in the high school horror genre.
An emotionally tortured teenager returns from the grave and promptly makes life hell for those who ostracized him, in this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69.296%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
A low-key glimpse into the life and crimes of one of history's most notorious serial killers, Dahmer doesn't concern itself... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71.124%
Critics Consensus: Though not entirely effective as a conventional horror flick, Grace is still a graphic, disturbing, and artful exploration of twisted maternal instinct.
One couple's dream turns into the worst nightmare imaginable when their unborn child is declared dead in utero, and the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70.792%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't cover new ground, Dead Snow is an entertaining mix of camp, scares, and blood and guts.
Eight medical students on a ski trip to Norway discover that Hitler's horrors live on when they come face to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72.523%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Still grieving the death of their only child Alice at the jaws of a crazed dog, vet Patrick and pharmacist... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72.231%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Long a favorite with Japanimation aficionados, Vampire Hunter D is based on the third of Hideyuki Kikuchi's novels about a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72.346%
Critics Consensus: A creative and energetic adaptation of a Clive Barker short story, with enough scares and thrills to be a potential cult classic.
Struggling photographer Leon Kauffman's obsessive pursuit of dark subject matter leads him into the path of a serial killer, Mahogany,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72.91%
Critics Consensus: Miike continues his run of compellingly bizarre flicks.
Minami, a young yakuza, is asked by his gang boss to kill Ozaki, a soldier within the organization who has... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74.241%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a Wall Street yuppie, obsessed with success, status and style, with a stunning fiancée (Reese... [More]
Adjusted Score: 73.279%
Critics Consensus: Competently made, but everything is a bit too familiar.
Ex-FBI agent Will Graham is an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in the process... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74.698%
Critics Consensus: With an outrageous premise played completely straight, Black Sheep is a violent, grotesque, and very funny movie that takes B-movie lunacy to a delirious extreme.
A fluke of genetic engineering turns New Zealand's chief farm animal into a scourge of bloodthirsty killers in this comedy... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74.668%
Critics Consensus: This French animated horror portmanteau is monochrome and minimalist, visually stunning, but light on scares.
Six of the world's most talented graphic artists and animators come together to breathe vivid life into their greatest nightmares... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72.935%
Critics Consensus: A horror comedy that's almost as chilling as it is funny, I Sell the Dead relies on its dark humor and offbeat charm to overcome its low budget shortcomings.
Adventure and horror merge in this morbid tale of two 18th century grave robbers who make it their mission to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74.029%
Critics Consensus: A cool and hip grindhouse throwback, Planet Terror is an unpredictable zombie thrillride.
Maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez details the violent struggle between a ravenous army of zombie-like humanoids who have taken control of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75.514%
Critics Consensus: Never taking itself too seriously, Splinter scores as a fast-paced, fun thriller with more than enough scares.
A young couple retreats to the wilderness for a romantic camping weekend, but their idyll is shattered when they are... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74.889%
Critics Consensus: Snakes on a Plane lives up to its title, featuring snakes on a plane. It isn't perfect, but then again, it doesn't need to be.
Forget terrorists or hijackers -- there's a handful of deadly assassins aboard a jet liner and they don't even have... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74.935%
Critics Consensus: Making the most of its thin premise, Fido is an occasionally touching satire that provides big laughs and enough blood and guts to please gorehounds.
Welcome to Willard, a small town lost in the idyllic world of the '50s, where the sun shines every day,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.423%
Critics Consensus: A low budget thriller with some intense moments.
Based on a true story, a thriller about an American couple, Daniel and Susan, who are on an island holiday.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.489%
Critics Consensus: Frank Darabont's impressive camerawork and politically incisive script make The Mist a truly frightening experience.
David Drayton and his young son Billy are among a large group of terrified townspeople trapped in a local grocery... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.635%
Critics Consensus: A smart mockumentary that presents a gory, funny, and obviously affectionate skewering of the slasher genre.
On the surface, Leslie Vernon seems like your average small town, nice guy. He has goals, ambition and aspirations to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.653%
Critics Consensus: Brotherhood of the Wolf mixes its genres with little logic, but the end result is wildly entertaining.
French legend has it that a creature known as the Beast of Gevaudan -- a huge, wolf-like monster -- was... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.877%
Critics Consensus: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
A disturbing videotape appears to hold the power of life and death over those who view it in this offbeat... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.906%
Critics Consensus: The Last Winter creatively and effectively uses horror tactics -- fear, tension, anticipation, and just enough gore -- to shock, but never repulse, its audience.
In one of the most pristine landscapes in the world, a team working to exploit oil resources of Alaska is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77.163%
Critics Consensus: Frightening, funny, and packed with action, Dog Soldiers is well worth checking out for genre fans -- and marks writer-director Neil Marshall as a talent to keep an eye on.
British director Neil Marshall's directorial debut Dog Soldiers resurrects and embraces the low-budget horror-comedy. Sergeant Harry Wells (Sean Pertwee) leads... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77.432%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
The devastating rage virus that annihilated the British Isles mysteriously resurfaces in Goya Award-winning director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's sequel to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78.016%
Critics Consensus: Creepy and disturbing, Frailty is well-crafted, low-key horror.
Actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut with Frailty. The bulk of the story is told through flashbacks, as a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.041%
Critics Consensus: A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense.
Prolific director Bryan Singer takes a turn towards horror as the producer of this Halloween shocker directed by X2 and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79.178%
Critics Consensus: A brutal and effective British hoodie-horror that, despite the clichés, stays on the right side of scary.
A romantic weekend in the woods turns into a bloody struggle for survival when a vacationing couple finds their campsite... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79.823%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
It has been two decades since master filmmaker GEORGE A. ROMERO's zombies have stalked the screens of motion picture theaters.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.128%
Critics Consensus: A kinetic, violent and surprisingly worthy remake of George Romero's horror classic that pays homage to the original while working on its own terms.
Packed with more blood, more gore, and more bone-chilling, jaw-dropping thrills, Dawn of the Dead Unrated Director's Cut is the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.551%
Critics Consensus: The best movie to star both the King and JFK.
An ancient evil finds resistance in the most unlikely of places in this oddball comedy horror effort from Phantasm director... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81.668%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and horrifically funny, Teeth puts a fresh feminist spin on horror movie tropes.
High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group's most active participant.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81.829%
Critics Consensus: Surreal and visually striking, Taxidermia is, at times, graphic and difficult to watch, but creatively touches on disturbing subjects with imagination and wit.
"Taxideremia" contains three generational stories, about a grandfather, a father, and a son, linked together by recurring motifs. The dim... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84.134%
Critics Consensus: The stylish Thirst packs plenty of bloody thrills to satisfy fans of both vampire films and director Chan Wook Park.
Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, and Kim Ok-bin star in Oldboy director Park Chan-wook's frightener concerning a priest whose life takes... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85.708%
Critics Consensus: Relying on psychological tension rather than overt violence and gore, 1408 is a genuinely creepy thriller with a strong lead performance by John Cusack.
Renowned horror novelist Mike Enslin believes only in what he can see with his own two eyes. But after a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84.791%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Blair Witch Project crossed with Godzilla, Cloverfield is economically paced, stylistically clever, and filled with scares.
Producer J.J. Abrams teams with writer Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves for this frenetic tale of a powerful destructive... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85.338%
Critics Consensus: This anthology contains brutal, powerful horror stories by three of Asia's top directors.
Three Asian directors, from Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan, join forces to create an omnibus horror film, Three...Extremes. In Fruit... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.01%
Critics Consensus: Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie.
This supernatural horror film from Kim Jee-woon is inspired by the ancient Korean folktale "Jangha and Hongryun." Set in an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.155%
Critics Consensus: Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.
A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.362%
Critics Consensus: This harrowing, naturalistic drama holds you in its grip through Huller's intense performance.
In a small town in 1970's southern Germany, Michaela, 21, has grown up in a deeply religious family. Despite her... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.78%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
F W Murnau is making Nosferatu on location in Eastern Europe. The director is determined to make this the most... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.077%
Critics Consensus: Guy Maddin's film is a richly sensuous and dreamy interpretation of Dracula that reinvigorates the genre.
A cinematic transposition of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Interpretation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire yarn from stage to screen.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.268%
Critics Consensus: The Others is a spooky thriller that reminds us that a movie doesn't need expensive special effects to be creepy.
On the secluded Isle of Jersey in the final days of World War II, a young woman waits in vain... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.41%
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
After teaming up in 2002 for the dramatic music documentary OT: The Movie, Spanish horror specialists Jaume Balagueró (Darkness) and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.397%
Critics Consensus: Using its low-budget effects and mockumentary method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense.
A haunted house makes no secret of the fact it's not pleased with its new tenants in this independent tale... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.626%
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Sam is a pretty college sophomore, so desperate to earn some cash for a deposit on an apartment that she... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90.192%
Critics Consensus: The strong female cast and biting satire of teenage life makes Ginger Snaps far more memorable than your average werewolf movie -- or teen flick.
In this modern werewolf tale, sisters Ginger and Brigitte are ostracized by their town because of their morbid inclinations. Soon... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90.449%
Critics Consensus: A slimy, B-movie homage oozing with affection for low-budget horror films, Slither is creepy and funny -- if you've got the stomach for it.
The sleepy town of Wheelsy could be any small town in America -- somewhat quaint and gentle, peopled with friendly... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90.928%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
A group of close female friends on a yearly adventure vacation find themselves trapped and hunted in a series of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93.739%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
After breaking into a primate research facility, a group of animal rights activists discover caged chimps chained up before banks... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.746%
Critics Consensus: Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood.
Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro produces director Juan Antonio Bayona's gothic frightener about a long-abandoned orphanage with a particularly... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95.576%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
The mournful fable of the Santa Lucia School during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. An imposing stone... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.849%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
It's often said that the true character of a man is only revealed in times of dire crisis, and for... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.946%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
When a young girl is snatched away from her father by a horrifying giant monster that emerges from the River... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98.065%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
A cowardly shut-in named Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is forced to join up with a seasoned zombie slayer named Tallahassee (Woody... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100.646%
Critics Consensus: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Evil Dead director Sam Raimi takes the helm for this "spook-a-blast" shocker about an ambitious L.A. loan officer who incurs... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103.147%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro returns to the phantasmagorical cinema that defined such early fare as Cronos and The Devil's... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104.992%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
A 12-year-old boy befriends a mysterious young girl whose appearance in town suspiciously coincides with a horrifying series of murders... [More]