I know I complain a lot about horror movies and will continue to do so. Randomly there will be movies I like, obviously. I’m had to please, maybe because I’ve seen a lot. However, it’s rare when I actually do like a movie. Since I don’t want people to think I only hate on horror movies, here are 10 of the best that I’ve ever seen (and why). Unlike usual, I will not spoil anything with these mini reviews and recommendations, except in the case where society as a whole has spoiled the movie. There are tons of movies where people already know the ending and are old so I don’t consider those spoilers any longer. Keep in mind these are in no particular order.
- The Ring – Why do I like this one so much and not the original? Ringu. I like the original too, don’t get me wrong. This one, the American one, is amazing. It was the first movie to ever truly scare me (and there hasn’t been one like that since). I’m not even sure what scared me really. Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown. The whole idea that Samara can scare you to death with images from her own mind. What could be so scary that it would kill you in 5 seconds if you saw it? The movie was very well done, effects, cinematography, acting, music…just perfect. Besides, you can’t go wrong with a movie directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts.
- Dread – This was a movie that was recommended to me randomly a few years ago. It is more of a B-movie/indie film. An adaptation of a short story by Clive Barker. It’s about a crazy weirdo who decides that he’s going to find people with severe phobias and film them and how they react when they are confronted with those phobias. As you can imagine it gets pretty dark. For a B-movie, it’s actually really good. It made me so uncomfortable to watch that I had to stop it for 15 minutes to get the willpower to go back to it. This is something I consider a good movie. It wasn’t gory, it was psychologically twisted and had the actors not been as good as they were it would have never worked. Totally recommend this one.
- The Ruins – Which I’ve already reviewed here but that review has spoilers. Summary without spoilers is simple but it doesn’t make the movie sound all that great. Four college students go to Mexico and leave the resort to see some Mayan ruins. The problem is once they get there, they get trapped by the natives and end up finding out that the vines surrounding the pyramid are deadly. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s not. It’s a great survival situation and one of the most realistic reactions that people
would have in that situation. It’s less about the vines being scary and more about the isolation and realization that you’re just going to die and no one is going to help you. Amazing acting, all practical effects, and on location. If you are a fan of gore as well as psychological thrillers, check this one out.
- 28 Days Later – The sequel (28 Weeks later) is awful, skip it. Just don’t ever watch the sequel. The original movie is amazing. I’ve seen it a bunch of times. Great cast, great acting, great effects. It’s about the “rage” virus which stupid hippies contract after trying to release animals from a lab thinking they were being tortured. The virus makes people instantly insane. They aren’t zombies (this isn’t a zombie movie) they are just infected. It follows three characters trying to find a way to survive in this madness and not get infected, which is apparently super easy and super quick. I believe it’s a well done and realistic portrayal as well. The infected might as well be zombies but no they just have a flesh eating mad cannibal disease.
- Silence Of The Lambs – I’ll be honest and say this movie never scared me because it didn’t but it is really good. Super good. Considering how iconic Hopkins is for this role you better believe it’s fucking good because it’s SOOOO fucking good. The bok is really good as well (Obviously). For people who don’t know it’s about a student FBI agent who is sent in to talk to a famous cannibal killer in order to help catch a new killer on the loose. Jodie Foster and Hopkins are an amazing pair in this. Very realistic to how FBI investigations go (if you haven’t noticed I prefer realism and realistic behavior as opposed to stupid characters) and would highly recommend this. Stay away from the show. Well, stay away from seasons 2 and 3 of the show. The first season is damn good.
- The Blair Witch Project – I know this movie gets a lot of hate and to those people I say, fuck you. It is a great psychological thriller movie. I think the big problem is people went in expecting to see a witch because the advertising campaign and trailers screwed it up. This was 1999 so the only information I had going into the film was “This is 100% real footage of kids who got lost in the woods while filming a documentary”. No one told me there would be a witch, no one said anything about anything supernatural. Just that it was actual footage from kids who died. Since I had no preconceived ideas of what I should be seeing (other than that) it scared the shit out of me. I believe if more people went into it with that idea (As in, this is footage of 3 terrified people going insane because they got lost in the woods) they might enjoy it more. I’m glad I did enjoy because it was great for what it was.
- Ju-On – This is the original version of the American movie known as The Grudge which was awful. It was so awful that I went home and immediately found out what it was a remake of because I didn’t want to be so disappointed. I was right to do that. Ju-On is WAY better. Less confusing and the suspense is just off the charts epic. It came off as far less cheesy and “idiot American confused in Japan”. It’s subtitled (but you can get a dubbed version which also sucks). Yes, it’s the same plot as the American version but it’s handled way better. Pretty much any Japanese original will be better than the remake here (excluding The Ring).
- Saw 1-6 – Okay, that’s cheating but shut up. The movies work really well as an entire franchise. I will admit there are weak links in the series. In fact, if I had to choose my favorites of the franchise it would be 1 and 6 and possibly 4 but only because I liked the overall twist and message of the fourth. Not because I thought it was brilliant or something. Saw it greatly underappreciated for what it was. Most people wrote it off
as torture porn. Though I can’t deny there was a lot of appeal in the traps and how the victims died there was an underlying story. Quite frankly, I’d have still watched it just for the plot even if they dumbed it down to PG-13 levels. I could write a monster essay on the brilliance of these films but I’ll save that for another time. Oh, and I didn’t mention the seventh movie because it sucked and like most fans, I pretend it never happened.
- American Psycho – Honestly this makes it up here mostly because Patrick Bateman is fucking hot. Then, of course, the acting it top shelf beyond what is intense. The story is about a man who is some high-level narcissist and also psychotic. He kills a bunch of people in horrible ways and no one really believes he is a murderer. It’s anti-consumerism and all that jazz pointing out the darker side to the upper-class New York businessman world. Total off the charts fun and would recommend for repeated viewing. The ending is a bit too ambiguous for my taste but it’s not awful, as it leaves things open to interpretation and speculation. Usually, I hate that type of ending unless the entirety of the movie was well done. This is one of them where I don’t hate the ending.
- Hellraiser – Fuck YES! Oh my fucking GOD! This movie just stunned the shit out of me the first time I saw it. Though, because of the era it was produced, the effects can come off as cheesy it’s still worth your time. Once again the acting is amazing, the effects border between insanely good and real and puppet quality but who the fuck cares? It’s a story about a puzzle box that people seek out for “reasons” and it turns out that those reasons aren’t good. No shit, this is a horror movie. Even as dated as this movie is I find myself returning to it time and again for repeated viewing.
These are not the only horror movies I like. These are just the ones that come to mind when someone asks “what is a horror movie you’d recommend”. Usually it’s going to be one of these ten. Though, I have different categories for what I’d consider good. Such as, 80’s horror, slasher flicks, psychological thrillers, and “So bad it’s good”. Which means that there will be plenty of other lists to come. Bet you can’t wait!