Following the release of the 5 star It Follows, the best horror film of 2015 and destined to be a cult classic, I've decided to look back and pick the 21 best horror films of the last 15 years.
I was initially going to limit it to 15 films (i.e. the best horror film of each year) however 2012 proved a particularly strong year so upped the limit to 21 films.
The list contains 9 American, 5 British, 3 Japanese, 2 Spanish, 1 Australian and 1 Swedish film.
Interesting to see how my tastes have varied across the years going from an Asian Extreme vibe through body horror to European then a resurgence of UK/US horrors, in particular those that pay homage or deconstruct the genre.
2014 - The Babadook
Heed my advice. Just take a look. You'll be thrilled and scared by The Babadook.
2013 - Maniac
Elijah Wood butchers the memory of Frodo and stuffs the remains into a bin in this first person horror which draws the audience into the mindset of a killer and makes them complicit in his gory actions.
2012 - Sinister
Ethan Hawke delivers a great performance as a writer who may or may not be driven crazy as he investigates a series of brutal killings for a book he is writing. "Lawn Work" provides the biggest jump scare since the bus moment in The Orphanage.
2011 - Kill List
A film that descends into a darker and darker place as it goes on and prompted me to exclaim "What. The F*ck?" when it ended.
2010 - Black Swan
An Oscar-winning horror film? Indeed it is, certainly from my perspective. This is a "Were-Swan" horror with echoes of Polanski as a ballet dancer is driven to the edge of madness as she struggles to cope with the pressures of the dual roles in Swan Lake.
2009 - Let The Right One In
Devoid of sparkle, this was the perfect antidote to Twilight and one of the best vampire movies in years, along with being an incredible love story.
2008 - The Orphanage
A brilliant old-fashioned ghost story that, like The Babadook, explores the darker side of maternal loss.
2007 - [*REC]
Before Paranormal Activity caused every horror film to be filmed from a found footage perspective, this Spanish horror breathed life into a sub-genre that hadn't really been exploited since The Blair Witch Project in 1999.
2006 - Slither
This is body horror at it's most body orientated and most horrific (as well as its funniest). James Gunn created some of the most revolting scenes committed to film since David Cronenberg's Eighties heyday.
2005 - The Descent
It would have made this list for that "Night Vision" camera jump scene alone but it is a tense, gripping horror in two halves with claustrophobic cave crawling scenes at the beginning before giving way to a traditional horror once the group discover they are not alone in the caves. Also receives bonus points for having an all-female cast.
2004 - Saw
It gave a jump start to the body horror genre, and prompted several sequels which all tried to outdo the previous entry by coming up with even more inventive traps to kill people, but the first Saw remains a great horror that genuinely surprised me with the twist at the end.
2003 - Ju On: The Grudge
2002 - 28 Days Later
The film that reinvented the zombie genre... even though it is not technically a zombie movie. It have given the world fast moving zombies... even if they were just people infected with a rage virus but even more terrifying than that were the scenes of deserted London.
2001 - Audition
I first saw this film late one night on Channel 4 and thought I was watching a Japanese romance until the moment when the bag moved. Then there is the final segment which I won't spoil here but suffice to say I can never here the phrase "kitty kitty kitty" in the same way again!
2000 - Ringu
Going full circle (hah) from It Follows, Ringu is the earliest film on the list and also centres on a curse that must be passed on in fear of death. It was one pf those films that came to me through word of mouth, introduced me to Asia Extreme films and one of the first horror films since The Shining to truly frighten me and make me scared to turn on my VCR!
The Best Of The Rest
Berberian Sound Studio
The Cabin In The Woods
The Woman In Black