With the new millennium comes new film concepts and the horror genre has had plenty of those. Below are a selection of films that are guaranteed to entertain, horrify and disturb you this Halloween:
American Psycho (2000)
As a horror movie, American Psycho can be terrifying but it’s also hilarious to watch as a dark comedy. Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman is an example of perfect casting; he completely understands the character and transforms himself so you forget the star behind the role. It’s impossible to watch American Psycho and feel like you’re better than Patrick Bateman because he represents what people are like at their most superficial and vain. Behind his glamour is this world of horror and violence waiting to reveal itself. If he starts talking about Huey Lewis and the News or any music, be afraid, be very afraid. The murder scenes contained within the film are sick and violent yet incredibly funny. Whether you view American Psycho as a comedy or horror, it’s a universal agreement that Patrick Bateman is one messed up homicidal yuppie.
Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later was one of the best horror films of the noughties and remains a modern classic. Cillian Murphy wakes up from a coma in post-apocalyptic London during the aftermath of a viral outbreak that has turned the majority of the population into rage-induced zombies. The zombies included here are refreshingly written as they are fast as opposed to slow, and this movie goes one step further by making the protagonists see that in a zombie apocalypse, zombies aren’t the only threat. In 28 Days Later, intensity and horror come together in the best way possible.
“It’s disturbing because it’s true” can be used to perfectly describe this disturbing horror film. Loosely based on the equally disturbing case of Sylvia Likens, The Girl Next Door follows a young teenage girl as she’s tortured in every way imaginable by her aunt and the neighbourhood children. It’s a difficult piece to watch after our protagonist becomes a prisoner in the basement. The torture that this girl is forced to endure is horrific and ranges from psychical to sexual. It’s definitely worth watching if you can look beyond the fact that it was based upon true events.
What happens when you sleep? Well, hopefully not what happens in Paranormal Activity. Admittedly, this movie does split audiences down the middle but it does deliver great creeps at little cost. It follows a young couple, Katie and Micah, who record what happens in their house as they suspect that something supernatural is going on. The scares come from what you don’t see as opposed to what you do see, and the way Paranormal Activity is made adds a realism in subtle ways.
We all know the story: a bunch of teenagers go to a cabin in the woods and suddenly it’s a fight for survival. However, when it comes to this movie, you really have no idea what you’re in for. Not much can be said about Cabin in the Woods without spoiling it, relying heavily on plot twists. The film is very self-aware, much like Scream (1996), and the typical horror tropes are perfectly incorporated. Cabin in the Woods is certainly unique and once you’ve figured everything out, the concept is wonderful. Not only this, but the film pays homage to genre classics.
While this only came out two years ago, Oculus has the makings of a modern classic. When a man is released from a mental institution, he is met by his sister. When he was younger, he thought that an old mirror was responsible for the deaths of his parents, hence his submission to the institution. His sister, however, has since found the mirror and wants to prove to the world that is supernatural and has murdered many before. What makes Oculus so great is that it blurs the line between reality and fantasy; you’re continually questioning whether the mirror is truly haunted or if our protagonists are going insane. Because the brother has spent years being forced to believe that his story was a work of fiction, along with the fact that the sister believes his original recollection, we constantly go back and forth as we descend further into the madness; the paranoia is shared by both character and audience.
Do you agree with the films in this list? Maybe you’d take a few out and replace them?
Comment with your thoughts.
– Xenia Grounds