1. Inside -- Hands down the best horror movie since 'Scream'. The stand out point being the villain, portrayed by Beatrice Dalle. This is a very bloody cat and mouse game set in a very small house which adds excitement because all the action is packed so close together. This is a simple movie, but its so well put together with the right actors, practical effects, and setting that it makes for a fantastic horror movie. The slow building tension with the intruder walking around the house unnoticed is unnerving to say the least, and that's before all Hell breaks loose. Once the killer reveals her presence in the house, the movie is non-stop action of disturbing moments and pure carnage. At its core, 'Inside' is a home invasion movie where we see the intruders point of view during times of distress (versus having them hidden in the house with their whereabouts unknown). (Full Review Here)
2. Martyrs -- One of the most abstract horror movies of recent memory, this is an extreme movie for those looking for such thrills. It's hard to talk about the movie without giving too much away. The movie starts off as a dark tale of revenge and then turns into something much more sinister. The movie has a strong task to accomplish and it certainly gets its point across. Just like in the movie, the audience gets broken down just like the title character and challenged in hopes of coming out cleansed. This certainly is not everyone's cup of tea, but those who do take the chance to watch this will most likely be blown away. It is amazing how engrossing the movie is given its extreme violence, yet through all the sadism and brutality, its very difficult to take your eyes off the screen. (Again, do not read too much into this movie, it will surely spoil the surprises, including the trailer). (Full Review Here)
3. The Orphanage -- If you are looking for something scary and suspenseful, without any gore or shock value, 'The Orphanage' is the perfect choice. The movie features a story about a boy that disappears and the mother who tries to figure out where he is, as well as the history of the house they just purchased. The movie is shot beautifully, acted wonderfully, and the mystery is strong and never gets boring and it maintains its tension with ease. 'The Orphanage' is a slow burn, but it is so creepy and eerie that it's never not engrossing or intriguing. 'The Orphanage' slowly unravels its story with simple revelations and clues that tie together the present and the muddled history of the building and its inhabitants. The only downfall to this movie is that compared to most other movies on this list, 'The Orphanage' doesn't have a high rewatchability rate. But do not let that turn you off from the film, the movie is captivating and easily deserves a spot in the top 10!
4. Frailty -- A true hidden gem within the horror genre. This movie takes the classic conception of 'God made me do it' to a different level. What makes it particularly effective is that the story is told from a child's point of view, which makes the movie have a large impact. This isn't a movie that relies on gore or jump scares, but rather it's psychologically rich. The whole time the movie questions the viewer's beliefs and forces them to choose a side (son vs father). This is a darker tale telling the story of a righteous fighter supposedly doing God's work. In the end, it really gets you thinking about right and wrong and the morals that come with it. This movie does everything right, builds a strong/effective story, throws in interesting characters going through a struggle, and has a fantastic ending that brings the story full circle. (Full Review Here)
5. Drag Me To Hell -- Sam Raimi returns to the horror genre with another brilliant entry. 'Drag Me To Hell' is classic Raimi, to say the least, a strong lead character, grossness, silliness, and a strong sense of dread. This is what a great horror movie should be, scary with tension, but sprinkled in with a few lighter/funny moments. This is more of a popcorn horror movie than pure terror, but that doesn't make it any less spectacular. But between all the laughter, there is still a strong sense of 'something' sinister getting closer and closer to the lead actress. This is the type of movie you watch with a group of friends and enjoy the laughs and scares together. Hopefully, Raimi returns to the horror genre once again, it surely needs his fantastic sense of style and storytelling!
6. Let The Right One In -- I can quite confidently say 'Let the Right one In' is the best vampire movie of all time. It takes the best qualities of the vampire genre (blood sucking, the thirst, scariness, weakness) and adds its own ideas of adolescence, love, and childhood. Its great story takes a bullied outcast, who seeks friendship from a vampire trapped inside a young girls body. Together they form a first-love (at least for the boy) romance as they each deal with the struggles of being children. The movie mostly focuses on the challenges of being a young boy and then throws in the vampire elements that both help and destroy lives around the boy for better or worse. The movie builds to a wonderful climax, worthy of the horror genre. There also is an English remake, 'Let Me In', which is slightly inferior, but still a very high-quality horror movie worthy of mention.
7. Planet Terror -- A Midnight Movie plain and simple, 'Planet Terror' is a guilty pleasure to say the least. More of a black comedy than true horror, this movie does a great job poking fun at horror tropes. The movie starts off as an anthology type horror movie (I personally love anthology) before all the characters band together in hopes of survival. Each story is bizarre and unique, yet strong enough to stand on its own before coming together as a whole in the end. 'Planet Terror' is fast paced mayhem with 70's flair thrown in to really make it something special. If you are someone with a short attention span and likes you gore to flow freely, 'Planet Terror' is a must see. This is a zombie movie that stands tall among the completely overdone zombie genre! (Full Review Here)
8. Cabin In The Woods -- This is probably at the top of most peoples favorite horror movie of the past 5 years. 'Cabin in the Woods' starts off on a familiar note and then completely turns the tables with its mystery of 'the man behind the curtain'. It isn't until the 3rd act that things get truly bizarre and the movie transitions from being pure horror to Sci-Fi with horror elements sprinkled in. But what truly stands out are the scenes behind the camera and the motives of those involved because of the heinous, sinister acts they put the main characters through. The film totally turns the horror genre on its head in its 3rd act and its amazing to see the events unfold. This is a movie that has to be seen in order to believe, let alone comprehend. 'Cabin in the Woods' is sure to gain a solid cult following as the years pass by.....another certain crowd pleaser. One of the few mainstream, Hollywood horror movies to actually be worthy of being mentioned!
9. The Loved Ones -- A 'torture porn' movie, but rather than wanting to be taken super serious (like most in the genre) this movie provides plenty of dark humor to balance out equation. The plot here may be simple, but its execution and style more than make up for that. Some truly diabolically scenes, this movie gives one of the best horror villains of recent memory. The movie hardly ever lets up on the mayhem and excitement, except when it cuts to another couple having the time of their life at the high school dance! The movie isn't particularly scary, but instead it creates a strong, uneasy and eerie vibe where just about anything can happen and lets the brutality do the talking. This is a very strong entry in the foreign horror department and shows us a very promising, up and coming director. (Full Review Here)
10. The Descent -- This gem is on just about every critics favorite horror movies lists of the past 20 years, and with good reason! 'The Descent' truly shines over the competition, because of its unmatched atmosphere, setting, and internal group tension. The movie slowly builds up the tension between the characters to the breaking point, just in time for the real danger appear. It's the backstory between the female cast members that truly shines in this movie! As the group fends off the dwellers of the cave, the truth from the past comes out to haunt them as well, both creating and destroying alliances. 'The Descent' also features a spectacular ending, its simple, yet so very effective! (Note, the US changed the ending for its theaters, which is less memorable and completely random, make sure to see the original, British ending). (Full Review Here)