(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.

Time to add some scary MIDIs to your MySpace and set AIM status to away (FOREVER), because here comes the best scary 2000s movies!

90 Best ’70s Horror Movies | 80 Best ’80s Horror Movies
40 Best ’90s Horror Movies| 140 Best 2010s Horror Movies
200 Best Horror Movies of All Time | Best Horror Movies of 2021

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 64959%
Critics Consensus: This gory, senses-assaulting slasher film is an unpretentious, effective mix of old-school horror stylings and modern 3D technology.
Synopsis: Ten years ago, an inexperienced coal miner named Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) caused an accident that killed five men and... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Lussier

#79

Them (2006)
62%

#79
Adjusted Score: 62490%
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.
Synopsis: Lucas (Michaël Cohen) and Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) live in an isolated house near Bucharest. On one rainy night in their... [More]
Directed By: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

#78

Day Watch (2006)
62%

#78
Adjusted Score: 64644%
Critics Consensus: Day Watch is frequently cheesy but it offers enough twists, surprises, and inventive action sequences to maintain viewer interest.
Synopsis: Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), a member of a group of supernatural guardians who monitor the forces of the Dark, discovers that... [More]
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 65829%
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.
Synopsis: The dead are returning to life to feast on the flesh of the living. As civilization dissolves in this nightmare... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#76

Cabin Fever (2002)
62%

#76
Adjusted Score: 66498%
Critics Consensus: More gory than scary, Cabin Fever is satisfied with paying homage to genre conventions rather than reinventing them.
Synopsis: Bert (James DeBello), a college student vacationing with friends in the mountains, mistakenly shoots a local man (Arie Verveen) with... [More]
Directed By: Eli Roth

#75

Identity (2003)
62%

#75
Adjusted Score: 66793%
Critics Consensus: Identity is a film that will divide audiences -- the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you.
Synopsis: When a vicious storm breaks out in the Nevada desert, 10 people seek refuge in an isolated motel. At the... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#74
Adjusted Score: 64121%
Critics Consensus: Poultrygeist may be relentlessly tasteless and juvenile, but it's also a lively slice of schlocky fun.
Synopsis: Some fast-food workers discover the restaurant they work in is built on an ancient burial ground, and the chickens they... [More]
Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman

#73

Martyrs (2008)
64%

#73
Adjusted Score: 64775%
Critics Consensus: A real polarising movie, this Gallic torture-porn is graphic, brutal, nasty and gruesome and not to everyone's taste.
Synopsis: A young woman's quest for revenge leads her down a path of depravity.... [More]
Directed By: Pascal Laugier

#72

In My Skin (2002)
64%

#72
Adjusted Score: 64649%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Parisian marketing professional, Esther (Marina de Van) has a gruesome secret. She's been obsessed with the damage she can... [More]
Directed By: Marina de Van

#71

Session 9 (2001)
66%

#71
Adjusted Score: 67275%
Critics Consensus: Relying more on atmosphere than gore, Session 9 is effectively creepy.
Synopsis: A tale of terror when a group of asbestos removal workers start work in an abandoned insane asylum. The complex... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#70

The Eye (2002)
64%

#70
Adjusted Score: 66943%
Critics Consensus: Conventional ghost tale with a few genuine scares.
Synopsis: After 18 years of blindness, 20-year-old violinist Wong Kar Mun (Lee Sin-Je) regains her vision when she undergoes a corneal... [More]

#69

Willard (2003)
64%

#69
Adjusted Score: 67108%
Critics Consensus: In this creepy story of a man and his rodents, Glover seems born to play the oddball title character.
Synopsis: Desperate for companionship, the repressed Willard (Crispin Glover) befriends a group of rats that inhabit his late father's deteriorating mansion.... [More]
Directed By: Glen Morgan

#68

Lunacy (2005)
65%

#68
Adjusted Score: 64620%
Critics Consensus: A Svankmajer movie is not for everyone, but he displays his usual creative flair for surreal imagery.
Synopsis: In 19th-century France a young man (Pavel Liska) meets a nobleman (Jan Tríska) who invites him to spend the night... [More]
Directed By: Jan Svankmajer

#67

Ichi the Killer (2001)
65%

#67
Adjusted Score: 65806%
Critics Consensus: Ichi The Killer is a thoroughly shocking gorefest that will surely entertain those with strong stomachs and a penchant for brutal violence.
Synopsis: A bloodthirsty hoodlum (Tadanobu Asano) sparks a series of violent reprisals after his boss is apparently taken by a mysterious... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#66
Adjusted Score: 66058%
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.
Synopsis: Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a professional body double who likes to take unsuspecting women for deadly drives in his... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#65

Carriers (2009)
66%

#65
Adjusted Score: 65727%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a virus threatens to wipe out humanity, Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), his brother Brian (Chris Pine), and their friends... [More]
Directed By: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor

#64

Severance (2006)
66%

#64
Adjusted Score: 68357%
Critics Consensus: A twisted and bloody spoof on office life, Severance nicely balances comedy and nasty horror.
Synopsis: Members (Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny) of the Palisades Defense Corp. sales group arrive in Europe for a team-building... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Smith

#63

My Little Eye (2002)
67%

#63
Adjusted Score: 52363%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As part of an Internet reality show, five people sign up to spend six months in a mansion while cameras... [More]
Directed By: Marc Evans

#62
Adjusted Score: 67391%
Critics Consensus: If nothing else, Happiness of the Katakuris scores points for its delirious, over-the-top originality.
Synopsis: Fearing bad publicity, an innkeeper and his family bury the bodies of their ill-fated guests themselves.... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#61

Red Dragon (2002)
68%

#61
Adjusted Score: 73209%
Critics Consensus: Competently made, but everything is a bit too familiar.
Synopsis: Ex-FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) is an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 68430%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members of Charles Manson's cult tell their story.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Van Bebber

#59

Tormented (2009)
69%

#59
Adjusted Score: 69530%
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.
Synopsis: Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) doesn't have it easy. He's overweight, uses an inhaler and is constantly bullied by his spoiled... [More]
Directed By: Jon Wright

#58

May (2002)
70%

#58
Adjusted Score: 70710%
Critics Consensus: Above average slasher flick.
Synopsis: Young misfit May (Angela Bettis) endured a difficult childhood because of her lazy eye. And though contact lenses have helped... [More]
Directed By: Lucky McKee

#57

Dead Snow (2009)
69%

#57
Adjusted Score: 70504%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't cover new ground, Dead Snow is an entertaining mix of camp, scares, and blood and guts.
Synopsis: A party of eight Norwegian medical students travel to a remote Arctic mountain for an Easter weekend filled with skiing... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola

#56

American Psycho (2000)
69%

#56
Adjusted Score: 74646%
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.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 75479%
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.
Synopsis: FBI agent Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) boards a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, escorting a witness to trial.... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#54

The Mist (2007)
72%

#54
Adjusted Score: 77082%
Critics Consensus: Frank Darabont's impressive camerawork and politically incisive script make The Mist a truly frightening experience.
Synopsis: After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#53

Open Water (2003)
71%

#53
Adjusted Score: 77700%
Critics Consensus: A low budget thriller with some intense moments.
Synopsis: Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) embark on a tropical vacation with their scuba-diving certifications in tow. During a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Kentis

#52

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#52
Adjusted Score: 79379%
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.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#51

The Ring (2002)
71%

#51
Adjusted Score: 76849%
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.
Synopsis: It sounds like just another urban legend -- a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#50

Grace (2009)
72%

#50
Adjusted Score: 71456%
Critics Consensus: Though not entirely effective as a conventional horror flick, Grace is still a graphic, disturbing, and artful exploration of twisted maternal instinct.
Synopsis: In the wake of a horrific car accident that kills her husband, Michael (Stephen Park), expectant mother Madeline Matheson (Jordan... [More]
Directed By: Paul Solet

#49

Vampire Hunter D (2000)
72%

#49
Adjusted Score: 71436%
Critics Consensus: Vampire Hunter D's gothic charms may be lost on those unfamiliar with the anime series that spawned it, but the crisp action and nightmarish style will satiate horror aficionados' bloodlust.
Synopsis: In a dark and distant future, when the undead have arisen from apocalyptic ashes, an original story unfolds. Ten thousand... [More]
Directed By: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

#48

Dahmer (2002)
72%

#48
Adjusted Score: 71479%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this fictionalized, fragmented biopic of one of America's most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer (Jeremy Renner) contemplates his latest... [More]
Directed By: David Jacobson

#47

I Sell the Dead (2008)
72%

#47
Adjusted Score: 72093%
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.
Synopsis: Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) is about to be executed by guillotine for the crime of grave robbing. But before he... [More]
Directed By: Glenn McQuaid

#46

Gozu (2003)
72%

#46
Adjusted Score: 72238%
Critics Consensus: Miike continues his run of compellingly bizarre flicks.
Synopsis: Chaos ensues when a yakuza boss orders a young gangster (Hideki Sone) to kill an insane colleague (Shô Aikawa).... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#45

Fido (2007)
72%

#45
Adjusted Score: 74637%
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.
Synopsis: When a cloud of space dust causes the dead to rise as ravenous zombies, the ZomCon Corp. emerges to conquer... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Currie

#44

Black Sheep (2006)
72%

#44
Adjusted Score: 74596%
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.
Synopsis: Sheep-fearing Henry (Nathan Meister) returns to his brother's (Peter Feeney) New Zealand farm, hoping his sibling will buy out his... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan King

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 72502%
Critics Consensus: A creative and energetic adaptation of a Clive Barker short story, with enough scares and thrills to be a potential cult classic.
Synopsis: When struggling photographer Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) meets the owner of a prominent art gallery, he sees a chance for... [More]
Directed By: Ryûhei Kitamura

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 74185%
Critics Consensus: This French animated horror portmanteau is monochrome and minimalist, visually stunning, but light on scares.
Synopsis: Animated sequences explore people's fear of darkness.... [More]

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 76664%
Critics Consensus: Brotherhood of the Wolf mixes its genres with little logic, but the end result is wildly entertaining.
Synopsis: In a rural province of France, a mysterious creature is laying waste to the countryside, savagely killing scores of women... [More]
Directed By: Christophe Gans

#40

Splinter (2008)
74%

#40
Adjusted Score: 73727%
Critics Consensus: Never taking itself too seriously, Splinter scores as a fast-paced, fun thriller with more than enough scares.
Synopsis: When their plans for a nature trip go awry, Polly Watt (Jill Wagner) and boyfriend Seth Belzer (Paulo Costanzo) decide... [More]
Directed By: Toby Wilkins

#39

Frailty (2002)
75%

#39
Adjusted Score: 78839%
Critics Consensus: Creepy and disturbing, Frailty is well-crafted, low-key horror.
Synopsis: Set in present day Texas, "Frailty" centers on the FBI's search for a serial killer who calls himself "God's Hands."... [More]
Directed By: Bill Paxton

#38

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%

#38
Adjusted Score: 80997%
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.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

#37

Hair High (2004)
75%

#37
Adjusted Score: 63757%
Critics Consensus: Hair High isn't first-tier Plympton, but like the rest of the animator's work, this is an assuredly odd tale that should resonate with fans of strange cinema.
Synopsis: As the prom approaches, the head cheerleader (Sarah Silverman) of Echo Lake High dumps her quarterback boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney) in... [More]
Directed By: Bill Plympton

#36

Planet Terror (2007)
76%

#36
Adjusted Score: 75388%
Critics Consensus: A cool and hip grindhouse throwback, Planet Terror is an unpredictable zombie thrillride.
Synopsis: An ordinary evening in a small Texas town becomes a grisly nightmare when a horde of flesh-eating zombies goes on... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#35
Adjusted Score: 77011%
Critics Consensus: A smart mockumentary that presents a gory, funny, and obviously affectionate skewering of the slasher genre.
Synopsis: Nice, normal-looking Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) has an obsession with movie-style slashers like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger.... [More]
Directed By: Scott Glosserman

#34

The Last Winter (2006)
76%

#34
Adjusted Score: 77442%
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.
Synopsis: Sent to evaluate the environmental impact of oil drilling in the Arctic, James Hoffman (James Le Gros) clashes with the... [More]
Directed By: Larry Fessenden

#33

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
76%

#33
Adjusted Score: 82020%
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.
Synopsis: When her husband is attacked by a zombified neighbor, Ana (Sarah Polley) manages to escape, only to realize her entire... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#32

Cloverfield (2008)
78%

#32
Adjusted Score: 85550%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Blair Witch Project crossed with Godzilla, Cloverfield is economically paced, stylistically clever, and filled with scares.
Synopsis: As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#31

Eden Lake (2008)
80%

#31
Adjusted Score: 80363%
Critics Consensus: A brutal and effective British hoodie-horror that, despite the clichés, stays on the right side of scary.
Synopsis: During a romantic weekend getaway, a young couple confronts a gang of youths, and suffers brutal consequences.... [More]
Directed By: James Watkins

#30

Dog Soldiers (2002)
79%

#30
Adjusted Score: 78819%
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.
Synopsis: During a routine nighttime training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers expected to rendezvous with... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#29

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
79%

#29
Adjusted Score: 81981%
Critics Consensus: The best movie to star both the King and JFK.
Synopsis: After falling into a lengthy coma following a freak accident involving hip gyration, a now aged Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell)... [More]
Directed By: Don Coscarelli

#28

1408 (2007)
79%

#28
Adjusted Score: 86378%
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.
Synopsis: Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a successful author who enjoys worldwide acclaim debunking supernatural phenomena -- before he checks into... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom

#27

Wake Wood (2011)
80%

#27
Adjusted Score: 80077%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The parents of a deceased girl are given three days with their dead daughter.... [More]
Directed By: David Keating

#26

Teeth (2007)
80%

#26
Adjusted Score: 82185%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and horrifically funny, Teeth puts a fresh feminist spin on horror movie tropes.
Synopsis: Dawn (Jess Weixler) is an active member of her high-school chastity club but, when she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman), nature... [More]
Directed By: Mitchell Lichtenstein

#25

Thirst (2009)
80%

#25
Adjusted Score: 84278%
Critics Consensus: The stylish Thirst packs plenty of bloody thrills to satisfy fans of both vampire films and director Chan Wook Park.
Synopsis: Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho), a respected priest, volunteers for an experimental procedure that may lead to a cure for a deadly... [More]
Directed By: Park Chan-wook

#24

Taxidermia (2006)
81%

#24
Adjusted Score: 80995%
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.
Synopsis: Set over three generations and beginning with Morosgoványi Vendel, a sexually frustrated orderly during the war who relieves his tensions... [More]
Directed By: Gyorgy Palfi

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 86070%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is struggling to create his silent classic "Nosferatu" on location in Eastern Europe. The director... [More]
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

#22

Trick 'r Treat (2007)
84%

#22
Adjusted Score: 84456%
Critics Consensus: A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense.
Synopsis: Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents (Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker) of... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dougherty

#21

The Others (2001)
83%

#21
Adjusted Score: 89447%
Critics Consensus: The Others is a spooky thriller that reminds us that a movie doesn't need expensive special effects to be creepy.
Synopsis: Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 91418%
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.
Synopsis: Soon after moving into a suburban tract home, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) become increasingly disturbed by what... [More]
Directed By: Oren Peli

#19
Adjusted Score: 84725%
Critics Consensus: This anthology contains brutal, powerful horror stories by three of Asia's top directors.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#18

Pontypool (2008)
84%

#18
Adjusted Score: 86999%
Critics Consensus: Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.
Synopsis: When disc jockey Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) reports to his basement radio station in the Canadian town of Pontypool, he... [More]
Directed By: Bruce McDonald

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 86397%
Critics Consensus: Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie.
Synopsis: After being institutionalized in a mental hospital, Korean teen Su-mi (Yum Jung-ah) reunites with her beloved sister, Su-yeon (Im Soo-jung),... [More]
Directed By: Kim Jee-woon

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 88335%
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.
Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes... [More]
Directed By: Ti West

#15

Requiem (2006)
86%

#15
Adjusted Score: 86715%
Critics Consensus: This harrowing, naturalistic drama holds you in its grip through Huller's intense performance.
Synopsis: Michaela, an epileptic, enrolls in college to study education. She goes off her medication and soon begins hearing voices and... [More]
Directed By: Hans-Christian Schmid

#14

The Descent (2005)
86%

#14
Adjusted Score: 93860%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#13
Adjusted Score: 88435%
Critics Consensus: Guy Maddin's film is a richly sensuous and dreamy interpretation of Dracula that reinvigorates the genre.
Synopsis: In this ballet version of Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale, Dracula (Zhang Wei-Qiang) arrives in London and performs a dance... [More]
Directed By: Guy Maddin

#12

Slither (2006)
87%

#12
Adjusted Score: 91717%
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.
Synopsis: Wheelsy is a small town where not much happens and everyone minds his own business. No one notices when evil... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#11

The Orphanage (2007)
87%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94026%
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.
Synopsis: Laura (Belén Rueda) has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the place... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#10

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 94189%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#9

Rec (2007)
89%

#9
Adjusted Score: 89819%
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.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#8

Zombieland (2009)
89%

#8
Adjusted Score: 99788%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
Synopsis: After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world's surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the... [More]
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

#7

Ginger Snaps (2000)
90%

#7
Adjusted Score: 90570%
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.
Synopsis: The story of two outcast sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins), in the mindless suburban town of Bailey... [More]
Directed By: John Fawcett

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 96338%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 98888%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#4

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 103288%
Critics Consensus: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#3

The Host (2006)
93%

#3
Adjusted Score: 98421%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Synopsis: Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 104442%
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.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104738%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor,... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

James-Bond-Countdown

30 Essential Zombie Movies

The zombie: Without remorse and pity, driven by a single hunger, and damn near impossible to put down permanently. There have been times since their introduction into movies in the 1930s where it felt like we’d never see a zombie movie again. Then there are eras of the opposite, where you couldn’t stick your arm out in a multiplex without a shambling ghoul nearby, ready to chomp. And since we’ve been in feast mode over the last decade-plus, we’re taking a big bite with our guide to the 30 Essential Zombie Movies that you need to watch!

While zombie movies have been for more than 80 years (in 1932 we got White Zombie, in 1943 I Walked With a Zombie), it’s commonly accepted the subgenre as we know it today didn’t rise until 1968, when George A. Romero unleashed Night of the Living Dead. An independent film with a budget barely above six figures, Night enthralled audiences with its mysterious plot, shocking gore, progressive casting and social commentary, and, natch, the unforgettable hordes of the gaunt, hungry undead. Crowned the godfather of zombies, Romero made five more Dead movies, the best of which are featured in this guide, including Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.

Despite Romero’s efforts, it would still be a long shuffle into the early 2000s before zombies would break out of horror niche and crawl all over pop culture. Highlights from the pre-2000 era include splatter comedies like Return of the Living Dead and Dead Alive, Lucio Fulci’s eye-splitting and shark-wrestling Zombi 2, and H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Re-Animator.

The success of the Resident Evil video games revealed an audience appetite hitherto untapped, inspiring a gushing fount of zombie movies released between 2000 and 2005. Now we got to see the true versatility of the zombie movie. There was the loving spoofery of Shaun of the Dead. The blockbuster theatrics of the Resident Evil adaptation. Cutting-edge, gritty filmmaking with 28 Days Later. Japanese kinetic action in Versus, and most recently the creative, micro-budget One Cut of the Dead.

Ever since, zombies have shown no sign of slowing down. (Some have even figured out how to run.) TV show The Walking Dead is an obvious behemoth to point towards, but in the film world, zombies have made their way into found footage ([REC]), rom-com (Warm Bodies), and grindhouse throwbacks (Planet Terror).

And with this guide, we sought to capture those many moods, the various sensitivities that make up the zombie movie. Most featured here are Fresh and Certified Fresh, and of course we’re including a few Rotten movies. They may not have gotten the highest critical marks, but offer just as much color, life, and odor to this list. With that, it’s time to use your braaaaains and dig deep into the best zombie movies to watch!

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 80138%
Critics Consensus: Valley Girl culture satire Night of the Comet gets lots of mileage out of its slapstick sci-fi zombie approach.
Synopsis: After a rare comet sighting, teen sisters Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) find that they're among the... [More]
Directed By: Thom Eberhardt

#29

Juan of the Dead (2011)
83%

#29
Adjusted Score: 82082%
Critics Consensus: Filled with wild splatter slapstick, Juan of the Dead also deftly uses its zombie premise as an undead Trojan horse for insightful political commentary.
Synopsis: When the dead rise and attack the living, Juan starts a zombie-killing business, until he has to save his small... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Brugués

#28

Little Monsters (2019)
79%

#28
Adjusted Score: 86600%
Critics Consensus: Led by typically outstanding work from Lupita Nyong'o, Little Monsters is a horror/rom-com hybrid that proves the zombie genre still has fresh brains to savor.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Abe Forsythe

#27

Wild Zero (2000)
100%

#27
Adjusted Score: 26586%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Ace saves his heroes from alien invaders that turn people into zombies.... [More]
Directed By: Tetsuro Takeuchi

#26
Adjusted Score: 45012%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby (Scott Innes) and the rest of the Mystery, Inc., crew encounter creepy characters at a haunted house on a... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#25

Resident Evil (2002)
36%

#25
Adjusted Score: 38967%
Critics Consensus: Like other video game adapations, Resident Evil is loud, violent, formulaic, and cheesy.
Synopsis: Based on the popular video game, Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez star as the leaders of a commando team who... [More]
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

#24

Cemetery Man (1995)
60%

#24
Adjusted Score: 61148%
Critics Consensus: Cemetery Man will frustrate viewers seeking narrative cohesion or coherence, but this surreal blend of humor and horror should satisfy B-movie fans in the mood for quirk.
Synopsis: Something is causing the dead to rise from their graves as flesh-eating zombies, and cemetery custodian Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett)... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#23

Deathdream (1974)
83%

#23
Adjusted Score: 41175%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a Vietnam war casualty (Richard Backus) returns to his parents (John Marley, Lynn Carlin), he prowls in search of... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#22

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#22
Adjusted Score: 79379%
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.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#21

Versus (2000)
75%

#21
Adjusted Score: 47123%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An escaped prisoner (Tak Sakaguchi) and a mysterious young woman (Chieko Misaka) face an onslaught of indestructible undead fighters in... [More]
Directed By: Ryûhei Kitamura

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 74060%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fraternity pledges (Jason Lively, Steve Marshall) pull a prank with a frozen body and let sluglike creatures loose on campus.... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 89753%
Critics Consensus: Evocative direction by Jacques Tourneur collides with the low-rent production values of exploitateer Val Lewton in I Walked with a Zombie, a sultry sleeper that's simultaneously smarmy, eloquent and fascinating.
Synopsis: Canadian nurse Betsey Connell (Frances Dee) is hired to care for Jessica Holland (Christine Gordon), a woman on a Caribbean... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#18

Warm Bodies (2013)
81%

#18
Adjusted Score: 89358%
Critics Consensus: Warm Bodies offers a sweet, well-acted spin on a genre that all too often lives down to its brain-dead protagonists.
Synopsis: A terrible plague has left the planet's population divided between zombies and humans. An unusual zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult)... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#17

Planet Terror (2007)
76%

#17
Adjusted Score: 75388%
Critics Consensus: A cool and hip grindhouse throwback, Planet Terror is an unpredictable zombie thrillride.
Synopsis: An ordinary evening in a small Texas town becomes a grisly nightmare when a horde of flesh-eating zombies goes on... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 43647%
Critics Consensus: Zombi 2 is an absurdly graphic zombie movie legendary for some gory scenes and nothing in between.
Synopsis: A New York reporter (Ian McCulloch) follows a woman (Tisa Farrow) to an island where a doctor (Richard Johnson) faces... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 86449%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cop does not realize that those responsible for several murders are the living dead.... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Grau

#14

World War Z (2013)
66%

#14
Adjusted Score: 77492%
Critics Consensus: It's uneven and diverges from the source book, but World War Z still brings smart, fast-moving thrills and a solid performance from Brad Pitt to the zombie genre.
Synopsis: When former U.N. investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family get stuck in urban gridlock, he senses that it's... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#13

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 82020%
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.
Synopsis: When her husband is attacked by a zombified neighbor, Ana (Sarah Polley) manages to escape, only to realize her entire... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#12

Day of the Dead (1985)
83%

#12
Adjusted Score: 84997%
Critics Consensus: Day of the Dead may arguably be the least haunting entry in George A. Romero's undead trilogy, but it will give audiences' plenty to chew on with its shocking gore and scathing view of society.
Synopsis: The living dead regroup above while humans (Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato) sweat it out below in a Florida... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 105171%
Critics Consensus: Brainy and bloody in equal measure, One Cut of the Dead reanimates the moribund zombie genre with a refreshing blend of formal daring and clever satire.
Synopsis: Real zombies attack a hack director and a film crew who are shooting a low budget zombie film in an... [More]
Directed By: Shinichiro Ueda

#10
Adjusted Score: 94386%
Critics Consensus: A punk take on the zombie genre, The Return of the Living Dead injects a healthy dose of '80s silliness to the flesh-consuming.
Synopsis: When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the... [More]
Directed By: Dan O'Bannon

#9

Dead Alive (1992)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 91071%
Critics Consensus: The delightfully gonzo tale of a lovestruck teen and his zombified mother, Dead Alive is extremely gory and exceedingly good fun, thanks to Peter Jackson's affection for the tastelessly sublime.
Synopsis: Overprotective mother Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody), spying on her grown son, Lionel (Timothy Balme), as he visits the zoo with... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#8

Re-Animator (1985)
94%

#8
Adjusted Score: 98044%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#7

Rec (2007)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 89819%
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.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#6

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 94189%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#5

Zombieland (2009)
89%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99788%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
Synopsis: After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world's surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the... [More]
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 98365%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's debut set the template for the zombie film, and features tight editing, realistic gore, and a sly political undercurrent.
Synopsis: A disparate group of individuals takes refuge in an abandoned house when corpses begin to leave the graveyard in search... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#3

Train to Busan (2016)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100981%
Critics Consensus: Train to Busan delivers a thrillingly unique -- and purely entertaining -- take on the zombie genre, with fully realized characters and plenty of social commentary to underscore the bursts of skillfully staged action.
Synopsis: A man (Gong Yoo), his estranged daughter and other passengers become trapped on a speeding train during a zombie outbreak... [More]
Directed By: Yeon Sang-ho

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 98888%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#1

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 96886%
Critics Consensus: One of the most compelling and entertaining zombie films ever, Dawn of the Dead perfectly blends pure horror and gore with social commentary on material society.
Synopsis: As hordes of zombies swarm over the U.S., the terrified populace tries everything in their power to escape the attack... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

(Photo by Well GO USA/ courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Train to Busan

If you’re looking for more movies like Train to Busan, the South Korean zombie classic that sunk its teeth into savvy filmgoers and hasn’t let go since its 2016 release, why not first punch your ticket for something in the shared universe? Check out Seoul Station, an animated prequel to Busan, directed by the same guy, Yeon Sang-ho. He was primarily an animation director before Busan (that was his live-action debut), and he followed that up with 2018’s Psychokinesis, his take on the superhero genre which also had a father-and-daughter relationship driving the plot. Yeon will be back in 2020 with Peninsula, another story set in the world of Train to Busan.

For more from South Korean, consider checking out Rampant, a period piece action epic about – true to history, we’re sure – a zombie outbreak. Deranged and The Wailing are also about illness and outbreak in contemporary SK. (For more quality choices from the region, see our list of 30 Certified Fresh South Korean movies.)

If you’re really into the whole train setting, seek out Snowpiercer, directed by Parasite‘s Bong Joon-ho, The Cassandra Crossing, about a biological weapon that may have been set loose in the caboose, and Howl, wherein a passenger train and its riders have to deal with an outbreak…of werewolves.

Zombie godfather George A. Romero spent his career exploring the different stages of undead chaos: from infection, to pandemic, to normalization. His last great film, Land of the Dead, explored the latter, depicting society that had tenuously adapted to a new, dark way of living. Carriers, The Road, and The Crazies (a remake of a Romero movie) are further entertaining, credible looks at society-destroying diseases in America.

Of course, if you consider yourself a Train to Busan fan, you might also think of yourself an adventurous movie-watcher, ready for pandemic and outbreak movies beyond the borders of America. To that, we’ve assembled suggestions from the UK (28 Weeks Later, Children of Men, The Girl With All The Gifts), Japan (I Am a Hero), France (Ravenous, The Night Eats the World), Germany (Rammbock: Berlin Undead), and Spain ([REC]).

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 30115%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Terrorists have planted a deadly virus on a transcontinental train. On board are the glamorous Jennifer Chamberlain (Sophia Loren) and... [More]
Directed By: George Pan Cosmatos

#19

Deranged (2012)
60%

#19
Adjusted Score: 14118%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jae-hyuk tries to find a cure after his wife and children come down with a mysterious infection that causes people... [More]
Directed By: Park Jeongu

#18

Rampant (2018)
62%

#18
Adjusted Score: 52062%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Returning from imprisonment abroad, a prince and his fellow countrymen band together to battle bloodthirsty demons in ancient Korea.... [More]
Directed By: Kim Seong-hun

#17

Howl (2015)
63%

#17
Adjusted Score: 62064%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Train passengers band together to fight a deadly creature.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Hyett

#16

Carriers (2009)
66%

#16
Adjusted Score: 65727%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a virus threatens to wipe out humanity, Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), his brother Brian (Chris Pine), and their friends... [More]
Directed By: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor

#15

The Crazies (2010)
70%

#15
Adjusted Score: 75579%
Critics Consensus: Tense, nicely shot, and uncommonly intelligent, The Crazies is a horror remake that, unusually, works.
Synopsis: Anarchy reigns when an unknown toxin turns the peaceful citizens of Ogden Marsh into bloodthirsty lunatics. In an effort to... [More]
Directed By: Breck Eisner

#14

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#14
Adjusted Score: 79379%
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.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#13

The Road (2009)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 81861%
Critics Consensus: The Road's commitment to Cormac McCarthy's dark vision may prove too unyielding for some, but the film benefits from hauntingly powerful performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi McPhee.
Synopsis: America is a grim, gray shadow of itself after a catastrophe. A man (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi... [More]
Directed By: John Hillcoat

#12

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%

#12
Adjusted Score: 80997%
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.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

#11

Psychokinesis (2018)
80%

#11
Adjusted Score: 51401%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A father with newly acquired superpowers sets out to help his estranged daughter before she loses everything.... [More]
Directed By: Yeon Sang-ho

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 87956%
Critics Consensus: The Night Eats the World finds a few unexplored corners in the crowded zombie genre, with a refreshing emphasis on atmosphere and character development.
Synopsis: After waking up in an apartment the night after a raging party, Sam comes face to face with his new... [More]
Directed By: Dominique Rocher

#9
Adjusted Score: 94050%
Critics Consensus: The Girl with All the Gifts grapples with thought-provoking questions without skimping on the scares -- and finds a few fresh wrinkles in the well-worn zombie horror genre along the way.
Synopsis: In the future, a strange fungus has changed nearly everyone into a thoughtless, flesh-eating monster. When a scientist and a... [More]
Directed By: Colm McCarthy

#8

The Ravenous (2017)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 88120%
Critics Consensus: Uncommonly restrained for a movie about a flesh-eating menace, Ravenous offers a satisfyingly nuanced entry in the crowded zombie apocalypse subgenre.
Synopsis: A village in Quebec is terrorized by a flesh-eating plague.... [More]
Directed By: Robin Aubert

#7

Rec (2007)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 89819%
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.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 34120%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Michael (Michael Fuith) and Anna (Anna Graczyk) barricade themselves in an apartment when a zombie plague rips through Berlin.... [More]
Directed By: Marvin Kren

#5

I Am a Hero (2015)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 64998%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man witnesses a fatal traffic accident on his way home from work, and the victim is clearly killed on... [More]
Directed By: Shinsuke Sato

#4

Children of Men (2006)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101478%
Critics Consensus: Children of Men works on every level: as a violent chase thriller, a fantastical cautionary tale, and a sophisticated human drama about societies struggling to live.
Synopsis: When infertility threatens mankind with extinction and the last child born has perished, a disillusioned bureaucrat (Clive Owen) becomes the... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#3

Snowpiercer (2013)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 104171%
Critics Consensus: Snowpiercer offers an audaciously ambitious action spectacular for filmgoers numb to effects-driven blockbusters.
Synopsis: A post-apocalyptic ice age forces humanity's last survivors aboard a globe-spanning supertrain. One man (Chris Evans) will risk everything to... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2

The Wailing (2016)
99%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102586%
Critics Consensus: The Wailing delivers an atmospheric, cleverly constructed mystery whose supernatural thrills more than justify its imposing length.
Synopsis: Suspicion leads to hysteria when rural villagers link a series of brutal murders to the arrival of a mysterious stranger... [More]
Directed By: Na Hong-jin

#1

Seoul Station (2016)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100806%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling and relentless from start to finish, Yeon Sang-ho's Seoul Station is a layered and vicious entry into the zombie genre.
Synopsis: A man desperately searches for his runaway daughter as the government struggles to shut down the area around a zombie... [More]
Directed By: Yeon Sang-ho

Insidious fans have had to wait a few years for the franchise’s fourth installment, but with this weekend’s The Last Key, the story of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) finally has its next chapter. In honor of this long-awaited arrival, we decided to dedicate this week’s feature to a look back at some of the (many) other fourth chapters in the horror genre, with an emphasis on the better-reviewed in the bunch. Buckle up for a slew of final chapters and spine-tingling returns, because it’s time for Total Recall!


Use the arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!

Best Horror Movies by Year Since 1920

Look, we know that it’s the time of year when everyone and their sister has a list of the best horror movies of all time. This time out, we at Rotten Tomatoes decided to take a slightly different tack. Using our weighted formula, we compiled a list of the best-reviewed fright fests from each year since 1920 — the year The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which created the template for horror cinema, was released. This wasn’t an easy assignment — there were several years, like 1932 and 1960, that boasted a slate of classic films (and a few others, like 1937 and 1938, in which we had trouble finding any solid contenders). What was the best horror flick the year you were born? Check out our list — if you dare.

 

#1920
#1920
Adjusted Score: 114559%
Critics Consensus: Arguably the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari set a brilliantly high bar for the genre -- and remains terrifying nearly a century after it first stalked the screen.
Synopsis: At a carnival in Germany, Francis (Friedrich Feher) and his friend Alan (Rudolf Lettinger) encounter the crazed Dr. Caligari (Werner... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1921
#1921
Adjusted Score: 99759%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man (Victor Sjöström) to look back at... [More]
Directed By: Victor Sjöström

#1922

Nosferatu (1922)
97%

#1922
Adjusted Score: 109964%
Critics Consensus: One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Schreck as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed.
Synopsis: In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

#1923
#1923
Adjusted Score: 95753%
Critics Consensus: A heart-rending take on the classic book, with a legendary performance by Lon Chaney.
Synopsis: In 15th-century Paris, Jehan (Brandon Hurst), the evil brother of the archdeacon, lusts after a Gypsy named Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth... [More]
Directed By: Wallace Worsley

#1924
#1924
Adjusted Score: 90704%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After losing his hands in an accident, a world-famous pianist receives transplanted hands that once belonged to a murderer.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1925
#1925
Adjusted Score: 98698%
Critics Consensus: Decades later, it still retains its ability to scare -- and Lon Chaney's performance remains one of the benchmarks of the horror genre.
Synopsis: In this silent horror classic, aspiring young opera singer Christine Daaé (Mary Philbin) discovers that she has a mysterious admirer... [More]
Directed By: Rupert Julian

#1926

Faust (1926)
91%

#1926
Adjusted Score: 97591%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this classic of silent cinema, the demon Mephisto (Emil Jannings) makes a bet with an archangel that a good... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

#1927
#1927
Adjusted Score: 97729%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The relatives of Cyrus West gather at his estate on the 20th anniversary of his death to hear the reading... [More]
Directed By: Paul Leni

#1928

The Man Who Laughs (1928)
100%

#1928
Adjusted Score: 102099%
Critics Consensus: A meeting of brilliant creative minds, The Man Who Laughs serves as a stellar showcase for the talents of director Paul Leni and star Conrad Veidt.
Synopsis: Disfigured by a king as a child, an 18th-century clown (Conrad Veidt) again becomes the pawn of royalty.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Leni

#1929

Haxan (1922)
91%

#1929
Adjusted Score: 93452%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A hybrid of documentary and fiction, this silent film explores the history of witchcraft, demonology and satanism. It shows representations... [More]
Directed By: Benjamin Christensen

#1930

The Bat Whispers (1930)
64%

#1930
Adjusted Score: 63788%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Infamous burglar "The Bat" commits a daring jewelry theft despite heavy police presence. Soon after, a bank theft occurs, which... [More]
Directed By: Roland West

#1931

Frankenstein (1931)
100%

#1931
Adjusted Score: 106667%
Critics Consensus: Still unnerving to this day, Frankenstein adroitly explores the fine line between genius and madness, and features Boris Karloff's legendary, frightening performance as the monster.
Synopsis: This iconic horror film follows the obsessed scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as he attempts to create life by... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

#1932

Vampyr (1932)
97%

#1932
Adjusted Score: 97801%
Critics Consensus: Full of disorienting visual effects, Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr is as theoretically unsettling as it is conceptually disturbing.
Synopsis: After Allan Gray (Julian West) rents a room near Courtempierre in France, strange events unfold: An elderly man leaves a... [More]
Directed By: Carl Theodor Dreyer

#1933

King Kong (1933)
98%

#1933
Adjusted Score: 108185%
Critics Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.
Synopsis: Actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) travel to the Indian Ocean to do location shoots... [More]

#1934

The Black Cat (1934)
89%

#1934
Adjusted Score: 93892%
Critics Consensus: Making the most of its Karloff-Lugosi star pairing and loads of creepy atmosphere, The Black Cat is an early classic in the Universal monster movie library.
Synopsis: Stranded Budapest honeymooners follow a mad doctor (Bela Lugosi) to a black-lipped architect's (Boris Karloff) Art Deco manor.... [More]
Directed By: Edgar G. Ulmer

#1935
#1935
Adjusted Score: 104904%
Critics Consensus: An eccentric, campy, technically impressive, and frightening picture, James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein has aged remarkably well.
Synopsis: After recovering from injuries sustained in the mob attack upon himself and his creation, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) falls under... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

#1936

The Devil Doll (1936)
79%

#1936
Adjusted Score: 80389%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Wrongfully convicted of a robbery and murder, Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) breaks out of prison with a genius scientist who... [More]
Directed By: Tod Browning

#1939
#1939
Adjusted Score: 97205%
Critics Consensus: Boris Karloff's final appearance as the Monster is a fitting farewell before the series descended into self-parody.
Synopsis: Baron Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) is determined to prove the legitimacy of his father's scientific work, thus rescuing the... [More]
Directed By: Rowland V. Lee

#1940

Dr. Cyclops (1940)
77%

#1940
Adjusted Score: 76666%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: To assist with his work due to his failing eyesight, renowned biologist Dr. Alexander Thorkel (Albert Dekker) invites two prominent... [More]
Directed By: Ernest B. Schoedsack

#1941

The Wolf Man (1941)
90%

#1941
Adjusted Score: 94981%
Critics Consensus: A handsomely told tale with an affecting performance from Lon Chaney, Jr., The Wolf Man remains one of the classics of the Universal horror stable.
Synopsis: When his brother dies, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney) returns to Wales and reconciles with his father (Claude Rains). While there,... [More]
Directed By: George Waggner

#1942

Cat People (1942)
91%

#1942
Adjusted Score: 97860%
Critics Consensus: Influential noir director Jacques Tourneau infused this sexy, moody horror film with some sly commentary about the psychology and the taboos of desire.
Synopsis: Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon), a New York City--based fashion designer who hails from Serbia, begins a romance with marine engineer... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#1943
#1943
Adjusted Score: 89753%
Critics Consensus: Evocative direction by Jacques Tourneur collides with the low-rent production values of exploitateer Val Lewton in I Walked with a Zombie, a sultry sleeper that's simultaneously smarmy, eloquent and fascinating.
Synopsis: Canadian nurse Betsey Connell (Frances Dee) is hired to care for Jessica Holland (Christine Gordon), a woman on a Caribbean... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#1944

Bluebeard (1944)
100%

#1944
Adjusted Score: 100887%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When seamstress Lucille (Jean Parker) accepts a job designing costumes for charismatic puppeteer and portrait artist Gaston Morrell (John Carradine),... [More]
Directed By: Edgar G. Ulmer

#1945

Dead of Night (1945)
93%

#1945
Adjusted Score: 97645%
Critics Consensus: With four accomplished directors contributing, Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that remains highly influential.
Synopsis: Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) goes to Pilgrim's Farm to see a potential client. When he arrives at the house,... [More]

#1946
#1946
Adjusted Score: 89351%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Astrologist Hilary Cummins (Peter Lorre) works as a personal assistant to the eccentric and mostly paralyzed pianist, Francis Ingram (Victor... [More]
Directed By: Robert Florey

#1947

Scared to Death (1947)
63%

#1947
Adjusted Score: 19478%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dr. Josef Van Ee (George Zucco) runs a private mental institution where he and his son, Ward (Roland Varno), are... [More]
Directed By: Christy Cabanne

#1948
Adjusted Score: 92019%
Critics Consensus: A zany horror spoof that plays up and then plays into the best of Universal horror cliches.
Synopsis: In the first of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's horror vehicles for Universal Pictures, the inimitable comic duo star as... [More]
Directed By: Charles Barton

#1949
#1949
Adjusted Score: 95649%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin, this creepy drama tells the tale of Countess Ranevskaya (Edith Evans), an... [More]
Directed By: Thorold Dickinson

#1950
#1950
Adjusted Score: 57619%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man (Louis Hayward) kills his maid and dumps her in the river with his brother (Lee Bowman).... [More]
Directed By: Fritz Lang

#1951

The Thing (1951)
86%

#1951
Adjusted Score: 95528%
Critics Consensus: As flying saucer movies go, The Thing From Another World is better than most, thanks to well-drawn characters and concise, tense plotting.
Synopsis: When scientist Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) reports a UFO near his North Pole research base, the Air Force sends in... [More]
Directed By: Christian Nyby

#1952

The White Reindeer (1952)
100%

#1952
Adjusted Score: 78515%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A shaman turns a newlywed woman into a vampiric white reindeer after she seeks his help.... [More]
Directed By: Erik Blomberg

#1953

House of Wax (1953)
95%

#1953
Adjusted Score: 99423%
Critics Consensus: House of Wax is a 3-D horror delight that combines the atmospheric eerieness of the wax museum with the always chilling presence of Vincent Price.
Synopsis: Wax sculptor Henry (Vincent Price) is horrified to learn that his business partner, Matthew (Roy Roberts), plans on torching their... [More]
Directed By: Andre de Toth

#1954

Them! (1954)
93%

#1954
Adjusted Score: 97809%
Critics Consensus: One of the best creature features of the early atomic age, Them! features effectively menacing special effects and avoids the self-parody that would taint later monster movies.
Synopsis: While investigating a series of mysterious deaths, Sergeant Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) finds a young girl (Sandy Descher) who is... [More]
Directed By: Gordon Douglas

#1955
#1955
Adjusted Score: 102235%
Critics Consensus: Featuring Robert Mitchum's formidable performance as a child-hunting preacher, The Night of the Hunter is a disturbing look at good and evil.
Synopsis: The Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) is a religious fanatic and serial killer who targets women who use their sexuality... [More]
Directed By: Charles Laughton

#1956
Adjusted Score: 103701%
Critics Consensus: One of the best political allegories of the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.
Synopsis: In Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is baffled when all his patients come to him with the... [More]
Directed By: Don Siegel

#1957
#1957
Adjusted Score: 86662%
Critics Consensus: A curiously sensitive and spiritual addition to the Universal Monsters line-up, tacking on deep questions about a story who is shrinking to death.
Synopsis: While on a boating trip, Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is exposed to a radioactive cloud. Nothing seems amiss at first,... [More]
Directed By: Jack Arnold

#1958

The Fly (1958)
95%

#1958
Adjusted Score: 99604%
Critics Consensus: Deliciouly funny to some and eerily presicient to others, The Fly walks a fine line between shlocky fun and unnerving nature parable.
Synopsis: When scientist Andre Delambre (Al Hedison) tests his matter transporter on himself, an errant housefly makes its way into the... [More]
Directed By: Kurt Neumann

#1959
#1959
Adjusted Score: 89952%
Critics Consensus: Campy by modern standards but spooky and atmospheric, House on Haunted Hill is a fun, well-executed cult classic featuring a memorable performance from genre icon Vincent Price.
Synopsis: Rich oddball Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) has a proposal for five guests at a possibly haunted mansion: Show up, survive... [More]
Directed By: William Castle

#1960

Psycho (1960)
96%

#1960
Adjusted Score: 108159%
Critics Consensus: Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn't just create modern horror, he validated it.
Synopsis: Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1961

The Innocents (1961)
95%

#1961
Adjusted Score: 99318%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric, The Innocents is a stylishly crafted, chilling British ghost tale with Deborah Kerr at her finest.
Synopsis: Based on the Henry James story "The Turn of the Screw," a psychological thriller about a woman who takes a... [More]
Directed By: Jack Clayton

#1962
#1962
Adjusted Score: 103060%
Critics Consensus: A horrific tale of guilt and obsession, Eyes Without a Face is just as chilling and poetic today as it was when it was first released.
Synopsis: Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) is riddled with guilt after an accident that he caused disfigures the face of his daughter,... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju

#1963

The Birds (1963)
95%

#1963
Adjusted Score: 99741%
Critics Consensus: Proving once again that build-up is the key to suspense, Alfred Hitchcock successfully turned birds into some of the most terrifying villains in horror history.
Synopsis: Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco pet store and decides to follow him... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1964

Kwaidan (1964)
91%

#1964
Adjusted Score: 93751%
Critics Consensus: Exquisitely designed and fastidiously ornate, Masaki Kobayashi's ambitious anthology operates less as a frightening example of horror and more as a meditative tribute to Japanese folklore.
Synopsis: Taking its title from an archaic Japanese word meaning "ghost story," this anthology adapts four folk tales. A penniless samurai... [More]
Directed By: Masaki Kobayashi

#1965

Repulsion (1965)
95%

#1965
Adjusted Score: 96904%
Critics Consensus: Roman Polanski's first English film follows a schizophrenic woman's descent into madness, and makes the audience feel as claustrophobic as the character.
Synopsis: In Roman Polanski's first English-language film, beautiful young manicurist Carole (Catherine Deneuve) suffers from androphobia (the pathological fear of interaction... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#1966
#1966
Adjusted Score: 81971%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Four tourists dine and spend the night at Dracula's (Christopher Lee) castle; two escape and warn a monk (Andrew Keir).... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher

#1967

The Sorcerers (1967)
100%

#1967
Adjusted Score: 100429%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A professor (Boris Karloff) and his wife (Catherine Lacey) can feel the sensations of a mod British teen (Ian Ogilvy)... [More]
Directed By: Michael Reeves

#1968

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
96%

#1968
Adjusted Score: 103775%
Critics Consensus: A frightening tale of Satanism and pregnancy that is even more disturbing than it sounds thanks to convincing and committed performances by Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.
Synopsis: A young wife comes to believe that her offspring is not of this world. Waifish Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#1969
#1969
Adjusted Score: 87051%
Critics Consensus: Three auteurs descend on the works of Poe, each putting on a ghoulish show -- adapting The Tomahawk Man's tales of dreams and fright, with Fellini's segment particularly out of sight.
Synopsis: In one chapter of this three-in-one feature inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's tales, a countess (Jane Fonda), shunned by a... [More]

#1970
Adjusted Score: 81532%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Valerie (Jaroslava Schallerová), a Czechoslovakian teenager living with her grandmother, is blossoming into womanhood, but that transformation proves secondary to... [More]
Directed By: Jaromil Jires

#1971
#1971
Adjusted Score: 90859%
Critics Consensus: The Abominable Dr. Phibes juggles horror and humor, but under the picture's campy façade, there's genuine pathos brought poignantly to life through Price's performance.
Synopsis: In a desperate attempt to reach his ill wife, organist Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) is horrifically disfigured in a car... [More]
Directed By: Robert Fuest

#1972
#1972
Adjusted Score: 64845%
Critics Consensus: Its visceral brutality is more repulsive than engrossing, but The Last House on the Left nevertheless introduces director Wes Craven as a distinctive voice in horror.
Synopsis: Teenagers Mari (Sandra Cassel) and Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) head to the city for a concert, then afterward go looking for... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1973

Don't Look Now (1973)
95%

#1973
Adjusted Score: 101441%
Critics Consensus: Don't Look Now patiently builds suspense with haunting imagery and a chilling score -- causing viewers to feel Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie's grief deep within.
Synopsis: Still grieving over the accidental death of their daughter, Christine (Sharon Williams), John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie)... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

#1974
#1974
Adjusted Score: 94348%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema.
Synopsis: When Sally (Marilyn Burns) hears that her grandfather's grave may have been vandalized, she and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#1975

Jaws (1975)
98%

#1975
Adjusted Score: 106303%
Critics Consensus: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
Synopsis: When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island,... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1976

Carrie (1976)
93%

#1976
Adjusted Score: 98515%
Critics Consensus: Carrie is a horrifying look at supernatural powers, high school cruelty, and teen angst -- and it brings us one of the most memorable and disturbing prom scenes in history.
Synopsis: In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#1977

Suspiria (1977)
93%

#1977
Adjusted Score: 98568%
Critics Consensus: The blood pours freely in Argento's classic Suspiria, a giallo horror as grandiose and glossy as it is gory.
Synopsis: Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany to attend ballet school. When she arrives, late on a stormy night, no one... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#1978
Adjusted Score: 97057%
Critics Consensus: Employing gritty camerawork and evocative sound effects, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a powerful remake that expands upon themes and ideas only lightly explored in the original.
Synopsis: This remake of the classic horror film is set in San Francisco. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) assumes that when a... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#1979

Alien (1979)
98%

#1979
Adjusted Score: 108927%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#1980

The Shining (1980)
85%

#1980
Adjusted Score: 93380%
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#1981

The Evil Dead (1981)
95%

#1981
Adjusted Score: 100024%
Critics Consensus: This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.
Synopsis: Ashley "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend and three pals hike into the woods to a cabin for a fun... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1982

Poltergeist (1982)
87%

#1982
Adjusted Score: 91799%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#1983

The Dead Zone (1983)
90%

#1983
Adjusted Score: 93083%
Critics Consensus: The Dead Zone combines taut direction from David Cronenberg and and a rich performance from Christopher Walken to create one of the strongest Stephen King adaptations.
Synopsis: When Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) awakens from a coma caused by a car accident, he finds that years have passed,... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#1984
#1984
Adjusted Score: 98230%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1985

Re-Animator (1985)
94%

#1985
Adjusted Score: 98044%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#1986

Aliens (1986)
97%

#1986
Adjusted Score: 104458%
Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
Synopsis: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team.... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#1987

Evil Dead 2 (1987)
95%

#1987
Adjusted Score: 99954%
Critics Consensus: Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good -- if not better -- than the original.
Synopsis: The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell)... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1988

The Vanishing (1988)
98%

#1988
Adjusted Score: 98303%
Critics Consensus: A clinical, maddening descent into the mind of a serial killer and a slowly unraveling hero, culminating with one of the scariest endings of all time.
Synopsis: Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna Ter Steege) are enjoying a biking holiday in France when, stopping at a gas... [More]
Directed By: George Sluizer

#1989

Holy Blood (1989)
86%

#1989
Adjusted Score: 88740%
Critics Consensus: Those unfamiliar with Alejandro Jodorowsky's style may find it overwhelming, but Santa Sangre is a provocative psychedelic journey featuring the director's signature touches of violence, vulgarity, and an oddly personal moral center.
Synopsis: In Mexico, the traumatized son (Axel Jodorowsky) of a knife-thrower (Guy Stockwell) and a trapeze artist bonds grotesquely with his... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#1990

Misery (1990)
90%

#1990
Adjusted Score: 95176%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, this taut and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date.
Synopsis: After a serious car crash, novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#1991
#1991
Adjusted Score: 104402%
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#1992
#1992
Adjusted Score: 79910%
Critics Consensus: Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Bram Stoker's Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations -- and features some terrific performances to boot.
Synopsis: Adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. Gary Oldman plays Dracula whose lonely soul is determined to reunite with his... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#1993

Dead Alive (1992)
88%

#1993
Adjusted Score: 91071%
Critics Consensus: The delightfully gonzo tale of a lovestruck teen and his zombified mother, Dead Alive is extremely gory and exceedingly good fun, thanks to Peter Jackson's affection for the tastelessly sublime.
Synopsis: Overprotective mother Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody), spying on her grown son, Lionel (Timothy Balme), as he visits the zoo with... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#1994

Cronos (1993)
89%

#1994
Adjusted Score: 93331%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.
Synopsis: Antique dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) stumbles across Cronos, a 400-year-old scarab that, when it latches onto him, grants him... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#1995

Mute Witness (1995)
83%

#1995
Adjusted Score: 83864%
Critics Consensus: Mute Witness is a slickly crafted horror/thriller with some surprising comic twists.
Synopsis: Billy (Mary Sudina) is mute, but it hasn't kept her from becoming a successful makeup artist. While in Russia, working... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Waller

#1996

Scream (1996)
79%

#1996
Adjusted Score: 83871%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1997

Scream 2 (1997)
81%

#1997
Adjusted Score: 86056%
Critics Consensus: As with the first film, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate.
Synopsis: Sydney (Neve Campbell) and tabloid reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) survived the events of the first "Scream," but their nightmare... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1998

The Ring (1998)
97%

#1998
Adjusted Score: 98522%
Critics Consensus: Ringu combines supernatural elements with anxieties about modern technology in a truly frightening and unnerving way.
Synopsis: When her niece is found dead along with three friends after viewing a supposedly cursed videotape, reporter Reiko Asakawa (Nanako... [More]
Directed By: Hideo Nakata

#1999
#1999
Adjusted Score: 93484%
Critics Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain, proving once more that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.
Synopsis: Found video footage tells the tale of three film students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams) who've traveled to... [More]

#2000
#2000
Adjusted Score: 86070%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is struggling to create his silent classic "Nosferatu" on location in Eastern Europe. The director... [More]
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

#2001
#2001
Adjusted Score: 96338%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#2002

The Ring (2002)
71%

#2002
Adjusted Score: 76849%
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.
Synopsis: It sounds like just another urban legend -- a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#2003

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#2003
Adjusted Score: 94189%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#2004
#2004
Adjusted Score: 98888%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#2005

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%

#2005
Adjusted Score: 80997%
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.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

#2006

The Descent (2005)
86%

#2006
Adjusted Score: 93860%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#2007

The Host (2006)
93%

#2007
Adjusted Score: 98421%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Synopsis: Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2008
#2008
Adjusted Score: 104738%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor,... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

#2009

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
92%

#2009
Adjusted Score: 103288%
Critics Consensus: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#2010

Let Me In (2010)
88%

#2010
Adjusted Score: 97074%
Critics Consensus: Similar to the original in all the right ways -- but with enough changes to stand on its own -- Let Me In is the rare Hollywood remake that doesn't add insult to inspiration.
Synopsis: Bullied at school, neglected at home and incredibly lonely, 12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) spends his days plotting revenge on his... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#2011

Attack the Block (2011)
90%

#2011
Adjusted Score: 96874%
Critics Consensus: Effortlessly mixing scares, laughs, and social commentary, Attack the Block is a thrilling, briskly-paced sci-fi yarn with a distinctly British flavor.
Synopsis: South London teenagers (John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones) defend their neighborhood from malevolent extraterrestrials.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Cornish

#2012
#2012
Adjusted Score: 103618%
Critics Consensus: The Cabin in the Woods is an astonishing meta-feat, capable of being funny, strange, and scary -- frequently all at the same time.
Synopsis: When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams) arrive at a remote forest cabin... [More]
Directed By: Drew Goddard

#2013

The Conjuring (2013)
86%

#2013
Adjusted Score: 93985%
Critics Consensus: Well-crafted and gleefully creepy, The Conjuring ratchets up dread through a series of effective old-school scares.
Synopsis: In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#2014

The Babadook (2014)
98%

#2014
Adjusted Score: 106834%
Critics Consensus: The Babadook relies on real horror rather than cheap jump scares -- and boasts a heartfelt, genuinely moving story to boot.
Synopsis: A troubled widow (Essie Davis) discovers that her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Kent

#2015

It Follows (2014)
96%

#2015
Adjusted Score: 105969%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and above all terrifying, It Follows is the rare modern horror film that works on multiple levels -- and leaves a lingering sting.
Synopsis: After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns... [More]
Directed By: David Robert Mitchell

#2016

The Witch (2015)
90%

#2016
Adjusted Score: 111013%
Critics Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.
Synopsis: In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer, his wife and their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly... [More]
Directed By: Robert Eggers

#2017

Get Out (2017)
98%

#2017
Adjusted Score: 128249%
Critics Consensus: Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#2018

A Quiet Place (2018)
96%

#2018
Adjusted Score: 118865%
Critics Consensus: A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary -- and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent.
Synopsis: If they hear you, they hunt you. A family must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski

After a blockbuster detour with Furious 7, director James Wan returns to his horror roots for like the fifth time in his career with The Conjuring 2, which follows Conju-Uno‘s Ed and Lorraine Warren into their next really true scary case. The original 2013 film was a Certified Fresh smash for Wan and company, notable because it’s rare for horror movies to get Fresh Tomatometer scores, and even rarer for their franchise sequels. So the fact Conjuring 2 is drawing sorta the same praise as its predecessor…well, that inspires this week’s gallery: 24 best-reviewed horror sequels!

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is out in theaters this week, inspiring this week’s 24 Frames gallery: a visual bloody guide to the history of zombies in film and on your television. Brrraaaaaiinnsss….


En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

George A Romero
Hey, Man! Its Not Just a Horror Movie...

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How George A. Romero covered capitalism, consumer culture, human nature, politics and blogging through the eyes of thousands of zombies…

WORDS: Chris Hewitt PORTRAIT: Larry Busacca DESIGN: Joe Utichi

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Night of the Living Dead

The Story...

When the dead start returning to life with a hunger for human flesh, a disparate band of survivors hole up in a Pittsburgh farmhouse, bicker amongst themselves, and try to stop themselves from winding up on an undead menu as a unique three-course set meal. Coffee not included.

Hey, Man! It's Not Just a Horror Movie...

Far from it. The zombies in Night of the Living Dead, according to film historian Robin Wood, represent capitalists, feasting on the flesh of society’s outsiders. But as would rapidly become the pattern in Romero‘s films, the zombies aren’t really the villains. Instead humans are, with Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman) openly fighting with the film’s black hero, Ben (Duane Jones), and even trying to kill him. At the end, Ben is the sole survivor, but is shot in the head by a patrol crew who ‘mistake’ him for a zombie. The subtle implication is that, had Ben been white, he would still have been alive.

Night of the Living Dead
The Black Guy is...

The hero. By making his hero an African-American, particularly one who’s reasoned and intelligent, Romero was overtly addressing the racial politics that were engulfing America at the time. It would become a trend in his movies.

The Female Lead is...

Barbara, played by Judith O’Dea. A far cry from the ass-kickers of later Romero episodes, Barbara spends most of the movie in a catatonic trance, traumatised by the fate she’s just seen befall her brother.

Night of the Living Dead
Gore Factor...

Minimal in this movie, although scenes of ghouls feasting on flesh and Karen Cooper trowelling her mom to death are dripping with black goo that, legend has it, was actually chocolate sauce. At this point in time, Romero hadn’t yet met a young man named Tom Savini and the gore is surprisingly restrained.

Best Line

It’s hard to top “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”, spoken by Barbara’s brother, Johnny. Referenced in the likes of Shaun of the Dead, it’s also a paranoid classic to rival Kevin McCarthy‘s “They’re here!” in Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, itself a cracking political allegory.

Night of the Living Dead

Did You Know?

The movie was originally called Night Of The Flesh Eaters.

According to Romero...

“I was brought up on Tales Of Hoffman and movies like Othello and Macbeth. Those were the visual influences — hard shadow, hard light, obvious sources. I tried to make it look like newsreel. I used a handheld Arriflex and I felt so free!”

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Dawn of the Dead

The Story...

The zombie epidemic is threatening to engulf the world, forcing a disparate band of survivors to hole up in a Pittsburgh shopping mall, which they turn into their own private paradise. But, with zombies and roving biker gangs trying to get in, their idyll may not remain uninterrupted for long.

Hey, Man! It's Not Just a Horror Movie...

Dawn of the Dead is an overt attack on American consumer culture — not only do the zombies return to a shopping mall, which is described as the place that made them happiest, but it turns our four protagonists into zombies, deadening their souls. In fact, so gripped with avarice are two of the group — Steven and Roger — that they perish while trying to protect what they’ve built, as if material goods are worth a tinker’s cuss in Romero’s apocalyptic world. Once again, as when a biker gang invades the group’s little world and starts pulling it down around them, destroying stores for no good reason, you’re reminded that Romero is, more often than not, on the side of the zombies. Traitor.

Dawn of the Dead
The Black Guy is...

The hero. Ken Foree‘s effortlessly cool, iconic Peter is perhaps the most memorable character in each of the five Dead films. A big bear of a man, Peter’s a born action hero, but he’s not without his compassionate moments, and his genuine affection for his compadre, Roger, hits home in the film’s most affecting sequence, when he is forced to blow his newly-zombified buddy’s brains out.

The Female Lead is...

Gaylen Ross‘s Fran, and she’s several steps up from the appallingly one-dimensional Barbara, showing Romero’s marked dedication to fleshing out his female protagonists. Initially, she seems to be very much the token girlfriend as Roger (Scott H. Reiniger), Steven (David Emge) and Peter run around the mall, but gradually she becomes more assertive. In the end, it’s her determination to learn to pilot the group’s helicopter that saves her and Peter from a fate worse than death. OK, scratch that — just death. But as fates go, it’s still pretty nasty.

Dawn of the Dead
Gore Factor...

High, and in bright Technicolor red, too. By this point, Romero had hooked up with Tom Savini (who also plays the leader of the biker gang), and the special effects guru runs wild here, splattering the place with bright red blood and some of the best headshots in movie history. Check out the impromptu Jackson Pollock that explodes onto a wall near the movie’s end – or, of course, the infamous helicopter gag when rotor blades (actually animated and hand-drawn onto the frame) whip off the top of a zombie’s brain. Interestingly, Greg Nicotero, Romero’s go-to guy for FX these days, was inspired to get into the business by a flesh-biting gag in the first 20 minutes of the movie.

Best Line

Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause, please, for the iconic, “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” In early drafts, this line actually read, “When there’s no more room in the last carriage, please wait. A new train will arrive in two minutes.”

Dawn of the Dead

Did You Know?

This is the first Romero zombie film in which the Z-word is actually uttered.

According to Romero...

“When I made the first film I was always concerned about this idea, the reason to do this stuff is to upset the applecart and what everyone seems to do is restore the order at the end of these things, which is what I never want to do. At the end of Dawn in the script, I had everybody die and I realised that I was doing it because it was a sequel. I realised I could save a couple of these individuals without restoring the world!”

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Day of the Dead

The Story...

OK, everything’s fucked, to put it mildly. With zombies now outnumbering humans by 400,000 to 1, mankind is at the bottom of the food chain and things are looking bleaker than a Scottish winter. Needless to say, a disparate band of survivors hole up in an underground military complex and bicker, argue and generally fight amongst themselves in Romero’s bleakest vision yet.

Hey, Man! It's Not Just a Horror Movie...

Day of the Dead, Romero’s ’80s entry in his Dead franchise is the most overt attack on human nature yet. Save for a handful of sympathetic characters, Romero populates his film with appalling villains, from leering and mocking grunts, to the utterly black-hearted Captain Rhodes (Joe Pilato, who appears briefly as a different character in Dawn of the Dead), who is already unhinged when we meet him and rapidly heads south from there into gibberdom. In this, when the zombies attack, it’s generally a relief, while famously Romero works hard to humanise, for the first time, a major zombie character, in the shape of Howard Sherman‘s sympathetic and likeable Bub.

Day of the Dead
The Black Guy is...

The secondary protagonist, with Terry Alexander’s John a laidback Haitian helicopter pilot who is content to sit out the simmering civil war tearing the group apart, until fate — and zombies — force his hand. It’s a departure from the ass-kicking Peter of Dawn, but Terry is a more cerebral character.

The Female Lead is...

The hero – and the strongest female character in Romero’s canon. Sarah (Lori Cardille) is a scientist trying to keep it together in the face of extreme provocation: her colleagues, particularly Richard Liberty‘s demented Dr. Logan, are ineffective fruitcakes. Her army ‘protectors’ either want to kill her or rape her. And her boyfriend, Miguel, is a soldier who makes Captain Rhodes look sane. Sympathetic and three-dimensional, Sarah isn’t a saint by any means, but she’s more proactive than any of Romero’s previous heroines.

Day of the Dead
Gore Factor...

Off the chart, with Savini coming up with grotesque new gags that forced Romero to reduce his vision for the film, after his financiers offered him a larger budget in return for an R-rating. Refusing to compromise, Romero rewrote his massive script for Day, plumping for a smaller budget but more gore. And boy, are we glad, particularly in the iconic moment when Pilato is ripped apart by zombies, yelling “choke on ’emmmmmm!” as zombies drag his entrails across the floor.

Best Line

The aforementioned “Choke on ’emmmmmm!”

Day of the Dead

Did You Know?

Damon Albarn’s cartoon band, Gorillaz, sampled John Harrison‘s theme for M1 A1, a song on their debut album.

According to Romero...

“I love Howard Sherman in that movie. Some of the stuff he did, I was just in awe. The moment when he picks up Salem’s Lot — wow!”

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Land of the Dead

The Story...

Those pesky zombies are still stumbling around and biting anything they can get their manky hands on. However, small pockets of survivors have finally got their shit together, and built well-protected enclaves, boasting some semblance of a social hierarchy. No prizes, though, for guessing that, at some point, zombies are going to get in and get their chomp on…

Hey, Man! It's Not Just a Horror Movie...

No, indeed. Romero waited over a decade to make a fourth zombie movie and, when Land of the Dead came, it was loaded with political and social comment, from the thinly-disguised pokes at the Bush administration (Dennis Hopper‘s character might as well be called Rumsfeld) to jabs at the War on Terror (largely fought here, it’s suggested, by just ignoring the problem and hoping it’ll go away) to digs at the class structure of American society, where the rich white man prospers and everyone else can go hang.

Land of the Dead
The Black Guy is...

A zombie! But it’s ok, it’s a hero zombie. Continuing the evolution of the zombies from shambling ghouls to sympathetic characters, Romero gives us Big Daddy, a giant ex-mechanic (played by Eugene Clark) who galvanises his zombie hordes into an army that storms the enclave and reclaims the land for themselves. A land… of the dead. Hey – just like the title! Although not as likeable as Bub, it’s clear that we’re still meant to cheer when Big Daddy – even more terrifying than the fat British wrestler with whom he shares a name – blows Hopper to kingdom come.

The Female Lead is...

In another departure from tradition, not the female lead. Instead, Asia Argento‘s Slack — a hooker with a heart of gold, as they say — turns up about a third of the way in and doesn’t get to do much more than exchange quips with the film’s human hero, Riley (Simon Baker) and fire a gun now and again. Still, it’s nice to renew the Argento-Romero connection.

Land of the Dead
Gore Factor...

Although the film merely garnered a 15 certificate in the UK, the effects, by Greg Nicotero’s KNB, are startling, icky and often hilarious. Nicotero, in fact, was the film’s second unit director, with his team known as The Splatter Unit on set. Our personal favourite? The belly button gag — gets an ‘ooh!’ every time. Remember, kids – piercing just gives zombies more stuff to grab.

Best Line

“I always wanted to see how the other half lives.” — John Leguizamo‘s social climbing mercenary, Cholo, after being bitten.

Land of the Dead

Did You Know?

Not only do Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright — the Shaun Of The Dead creative team — appear as zombies (which you probably did know), but they’re up front on the poster as well, flanking Big Daddy.

According to Romero...

“Big Daddy’s much more severe than Bub. He has to be a leader. And what happens in this film is that others imitate him. And yeah, I think people did say, ‘There’s something more to this movie.’ Well, I’ve been trying to tell you that, guys, for the last 30 years!”

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Diary of the Dead

And so we’re up to date as Diary of the Dead arrives in cinemas. In addition to telling RT about his movies past, we sat down with George A. Romero to learn about Diary and the future of the Dead franchise…

So, you don’t make a zombie film in the 90s, and now it’s two in three years. Are you making up for lost time?

George A. Romero: [laughs] No! I missed the 90s because I was swallowed up in development hell there. I had development deals, made a lot of dough, never made any movies. And basically, I fled and did a little film called Bruiser. I’ve just scrammed and that’s why I missed it.

I had had the idea for Land Of The Dead back then, but I reworked it. Actually, it was — I think — probably thankful that that’s the way it worked out. Post-9/11, it was a much stronger film, I think. That’s what happened with that. When I finished that film, I took a look at it. I was happy with the way it turned out. There was a lot of talk about a sequel and I thought, where the hell am I going to go from here? First of all, I didn’t have an idea and I didn’t want to get involved. I had completely lost touch with the origins of this thing. I wanted to see if I had the chops and the stamina to go back and do a little guerrilla film. Initially I wanted to do something about this emerging media, and I had a little sketch of the script. I was basically ready to go and take a vacation and do it at a film school where I had taught a couple of classes, just to have some control and to do something small.

Diary of the Dead

And Diary is very small — much smaller than Land, which had a $15 million budget.

GR: Yeah, the people at Artfire read the script and said, “We’ll let you have the control if you can make it under four.” I had the idea, and it did grow. I wanted to go back to the beginning. There are a lot of other elements involved here. We lost the copyright on Night of the Living Dead. That’s basically a public domain film and all the other films are owned by somebody else and you have no action in it. So that was also a motivating factor.

I’m glad you mentioned Night, because I thought that Diary was much closer in tone to that movie, and Day Of The Dead, whereas Land and Dawn were poppier. Was that deliberate?

GR: I agree with you. I was trying to do that. I had a conversation early this morning about, “Well, what if they want to make a sequel to this?” Well, this is closer to Night, so maybe we need to do something that’s closer to Dawn. A pure comic book thing.

Are you going to do a sequel to this?

GR: I don’t know what to do. If I had to do a sequel right now, I’d finish the story and start it with the same characters, which is also something I’ve never done. I’m hoping that it’ll all blow away. I’m hoping that if Barack Obama gets elected, I’ll have something to talk about. More importantly, if he gets shot!

Diary of the Dead

I’m intrigued that you and Brian De Palma have made similar films at the same time, with this and…

GR: Redacted. I haven’t seen that and I haven’t seen Cloverfield. I guess there’s a collective subconscious. I don’t know because I haven’t seen those films but I don’t know that they’re exactly about the same kind of thing. I think it’s an influence and where does it come from? It seems to me that this is more of a response to reality television, than it is to this age of New Media. I don’t know if any of these films really speak to that. Redacted, I guess, is helmet cameras, right?

Yeah, and CCTV footage. But it’s interesting that two old stagers-

GR: We’re New Yorkers! [laughs]

OK… New Yorkers, would be drawn to this new form of expression. Were you attracted by the immediacy?

GR: It’s not so much the immediacy but the danger of it. Right in the middle of Super Tuesday in the America election process, they interrupt the election results to say, “We have reports of a tornado touching down in Arkansas. Anyone out there, if you can get a good picture, send it in, we’ll put it on the air and we’ll send you a mug! Be careful!” And people are out there waiting for something to happen. Everyone has a camera phone. The shootings at Virginia Tech, all the footage we had was footage from camera phones. It strikes me as quite dangerous. If Hitler was around, he would never even have to go into the town square. He could throw up a blog and forget about it.

Diary of the Dead

You’ve got a no-name cast this time around, but I detected a few famous voices playing newscasters, including Simon Pegg and Guillermo del Toro.

GR: What happened was, we shot the film in 20 days and then we went back and we had enough money to shoot three more days and that was it. All we could afford was to get the principal footage in the can. We knew we could come back and do the narration portions and the news stuff. There was some of that in the script but we said we can refine it later because it’s all just audio. We shot the film and we came back and we kept writing things and we kept writing dialogue and we would try it on for size. We were all recording – it was me, my editor and my girlfriend and we were sitting there with a finished film but it was all our own voices. So first I called Stephen King and he said, “Sure man, I’ll do it,” and I called some of my other buddies and I’m very grateful that they all said yes and were all willing and able. It’s a vote of confidence.

How did you decide who to single out?

GR: I called people whose work I respect and who I’ve been able to hang out with without having any altercations! [laughs] I tried to call Dario but I couldn’t reach him. [laughs] I don’t know… I guess with subtitles, but he may not have been distinguishable. Tom Savini is one of the voices. I wish that Tom would get back into the biz, so to speak. I think he’s more concerned about being an actor. He wants to be an actor now. He should get back into it.

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George Romero has found a way to reinvent his zombie movies for every age. The original Night of the Living Dead was a simple story of survivors holed up in a house. Dawn of the Dead gave them a bigger space, an entire mall. In Day of the Dead, scientists began studying and trying to train the undead. In Land of the Dead, the zombie society began to overpower the humans.

Now Romero has gone back to the beginning. Diary of the Dead stars a cast of unknowns as film students shooting footage the night of the first outbreak. Their chronicle paints a portrait of how different factions of our culture handle a disaster of supernatural proportions.

Despite his graying beard and pony tail, Romero still knows how to do zombies in the modern world. He’s still quite the showman too. His answers to each question have a beginning, middle and end, classic story structure, and he peppers in casual profanity to “keep it real.” Most importantly, he puts on his spooky voice for key words like “blogosphere” and “production value.”

You used to do one of these films every decade. How did you end up doing two within two years?

George A. Romero: I loved the idea that I could wait for something to happen out in the world and then talk about it. It seemed to need to be years apart in order for the culture to change a little bit, for it to look a little different and all that. But, when we were shooting Land, I suddenly was taken with the idea that God, this is so big and I don’t know where to go. I don’t know if I want to follow that line. There were those four films that were sort of going in a certain direction. I said, “Where do you go next? Beyond Thunderdome?” I didn’t want to do that.

At the same time, before we even shot Land of the Dead, I had this idea that I wanted to do something about the blogosphere, about this new media. I thought I’ve got to do this quick. I also wanted to leave. After Land, I said, “Outta here, I want to go back to my roots. I want to do something small and see if I have the chops or the stamina to do it.” I had this idea and I had it actually sketched out in a rough draft of the script. The moment we finished Land, I sort of refined the script a little bit. I was going to run away, literally run away. I wanted to do it at a film school where I taught a couple of classes way under the radar for a couple hundred grand. Do it with students. The guys at Artfire saw the script and said, “No, no, let’s go theatrical with it. How little can you do it for?” Peter and I sat down and did the lowest budget that we could conceive. In order to do it union and legitimately, all of a sudden it’s not 200 anymore, it’s two million because of all of that. So we came in under four and the guys at Artfire said okay, and they gave me the controls, so I said sure. That’s where it came from. I also felt that I needed to do it quickly because somebody was sure going to do something about it soon. God damn, who knew that Brian [De Palma] was shooting Redacted and Cloverfield was happening? We didn’t know. We thought we were going to be the first guys. Didn’t work out that way.

Is it good to know that Cloverfield made it cool to do the first person perspective, handheld camera sort of document style?

GR: I don’t know. I can’t think of it that way. Is it good to know? I don’t know if it’s good or not. I don’t know. I think there’s a collective subconscious and I think that that’s where these films are coming from. All the world’s a camera now and it seems like it’s a reasonable way to do things. Maybe reality TV has turned into reality movies. I don’t know. It seems an obvious way to go now, even though I thought when we first started to work on this and I first did the script, I thought it was a clever way to go, never seeing that there’s probably going to be a lot of people thinking the same way. It happens so often. There is a collective subconscious out there. So I’m happy with my film. I haven’t seen Cloverfield. I know what it’s about of course but I almost don’t care. I’m happy with what we did.





George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead

The big difference is that the characters in your film are filmmakers, so it’s a filmmaker’s aesthetic. The point of Cloverfield was it was untrained people doing the best they could.

GR: Well, there is [a filmmaker’s aesthetic] and we were sort of aware of that. We left the film alone. We said, “We’ll shoot the principal action and then we can finish it later. Then we can throw anything in there, because these kids are going to finish this film and do a presentation, the best presentation that they can.” So we said we can do the same thing and we did. We left all the narration, all the newscaster voices, all that shit came later in post. That was the great thing about having control over it because we could just sit around and bulls**t and try things on for size, until we finally came up with what we thought was a good, appropriate set of tracks for it. It was great to just have the freedom and not have somebody breathing over your shoulder.

How did you get Jason’s reflection in the monitors?

GR: He had to shoot it. Obviously he had to shoot it himself, but it was like a Madden football play. The DP was shooting it up to a point and right before Joshua Close went in front of the mirror, sort of handed off the camera and Joshua took it and shot that shot.

How did you find the cast of unknowns?

GR: Auditions. Completely auditions. One of them I knew from Stratford, a Shakespeare company in Ontario. One of them was actually in a film that we had done. Shawn Roberts is in Land of the Dead in a very small role, the first guy that dies in Land. I just loved him, he was great to work with and we said, “Let’s go with Shawn.” We talked about giving him the same name but then we thought, “Well, maybe that’s too much of a connection.” He’s there. Other than that, it was all auditions. Lots of auditions.

Now that you’ve done these quickly, can we expect another one quickly? Will we have to wait 20 years?

GR: It beats the s**t out of me. 20 years, I won’t be around, so you don’t have to worry about that. Maybe I’ll come back. No, man, I don’t know. There’s a hell of a lot of talk about a sequel and shooting quickly, maybe this coming summer even. You just never know. Maybe that’ll be a reality. If it happens, it’ll be the first time I’ve ever done a direct sequel: take the same characters, take the same situation and move it on from there, move it to the next square. There’s a lot more that I’d like to say about this emerging media. We’ll see.

Do you think they might run into the mall or the science lab?

GR: No, I don’t think so. No. It’s simultaneous, so they could, but that’s not the way I would want to go with it. The biggest thing that we didn’t touch on was the idea that somebody, anybody, any lunatic could throw up a blog and all of a sudden he’s got 50 people following him. We didn’t really touch on that so much and that’s a direction that I’d like to go with, the idea of people developing tribes just by preaching to the converted. People that tune into Rush Limbaugh know what he’s going to say and already agree. That’s what happens I think with these columnists.

It’s interesting, the blogs and videos they find in Diary are actually helpful. People who have fought zombies share the information about how to destroy their brains.

GR: Not so much the blogs. They get that information from police radio broadcasts. That’s really where that info comes from. Mainstream media is sort of denying it, and then when it comes down to the blogs, that’s what I mean. We haven’t gone into that because they’re the ones who are sending it out without a lot of information. There’s also something there. All they know is what happened to them and yet they’re trying to put out this film and the main character, Jason, is so obsessed with doing it that he loses sight of reality, loses sight of his own survival and winds up perishing because of that. I don’t think they get a lot of accurate information, certainly not off the net.





George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead

Was the scene where electrocuting the zombie doesn’t work an answer to the Return of the Living Dead spinoff franchise, that claimed electricity would kill them for good?

GR: No. Not at all. It was an idea that came to me in the shower. Wouldn’t that be cool if she tries this and it oughta’ fry her but it doesn’t, so she comes back.

You start to explore how other cultures are responding to this. We see video from Japan and they even go through Amish country. What other cultures would you like to explore in this scenario?

GR: I don’t know but it’s a good idea. I really haven’t thought much about that. We were just trying to show that it’s worldwide. That’s all.

Since each film takes a different approach, what are the must-have elements in one of your zombie movies?

GR: Zombies! No, in fact, I could do away with the zombies. I don’t give a s**t. The stories have nothing to do with the zombies. The zombies might be a hurricane. They might be any disaster that comes along, but zombies are my ticket to ride in a certain way.

But all the films have scenes where they barricade, where they gather supplies, where they start in-fighting.

GR: That recurs because it’s human argument, right? It’s people not knowing exactly what to do and just getting caught up in arguing about ridiculous stuff instead of trying to really directly address the problem. I don’t think it’s so much that. The zombies are the ticket to ride. These are zombie movies so you have to have zombies. You have to figure out a cool way to get rid of the zombies, to kill them off, lose the brain somehow. That’s really the only element. The rest of it is they’re stories. They’re stories about people.





George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead

Does Diary even focus more on the human story and less on the zombie element than the other films?

GR: I don’t know that it necessarily does. Probably certainly not less than Night, but the story’s more obvious and the zombie sequences, particularly the gore sequences, go by very quickly because they’re shot subjectively by these people that are sort of standing back a little bit. Whereas the tendency when you’re doing it objectively is to go in for close up and do product shots on the gore. That just tends to stretch it out. I think pound for pound, it’s equal at least to, maybe not all of the films. Maybe Dawn and Day went a little further but it’s just that it goes by so quickly I think, because we’re just looking at it from over here. We’re not going in and studying it and taking five minutes to kill that zombie off.

How do you come up with new ways to dispose of the brain?

GR: You take a shower. I don’t know, man, it just comes to you.

You don’t sing. You think of zombie kills.

GR: I do. Of course I do. I’m already just faced with the idea of possibly having to do another sequel, and knowing that someday I probably will do another zombie movie, already the first thing you start to do is figure out new ways to dispose of these guys. It’s tough to come up with stuff.

It’s always been interesting to me that the first film was Night of the LIVING Dead, but then it was always …of the Dead. Aren’t they still living dead?

GR: Yes, they are. It’s not my fault. Don’t ask me. I don’t make up the titles. The funny thing is, my partner at the time when I made Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead didn’t want to get involved with any sort of litigation, so he shortened it to “of the dead.” Now anybody that wants to hire me to make a movie, it has to be “of the dead,” Something of the Dead.

You said you didn’t know where to go with the Land of the Dead thread, but Land suggested there might be uncontaminated areas he was heading off to. Wouldn’t that be a place to explore?

GR: That’s actually the way I’m sort of going. You want to just get somewhere where there’s at least less turmoil, someplace a little less civilized where at least if there is a conflict, it’s going to be smaller and maybe more controlled. But yeah, that’s obviously the way I was going and that’s what I was doing with Land because there was a hell of a lot of talk while we were shooting Land that we’ll do a sequel to this right away too. It’s the obvious thing to do. If I was one of those guys, I’d say, “Let’s go to the Yukon, man.”

Would you eventually revisit that timeline?

GR: I don’t think so. I don’t know where to go with it. I don’t know what to do with the zombies. I don’t want to do Beyond the Planet of the Apes. I don’t want a zombie society. I don’t want to go that far. I’ve had ideas in that direction but it’s not really what I want to do. I’m now happy that I’ve started over and I have a whole other thing that I can probably milk until I die and I never have to get to that point. I never have to end it because I don’t know exactly how to end it.

Could they maybe intersect at some point?

GR: Maybe, they could, and I’ve thought about that too but I doubt it. I think I just want to have this new line now and I’ll stick with that and not worry about what happens at the end. It’s so hard to end. What happens? Either the zombies take over or the humans win. I don’t like either of those and I don’t like some kind of d’etant. The end of Land is that sort of “let ’em be.” So I came close enough I guess to that idea of live and let live.

Would you ever explain the cause of this phenomenon, or always leave it a mystery?

GR: I hope not. I don’t care what the cause is. I’ve forever been trying to live down, in Night of the Living Dead, we shot actually three explanations. We wound up having to cut six minutes out of the film in order for the distributor to want to distribute it. We cut out a radio thing and a TV thing because we thought it’s just boring, we’re sitting in the house, same old thing. We left in the one that we shot in Washington, D.C. because we thought, “Production value, man. We actually went to D.C. and shot it with the capitol in the background.” So we left that in. Next thing you know, even every TV Guide blurb said, “A returning Venus probe causes the dead to come back to life.” Starting with the second film, I went with that sort of voodoo explanation, “When there’s no more room in hell…” I don’t care. I don’t give a f**k why it happened. That’s part of the whole thing to me is that there’s this change. The world has changed. Somebody has changed some kind of a rule and it’s different. The stories are about how people respond to it, don’t respond, respond incorrectly, stupidly, whatever. That’s really all that matters to me.





George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead

What zombie films from other filmmakers do you enjoy?

GR: I love Shaun. Love it. I like a movie called Fido. Great, Billy Connolly, great. I just thought it was gas.

Have you seen Flight of the Living Dead?

GR: I haven’t, no. I haven’t seen it.

Those are all still recent. Are there any classic zombie movies besides yours?

GR: Oh, classic? Different zombies, man. That’s the Caribbean boys. Classic films, I don’t know. Carnival of Souls. Is that a zombie movie? I don’t know if it is.

How about the Italian ones?

GR: I love a couple of Fulci things. I just had a gas watching them. It’s not what I would do but I loved watching them. They were fun. And the oldies, man, I Walk With a Zombie, White Zombie and that stuff. Different zombies. They’re not the neighborhood zombies.

Which of your non-zombie films would you love for fans to rediscover?

GR: My two favorite films of mine are sort of semi-vampire; it’s not a vampire, it’s called Martin. And a film I made called Knightriders which is probably my most personal or autobiographical film in a way. So those two.

George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead is out in limited release today.

Just what does Rotten Tomatoes deem the all-time scariest horror flick? Is it a gruesome slasher that results in heightened anxiety and sudden spine-tingling jolts and jumps? Or, is it a psychological thriller that plagues the subconscious for weeks to come?

Author: Christina Troup

We searched the site for the top 20 horror/suspense movies to reveal the numero uno cinematic scare just in time for a frightful Halloween film fest.**

Today’s installment kicks off the countdown; check in every day ’til October 31 as we serve up the best reviewed frightening flicks for your Halloween viewing pleasure!

Oh, and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Top Horror/Suspense Films by Tomatometer, #20-16


20) Open Water (2004) 72%

It might as well be space because in the Caribbean Sea no one can hear you scream. Well, save for the circling sharks below. In the slow-paced psychological thriller "Open Water," married couple Susan and Daniel embark upon a deep sea adventure to rest, relax and reconnect. Unfortunately for the twosome, they are accidentally left behind by their diving team, smack dab in the middle of the deep blue. The pair struggle to survive amid tumultuous elements and inhospitable oceanic critters. Oh, and get this, it’s based on a true story, so you may want to rethink that next seaside getaway.

Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis
Directed by: Chris Kentis

19) Joy Ride (2001) 73%



Breaker, breaker 1-9. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the horror meets the highway jaunt "Joy Ride," it’s that one should never mess with a guy who goes by the name "Rusty Nail." Tetanus, people. Tetanus. Of course, on-screen bros Paul Walker and Steve Zahn didn’t get the memo and end up messing with a mentally unstable truck driver via CB radio. Essentially, a mean-spirited joke goes awry and the two brothers, along with potential love interest Leelee Sobieski, find themselves in the path of a madman’s quest for revenge.

Starring: Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski
Directed by: John Dahl

18) George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead (2005) 74%



After a lengthy hiatus, horror master George A. Romero returned in 2005 with yet another unsettling tale of life among zombies in "Land of the Dead." This time around, the living dead and humans co-exist, but not without a structured caste system in place. Romero’s societal commentary tackles the issue of the "haves" and "have-nots," where the wealthy live in luxury, safe behind walls of protection while the not-so fortunate are relegated to life in streets. Regardless, no amount of money can keep the ever-evolving lineage of zombies at bay for too long.

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento
Directed by: George A. Romero

17) Signs (2002) 75%



Honestly, which is scarier: the little girl that asks for a glass of water or the bobble-headed aliens lurking about in M. Night Shyamalan‘s "Signs?" Beyond the suspense of who, or perhaps what, is behind the crop circles in the cornfield, "Signs" digs a little deeper and brings up issues of faith and religion. The tale of the Hess family and the series of peculiar events that have lately befallen them is a perfectly chilling romp for the whole family to enjoy.

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

16) Audition (1999) 76%



The first half of "Audition" is slow-moving, like a glob of peanut butter lodged in the back of your throat. But by the latter half, chances are you’d prefer that things had kept at their leisurely pace. Not for the faint of heart, Takashi Miike‘s disturbing tale of courtship is a perfect example that it’s never wise to mislead a woman. After all, it’s all fun and games until someone severs a limb.

Directed by: Takashi Miike
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina

Tune in tomorrow for the next five titles, in our four-day countdown to Halloween’s #1 rated horror flick!

**These are our top-Tomatometer picks with at least 40 reviews counted, which is why some of the classics of spooky cinema aren’t included.

Fresh off the success of his "Land of the Dead," zombie-master George A. Romero has decided to "go indie" on his next "Dead" sequel, which will be called "Diary of the Dead" and goes into production this October.

From The Hollywood Reporter: "George A. Romero has signed on to write and direct "George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead," following in the tradition of his 1968 cult classic "Night of the Living Dead." With a story mixing elements of "The Blair Witch Project" and the long-running "Dead" series, the film will follow a group of college students shooting a horror movie in the woods who stumble upon a real zombie uprising. When the onslaught begins, they seize the moment as any good film students would, capturing the undead in a "cinema verite" style that causes more than the usual production headaches. After going more than two decades without making an independently financed zombie film, Romero told his production partner Peter Grunwald he was frustrated working within the system. "I was trying to convince Peter we could just run off and do it ourselves," he said."

Cool!

The "Dead" series goes like this: "Night" (1968), "Dawn" (1978), "Day" (1985), and "Land" (2005).

Although Father’s Day has passed, Hollywood brings out two very different stories about dads and their wacky adventures this weekend with Adam Sandler‘s comedy Click and Tyrese Gibson‘s actioner Waist Deep, both opening in theaters on Friday. Comedy has been ruling the box office throughout the month of June and that trend should continue until the Man of Steel arrives next week.

Looking for his seventh trip across the $100M mark, Adam Sandler returns to the big screen with his latest comedy Click. Released by his favorite studio Sony, the PG-13 pic tells the story of a man who comes across a magical remote control that gives him the power to manipulate his whole world, from his family at home to his boss at work. Frank Coraci follows up The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy by directing the funnyman for a third time while Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Kate Beckinsale, and Henry Winkler co-star. Sandler, who turns forty this year, is moving on from his slacker roles playing a husband and father. This makes sense as his fan base is aging too.

The comedian typically picks films with unique concepts and Click is no different. The story is not run-of-the-mill, but an interesting what-if scenario that will make audiences curious. Trailers and commercials have been funny so another blockbuster that satisfies moviegoers is in the works. Over the last eight years, Sandler has seen his bigger hits like Waterboy, Big Daddy, Anger Management, Mr. Deeds, and 50 First Dates all open in the $37-42M range with opening weekend averages of more than $11,000 each time. His most recent film The Longest Yard scored a bit better last summer opening to $47.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. The guy comes out with about one movie per year so audiences don’t get too much of him.

Young men make up the actor’s bread and butter, however you don’t open north of $40M by just appealing to this group. Female appeal is also solid with his films and Click should click with chicks too. Still, Nacho Libre and The Fast and the Furious sequel will be in their second weekends and even though both are expected to drop hard, the duo will still provide some competition for Sandler. However, since Waist Deep is looking to be a relatively small pic in the marketplace, this weekend shapes up to be one where Click is the only major new wide release. That should make frequent moviegoers like teens and twentysomethings look at it as the only new game in town.

Sony has invested heavily in the marketing push and summer is a time when people want to laugh so the returns should be healthy. Opinions of critics should not matter much. One of the most reliable box office draws around, Adam Sandler will see the widest opening of his career with a launch in 3,748 theaters this weekend. That could push Click to around $43M over the Friday-to-Sunday span.

Tyrese Gibson plays an ex-con on a fast and furious hunt to get back his kidnapped son in the new action drama Waist Deep from Focus Features’ Rogue Pictures division. Directed by Vondie Curtis Hall (Glitter, Gridlock’d), the R-rated film also stars Meagan Good, Larenz Tate and hip hop star The Game. Gibson jumped from the modeling world into movies and has become a player although his roles have always been opposite other established box office draws. This time, he anchors solo as none of his co-stars have a track record of opening films on their own.

Waist Deep will play primarily to an urban audience with African Americans making up the largest component. Whites are not likely to show much interest. This same audience powered ATL to a stellar $11.6M bow from 1,602 theaters this past spring. However, Waist does not seem to have the same level of hype plus it will debut in fewer theaters. Most of the film’s competition will come from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which is likely to fall sharply this weekend. The marketing push has been targeted and is trying to appeal to fans of The Game who in recent years has developed a large fan base. Opening in 1,004 theaters, Waist Deep might shoot up about $6M this weekend.

Opening in limited release this weekend, Roadside Attractions offers the controversial film The Road to Guantanamo which tells the story of a group of Pakistani men from England who are detained while traveling to Afghanistan and imprisoned and tortured by the U.S. military. Told through a mix of interviews with survivors and re-enactments of the events, the R-rated pic won the best director prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and hits 15 theaters in North America before expanding.

After two laps as box office champ, the Disney/Pixar animated hit Cars looks to decelerate some more this weekend for a second place finish. The film’s 43% second weekend decline was the biggest for any Pixar toon since 1999’s Toy Story 2 which was coming off of a Thanksgiving holiday launch. Cars should see its drop stabilize since this weekend’s offerings should not pull away too many young children. A decline of 40% to about $20M could result giving the Lightning McQueen pic $152M in 17 days.

Jack Black flexed some amazing muscles last weekend with the debut of Nacho Libre. Adam Sandler will provide some stiff competition for young males so a sizable drop of 50% could occur giving Paramount a weekend take of around $14M. That would still give the wrestling comedy a solid $54M in ten days.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift also debuted impressively last weekend tapping into a similar audience, but a steep sophomore crash is imminent. The last film in the franchise, 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, tumbled 63% in its second race. This latest Universal sequel has also burned through its upfront crowd plus will face competition for young guys from Click and for the urban audience from Waist Deep. A hefty 60% fall would leave Tokyo Drift with $9M for the weekend and $42M in ten days.

Keanu and Sandra snuggled up to a decent, but not spectacular, opening for their romance The Lake House. Adult women will not be too distracted by the new options so a moderate 40% drop could result. That would give the Warner Bros. release $8M for the frame and a ten-day tally of $29M.

LAST YEAR: Topping the charts for a second straight weekend, Batman Begins grossed $27.6M dropping 43% from its opening giving Warner Bros. an encouraging hold. Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell powered their new comedy Bewitched into the number two slot opening with $20.1M. The Sony release found its way to $62.3M. Fox’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith placed third with $16.8M in its third fight. Two new releases rounded out the top ten. Disney’s Lindsay Lohan film Herbie: Fully Loaded opened to $12.7M and $17.7M over five days, while Universal’s zombie flick Land of the Dead bowed to $10.2M. Final grosses reached $66M and $20.5M, respectively. In limited release, the inner city dancing documentary Rize opened to $1.6M from 352 theaters for a $4,474 average putting it in 12th place. Lions Gate collected $3.3M by the end of its short run.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Rotten Tomatoes, the trusted online source for gauging the critical reaction to movies, has announced the 2005 recipients of the Golden Tomato Awards, the site’s annual awards given to recognize the year’s best-reviewed films.

The awards are not based solely on just the Tomatometer score. We use a weighted formula (Bayesian) to account for variation in the number of reviews per movie. The winners are determined by the rankings after applying said formula. This means between two films with similar Tomatometer scores, the one with more reviews will have a higher ranking.

The Golden Tomato for Best Limited Release Film goes to Warner Independent Pictures and director George Clooney for their McCarthy-era drama, "Good Night, And Good Luck," based on a tally of 167 reviews of the country’s top print, broadcast and online film critics.

The Golden Tomato for Best Wide Release Film is awarded to DreamWorks and Aardman Studio’s lovable duo of a cheese-obsessed inventor and his faithful companion, the titular heroes of "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," based on the reviews of 148 critics across the nation.

Other big winners include Universal Pictures’ "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" for Best Comedy, Warner Independent Pictures’ "March of the Penquins" for Best Documentary and Sony Pictures Classics’ "Kung-Fu Hustle" for Best Foreign Film. A complete list of winners follows.

2005 Winners Complete List:

BEST-REVIEWED WIDE RELEASE:
"Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"

BEST-REVIEWED LIMITED RELEASE:
"Good Night, And Good Luck"

BEST-REVIEWED ACTION/ADVENTURE:
"Batman Begins"

BEST-REVIEWED ANIMATION:
"Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"

BEST-REVIEWED COMEDY:
"The 40 Year-Old Virgin"

BEST-REVIEWED DRAMA:
"Good Night, And Good Luck"

BEST-REVIEWED HORROR:
"George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead"

BEST-REVIEWED KIDS/FAMILY:
"Millions"

BEST-REVIEWED ROMANCE:
"Brokeback Mountain"

BEST-REVIEWED SCI-FI/FANTASY:
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

BEST-REVIEWED DOCUMENTARY:
"March of the Penquins"

BEST-REVIEWED FOREIGN FILM:
"Kung Fu Hustle"

BEST-REVIEWED THRILLER:
"A History of Violence"

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