15 Essential Horror Movies: The 2000s

The best in horror from 2000-2009

The 2000s was a decade of popular culture that you either loved or hated. Personally, I loved it. I’m still obsessed with fashion icons like Christina Aguilera, I’m still jamming to JoJo and I still quote contestants from “Flavor of Love” on the regular. And when it comes to horror, this is perhaps my all time favorite time for the genre.

And it’s not because the films are beautiful works of art, on the contrary they’re often cliché and rely on gore, torture and jump scares. But you know what? I’m not claiming to be a sophisticated film critic that only consumes top tier content. I like trash and I frequently rewatch my favorite horror flicks from this decade.

One thing that this decade had in common was making tons of sequels. Best known for this is “Saw,” who’ve released seven sequels and have an eighth set to premiere in theaters in 2021. The idea behind “Saw” carried through each individual movie and the plots tie together because it was written cohesively. Another franchise that spawned many sequels was “Final Destination.” Although this film primarily features different casts with the exception of a cameo from Clear Rivers in the sequel, they’re all set in the same universe and often allude to prior accidents. “Paranormal Activity” also got it’s start in this decade and is slated to release their seventh installment in 2021—even though they probably should have stopped several films ago.

If you’re planning on having a horror movie marathon, this list was made for you and you’re sure to find at least one movie on this list that tickles your fancy. Take a peek at our top 15 essential horror movies of the 2000s in the gallery below and let us know your favorite movie from this list in the comments section on social media.

“Let the Right One In” (2008)

Following the hype of other vampire movies, director Tomas Alfredson put his own spin of the concept with “Let the Right One In,” a tale of a 12-year-old boy who befriends a young blood sucker in Sweden.

“Drag Me to Hell” (2009)

Created by Sam Raimi, who directed the “Evil Dead” franchise, this film follows a loan shark that chooses not to extend an elderly woman’s mortgage and in retaliation, the old woman places a curse on her that includes three days of excruciating torture and ends with eternity burning in hell.

“The Host” (2007)

Before Bong Joon-ho directed “Parasite,” he made “The Host,” which follows a man whose daughter is taken by a monster living in the Han River and his journey to rescue her.

“28 Days Later” (2003)

One of the best zombie films ever made, this film shows what happens when England is overrun by a dangerous virus that’s accidentally spread by an infected primate.

“The Descent” (2006)

This film features a stellar cast of female actors, whose characters descend into a cave only to encounter terrifying monsters within.

“Saw” (2004)

As a whole, this franchise dominated horror during the 2000s. The first film introduced one of the most chilling takes on survival, the value of life and torture.

“Final Destination” (2000)

Another franchise that rocked the decade, “Final Destination” follows a high schooler who has a premonition of a plane crash moments before it happens and after escaping, he and his friends are haunted by death.

“Orphan” (2009)

After losing a child of their own, a family adopts a 9-year-old Russian girl and soon discover that she’s more sinister than sweet.

“Battle Royale” (2000)

Based on the 1999 novel by Koushan Takami, this film centers on a group of students who must fight to the death by order of a totalitarian government.

“American Psycho” (2000)

Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, “American Pyscho” follows a charismatic and wealthy investment banker who’s also a vicious serial killer.

“A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003)

Set in the South Korean countryside, this film follows a young girl who returns to her family’s home after staying in a mental hospital only to be reunited with her wicked stepmother and the ghosts in their home.

“Paranormal Activity” (2007)

Speaking of ghosts, “Paranormal Activity” revitalized the found footage genre and centers on a couple whose home is haunted by supernatural forces.

“The Cell” (2000)

Jennifer Lopez stars in this science fiction horror film, playing a child psychologist who teams up with a group of scientists. The scientists place her into the mind of a serial killer and she must face his innermost demons.

“Ginger Snaps” (2000)

This film follows teenage sister Brigitte and Ginger, who both have a fascination with death. One night, Ginger is bitten by a mysterious creature and slowly turns into an aggressive werewolf throughout the film.

“Hostel” (2005)

Horror director Eli Roth introduced audiences to “Hostel” in 2005 and the film follows a group of teenagers who travel to Eastern Europe only to be kidnapped by an organization who tortures and murders tourists.