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Top 10 Scariest Movies Of The Last 10 Years

Top Scariest Movies (List) - With ClipsHalloween is almost upon us, a time when the streets fill with costumed kids angling for candy, and the multiplexes clog with scary tales angling for a sequel. And with all things spooky clawing at the collective consciousness, what better time to post Movie-Moron’s top 10 scariest movies of the last 10 years?

[REC] (2007)

Top 10 Scariest Films
The found footage film might now be so utterly played out as to resemble nothing other than the last refuge of the talentless (ooh, hello Apollo 18), but it has yielded a handful of gems over the course of the last decade. Like this Spanish exercise in quarantine craziness, in which a TV crew go looking for a story in a sealed-off building, only to bite off more than they can chew… actually, it’s what they find in the building that does most of the biting.

Dark Water (2002)

Best Scariest Movies
A child is seeking redress in this well-crafted offering from J-horror kingpin Hideo Nakata (The Ring movies, natch). Is said redress sought for the kid’s premature, watery demise? Or ahead of time for the tepid Dark Water remake, starring Jennifer Connolly? Answers on a postcard, please.

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Good Scariest Films
Unfairly maligned on account of being saddled with the direct-to-DVD stigma, Michael Dougherty’s seasonal anthology flick is actually far better than such an ignominious fate indicates. Fairer to judge it on its sterling cast – Dylan Baker, Brian Cox and Anna Paquin amongst them – on the big name producer who lent his backing to the project – Bryan Singer – and oh, on the fact it’s a tightly-woven little chiller too.

Martyrs (2008)

Top 10 Scariest Films
Controversial, to say the least, upon release in its native France, Martyrs begins like torture porn – albeit stylishly done – before heading in a very different direction indeed. An arresting meditation on pain and the purpose of suffering, it remains a source of regret that director Pascal Laugier was unable to bring his revisiting of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser to the screen.

The Orphanage (2007)

Scariest Movies Orphanage
The most recent production to emerge from the Guillermo del Toro production stable, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, actually turned out to be only as scary as its trailer, and certainly less scary than this earlier del Toro-produced spookfest, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona. A Hollywood remake has since beckoned, yet stubbornly refused to materialise, despite the efforts of first Larry Fessenden and then Mark Pellington.

The Descent (2005)

Scariest Movies Descent
Confirming the promise director Neil Marshall had displayed with Dog Soldiers, this subterranean shocker was both a genuinely creepy Brit-flick and a confirmed hit. Marshall has had access to bigger budgets since on Doomsday and Centurion, without delivering as effective results.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Top Scariest Movies Right One In
Blood in the snow is the most obvious example of director Tomas Alfredson’s eye for an image here, his sense of visual style being trailed in this chilly Swedish vampire tale, before having been confirmed by his recent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A story of friendship between two young misfits, Alfredson brings a crafted artfulness to the creepy atmospherics.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Scariest Movies List
Following in the footsteps of Halloween by John Carpenter and The Blair Witch Project by… er, those two guys who have never made anything worthy of note since, Oren Peli’s spin on the haunted house story is the most recent cost-to-profit horror blockbuster. Two sequels have already followed, with the newest of those currently sitting atop the US box office.

Saw (2004)

Scariest Movies Ever

Speaking of sequels, this franchise spits ‘em out almost as fast as a telly show spits out its next episode. But while the Saw series overall is hard to take seriously, after seven instalments in as many years, it should not be overlooked that this opening salvo delivered some confirmed nastiness, as ingenious killer Jigsaw visits suffering upon the selfish and ungrateful in society.

28 Days Later (2002)

Scariest Movies Of All Time In Last 10 Years

If a tree falls down in a forest when no one is around, then does it make a sound? Or here’s another one: can a running zombie ever truly be considered a zombie? Dunno, but zombies or not, ‘the infected’ of Danny Boyle’s grimy gorefest were not to be taken lightly. Entirely contemporary, but infused with a sense of genre history (the soon-to-be-a-star Cillian Murphy awakening in an abandoned London, akin to John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids), 28 Days Later also confirmed that Boyle was well and truly back following the disaster of The Beach.

What do you think are the scariest movies of the last decade?

Also See: Top 20 Scariest Movies Of This Year
Top 20 Scariest Movies Of Last Year
Top 20 Scariest Movies Of Two Years Ago

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26 Comments »

  • Jol Brook said

    A bit eerie and tense, yes – scary, no. That would take characters you care about. That requires actors with some personality and good writers and directors. This combination does not exist in this decade, so no ‘scary’ movies.

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    • awal said

      Jol is a pretencious douchebag. no scary movies in the last 10 years? what a hipster tool.

      dunno where they would fit but i would include the ring (US version), 28 weeks later, and maybe a tale of two sisters. (were blair witch or audition made in the 2000s?)

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      • Sheridan Passell said

        Blair Witch and Audition were made before Oct 2001 – Oct 2011. Both ’99.

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  • Brandon Roberts said

    Good list! If this was my scariest movies I think it would probably look like this:
    (In no particular order)
    10-Martyrs
    09-The Descent
    08- Lake Mungo
    07- The Orphanage
    06- Session 9
    05- The Ring
    04- The Mist
    03- Insidious (Way underrated!)
    02- The Devil’s Backbone
    01- Inside

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  • roscoe said

    The Strangers!!!

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  • piper said

    Paranormal Activity was so boring I was rooting for them to die half way thru.

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  • Craig Sanders said

    Agree with Roberts that “Insidious” belongs on the list. It packs serious chills into a PG-13 container. Also I’d add “The Others.” Regarding “REC” and “Let the Right One In,” don’t ignore the fine U.S. remakes. “Let Me In” was excellent, if not better.

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  • Heather said

    Great list! These are some of my favorites.

    I think you missed Insidious.

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  • Thom said

    I have to disagree with Paranormal Activity. A good start leads to a disappointing climax. The story and plot developments don’t make any sense and the characters decisions are too absurd to be believable. Insidious is a much better film compared to this (although I found that a bit tacky in places).
    El Orfanato (The Orphanage) was good but I wouldn’t really say it was very “scary”.

    I tend to get my thrills more from Mystery Thriller films like, A Perfect getaway The Box or even Devil. They aren’t amazing films but certainly more tense than a lot of the ones here. Horrors tend to be something you have to ignore what critics say, as it’s quite a personal thing whether something scares you or not.

    A few films that have put the willies up me from the last 10 years are
    Let the Right One In, Saw, Descent, 28 Days/Weeks Later, The Reaping, Drag Me to Hell. In the “Do these count” category Cloverfield, I am Legend, The Machinist, and special mention to Coraline.

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    • Sheridan Passell said

      The Reaping? Was always curious about that movie but was put off by the reviews. Will have to check it out.

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      • Thom said

        Yeh, it got really awful reviews but I though Swank & Bale, how can it fail? This is my review at the time

        “I really enjoyed this film. Quite mild in terms of horror but is a call back to old movies like The Wicker Man etc. rather than Saw!
        It is quite predictable but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining, there are a few twists that may surprise you.
        It felt like watching a really good episode of The X-Files.”

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        • Sheridan Passell said

          I watched The Reaping tonight. It started quite well, I was curious where the story was going but by the end it had lost me, eg it hadn’t done enough to sell me that the whole town were devil worshippers. When the girl said ‘You have a baby inside you’ in the final scene and Hillary Swank looked at the camera I half expected a ‘wat waaah’ comedy sound fx. I enjoy this style of horror movie too, here I felt it lacked scares and there was just ‘something’ missing.

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    • Pupp said

      i agree. the orphanage is SCARY

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  • dalmatianjaws said

    I adore Let the Right One In but really didn’t find it terribly scary.

    Is Martyrs worth checking out? I watched it for about ten minutes and REALLY didn’t like it, though I tend to think French horror sucks (High Tension, Them). But if it changes part way through I might give it another shot.

    I’d put Paranormal Activity on top of this list in terms of pure scares. And while the ending shot was lame (and added on by the studio, btw) I totally disagree with Thom I thought what made that movie work was TOTALLY believable characters. Likeable? Maybe not, but that actually worked for me. The trick with the found footage subgenre is to spin a yarn without making it obvious you’re spinning a yarn. Blair Witch did this too well, leaving out any sort of story. The Last Exorcism did this WAY too much, by adding extra camera shots that they wouldn’t have been able to get with one camera, etc, and also having a painful twist ending. What makes Paranorman Activity so visceral is that it has a realistic slow build that’s built into the premise so it feels realistic.

    Insidious should not be mentioned on this or any list. It has one scary moment and the movie is absolutely retarded. Those two fools shouldn’t be allowed near a camera.

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  • aaron b said

    balls is saw scary a brilliant film but not scary

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  • gd smith said

    Pumpkin Boy from Trick ‘r’ Treat neads a franchicise. I want to see him fight it out with Sackhead-Kid from the Orphanage!
    I don’t watch horror for scares. I just like them for entertainment value, style, gore or for having an intriguing concept. This is a prety good list, Dark Waters excepted.
    My list would include.
    The Human Centipede, a film with an idea so retch inducing you don’t even notice that it is all about sugestion. The found footage stuff is an intresting development. Except in the case of Apollo 18 (moon spiders, I ask you!) and Cloverfield(yov’e got pro news crews, the military and god knows who else filming this big Godzilla mo fo and you concentrate on a bunch of yuppie types,it’s also too silly to sustain the po-faced seriousness of the execution)
    A few not on the list. Inside, Altered, Grace, little Erin Merryweather(it has a nice look and a good score one of the few modern slashers that does). The Hole 3D, The Host, The Cottage, Severence are fun horrors I liked Splice. I think the sex scene is supposed to be funny and I’m convinced that Dren is toying with idea of skinning the cat and wearing it has a wighat. It’s been a better decade for horror than the 90s.
    Actually the nearest I got to being scared, well chilled, was the Skeptic. My Mum and Granny treated ghosts as real. So old fashioned ghost stories, without sturm and drang, undo my sense of logic. I don’t believe in Ghosts but they’re lodged there as a fear.

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  • Herman King said

    WHY ISN’T “GHOST STORY” EVER LISTED? THOSE GREAT OLD ACTORS–FRED ASTAIRE, DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS JR., MELVYN DOUGLAS, JOHN HOUSEMAN–MADE IT A MASTERPIECE.

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  • Savannah R said

    Ugh if Paranormal Activity and Saw are on this list, I have a hard time believing that the other ones are scary. I’m on a mission to find the scariest movie to watch with my friend and these don’t seem to be it. Still, I’ll never know until I watch them. Can anyone reccomend me a scary movie? I’ve seen, The Woman in Black, that one was pretty thrilling. Don’t say Insidious, that one wasn’t scary at all. I was sighing by the end of it.

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    • Freebytes said

      Savannah R, you should check out a movie called High Tension. It should be sufficient to keep you and your friend on the edge of your seats.

      Also, there is a movie called Grave Encounters. It starts off slow and makes you groan as they make fun of the Paranormal Activity style genre, but it really progresses nicely.

      Lastly, watch a movie called The Fourth Kind. It is pretty good. These are three different genre of horror movies so one of them should do the trick.

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      • Ruben said

        Grave Encounters is the scariest movie ive seen. Handcamera does the trick. Good build up indeed, tension in the movie is great!
        Its just a simple but very effective scary movie! The *monsters in the movie are difficult to get out of your head

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    • Smobius said

      Scariest movie I’ve ever seen (though it’s hard to find is High Tension.

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  • Michcael said

    Martyrs is amazing and every bit worth checking out.

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  • PUPPY [the cute and the cuddly] said

    dark water and the orphanage made me pee my pants! seriuosly. (hides inside couch) SOS help me! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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  • JoAnn said

    The Exorcist is the Grand Dame of any list on horror. The Devil’s Backbone is awesome. I think tensely waiting for something awful to happen trumps gore every time. Rosemary’s Baby did that in spades. The Ring scared the piss out of me.

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