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Top 10 British Horror Films Of The Last 10 Years

5: Byzantium (2012)
Top 10 Best British Horror Films

With the Twilight movies pegging the vampire populace less as children of the night than buttock-clenching twerps more buffoonish than Leslie Nielsen in Dracula: Dead and Loving It, a reset was clearly required for the whole blood-sucking paradigm. That reset came courtesy of Tamara Drewe screenwriter Moira Buffini, and the result was Byzantium.

Starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan as a mother-daughter duo of garlic-dodgers, Byzantium resounds with echoes of vampire movies gone-by. The (in truth, slightly limp) origin mythology recalls director Neil Jordan’s ’90s Hollywood hit, Interview with the Vampire, while the seaside guest-house setting inevitably evokes potent memories of Daughters of Darkness.


4: Kill List (2011)
Top 10 British Horror Movies

If you forcibly mated The Wicker Man with The Parallax View then the result might be something akin to Kill List, in which a hired gun (Neil Maskell) finds himself at the heart of an occult conspiracy with tendrils extending far deeper than is first apparent.

Though the conclusion shares DNA with A Serbian Film, this second outing for director Ben Wheatley is its own beast, and it represented something of a golden ticket for its director, as he was instantly elevated to the ranks of genre-friendly young(ish) white guys we love to worship at the feet of. Hail Nolan!


3: The Descent (2005)
UK Films Horror

For most of us average couch potatoes, caving is a pretty bloody terrifying prospect at the best of times. The closest we like to come to a confined space is sticking our bonces in the fridge to confirm that, yes indeed, we have drunk all the beer. The Descent plays on that fear (of caving, not running out of beer), as the all-female cast are pitched into a labyrinth of atavistic nightmares.

If the girl-talk drama is all a bit bad Brian De Palma, then director Neil Marshall is really only killing time till the actual killing can commence, and commence it duly does, as the women find themselves trapped with an army of flesh-guzzling troglodytes. Just like any other night at the singles’ bar then, eh ladies?


2: The Woman in Black (2012)
Good British Horror Movie

Given that every fresh image of the lad seems to show him mutating further and further away from the pea-headed moppet of the early Harry Potter movies and closer and closer to a live-action homage to Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man, it’s only fitting Daniel Radcliffe was given his shot at a genuine horror flick – courtesy of the reanimated corpse of Hammer Films, no less.

And though plenty were predicting the young star would drop the ball in the manner of that butterfingered butterbrain Shia LaBeouf, the doubters were forced to eat their words when The Woman in Black turned out to not only be a critical hit but also a box office monster to rival… well, Daniel Rad-wolf himself. Awoooooo!


1: Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Best British Horror Film

He could’ve been Dwight of the Living Dead. He might’ve been Zombie Flesh Peters. He wasn’t; he was Shaun of the Dead, and he was the biggest thing to hit the horror-comedy sub-genre since John Landis listened to Werewolves of London and thought to himself, “Hey, there might be a movie in there somewhere.”

Like their TV collaboration, Spaced, the thing which elevated Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s take on the shambling undead was their evident knowledge and love of the tropes their movie was playing with. This wasn’t a spoof, but rather a comedy framed within a zombie flick, thereby allowing the moments of horror to hit with the force of a blow from Shaun’s trusty cricket bat.


Honourable Mentions:
Berberian Sound Studio (2012), The Awakening (2011), Black Death (2010), Heartless (2009), Tony (2009), Wilderness (2006)

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6 Comments »

  • No One said

    I saw Eden Lake…a piece of ****. What a turd. Absolutely nothing happens. There is no conflict. No resolution. I kept waiting for the woman to get pissed and beat the crap out of those little $#WQ#ers. Don’t anyone waste your time on this drivel.

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  • MJ Simpson said

    Hard to argue with Shaun of the Dead, The Descent, Eden Lake, Severance and Triangle. But The Woman in Black was pompous nonsense with a badly written script and a reliance on cheap cat-scares to hide the lack of any genuine gothic ambience. Attack the Block was a cynical, morally repugnant piece of crap whose main message was that teenage muggers are good kids who just enjoy assault and battery. And I’d rather claw my eyes out than sit through the emperor’s new clothes that was Kill List: pretentious, meaningless b*llocks that people are afraid to criticise.

    Haven’t seen Byzantium. And strictly speaking 28 Weeks Later was a US-Spanish co-production.

    Are these really the best of the 400 British horror films that have been released in the past ten years? The above five could be better replaced with any selection from The Living and the Dead, Mum and Dad, Resurrecting ‘The Street Walker’, The Dead, Before Dawn, The Seasoning House and Stalled, each of them an absolutely superlative British horror feature.

    Not to mention The Zombie Diaries, Vampire Diary, The Devil’s Chair, Wishbaby, F, Monsters, The Devil’s Music, Unhappy Birthday, Little Deaths, Bordello Death Tales, The Harsh Light of Day, Inbred, Gangsters Gun and Zombies, Community, The Fallow Field, Art of Darkness, Low, Red Kingdom Rising and many others.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      The message of Attack the Block was that teenage muggers from council estates are often real human beings.

      28 Weeks Later was set in Britain, about a British family, filmed in Britain, had funds from the UK Film Council, was co-produced by Andrew Macdonald’s UK production company DNA, was a sequel to a British film, was co-written by a Brit, and exec produced by Danny Boyle and Alex Garland. I think it counts!

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      • gd smith said

        I don’t get the moral indignation dumped on attack the block either. There are loads of films where violent criminals are the heroes and no one says anything. One failed mugging, a few stoned kids, a bit of slang and Attack the Block is evil!
        I think it’s just a bunch of wing nuts with an inability to distinguish fact from mouthing off.

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    • Paul Martin said

      I make basically the same point about Attack the Block, but for me, that didn’t scupper the movie – I know others felt differently.

      28 Weeks Later probably does enough to justify a British movie tag – most of the actors, setting, producers (DNA Films).

      I haven’t seen all the other movies you mention – I’ll have to check the ones I’ve missed out. Of some of the ones I have seen, The Seasoning House started pretty well before descending into a po-faced version of Mousehunt.

      I thought Monsters was fantastic but it’s not a horror movie. It’s a drama built on the outskirts of some sci-fi blockbuster.

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  • Kramer said

    I rewatched Shaun of the Dead recently, remembering not liking it upon release. I figured after a decade I might see it differently. Still don’t find it all that funny. Just not my humor I guess.

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