Just because you’re too old to trick or treat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, and hosting a scary movie night with friends is a perfect way to spend the upcoming spooky night. To help narrow down your choices, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best original horror films released in the 21st century, excluding sequels, remakes and reboots.
5. Final Destination
“Final Destination,” directed by James Wong, was released in 2000 as one of the first horror movies to usher in the new millennium. When Alex boards a plane to Paris with his classmates, he has a premonition of the plane crashing just after takeoff. Pleading with everyone to get off the plane, he causes himself and six others to be removed from the flight. When the plane does explode, the survivors consider themselves lucky, but Death does not like to be cheated, and it comes for them one by one. “Final Destination” has spawned four sequels to date, and while this may not be everyone’s favorite of the franchise, it is certainly the most innovative.
4. Don’t Breathe
Directed by Fede Alvarez, “Don’t Breathe” was released to theaters on Aug. 26 of this year, making it the most recent film to make this list. The gripping and terrifying plot of the movie revolves around three young adults in Detroit who have begun careers as criminals by burglarizing expensive houses. However, the perpetrators quickly become victims when, after breaking into the home of a blind veteran, they are brutally attacked and held against their will. Whether one considers this to be a true horror movie or a thriller, “Don’t Breathe” will undoubtedly send chills up your spine.
3. The Strangers
The number three spot on the countdown goes to “The Strangers,” a 2008 film that is guaranteed to scare you silly. Writer and director Bryan Bertino exploits viewers’ worst fears in one of the scariest movies of all time. “The Strangers” features troubled couple Kristen McKay and James Hoyt. They have come to stay at his father’s remote vacation house when three masked murderers arrive in the middle of the night to terrorize them. This rated R film is not for the young and impressionable. Never has the phrase “may be too intense for some viewers” been so accurate.
2. You’re Next
Beginning its run at international film festivals in 2011 and getting a theatrical release in 2013, “You’re Next” took the slasher genre to the next level. The film features a group of killers in animal masks who target a family during the parents’ wedding anniversary get-together, attacking them, their adult children and their children’s significant others. Viewers have the pleasure of experiencing both a classic murder spree and the ultimate final girl, Erin, at work. Directed by Adam Wingard, “You’re Next” is essentially a blood bath, but it also offers a vast number of surprises and twists along the way.
2014’s “Oculus” is number one on the list because of its incredible combination of story, scares and beautiful cinematography. Director Mike Flanagan — who also helmed recent releases “Hush” and “Ouija: Origin of Evil” — creates characters who are so real and an atmosphere that seems so natural, that viewers believe even the supernatural is possible. In the film, adult siblings Kaylie and Tim take on a haunted mirror, known as the Lasser Glass, that they believe is responsible for the death of their parents over ten years prior. Don’t watch this one alone, and be sure to cover any mirrors in the room beforehand.
Special mentions include: “The Ring” (2002), “Wrong Turn” (2003), “Saw” (2004) and “The Forest” (2016).