5. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Perhaps a controversial take here, but the 2005 The Hills Have Eyes is better than Wes Craven‘s original 1977 film. Absolutely no disrespect to the master himself, but something about the 2005 movie is so much more raw, terrifying, and fucking mean. While on an RV trip, a family finds themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere after their van’s tires are punctured by a spike strip laid across the roads. As they wait for help, they are slowly picked off one by one by a group of mutants who call the desert home.
These mutants are the product of nuclear testing, which affected future generations with physical maladies that lead to their isolation and eventual cannibalism. On top of the film’s message about nuclear testing, it gets rather political as it pitches the conservative patriarch (Ted Levine) against his liberal son-in-law (Aaron Stanford). Who said horror isn’t political? All in all, The Hills Have Eyes is a deeply nihilistic film steeped in the post-9/11 anxieties that permeated the decade regarding a man’s inability to protect his family, and the fear of the outside. It’s also one of the best 2000s horror remakes. (Mary Beth McAndrews)
4. The Ring (2002)
Find me a teenager who grew up in the 2000s who wasn’t absolutely traumatized by Gore Verbinski‘s 2002 film The Ring. Oh, you can’t? That’s what I thought. The idea of the haunted videotape, only have seven days to live, and a young girl with black hair hanging over her face all penetrated the collective consciousness of the time. Teenagers find a cursed videotape, watch it, and suffer the consequences. Seems pretty standard, right? Well, what The Ring nails is establishing that expected format in its opening sequence, then switching to a movie about a curious journalist (Naomi Watts) and a horrific secret about a young girl’s past.
The original film, Ringu, released in Japan in 1998 and directed by Hideo Nakata, is of course untouchable, but Verbinski deserves credit for making the film accessible and horrifying for American audiences. Plus, it made audiences more aware of the power of J-horror, which is the greatest gift The Ring could ever give us. (Mary Beth McAndrews)
3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
It’s hard to express how resistant I was to a Dawn of the Dead remake. Well, okay, no, it’s not. I so fucking did not want another Dawn of the Dead in 2004, especially one directed by some dude best known for his music video work with Rod Stewart and ZZ Top. George A. Romero’s original Dead trilogy is a holy text, a savage attack against humanity’s most negative instincts, rendered gloriously gory and goopy.
But, also, what was I going to do in 2004, not watch a Dawn of the Dead remake? No way. I came ready to lob vitriol and hatred at the screen, but ten minutes in, and my blood was racing, not boiling. Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is light on the social commentary, but not totally absent — it’s just surface level. Where it excels is in its emotion, selling the horror through performance and action, pushing the audience through a gauntlet of terrifying situations, and never backing down. Should you double-feature it with the original? No. Don’t do that. But take the flick at face value, and put yourself in its world. Work that cardio, cuz Snyder and his zombies have certainly done so. They’re coming to get you and Barbara too with one of the best 2000s horror remakes. (Brad Gullickson)
2. House of Wax (2005)
Is House of Wax one of the best movies of the 2000s? Ehhhh… probably not. But is it one of the most 2000s movies of the 2000s? Abso-fucking-lutely. The loose remake that Jaume Collet-Serra kicked the door down with in 2005 is packed to the gills with noughties charm. The cast has its fair share of 2000s icons — shoutout to Paris Hilton for delivering a better performance than anyone gave her credit for. The soundtrack has some absolute staples — hello MCR and Deftones. But what really kicks this film into high gear are some gnarly practical effects and genuinely unsettling images. The titular house of wax — technically a museum — is a massively impressive set that provides an ideal location for the macabre moldings and creepy-as-hell artistry. Add in some 2000s-style hyper-stylized gore, and you’ve got a great remake. (Anna Swanson)
1. Friday the 13th (2009)
I’m about to blow your mind with this take, but Marcus Nispel’s 2009 reboot is the best of the Friday the 13th films, and coincidentally enough it’s also the best of the 2000s horror remakes. I love a few others in the franchise, but this is the one that nails the formula, delivers real thrills, and works as pure “80s” horror. We get bloody kills, half-naked twentysomethings, a mysterious legend, and a real sense of deadly urgency. This is a slasher propelled by blood, terror, and good times.
Fittingly and because I have no shits to give, I’m also gonna declare Derek Mears as the best Jason. Sure, I love Kane Hodder as much as the next slasher fan, but Mears gives Jason life, energy, and a ferocious speed that makes him truly menacing. This dude is a machete-wielding murder train, and your ass is toast. His rendition also honors past Jasons by going fugly and wearing both a sack and a hockey mask. This flick rocks, my friends. (Rob Hunter)
Related Topics: 31 Days of Horror Lists