In this continuation of Bloody-Disgusting’s Top 20 of the 2000s countdown, the list has a decidedly international flavor due to the fact that 4 of the 5 films are of the foreign language variety. Fitting, considering that in the last decade the horror renaissance got a big helping hand from overseas, from the raft of J-Horror imports to the infusion of extreme, splatter-centric horror by way of France. Just goes to show that no matter what language you speak, fear is universal.
No wonder this is Quentin Tarantino’s favorite film of the last ten years. Like his best movies, it’s a go-for-broke extravaganza: fun, provocative, ultra-violent, and bound to arouse controversy (which it did). It’s a pretty simple idea: a class of forty-odd young Japanese teenagers are thrust into a deadly game on a deserted island in which they must fight each other to the death until only one is left standing. If they fail at this, the collars fixed to the survivors’ necks will explode. What follows is a breathless chain of events as each individual reacts in his/her own way: some instantly become ruthless killers; others commit suicide; a few strike up allegiances in hopes that they can find a way off the island. It’s this quality that makes the film more than just an empty provocation – it builds character through action, a method all good filmmakers should seek to emulate.
Considered by many to be Takashi Miike’s masterpiece, this cringe-inducing, seriously disturbed film boasts one of the most unbearable scenes of torture in movie history. The story introduces us to a lonely widower whose producer friend sets up a fake movie audition for several young ingénues in hopes of finding him a wife. Unfortunately for the widower, the mild-mannered young woman he chooses isn’t exactly all she appears to be. The audience soon becomes aware of her not-insignificant dysfunctional tendencies in a series of shocking scenes, one of which just might make you lose your lunch (which, come to think of it, would be actually be a pretty fitting response). It’s revolting in the best possible way; the prolific Miike goes for the jugular here, and he cuts deep. Or, as the sadistic femme fatale of the film might say, “Kiri Kiri Kiri Kiri!”
Sam Raimi’s return to gross-out form is a fun romp that’s by turns hilarious, gag-reflex-inducing and unsettling. Alison Lohman plays a young loan officer who has a curse put on her by an old gypsy woman after turning down an extension on her mortgage. Soon enough the demons from down below slowly begin to circle, and her efforts to countermand the curse become more and more desperate as the ticking clock winds down. Raimi is a master at this sort of thing, and much like in the Evil Dead films (particularly the second movie) he manages to keep us simultaneously laughing and screaming as we are treated to a series of increasingly inventive and maniacal set pieces. This is escapist entertainment at its best, and it almost makes you want to forgive Raimi for Spiderman 3. Almost.
One of the most audacious, brutal, unrelenting horror films ever made, Inside is perhaps the crown jewel of the new wave of extreme French horror films that have gained notoriety in the latter half of the decade. The movie follows a pregnant widow through a night of almost unbelievable pain and misery, as she is stalked by a scissors-wielding crazy woman who is convinced the baby is actually hers. Directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury handle the gory elements of the story with aplomb, but what really makes Inside so queasily effective is their skill at wringing the maximum amount of suspense out of the hair-raising setup. As if that weren’t enough, they even manage to work some pitch-black comedy into the mix. A shocking piece of cinema which provides further evidence that the French aren’t such pussies after all.
Out of all the “shaky-cam” films produced in the wake of The Blair Witch Project, this one is arguably the best, a seriously scary Spanish import that utilizes its P.O.V. camerawork more effectively than any of its predecessors. While the film takes awhile to get going, once the action starts it hardly ever lets up. The movie follows a TV news camera crew, police officers, firefighters and the residents of an apartment building as they fight for survival against a zombie outbreak after being sealed inside the structure in a quarantine procedure. The limited first-person viewpoint suits the enclosed setting well; it’s not necessarily what we’re seeing in front of us but what could be coming at us from just off-camera that’s most terrifying. There’s nothing all that deep here, but that’s not really the point. When it comes to visceral scares, [REC] has few peers.
Editorial written by Chris Eggertsen
*Editor’s Note: For those of you interested in knowing how the list came to be, here’s an explanation. Bloody Disgusting writers collaborated on a list of some of the best films this decade. The entire list was given to the Bloody Disgusting staff who then built their own Top 20 lists. Each film was given a point value. 20 received 1 point, 19 received 2 points, and so on all the way to number 1, which received 20 points. The numbers were tallied and the result are the top films listed. The bonus film had tied with #20 and the tie was broken by the number of actual votes.
The following participated in the project: Mr. Disgusting, Tex Massacre, BC, David Harley, Ryan Daley, Chris Eggertsen, Jeff Otto, John Marrone, Horror_Guy, Mr_Bungle, Klown, Caustic Coffee and Tool Shed