Horror is a particularly tricky genre to get right; it’s seemingly all been done, and so it takes a special type of creative genius to still wow viewers and deliver something that feels fresh and, above all else, terrifying. Though in many ways the genre has largely succeeded with a turn towards comedy, this list aims to (mostly) feature genuine horror rather than comedies, though of course there are a couple of films so good we couldn’t resist including them.

Here are the top 10 horror films of the 21st century.


10. Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell was hugely anticipated ahead of its release because it marked the return of horror maestro Sam Raimi to the genre, who had been out making the Spider-Man trilogy among other films in the interceding two-decades since he finished the Evil Dead series. Raimi answered all of our prayers by going back to his campy, wild, hilarious roots with a gleefully wacky horror that might have sacrificed a lot of its scares in the quest for laughs, but he renders an unforgettable experience that knowing horror fans will especially enjoy, given how it lampoons and satirises the more generic, clichéd elements of the genre.

While it’s not on the level of Evil Dead 2, it’s still a fantastic live-action cartoon essentially – complete with a talking goat at one point – making loan officer Christine’s (Alison Lohman) quest to save her own soul one of the more outrageous and daring horror flicks of the century so far, capped by a surprisingly balls-out ending in which, yes, Christine is actually dragged to Hell. After the huge disappointment that was Spider-Man 3, Raimi made it clear he was still a relevant, potent filmmaker.

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This article was first posted on September 23, 2012