2002 - a solid year for Horror films.
So after so many years of mainly so-so material, the early 2000s have delivered some classic movies. I think 2002 is loaded and reminded me of the early 80s in terms of top-notch quality/cult status type films. I really had a tough time picking my #1 and really, I believe any of the first 5 could take the top spot. But today, I'm leaning towards ...
One of my favorite directors is Neil Marshall, and his first full-length movie, Dog Soldiers, is one hell of a ride. I'm a sucker for werewolf movies, and this one delivers. I've always been fascinated with special effects in movies, and some of the greatest effects are people transforming into werewolves. It's much easier to do now with CGI, but the creatives of this movie thought CGI was being overused and decided to use practical effects for most of the movie. It also gives us a totally different feel for the creatures themselves, and how the cast reacts to them since they are there. It's not available on any streaming sites right now, but head on over and we can watch the Special Edition Blu-ray.
Blurb - A routine military exercise turns into a nightmare in the Scotland wilderness.
Before Gore Verbinski gave us the Pirates of the Caribbean, he directed one of the most entertaining PG-13 horror films of the 2000s, The Ring. It's the American version of the Japanese movie Ringu. It was so popular it paved the way for a number of remakes of other Japanese horror films. You can stream it on Paramount+.
Blurb - A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.
Danny Boyle directed The Beach in 2000. It was written by Alex Garland. The first project they did together as a director/writer team was 28 Days Later. They decided the old troupes of the zombie movie were overplayed, and they flipped many of them. The zombies are fast, strong, and no longer hunting for brains. Stream it on HBOMax.
Blurb - Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
I'm a big fan of Paul W.S. Anderson(Event Horizon, Mortal Kombat) and developed a super-fan-sized crush on Milla Jovovich when she starred in The Fifth Element, so I was super excited to see them come together to adapt the popular video game Resident Evil. The franchise has gone a bit off the rails, but this first one is a fun and gory representation of the video game experience.
Real life story - This came out 1 week before Blade 2. My wife wasn't going to green-light seeing Resident Evil, but she was okay seeing Blade 2 when it came out. However, the morons at Cinemark who were in charge of which theater got which movie decided E.T. being relaunched deserved the big theater, and Blade 2 sold out before we(party of 5) could get there.
You see, back in the day, you couldn't just get on your phone and reserve the seat you wanted. You had to show up and buy the tickets and then hope you got in there quick enough to get the seats you wanted. So with Blade 2 unavailable, the group decided on Resident Evil. My poor wife went to sleep so she didn't have to deal with it, lol. Sorry honey. Stream it on HBOMax.
Blurb - A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.
I've already gone on about Wesley Snipes when discussing Blade, but just in case you didn't know, he's one of my favorite actors from the 90s and 2000s. He has so many good movies and Blade 2 is near the top of that list. As awesome as Blade was they were able to turn the dial up to 11 and give us an even better vampire-hunter movie with the 2nd one. Guillermo del Toro hopped on board to direct and really put his creative stamp on the franchise. Check it out on HBOMax.
Blurb - Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reapers, who are feeding on vampires.
Bill Paxton's directorial debut is Frailty. He put together a great cast, and it's one of those movies you can watch a number of times and discover something new each time. Stream it on HBOmax.
Blurb - A mysterious man arrives at the offices of an FBI agent and recounts his childhood: how his religious fanatic father received visions telling him to destroy people who were in fact "demons."
Dark Castle Entertainment continued its series of horror movies with Ghost Ship. Coming off the success of Thir13en Ghosts, Steve Beck looked to direct The Shining on a cruise ship. He falls short but does give us a fun, spooky movie with a solid cast. You have to rent/buy to stream this one.
Blurb - A salvage crew discovers a long-lost 1962 passenger ship floating lifeless in a remote region of the Bering Sea, and soon notices that its long-dead inhabitants may still be on board.
This is a weird one. The Mothman Prophecies is a good movie, but I always find myself scratching my head when I see the cast. I mean Richard Gere and Laura Linney are an odd match, but it works. It's more a thriller than a horror movie but see for yourself. It's a rent/buy to stream.
Blurb - A reporter is drawn to a small West Virginia town to investigate a series of strange events, including psychic visions and the appearance of bizarre entities.
So in 2001, it was decided what Jason Voorhees needed was to get out of the woods and show up in space. In 2002, we got Jason X. While it was a bomb in theaters(not my fault as I saw it opening week with some friends), it made a killing on DVD and is one of the most overall successful films of the franchise. Paramount still refused to allow New Line Cinema the rights to the name Friday the 13th, so they just went with Jason's name. You'll have to rent/buy to stream or we can check it out after we watch Dog Soldiers.
Blurb - Jason Voorhees is cryogenically frozen at the beginning of the 21st century, and is discovered in the 25th century and taken to space. He gets thawed, and begins stalking and killing the crew of the spaceship that's transporting him.
Horror darling Eli Roth's first feature film was Cabin Fever. It had the lowest budget for any Lions Gate Film that year but made the most money. He'd been trying to sell it for years, but studios didn't think horror films could make money, and then Scream happened. After that, they wouldn't buy it because they wanted it more like Scream. It's a rent/buy to stream.
Blurb - Five college graduates rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals.
Just like Sixth Sense, I don't think Signs is a horror movie, but some do. Check it out on tubi.
Blurb - A widowed former priest living with his children and brother on a Pennsylvania farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields, which suggests something more frightening to come.
After directing the great Pitch Black, David Twohy did Below. The script was co-written by Darren Aronofsky(Requiem for a Dream, Mother!). It may have slipped past viewers since the studio wanted scenes cut to get a PG-13 rating. The director refused, and the studio buried it with little-to-no advertising. It's a rent/buy to stream.
Blurb - Strange happenings occur on a WW II submarine.
Another movie that may have slipped by you is Eye See You(also known as D-Tox). It got in the doghouse at Universal and was shelved for 3 years. There were reshoots, changes to the ending, and title changes but they couldn't seem to get it right. Eventually, they gave it a limited release and quickly sent it to video. It's in line with the Silence of the Lambs in terms of a horror film for me, but since that counted, I guess this does also. I like the movie and have watched it many times since its release. You can check it out on VUDUfree & tubi.
Blurb - A lead detective being stalked by a serial killer is asked to check into a clinic treating law enforcement officials who can't face their jobs.