Throughout the month of January, we’ve been publishing a series of horror movie retrospectives focusing on the best films celebrating significant anniversaries in 2018. So far, we’ve delivered lists of the most influential genre offerings marking their 40th, 30th, 25th, and 20th anniversaries this year.
Related Article: Top 10 Horror Movies Turning 40-Years-Old in 2018
Our exploration concludes with today’s list: The Top 15 Horror Movies Turning 10 Years Old in 2018! As opposed to my examinations of genre offerings released in 1993 and 1998, there are actually a ton of great films that were released 10 years ago in 2008. That’s why I’ve increased the number of entries from 10 to 15.
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Have a read and let us know what you think in the Comments section! Did your favorite horror film turning 10-years-old in 2018 make the list? What other genre films released in 2008 deserve a shout out? Let the debates begin!
Related Article: Top 10 Horror Movies Turning 25-Years-Old in 2018
Cloverfield (Directed by Matt Reeves)
Release date: January 18, 2008
Official Synopsis: As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know that they will soon face the most terrifying night of their lives. A creature the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Using a handheld video camera, the friends record their struggle to survive as New York crumbles around them.
Though The Blair Witch Project is credited with launching the found footage craze in 1999, 2008’s Cloverfield was the first major studio, big budget blockbuster that utilized the then-fresh concept. Though it abandoned found footage for a more traditional presentation in 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, the loosely connected franchise is still going strong, with God Particle set for release on April 20th.
Related Article: Upcoming “Cloverfield” Movie Gets Postponed/Rescheduled
The Strangers (Directed by Bryan Bertino)
Release date: May 30, 2008
Official Synopsis: Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay turns out to be anything but peaceful. First, a mysterious and dangerous woman arrives at the door while James is out on an errand. When he returns, he accidentally kills his friend Mike (Glenn Howerton), mistaking him for an intruder. And then real danger does show up — in the form of three masked torturers, leaving Kristen and James struggling for survival.
Fans of Bryan Bertino’s home-invasion masterpiece The Strangers are chomping at the bit for the decade-in-the-making sequel, The Strangers: Prey at Night, set for release on March 9th. The film’s most quoted line, a response to “Why us?”, remains immensely chilling: “Because you were home.”
Related Article: Why “The Strangers” Was SUPPOSEDLY Scary
The Ruins (Directed by Carter Smith)
Release date: April 4, 2008
Official Synopsis: Amy (Jena Malone), Stacy (Laura Ramsey), Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) and Eric (Shawn Ashmore) look for fun during a sunny holiday in Mexico, but they get much more than that after visiting an archaeological dig in the jungle. Carnivorous vines try to ensnare the friends in their tendrils, forcing the group to fight for survival.
Perhaps inspired by Hostel’s phenomenal success in 2005, The Ruins was one of several vacation-from-hell horror movies that followed. Unlike Hostel and Tourista, though, The Ruin contains paranormal elements in the form or carnivorous plants that can mimic human voices.
Let the Right One In (Directed by Tomas Alfredson)
Release date: October 24, 2008
Official Synopsis: When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor, the mysterious and moody Eli (Lina Leandersson), they strike up a friendship. Initially reserved with each other, Oskar and Eli slowly form a close bond, but it soon becomes apparent that she is no ordinary young girl. Eventually, Eli shares her dark, macabre secret with Oskar, revealing her connection to a string of bloody local murders.
Let the Right One In is such an incredible, unique movie, even those who avoid subtitles like the plague were thrilled to have given this one a chance. Though many of the novel’s most controversial and problematic aspects are glossed over, it’s nonetheless an amazingly romantic viewing experience with a dark underbelly that can’t be ignored.
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Martyrs (Directed by Pascal Laugier)
Initial release: September 3, 2008
Official Synopsis: A young woman’s quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.
Even those who love Martyrs find it difficult to watch twice; indeed, there are few films that elicit the palpable dread and visceral response of Pascal Laugier’s “Extreme” French masterpiece. Part body horror, part revenge yarn, and 100% brutal, it’s a must-watch for anyone looking to experience the furthest boundaries of depravity.
Related Article: Top 15 Horror Movies That Will Devastate You Emotionally
Splinter (Directed by Toby Wilkins)
Release date: October 31, 2008
Official Synopsis: When their plans for a nature trip go awry, Polly Watt (Jill Wagner) and boyfriend Seth Belzer (Paulo Costanzo) decide to check into a motel. On their way, they’re carjacked and kidnapped by low-rent crooks Dennis Farell (Shea Whigham) and Lacey Belisle (Rachel Krebs), who take the victims and their SUV to a nearby gas station. Along the way, they encounter an increasingly terrifying horde of parasites, and if any of them intend to survive, they’ll have to outsmart the deadly organisms.
Often lost in the shuffle, Splinter is an immensely entertaining creature feature with a twist. A chance meeting on a remote highway starts a chain reaction pitting strangers against an alien, parasitic threat. Utilizing incredible practical FX and propelled by a sharp script, Splinter is an underappreciated 21st Century gem.
Pontypool (Directed by Bruce McDonald)
Initial release: 2008
Official Synopsis: When disc jockey Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) reports to his basement radio station in the Canadian town of Pontypool, he thinks it’s just another day at work. But when he hears reports of a virus that turns people into zombies, Mazzy barricades himself in the radio booth and tries to figure out a way to warn his listeners about the virus and its unlikely mode of transmission: the English language.
Pontypool is one of the most unique upendings of established zombie tropes every produced. A heady thriller, this one posits a unique method of transmission for a zombie virus: The spoken word. Anchored by an utterly captivating performance by Stephen McHattie, Pontypool makes the most of a single location in order to produce a claustrophobic nightmare of rare intensity.
The Cottage (Directed by Paul Andrew Williams)
Initial release: February 23, 2008
Official Synopsis: A botched kidnapping gets even worse when the four perpetrators come across a psychotic man.
Body actor Andy Serkis (Gollum from Lord of the Rings and Caesar from the rebooted Planet of the Apes films) ditches his motion-capture suit to appear in his human form—with hysterical results. A mix of heist horror and retro slasher tropes, The Cottage is as funny as it is gruesome. It’s a must-see for all fans of irreverent horror comedies.
Related Article: 15 Underappreciated R-Rated Horror Comedies You NEED to See
Deadgirl (Directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel)
Initial Release: 2008
Official Synopsis: A nasty surprise awaits two teenage friends (Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan) who find a naked woman (Jenny Spain) in an abandoned mental hospital.
A harrowing yet timely examination of gender dynamics, white privilege, and Millennial entitlement, Deadgirl is as engrossing as it is grotesque. More horrifying than the undead woman discovered in the basement of an abandoned asylum is the insinuation that every teenage boy is a potential rapist. Consider this a supernatural version of 2017’s Very Dark Times.
The Burrowers (Directed by J. T. Petty)
Initial release: September 9, 2008
Official Synopsis: A rescue party comes face to face with underground creatures attacking a town.
Western horror is a tiny subgenre that’s seen a mild resurgence following the successes of films like Bone Tomahawk, Kill or Be Killed, and In the Valley of Violence. The Burrowers, however, is one of the only ones to include paranormal elements in the form of a tribe of subterranean cryptids.
Lake Mungo (Directed by Joel Anderson)
Initial release: June 18, 2008
Official Synopsis: Alice drowns while swimming and her family begins experiencing inexplicable events in their home. The family hires a parapsychologist whose investigation unveils Alice’s secret double life and leads them all to Lake Mungo.
Lake Mungo is, in my opinion, is the best horror mockumentary ever produced. Nothing about the film feels artificial, and the subject matter is treated with genuine sensitivity allowing viewers to bond with the characters presented. A mix of procedural drama and supernatural undertones, there’s a compelling mystery at the heart of Lake Mungo that makes it impossible to ignore.
Diary of the Dead (Directed by George A. Romero)
Release date: February 15, 2008
Official Synopsis: The dead are returning to life to feast on the flesh of the living. As civilization dissolves in this nightmare scenario, a group of college students travel across Pennsylvania in hopes of finding refuge at their friend’s secluded mansion. Film student Jason (Joshua Close), tapes their journey, and the movie is presented as his footage. The fifth chapter in George A. Romero’s zombie saga that began with “Night of The Living Dead” features the social commentary the series is known for.
The black sheep of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead franchise, Diary of the Dead, is actually one of my favorites. While remaining true to the established universe Romero launched in 1968, Diary also works as a stand-alone and a reboot. The found-footage presentation works on several levels; it creates an immersive experience while commenting on fame-obsessed Millennials who lament: “If we don’t get it on film, it’s like it never happened.”
Related Article: Best 21st Century Zombie Movies (So Far)
Otis (Directed by Tony Krantz)
Initial release: March 7, 2008
Official Synopsis: A man (Daniel Stern) and his wife (Illeana Douglas) seek revenge after their daughter (Ashley Johnson) escapes from the clutches of a serial killer.
The only straight-to-DVD entry on this list is Otis, a rip-roaring horror comedy tailor-made for modern horror fans. Otis would make an excellent prom-themed double feature along with Sean Byrne’s The Loved Ones. Fans of Sublime, another film released by Raw Feed, will catch a killer cameo sure to elicit a hearty chuckle.
Trailer Park of Terror (Directed by Steven Goldmann)
Initial release: October 21, 2008
Official Synopsis: A field trip turns deadly when a bus breaks down in a trailer park ruled by a redneck reaper (Nichole Hiltz) with a small army of trailer-trash zombies.
Trailer Park of Terror is an episodic horror comedy that plays out like an anthology. Loaded with raunchy sex, drugs, and dismemberment, this Canadian offering slipped through the cracks when it was released in 2008. I promise it’s worth seeking out—even if you have to buy the film on DVD.
Shutter (Directed by Masayuki Ochiai)
Release date: March 21, 2008
Official Synopsis: Photographer Ben (Joshua Jackson) and his new bride, Jane (Rachael Taylor), turn their honeymoon into a working vacation when he snags a prestigious assignment in Japan. As they make their way up a mountain road at night, they slam into a woman who suddenly appears in their path. Unable to find her body, Ben and Jane continue onward. Soon, eerie reminders of the accident emerge when Ben sees ghostly images in the photographs he develops.
Though it arrived during the tail-end of the J-Horror phenomenon, Shutter (the American remake of a Thai film) is nonetheless immensely chilling and vastly entertaining. Joshua Jackson proved he’s got leading man potential, which makes that fact that the actor has all but vanished lately a damn shame. Filled with dread, Shutter concludes with one of the best jump-scares in horror-movie history.