Year in Review: Ten Best Horror Films of 2009

I’m going to be straight with you right from the start: this list sucks. I had an easier time coming up with just 15 films of the past 10 years to praise than finding 10 in the year 2009. There are many reasons for this. Like, horror movies released in 2009 sucked. Or studios totally blew releasing schedules. If I wanted to put Paranormal Activity on the list, do I put on this list, even though it first screened in 2007? Could I put Splinter on the list again, even though I saw it in 2008 but it only just came to DVD in 2009? Does Dead Girl count as a 2009 film when it was on screens in 2008? How about films that I saw because of my press access, but the average horror fan couldn’t see because of how it was released? What about excellent foreign horror films that haven’t come to the US yet?

Horror is a mess right now. From the quality of the films to the release dates to schedule handling to even putting out enough discs for people to find. Movies get lost right to DVD, or right to Netflix, or just plain lost. I had a hard time picking ten movies to put on this list and I’m not happy with them at all. I will tell you this, as well: I’m not following the standard horror line. You won’t see Paranormal Activity on this list. You won’t see Jennifer’s Body or that comedy Drag Me to Hell. So while these might not be the movies you’re expecting, these are at least 10 movies I can safely say you should see. The only reason that I’m calling this a best of list though, is because I have to. Goodbye 2009, I’m glad to see you go.

10. Sorority Row

This must clearly show you how much I despised 2009 in terms of horror movies – I open with a remake, and not even a particularly great one. What Sorority Row did right was have hot girls getting kid. I don’t think there was an ugly girl in this – ok, well, Rumer Willis. But all of the other girls are totally boner inducing and they wear their night clothes alot. Add in some pretty decent kills and I’m not too ashamed to have this on the list.

9. The Hills Run Red

This movie was something of a disappointment. I had heard wonderful things about how brutal it was, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. The film finds the win column by showing off some delicious breasts, spilling lots of blood, and introducing a pretty awesome killer who delivers one hell of an awesome line at the end.

8. Zombieland

A little horror comedy always finds its way onto the list and what is a best of without zombies? Not everyone was a fan of the set-piece like construction of the film, but it featured plenty of violence, lots of laughs, and great looking zombies.

7. The Collector

The good (bad) Dr. Cole Abaius loved this flick, so it makes the list from Feast and Saw sequel veteran Marcus Dunstan, a cool dude. What I like best about the film is the simple, yet cool idea of a thief breaking into the wrong damn house on the wrong damn night. Pack in a solid feeling of dread and you get a film you should have watched.

6. Coraline

The only people who don’t think this qualifies as a horror movie are those who havent’ seen it. An interesting 3D experience no matter what, towards the last 30 minutes of the film the visuals go absolutely batshit insane, enough to force your 12 year old niece into crying convulsions on the floor. While not scary-per-se, this spectacularly visual film has some horrific and memorable imagery.

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5. The Last House on the Left

You can say what you will about remakes or classics or whatever, but let’s be honest – the original, while perhaps groundbreaking, no longer holds up. It lacks the brutality modern movie-goers can handle. This remake hits all the same notes, but in the modern age. Plenty of unsettling violence in this effective remake.

4. Trick ‘r Treat

I don’t even know when this film first appeared on the radar, or the big screen, but the first time a real audience got to see it was when it came to DVD and Blu-ray this year. A cool anthology that will definitely became part of your October regular viewing. Violence, chills, laughs, you want it – you got it.

3. My Bloody Valentine 3-D

2009 was apparently the year of the remake that I didn’t mind too much. I actually really enjoyed MBV3D. It had fun kills, plenty of blood, and full frontal nudity. This was also one of the first flicks to really prove to me that 3D can work to make a film better without always throwing something at your face. Though this film does throw midgets, pick-axes, and eyeballs at your face. And its cool.

2. The Children

A foreign gem of horror that doesn’t hesitate to spill blood, whether it belongs to a group of stuffy adults or some little hellish children. The Children isn’t afraid to take risks when it comes to showing violence against kids and weaves it all together with a dreadful atmosphere. A great addition to your Christmas viewing list.

1. Friday the 13th

Oh yes, another remake and this one tops the list. Why? Because I’m a slasher fan. I love slasher flicks and I love Jason Voorhees and I am very glad to see him back in action in a non-embarrassing way. The franchise was dying, but the Platinum Dunes team injected 100ccs of Fuck Yeah back into its veins. With more than a dozen excellent kills, some awesome laughs (thanks to Aaron Yoo), and six beautiful, perfect breasts. When you’re making a Friday the 13th flick, you need blood, boobs, and plenty of dead kids. This film did it right, so it gets the top spot.

There it is. It’s not a clean list and it’s not necessarily full of good films, but 2009 was a rough year for horror, at least for this old school slasher fan. I’d really love to hear what films you loved below in the comments. For the record, I did miss House of the Devil and Dead Girl, but as I mentioned, struggled with what films should actually be eligible for a 2009 award, because of release dates.

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