A brilliant and original breath of fresh air for the increasingly-tired Horror that will hopefully signal a market shift to greenlighting more indie/independent idea-over-budget filmmaking, Get Out is the antidote to modern scares. Amazing performances, complex symbolism, racial messages, plot structure, and some of the best psychological/body horror this millennium are just some of the masterpiece achievements it boasts. The only flaw being the darker alternate ending that would’ve made the film even better and a huge disappointment they sold themselves short by going safer with the one we got, regardless, it’s safe to say: Peele has (triumphantly) arrived. A breath of fresh air for the Horror genre establishing a directorial talent-to-watch in Jordan Peele, Get Out explores the psychological and motivating undertones of racism in thrilling and intensely thought-provoking fashion. 9.1/10.
A masterstroke of identity horror, racial experience, and dark reflection on America’s past with effectively-chilly atmospherics, unparalleled originality for its time, shocking psychological twists, old-world suspense-building, and one of the best/most innovative orchestral scorings in any Horror film post-2000, Peele has further established himself as one of the most provocative new directorial talents in the game with this sophomore tour-de-force steeped in fresh, dark imagination & sociological injustice. 9/10.
3. Insidious (2010)
2010’s Insidious is one of the best supernatural horror film I’ve seen post-2000 – as well as one of the scariest movies I’ve seen of this new millennium. A treasure-trove of slow-simmering, burning atmospheric darkness that takes an ostensibly-normal family and puts them through Hitchcockian trauma, the terror that follows is modern filmmaking and pedigreed-Wan direction at their finest. A wild, sadistic reimagination of the haunted house-film that subverts its norms – with phenomenal set & spectral design, a shrieking violin score, brutal/epic twist-ending, & some of modern-horror’s best supernatural terror in eons, Insidious purely exemplifies the macabric implications of its title in a red-faced, purgatorial imprint that will remain in your psyche like the ghouls of the Further. 8.3/10.
4. Sinister (2012)
Overall, Sinister is one of the scariest modern horror movies I’ve seen in a long time. Scott Derrickson has concocted an old school-meets-new school ghost thriller in every way possible: the film-spliced projector found-footage sequences, the genre clichés like attics/ghost-stories/child-horror/haunted-houses reimagined into a plot filled with diabolical and effective plot twists that subvert each nicely, dark ages iconography brought into the 21st century, clever intellectually-weighty themes like the drug of fame and legacy vs. sustenance, atmospheric escalation in supernatural scares, and character we *gasp* actually care about infused with life by strong Hawke-led performances. The quick-cut pacing and sharply-edited royal-blue-tinted camerawork adds modern edge, film within a film motif adds palpable bludgeoning scares through juxtaposition of golden-hued happy family moments and brutalized serial kills, demonic Babylonian child-eater antagonist design aptly-terrifying, and crime scene investigation plot far more ambitious in misdirection-riddled storytelling prowess far above almost all other ghost movies. If there are a couple of vexations, besides the everpresent hallmarks of horror every junkie and newcomer will immediately recognize (although they’re reinvented so they get a pass from us), it’s the ‘shh’ constanality, miscast girl child actress, and final frame being a exploitable jump-scare when the film does so well without the need for them beforehand – especially in that asylum-white blood-red painted walls legendary horror aesthetic sequence right before it. This is, of course, nitpicking a new age scarefest far above most of its genre-kin today. A collection of blood-curdling old-school-meets-new-school Blumhouse scares like Exorcist-meets-The-Shining-meets-Children-Of-The-Corn-meets-Ju-On earning the crown of (physiologically)-scariest movie ever made given by Science – with a classicism framework in plot-resonant old projector film splices, dark ages iconography, crime mystery investigation, meta-genre juxtapositions, and Hawke-led performances/characters to care about. 9/10.