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Top 10 Horror Movies of 2008

Disclaimer: The way these movies are listed by year is by the very first day they are released. For example: if a film is released in a film festival on December 31st, 2007 in France, but gets a wide release in the US on January, 7, 2008, then the year the movie is listed under will be 2007. Because TECHNICALLY, that is the official year of release. End of story. I am writing this because lots of other top ten lists for 2008 include movies that were technically released in 2007, which is not fair to other 2008 movies that should be on the list.

10. Mirrors

– Alexandre Aja solidifies himself in the seldom respected horror remake scene with this great follow up to his The Hills Have Eyes remake with Mirrors, possible the best horror remake of 2008.  Awesome atmosphere, the “bathtub” scene, and the fact that this film uses an everyday household accessory we often overlook (mirrors) as the source of evil in this film, you will not look at mirrors the same way again.  Read my full review for this film here: Mirrors

9. The Midnight Meat Train

The Midnight Meat Train is just plain cool to watch. Ryuhei Kitamura(Versus, Alive) does an excellent job putting this adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story on the big screen with great gore scenes, Vinnie Jones as the human butcher, and perfect dark and gloomy atmosphere throughout the film.  To make matters even better, it also comes with a horrific climax that make this film a great watch for true horror fans. Read my full review for this film here: The Midnight Meat Train

8. Cloverfield

– This film took the POV(Point Of View) aspect, started by The Blair Witch Project, threw in a sweet looking enormous creature tearing apart New York City, and gave us a monster flick that outdoes most mainstream horror.  We RARELY get giant monster films these days, and this one came gladly appreciated by me.  With amazing special effects and the greatest viral marketing scheme known to man, Cloverfield was definitely the most hyped horror film of 2008, and a worthy one at that. Read my full review for this film here: Cloverfield

7. The Children

– UK director Tom Shankland’s beautifully shot film produces great tension as we are forced to ask ourselves the question “Would I kill my child to save the rest of my family?”, and with terrifying results. The amazing cinematography, quick glimpses of horrific future events, and the beautiful Hannah Tointon make this film the modern day Who Can Kill A Child?.  Not many horror films have the guts to show children doing what these children do to their parents , which is  shock value at it’s best.  Read my full review for this film here: The Children

6. Amusement

Amusement is a film that turned out better than I expected(due to the bad press it received) and has to be the most  underrated film on this list.  Giving us a unique take on the slasher genre by perfectly blending multiple stories and victims into one cohesive and diabolical plan by one of the genre’s creepiest killers, this flick gave me some of the best chills I’ve received in a long time.  The film is beautifully shot and comes with amazing sets which include one of the best scenes involving a clown that I have ever seen.  Read my full review for this film here: Amusement

5. Splinter

– Splinter is that low budget surprise has everything that you could ask for from a horror film; sweet gore, an original killer(a parasite in the form of wood splinters),  and good writing/direction resulting in 82 minutes of horror entertainment.  Included are some pretty brutal scenes, including a makeshift amputation with a box cutter and a cinderblock, as well as bone-crunching pain for those taken over by the parasite.  Originality is always favorable in the genre, and Splinter delivers an original killer that I cannot get enough of.  Read my full review for this film here: Splinter

4. Repo! The Genetic Opera

– I hate musicals, yet this horror/musical pulled off such great horror that even those who hate musicals(like myself) will love this film.  We are given a great story about a repo man repossessing organs that are not fully paid for, which thanks to great direction delivers some awesome gore given there is only one way to get organs back…heh.  58 well-planned and well-versed songs move the film perfeclty, and are sure to please any true horror fans with their direct influences to NIN and Tool.  Solid performances(even from Paris Hilton) and amazing artistic direction make Repo! The Genetic Opera one of the most amazing horror films of 2008.  Read my full review for this film here: Repo! The Genetic Opera

3. Dance of the Dead

– This was the most surprising film for me for 2008 because I really expected not to like this teeny looking zombie film.  I have become quite distasted with pop culture’s fascination with zombies, and I expected this to be a stupid attempt to cash in on the sub-genre…but I was wrong.  Dance of the Dead delivers something that most of us (if you weren’t home schooled) can relate to, the high school dance.  Throw in buckets of blood and good zombie action and you can imagine the carnage that will ensue from mixing zombies with hundreds of teens trying to run for their lives in suits and dresses.  Awesome direction and the film’s cool and well-written plot have delivered possibly the most enjoyable horror film of the year from Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Productions.  Read my full review for this film here: Dance of the Dead

2. Martyrs

– Martyrs does what other “torture porn” films wish they could accomplish. Not only is this film insanely brutal, but it comes with a great storyline to support the brutality, and actually “requires” the brutality shown in this film. Writer/director Pasqual Lauger has given us a film that drags most modern day American horror films through the mud, and even comes with some of the best scares for the year of 2008.  This is an amazing film that is a MUST SEE for any horror fan, or for anyone who wants to see something they will never forget. Read my full review for this film here: Martyrs

1. Let The Right One In

– This Swedish “art house” film is almost too good for words. The beautiful, and I mean BEAUTIFUL cinematography grasps you from the very beginning of the film and puts you in place to gasp at the dark, lonely lives of two adolescent twelve year olds who find love, strength, and understanding in each other, yet with some unstoppable consequences.  Simply put, Let The Right One In is Twilight done right.  The film moves slow, but delivers horror in a way that is seldom used in the genre.  Watch and be amazed at the horrors our young protagonists go through in their attempt to keep their relationship going. Watch, and fall in love with something Hollywood will never give us…unless it is a remake of course.  Read my full review for this film here: Let The Right One In

Honorable Mention: Close But Not Good Enough…

Eden Lake

Eden Lake is one of the most shocking entries on this list, and will leave you fuming at the end.  Simply put, this film has guts and takes you to all levels of hatred, hope, redemption, and then hatred again. The fact that it uses teenagers as the antagonists just amps up the shock value as you see them kill and be killed, all in the most gruesome ways of course.   Read my full review for this film here: Eden Lake

I Sell The Dead

I Sell The Dead has received much less press than it deserves, which is a shame given the unique plot it delivers: a well-told 18th century story about two grave robbers who get much more than they bargained for.  Great performances from Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman, and Larry Fessenden and smooth direction from writer/director Glenn McQuaid help sell the beautiful visuals put to screen, and the horrors of dealing with corpses is a nice touch that we rarely get in the genre as well.  Read my full review for this film here: I Sell The Dead

The Ruins

The Ruins provides us with a seldom used killer, an ancient deadly species of plant, and delivers the ensuing horror is awesome fashion.  Aided by throwing our characters in a nowhere-to-run scenario, the tension reigns high as we watch the drastic acts our protagonists must endure…and with little chance of survival.  I found it fascinating that Hollywood would give a film with this film’s plot a wide-release theatrically, which goes to show that we still have some respectable studios out there.  Read my full review for this film here: The Ruins

The Strangers

– This film managed to create great suspense without showing much of anything throughout the first half of the film.  Thanks to great execution from director Bryan Bertino, a few shots of the “strangers” and a cornucopia of sounds were all that was needed to provide great suspense and tension throughout the first half of the film. Had the second half not been somewhat of a letdown then this film might have made the top 10 list.  Oh well, better luck with The Strangers 2Read my full review for this film here The Strangers


– This remake of the infamous Spanish film REC managed to create good suspense and actually added more to the story behind the virus than the original did. This was one of the better POV(Point of View) films aside from Cloverfield and in my eyes managed to beat out other POV films like The Poughkeepsie Tapes that are slowing joining this POV fad. Had this film shown the same awesome suspense as the original and maybe been executed a little better then this could have cracked my top 10 list. Read my full review for this film here: Quarantine

Special Awards…

(for films not quite meeting the criteria for this page…)

Dead Set

Why:? This film was not considered for the top 10 list due to the fact that it is not “technically” a horror movie. This film was a tv series that broken into 5 episodes, although this film may get a dvd release with the episodes mashed together into a single film. Anywho, this film is an awesome zombie movie that shows some immense, creative gore scenes and even gives quite a few shout outs to the classic Romero zombie films that have influenced all zombie fans and zombie filmmakers till this day. Read my full review for this film/series here: Dead Set

My Other Top 10 Horror Movie Lists

Top 10 Horror Movies of 1980

Top 10 Horror Movies of 1981

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2005

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2006

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2007

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2009

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2010

Why?: Alexandre Aja solidifies himself in the seldom respected horror remake scene with this great follow up to his “The Hills Have Eyes” remake. Mirrors is definitely one of the best, if not THE best horror remake of 2008. The great atmosphere, “bathtub” scene, and the fact that this film uses an everyday household accessory we often overlook, mirrors, as the source of evil in this film. You will not look at mirrors the same way again. Better yet, you may not even look at mirrors EVER after this film!

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