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Modern Horror: 10 Movies Since 1999 That Shaped the Genre

By    |   Monday, 09 Nov 2015 10:58 PM

Zombies! Vampires! Contagion! Tried-and-true horror tropes got a fresh look in the latest examples of the horror movie genre.

And, when the modern world is increasingly in front of a camera, either by surveillance or social media, technology has become a vehicle directors have used to terrorize audiences.

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Here are 7 movies that helped reshape cinema horror since 1990:

1. "The Blair Witch Project" (1999)

A group of young people disappear into the woods in this low-budget thriller that made popular the techniques of “found footage,” shaky-cam and — in a first for movie promotion, said Horror-Movies.ca, viral Internet marketing.

Not the first found-footage horror, but its influence is unmistakable as the subgenre exploded in entries and popularity afterward.

2. "Ringu" (1998)

This Japanese film combines a ghost story with the urban legend trope and gives it a modern twist with a haunted videotape that circulates relentlessly. Four years later, an American remake ("The Ring") came out that was so successful at the box office that Hollywood remade the sequel and a wave of other stylistically similar J-horror films for American audiences.

3. "Let The Right One In" (2008)

A young and bullied boy befriends a little girl who turns out to be a vampire. The bullies pay. But this isn’t just a sparkly vampire love story, or just a revenge horror flick. “This is the story of two lonely and desperate kids ... washed up on the shores of despair,” wrote famed critic Roger Ebert.

This Swedish thriller got an American remake titled "Let Me In."

3. "Saw" (2004)

A sadistic killer forces two men to fight for their lives. “‘Saw’ forced horror films to become smarter, effects to become bloodier, and demonstrated that high concept does not have to mean high budget,” wrote Herner Klenthur at Horror-Movies.ca.

4. "Paranormal Activity" (2007)

This reinvention of the haunted house movie picks up on new trends where "The Blair Witch Project" left off, with found footage and viral marketing turned way up, said Tyler Doupe at Shock Till You Drop.

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5. "28 Days Later" (2002)

This movie brings the zombie craze together with news-driven fears of runaway illness that kills everything, four weeks after a viral plague wipes out most of London. Traditionally, zombies had been undead rather than infected which became a more popular, more grounded explanation for modern zombies.

"28 Days Later" also famously departed from past generations of zombie films in giving speed to the mindless enraged hordes, creating the debate: "Which is scarier, fast zombies or slow zombies?"

6. "[REC]" (2007)

This Spanish film combines found footage (this time it’s a news camera), demonic possession, religious conspiracy, fear of disease outbreak as a disturbance in an apartment building that becomes more and more disturbing.

7. "May" (2002)

“A pro-feminist riff on the Frankenstein story,” according to the British Film Institute. May can’t find the perfect friend, so she decides to make one. BFI rates it high for its sensitivity, especially to gender identity, and “deliciously cruel humor.”

8. "Shaun of the Dead" (2004)

Even before zombies movies got to point of oversaturation, there was "Shaun of the Dead," a British horror-comedy played the genre for laughs.

9. "The Human Centipede" (2009)

This Dutch cult classic is one of the most extreme examples of body horror in which a mad doctor looks to create this monstrosity out of unsuspecting victims. Even if you haven't seen it, you've likely heard of it or seen in referenced in pop culture.

This film eventually became a trilogy with a second installment that was initially banned in Great Britain.

10. "Cabin in the Woods" (2012)

Paying homage to just about every type of horror trope you can imagine, "Cabin" is a horror-comedy that is the one long metacritical gag reel on the genre with a satisfying ending.    

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Tried-and-true horror tropes got a fresh look in the modern horror movie genre. With the world increasingly on camera, either by surveillance or social media, technology has become a vehicle directors have used to terrorize audiences. Here are 10 movies that helped reshape cinema horror since 1990.
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2015-58-09
Monday, 09 Nov 2015 10:58 PM
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