The 2000s was a very weird decade. Pop culture was a mess, and so was media. Music was kind of strange, reality TV was at an all-time low, and movies were questionable. The humor in a lot of 2000s comedies has not aged well, and horror movies from that era especially have a very bad reputation.


2000s horror was a little strange. It was reminiscent of the late 1980s-early 1990s when there were a lot of remakes, a lot of cheap slashers, and horror was primarily directed at teens. Don’t completely count the 2000s out though! Some of those teen scream slasher remakes were a lot of fun, and there are other hidden gems with more complex themes and unique plots to enjoy.

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Updated October 11th, 2022 by Russ Boswell: Some might argue that the same stigmas that were attached to 90s Horror films followed the genre into the early 2000s. Although there were some pretty questionable films that were released during this time, the 2000s were actually filled with quite a few interesting, refreshing, and new takes on the genre, helping to usher in new trends, technologies, and sub-genres. Thanks to the abundance of Horror titles that began popping up during the 2000s, many films slipped by unnoticed. Thankfully, these films are seeing attention in the modern age and some of them are even developing cult followings. To shine more light on the best 2000s horror films, the following list has been updated to include more underrated entries.


Thirst (2009)

Barely making it into the 2000s is iconic Korean director Park Chan-wook’s twisted movie Thirst. It’s about a Catholic priest who begins to notice some sinister changes to himself after a failed medical experiment.

It’s a long movie, a little bit of a slow burn, but with a lot of payoffs. There are twists and turns all around and some truly gross-out moments. It’s also a really beautiful film with stunning imagery and great performances, and it’s surprising but not stupid. Because it’s a little more gothic and artsy this might not be a top choice for everyone, but those who buckle in for the ride will find it well worth it.

Triangle (2009)

There’s something supremely unsettling about the vastness of the Ocean. There are a lot of great Horror films that are set on open waters, which prey on the audience’s fear of being alone and adrift in a seemingly endless void. That’s what happens at the start of Triangle, a 2009 film that seems to head in one direction before taking a drastic turn in another. Those looking for something twisting, strange, and thought-provoking, should definitely check out this gem that popped up near the end of the decade.

It’s a bit murky at the start, but as each twist and turn unravels, viewers will find themselves invested in exactly what’s happening. It’s the type of film that will keep them guessing until the end.

Session 9 (2001)

There are tons of Horror movies released each year, from massive-budget box-office hits to small lesser-known Indie films and everything in between. Because of this, there are often many films that slip through the cracks and fall off the radar for Horror fanatics. Session 9 is a great example of this phenomenon, and it stands as one of the best Horror films to release in 2001. It didn’t see a massive fanfare when it was originally released, but it’s managed to gain quite the cult following over the years (and for good reason).

The story follows a group of Asbestos cleaning specialists as they’re sent to an old abandoned asylum to clear the place of hazardous materials. What seems like a routine job quickly turns into a nightmare filled with paranormal events and paranoia. Session 9 does a fantastic job of building dread and tension over its runtime, keeping audiences invested until the finale.

Noroi: The Curse (2005)

Some of the best and most unnerving Horror has come from Japan. In recent years, Western audiences have seen an uptick in Japanese Horror making it to the big screens in North America. Thanks to all the streaming services that have popped up in recent years, audiences can now dive deeper into the abundance of incredible and downright terrifying Japanese Horror films that had only been seen by local audiences.

A great example of a relatively unknown Eastern gem is Noroi: The Curse. Japan’s version of a found-footage film, this creepy movie offers up 2 hours of nerve-wracking scares and tense moments that do a fantastic job of blending together found footage and traditional film to create a revolutionary and unsettling adventure into the paranormal.

The Skeleton Key (2005)

The Skeleton Key directed by Iain Softley is a bold Southern Gothic tale with a very impressive cast. Kate Hudson is in the lead role as a nurse who takes a caregiving position for an elderly couple, played by Gena Rowlands and John Hurt, in southern Lousiana. She notices some strange things about the house and its inhabitants, unraveling a dark supernatural history.

While this film is far from perfect, it’s a really interesting mystery that is a lot of fun to watch unfold. Many parts of it are genuinely surprising and though the beginning makes it seem like an ordinary haunted house story, it ends up being so much more than that. There are some interesting potential subtext connotations about some important social issues, which is almost always really effective in horror films, and it’s downright scary.

House of Wax (2005)

This film kind of encapsulates everything people hate about 2000s horror. It’s a teen scream with a heartthrob cast, it’s a remake, and its script can verge on pretty cheesy. However, it’s also a total hidden gem and an awesome watch.

This is a remake of the 1953 Vincent Price horror film of the same name, but the plots are very different. This one follows a group of young adults on a road trip to a big football game. They pull over somewhere to camp for the night on their way and find themselves needing assistance in a small, quiet, town with some interesting characters and very dark secrets.

Unfortunately, the most well-known thing about this movie is that Paris Hilton is in it, and she gets killed. Much of the film’s marketing was even focused on this, which from a 2021 perspective is completely messed up and inappropriate. Having that be so much of the focus turned this into a bit of a joke at the time, but the film is better than a joke. There are some questionable effects and script choices, but a lot of House of Wax still really holds up. There are some great gore and scary moments that make this perfect for a Halloween party among friends, and the ending is really explosive.

Ginger Snaps (2000)

One part creature feature, one part body horror, and a whole lot of coming-of-age. That’s basically Ginger Snaps in a nutshell. The story is about two sisters with some very morbid interests. Oldest sister Ginger one day finds herself the victim of a werewolf attack and notices strange things happening to her body.

A lot of this film feels very metaphorical for puberty, as a lot of the plot even revolves around Ginger starting her menstrual cycle. People who grew up in the 2000s and late 1990s, especially girls, will find this one comforting and cozy, but it has some good gore scenes too. It also has some excellent and unique themes, focusing a lot on sisterhood and female bond. A lot of teen horror movies revolve so much around romance, having these sorts of themes is really refreshing.

Dark Water (2002)

In 1998 Hideo Nakata directed the Japanese horror movie Ring which was a massive success and went on to spawn an amazing American remake and an entire franchise. In 2002, he introduced audiences to Dark Water which is less popular but still really amazing.

It’s about a single mother and her daughter who move into a new apartment. They begin to experience some spooky supernatural stuff, seemingly to do with a leak coming from the floor above them. This movie is really creepy and has all the rainy day vibes which make it feel kind of comforting, but it’s also very sad. It’s also an interesting watch for viewers who follow true crime stories and have knowledge of the Elisa Lam case because there are some weird connections.

There was also an American remake in this movie from 2005, and it could be another underappreciated movie of this era because it’s not bad either, but not as good as the original.

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