2008: Let the Right One In
While most 2008 vampire discussion surrounded Twilight, a Swedish director adapted another vampire romance novel to even greater effect.
Let the Right One In follows a bullied young boy and his blossoming relationship with a young vampire.
While it isn’t the scariest film on the list, Let the Right One In is unquestionably a horror film. Director Tomas Alfredson uses Scandinavia’s snowy urban landscape to create a bleak, dark tone like no one else can. The protagonists feel isolated together, giving an authentic sense of teen angst. The film also follows the impact of the vampire on those close to its victims, which is fairly unique in the world of vampire films. This film is a nice balance compared to everything else on this list, delivering atmospheric horror alongside shocking gore.
2009: Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity is the peak of low budget, cinema verité horror.
The film follows a young couple that recently moved into a new home. When they suspect it may be haunted, they set up audio-visual capture equipment to keep watch all hours of the night.
While Paranormal Activity didn’t create the found footage genre, there’s no question that it generated new interest in the form while also kicking off 2010s-Hollywood’s haunted house craze. The viral marketing surrounding the audience exits from theaters made the experience frightening before even entering the theater, and the camerawork combined with ever-progressing special effects (mostly featured in the dark to mask flaws) causes the footage to actually seem real.
While the franchise may have overstayed its welcome, the original film is a landmark in the history of cinema, and definitely worth a watch.
Recommended for you: 10 Best Horror Movies of the 2010s
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