3. Wolf Creek (2005)
Three young tourists go on a road trip to visit a meteor crater but, when their car breaks down in the middle of the Australian outback and they are rescued by an apparently kindly tracker, things suddenly take a much darker turn.
Despite the claims Wolf Creek was based on a true story, that was more of a marketing gimmick like with The Blair Witch Project to get morbidly fascinated bums in seats. That doesn’t make it any less credibly terrifying however. Out-of-their depth teens get stranded, tortured and then hunted across an inhospitable landscape unknown to them but very familiar to their pursuer.
The performances are raw and believable, and Mick Taylor with his easy smile and easier trigger finger is easily one of the most frightening horror creations this century, proving enough of a draw for a movie sequel (with another in production) and a successful TV spin-off.
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4. Rogue (2007)
An American journalist and a group of tourists on an Australian river safari are hunted by an aggressive saltwater crocodile.
As creature features involving giant crocs go, Rogue should be considered a bit of a classic. Wolf Creek director Greg McClean returned with a movie perfectly situated between the slow-build of tension and character play on offer in Jaws and the trashy fun of Lake Placid.
We’re given ample time to get to know everyone (including pre-fame Sam Worthington and Mia Wasikowska) before one thing after another goes wrong for them on this boat trip from hell, not the least of which is getting stranded on a small flooded island with a pissed off reptile the size of a bus.
5. Lake Mungo (2008)
The Palmer family tells their story through interviews, home videos and family photos about the time their daughter lost her life by drowning in a lake, then seemed to come back.
While a few films on this list have only been debatably horror, Lake Mungo is without doubt one of the scariest films of all time; it is layered, eerie and ambiguous. A single jump-scare aside, Lake Mungo is a real slow burn – it definitely gets under your skin and keeps sending shivers down your spine, usually by holding on a still image and letting your imagination do the work.
We come back to the same images time after time and they have been almost imperceptibly altered to convince you, along with the mock-doc narration, to never entirely trust your own eyes as your mind might be playing tricks on you.