The Top 20 Must See Horror Movies 1990 Through 2010

This list is based on my personal opinions. It is not meant to stir any kind of controversy over agreement or disagreement. Just sharing my thoughts on some examples of the genre that have stuck with me above others.
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1.
The Exorcist III (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A police lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased 'Gemini' serial killer, lead him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward. (110 mins.)
“ The scariest film of 1990 and highly underrated compared to the blockbuster original that started the series. Very creepy visuals and score highlight the film, powered by a plot that involves the detective who investigated the events of the first film. ” - spotlessmind03
 
2.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. (118 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
“ One of the greatest horror films ever made and definitely the best film of 1991. An eager FBI trainee, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is forced to confront her deepest fears in the form of Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) a criminally insane psychologist turned cannibal who must aid Starling in her search for a serial killer on the loose in rural Southern America. ” - spotlessmind03
 
3.
Candyman (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster's myth. (99 mins.)
Director: Bernard Rose
“ A scary, offbeat ghost story with a strong central heroine. Virginia Madsen is surprisingly good in this unexpected horror movie about an urban legend that may bear more truth than a young grad student (Madsen) expects when she unwittingly sets a demonic spirit on the loose. This is one of the bloodiest ghost stories ever, and Tony Todd leaves a lasting impression as the Candyman in question. ” - spotlessmind03
 
4.
Jurassic Park (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok. (127 mins.)
“ A billionaire assembles a group of scientists to genetically clone dinosaurs on a secluded tropical island. After a powerful storm knocks out the power, the dinosaurs break loose of their electrically guarded wandering grounds and begin to feast on the human inhabitants on the island. Steven Spielberg wrangles some incredible tension in the dino attack scenes, and the special effects are simply spectacular... there isn't a shot that doesn't still look real. The film and the novel on which its based aren't really horror themed at all... but there's an undeniably frightening aspect to dinosaurs chowing down on people who have no hope of being rescued. ” - spotlessmind03
 
5.
New Nightmare (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A demonic force has chosen Freddy Krueger as its portal to the real world. Can Heather play the part of Nancy one last time and trap the evil trying to enter our world? (112 mins.)
Director: Wes Craven
“ Wes Craven has proven time and again to be one of the genuine masters of modern horror and "New Nightmare" is no exception. One of the smartest and scariest movies Craven has ever made, it's the best "Elm Street" film and provokes the most thought out of any film in the franchise. Craven loves to toy with the boundary between reality and fantasy horror and it shows here in spades, a technique he would improve even more in 1996's "Scream". ” - spotlessmind03
 
6.
Scream (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Sidney, attempting to cope with her mother's mysterious murder, and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by an unknown killer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go. (111 mins.)
Director: Wes Craven
“ A group of teens is being terrorized by a psychotic slasher in a ghost mask in a California town, and it soon becomes apparent that the brutal killings are linked to one girl's tragic past. Wes Craven is at the top of his game stylistically and delivers the scariest movie of his career. Everything is kept reasonably intelligent by Kevin Williamson's witty self referential script. "Scream" is a highlight in the teen slasher subgenre, refreshingly clever, scary and enjoyable throughout. ” - spotlessmind03
 
7.
Scream 2 (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Two years after the first series of murders, a new psychopath dons the Ghostface costume and a new string of killings begins. (120 mins.)
Director: Wes Craven
“ A sequel that had a lot to live up to. Where it lacks originality or any sense of new direction from its predecessor, it makes up for in scares and even more self referencing humor that serves as an ironic stance to add a touch of reality to the proceedings. "Scream 2" is a longer and less entertaining retread that still packs a punch and makes a cut far above the rest of 1997's horror films. ” - spotlessmind03
 
8.
Ringu (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Ruthlessly murdered by her father, the ghost of a seer's daughter kills all those who watch a weird video after 7 days; unless the viewer finds the escape clause. (96 mins.)
Director: Hideo Nakata
“ Totally refreshing and scary ghost movie about a viral video tape that curses any viewer to death in one week's time. "Ringu" inspired one of the most successful American horror movies of all time, the equally creepy "The Ring". You won't forget the images from this disturbing film, one of the best impressions a horror film can have. ” - spotlessmind03
 
9.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind. (81 mins.)
“ Scary in its own, strange little way. Three college students shooting a documentary on a Hi 8 video camera become lost in the woods, and as the days pass by they document everything up until one of the weirdest and most ambiguous endings ever in a scary movie. I have mixed feelings about the film but what is undeniable is its power to be extremely frightening without showing us anything, a great feat on behalf of the filmmakers involved. ” - spotlessmind03
 
10.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly werewolf. (108 mins.)
Director: John Fawcett
“ One of the smartest teen horror movies ever made. In the tradition of "Scream", this Canadian shocker is chock full of self degrading humor, but it doesn't skimp out on the scares in any sense. A surprisingly heartfelt story of two sisters dealing with a supernatural curse is the driving energy of this refreshing, bloody and bleak werewolf thriller. ” - spotlessmind03
 
11.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A brother and sister driving home through isolated countryside for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature which is on the last day of its ritualistic eating spree. (90 mins.)
Director: Victor Salva
“ The scariest road trip gone awry thriller you could ask for. In lieu of a typical psycho chasing teens in the countryside, we are instead presented with a thrillingly original monster creation that is best left to the viewer's discovery rather than describing it here. A pair of siblings cross paths with a dark entity in the middle of nowhere and soon end up fighting for their lives in this tense shocker. ” - spotlessmind03
 
12.
28 Days Later... (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary. (113 mins.)
Director: Danny Boyle
“ The best post apocalyptic zombie movie ever made. There's a disturbing sense of realism to the entire film, and director Danny Boyle wisely draws the greatest moments of horror from human to human contact, ravenous zombies aside. ” - spotlessmind03
 
13.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
After picking up a traumatized young hitchhiker, five friends find themselves stalked and hunted by a deformed chainsaw-wielding killer and his family of equally psychopathic killers. (98 mins.)
Director: Marcus Nispel
“ Well cast, highly stylized remake that makes a whole lot out of nothing, much like the original. R. Lee Ermey is perfect and very memorable as the chief member of a cannibalistic family that preys on unsuspecting victims who happen across a deserted patch of Texas farm land in the early seventies. ” - spotlessmind03
 
14.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall. (101 mins.)
Director: Zack Snyder
“ Action packed zombie thriller with real bite. Not nearly as horrifying as Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead still stands its ground as an effective and competently made zombie thriller. Director Zack Snyder assembles a really entertaining cast including Ving Rhames and the lovely Sarah Polley. It's clear that everyone involved is having a blast in this blood soaked remake that ups the ante on the gore to a sickening yet satisfying level that will leave any horror hound delighted. ” - spotlessmind03
 
15.
The Descent (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators. (99 mins.)
Director: Neil Marshall
“ One of the scariest movies I've ever had the pleasure to see, again and again. Neil Marshall implies that there's a lot more to be scared of in the dark than flesh eating cave dwellers, when a group of women on a caving expedition become trapped in an uncharted system and are suddenly viciously attacked by an undiscovered species of hominids. The movie so effectively draws fear from its environment that after repeated viewings I still find some of the scenes impossible to bear. Perfectly paced, edited and performed by all involved. ” - spotlessmind03
 
16.
Black Christmas (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  
An escaped maniac returns to his childhood home on Christmas Eve, which is now a sorority house, and begins to murder the sorority sisters one by one. (84 mins.)
Director: Glen Morgan
“ One of the nastiest, goriest, most squirm inducing slashers I've ever seen. Uncomfortable and gross even by modern horror movie standards. Director Glen Morgan doesn't bother with character development... his agenda is to scare the living hell out of you in as many ways as possible during an hour and a half as a group of sorority sisters are picked off by an insatiable psycho during a whiteout blizzard on Christmas Eve. In the tradition of "Scream", no star in the film is safe based on the popularity of their name, so watch out for some unexpected and nauseating mischief. ” - spotlessmind03
 
17.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence. (86 mins.)
Director: Oren Peli
“ The mock documentary style has never been so effective. Even scarier than "The Blair Witch Project", this thriller toys with its audience by building up unbearable tension, night by night as a couple sleeps with a camera watching their bed, hoping to capture some recent ghostly activity in their home on film. When the actual entity begins to reveal itself in increasingly menacing ways, things go from a little scary to downright horrifying. ” - spotlessmind03
 
18.
The Ruins (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist, embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle where something evil lives among the ruins. (90 mins.)
Director: Carter Smith
“ A different kind of horror movie, one that doesn't draw terror from ghosts or psychos in masks. Four college kids partying in Mexico drive way out into the jungle to explore an ancient pyramid, but find that once they arrive, the local villagers won't let them leave, and what's worse, the pyramid holds a deadly secret that will slowly drive them insane. ” - spotlessmind03
 
19.
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point. (99 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
“ Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead Trilogy) delivers a hysterical, gutsy and horrific horror comedy that packs a punch. An old gypsy woman curses a beautiful young banker to hell after she denies an extension on the old woman's home loan. Though the film has its terrifying moments, mostly involving Christine's (Alison Lohman) interactions with a vengeful demon, Raimi infuses so much comic relief throughout the proceedings that you'll find yourself grinning rather than cowering in fear by the end. ” - spotlessmind03
 
20.
The Crazies (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
About the inhabitants of a small Iowa town suddenly plagued by insanity and then death after a mysterious toxin contaminates their water supply. (101 mins.)
Director: Breck Eisner
“ Not necessarily the scariest film on this list. It's not even that frightening in its own right. But it WAS the best horror film released in 2010. Timothy Olyphant and Rhada Mitchell both give fine performances as a husband and wife caught in the midst of a violent government takeover when their small town's (I believe it's in Iowa) residents begin to become infected with a mind altering disease that turns them into raving homicidal maniacs. A fun twist on the zombie genre with some great, gory twisted moments and exciting action. Where it doesn't really induce true fear, the film manages to build some impressive suspense and retains a strong feeling of dread throughout. ” - spotlessmind03