The 10 Best Horror Films of the 2000s
Centipedes! Vagina dentata! Hand-held video cameras!
Index to Best of Horror by Decade.
Horror film has always been an extremely self-referential genre, but it reached new heights of recursiveness in the 2000s. The found footage genre was obsessed with making horror films about horror films, and the biggest new franchise of the decade, “Saw,” featured a villain who was essentially a horror movie director constructing sets to trap his victims/viewers. Reflexivity pushed the genre to new extremes of arch humor and mannerist excess; it’s a decade which includes some of the funniest horror films, and some of the most repulsive.
10. Martyrs (2008)
The most infamous movie of the infamous New French Extremity movement, Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs both depicts and embraces torture for its own sake. Young girls Lucie Jurin (Mylène Jampanoï) and Anna Assaoui (Morjana Alaoui) are brutalized pointlessly by a cult which seeks to create martyrs through extended suffering. The second half of the film is little but Anna being force fed, struck and tormented with mundane cruelty as gentle music plays and she wastes away before our eyes.
Laugier tempts viewers to embrace violence as grotesque revenge, violence as genre payoff, and/or violence as formal aesthetic beauty, even as he continually reminds you that violence is pointless and exists only for its own consummation. It’s a frustratingly gratuitous and gratuitously frustrating film, which leaves you unsure whether to be angry at the director, yourself, or the world.
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