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The horror genre is a tough one to get right, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to crack. The best films are able to suspend belief and inject cringe worthy fear and anticipation into the most grounded of souls. Over the years I’ve added quite a few horror titles to my Blu-ray collection. Some of my favorites include classics such as Halloween, The Shining, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Silence of the Lambs, Alien, and the ever polarizing The Blair Witch Project. And while those are loads of fun to watch, most of them look and sound dated. They simply miss the pop and sizzle that modern movies carry when it comes to presentation power. So, today, we offer you a list of five killer movies – all made after the year 2000 – that will deliver Shocktober direct to your home theater room with the added allure of modern audio and video qualities.


It Follows (Blu-ray, 2015)


This is the most recent release of our five picks, and it very well could be the best. After all, our Mike Edwards proclaimed it to be “one of the best horror movies [he] had seen in quite some time,” and I would have to agree. It Follows is an instant classic that details the terror experienced by a young woman that is cursed with a burden of a demonic stalker. What’s better, is the film delivers its story with classic styling that makes it feel like it was born during yesteryear.

The film features a 2.35:1 cinemascope image that will absolutely delight large screen and projector viewers with a beautifully aged image bathed in earthy hues. The overall video presentation is practically faultless with outstanding color, clarity, and blacks to die for. The audio side is punctuated by a robust DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that delivers the goods. Dialog is amazingly sharp and intelligible, surround atmospherics are off the charts, the musical score is superb, and low frequency effects are potent enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck.

Buy It Follows On Blu-ray at Amazon




The Babadook (Blu-ray, 2014)


The Shout Factory delivers director Jennifer Kent’s first cinematic release, The Babadook, on Blu-ray. The film details the nightmarish experiences of a single mother and her disturbed young son. Things go from bad to worse once the duo reads a book about a monster that hides in the dark. The storyline is fresh and original, capturing quite a bit of critical acclaim at its time of release (98% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

The film’s audio merits include a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that is layered with creepy sounds, atmospherics, and great surround activity. While low frequency effects are rare, they have plenty of pop when used. Dialog is highly intelligible. The overall presentation does so many things right, setting the stage for a story that is sure to send chills down your spine.

Much like It Follows, The Babadook pleases the eyes with an enthusiast grade cinemascope aspect ratio. The overall image is loaded with fine details and a sharpness that's pleasing to the eye. Dark scenes show a hint of crush here and there, which only help to hide the sinister being that haunts the film’s horror-scape.

Buy The Babadook On Blu-ray at Amazon




The Devil’s Backbone (Blu-ray, 2013)


While pricey to buy due to its Blu-ray release as part of the Criterion Collection, The Devil’s Backbone is a Guillermo del Toro horror gem. The film takes place at the Santa Lucia School during the Spanish Civil War, a home to orphans, abandoned children, and the ghost of a boy that was brutally murdered on school grounds. The setting for this film gives it a fresh feel within the horror genre.

The video presentation (1.85:1) features an excellent hi-def. transfer from the original 35mm camera negative. This particular release features a remastered image that improves upon previous releases; del Toro and his team of transfer supervisors kept some of the film’s imperfections, giving the image a beautiful cinematic texture. Viewers are treated to excellent levels of fine detail, improved shadow detail, and a very natural image. Colors are simply superb.

Audio quality is also up to the task with a remastered Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 presentation (English subtitles are available). While subtle and rather front-heavy, the audio track does a great job of injecting a chill into the room. Surround activity is perfectly executed with stellar moments of motion of sound. Low frequency effects, while sparse, do dig deep when they appear.

Buy The Devil’s Backbone On Blu-ray at Amazon




The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray, 2012)


Lionsgate hit a homerun with its decidedly unique and imaginative horror classic: The Cabin in the Woods. The story follows five college friends that travel to a remote cabin buried deep in the forest. Of course, what they find is anything but a vacation or a relaxing stay. There are quite a few surprises along the way that keep the film fresh and original, while giving plenty of nods to horror films of the past.

The film is delivered in a highly detailed and sharp 2.40:1 aspect ratio. As Mike Edwards says in his full review, “video for Cabin is excellent to say the least.” Overall coloring includes hints of black and yellow hues that coat the film with a sinister visual appeal. Finer details are pronounced.

The Cabin in the Woods delivers on the audio side with an awesome DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix. Viewers are treated to loads of surround activity that effectively heightens tension as the movie’s plot takes hold. Overall fidelity is spot-on. While the movie starts off rather tame on the bass front, low frequency effects dominate the second half to levels that will have bass-heads smiling ear to ear.

The Cabin in the Woods is currently selling for a mere $3.99 on Amazon, making it a must buy for Prime members.

Buy The Cabin in the Woods On Blu-ray at Amazon



Let the Right One In (Blu-ray, 2009)

Last but not least, we present a romantic horror film about a bullied 12-year-old boy that befriends a strange neighborhood girl. There’s just one small issue: the girl is a vampire. He accepts her for who she is, but that move has consequences that ripple far beyond his reach. The film scored a rock-solid "98%" by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and has received heaps of praise from viewing audiences, too. It’s a solid movie that is a must see for fans of horror.

Presented in its original cinemascope 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Let the Right One In delivers excellent image quality. The overall color palate is rather stark, but that plays nicely with the film’s storyline. Black levels and shadow detail during nighttime scenes are quite good. Clarity is excellent.

The film is coded with both English and Swedish DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio tracks that are deliciously balanced and razor sharp (English are subtitles available for those that want to hear the full audio effect). If you’re looking for a devilishly thunderous experience, you’ll need to look elsewhere. However, the film’s audio presentation will stealthily envelop your theater room with suspense and terror. Bass is used sparingly but effectively.

Buy Let the Right One In On Blu-ray at Amazon


If you haven't seen one of the above five films, then definitely take advantage of this haunting season and take the plunge! And if you have a favorite horror film from the last 16 years that isn’t mentioned, let us know below!


Image Credits: Causeway Films, Criterion, Starz/Anchor Bay, Lionsgate, Magnolia Pictures
 

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Thanks Todd, if I can muster enough courage, I might give some of these a try! I do love horror, but it is a rare treat for me, especially these days when all my viewing is way down due to the little ones.

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Sure thing Owen! Want to definitely give credit to Mike Edwards who helped brainstorm the list!

If I could pick one to start, I'd probably go with It Follows. It's a relatively short film. The Babadook is also a unique one. All of them are recommended, though!

Funny side note about horror movies and kids...about a month ago I was home alone with my 14 year old daughter and asked her if she wanted to watch a movie. She said sure and suggested that we pick a movie that her younger sister wouldn't be allowed to see. We went through the collection and came across Poltergeist. I told her it was a classic from my younger years... one that my friends and I watched when it was released in the early 80s... and, hey, it's rated PG! Those are two magic letters in my book! ;-)

Of course, my brain forgot that PG of 1982 doesn't exactly equate to PG of 2016.

End of story: she made it through the movie but it didn't sit well in her head that night....or the next night... or the night after that.

My wife? NOT HAPPY.
My Daughter? EVEN MORE UNHAPPY.

Lesson learned. :devil:
 

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Lol... I recently read something about a dad introducing his son to Back To The Future, thinking it was an innocent family classic. It was no Poltergeist (what were you thinking!?) but it also shows what a difference a couple of decades makes in what is considered age appropriate.

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Great list of movies!, I have every one of them in my blu-ray collection.
As an alternative horror movie I might add "The Orphanage" from 2007 It has a 7.1 DTS-HD soundtrack that makes great use of the surrounds to to create a very subtle, creepy and realistic environment.
 

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Lol... I recently read something about a dad introducing his son to Back To The Future, thinking it was an innocent family classic. It was no Poltergeist (what were you thinking!?) but it also shows what a difference a couple of decades makes in what is considered age appropriate.

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We've run the gauntlet with the Back to the Future / Ghostbusters PG era movies. They're great to share, but language and some content can definitely dive right into Pg-13 (plus) territory. I know everyone is different, but we eventually started relying on a site called Common Sense Media. It details all of the language with precision. I used it to talk to the kids about the words, what they mean, why they shouldn't use them as kids, etc. We never had an issue.

Now horror content on the other hand... yikes. You're right: what was I thinking??? :)
 

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Great list of movies!, I have every one of them in my blu-ray collection.

As an alternative horror movie I might add "The Orphanage" from 2007 It has a 7.1 DTS-HD soundtrack that makes great use of the surrounds to to create a very subtle, creepy and realistic environment.


Great suggestion! I don't have that in my collection... is it worth an add?

One that could possibly make the list is "Paranormal Activity". Although the PQ is just so-so. Sound had a few moments but nothing stellar. Definitely another polarizing flick. I liked it tho... I enjoy allowing my mind to be tricked by the pseudo-reality styling of movies shot like that.
 

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Great suggestion! I don't have that in my collection... is it worth an add?

One that could possibly make the list is "Paranormal Activity". Although the PQ is just so-so. Sound had a few moments but nothing stellar. Definitely another polarizing flick. I liked it tho... I enjoy allowing my mind to be tricked by the pseudo-reality styling of movies shot like that.
Honestly it is one of my favorite horror movies as long as you don't mind reading subtitles.
Think more sixth sense than Friday the 13th.
 

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That's a great list. I've seen 4/5 and might have to check out The Devils Backbone. It Follows was probably my favorite on that list. Something was just flat out creepy with that movie.
 

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I agree, Jeff. It Follows is Creepy in every sense of the word! Especially when she's looking out of her window at the neighbor's house! ;-)
 

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Great suggestion! I don't have that in my collection... is it worth an add?

One that could possibly make the list is "Paranormal Activity". Although the PQ is just so-so. Sound had a few moments but nothing stellar. Definitely another polarizing flick. I liked it tho... I enjoy allowing my mind to be tricked by the pseudo-reality styling of movies shot like that.
ooooooh, that's one I missed. "the Orphanage" is a fantastic ghost story along the lines of "The Devil's Backbone". Also done by a Spanish director. I completely forgot about that one.
 
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