Saturday, 24 October 2009

10 Days of Horror: The Best British Horror Films Of The Last 20 Years

I would go so far to say that generally speaking I have a less then passing interest in the British film industry. The majority of its output is uninspiring and we seem to get outdone by countries of similar global relevance. But in the spirit of the psychological process of denial, I have decided donate an entire post of this horror marathon to what my countrymen have given us during the course of what is roughly my lifetime. The best British horror films of the last twenty years then. Interestingly, not one of them is from the nineties. But I guess everybody gets a decade off here and there.

6) Severance
After trashing Christopher Smith's latest the other day, it seems fair to cut him some slack on this one. This film is funny in places, contains some good performances (From Andy Nyman and Tim McInnerny) and some clever black humor. Its far from amazing, but it for what it is it works, which is a lot more then can be said for some. Danny Dyer is the worst actor in history though.

5) 28 Days Later
To most people this would be higher, and it certainly is a stylish movie, but I think the second half fluffs it, despite how good Christopher Ecclestone is. Its still a landmark for re-igniting the British horror movie though, and it gave the under-rated Cillian Murphy a career.

4) Dog Soldiers
Its over the top, but the kind of OTT that can be relentlessly enjoyed. High in the running for the most entertaining horror movie of recent years, and its a pretty meanly executed siege movie. Some of the writing and acting may be a bit rough around the edges, but accomplished a super-human feat of getting a good performance of Sean Pertwee, so deserves mad props for that.

3) Shaun of the Dead
I think this is a good movie, don't get me wrong. But its a hell of an over-rated one. It gets by on its unabated love for all things zombie, an affectionate mockery rather then a scathing roasting. Also love about half the cast, Bill Nighy steals the movie with about five minutes of screen-time, and I also enjoyed Dylan Moran even if he is playing a stock douche. It also has a couple of moments of genuine darkness too, which catch you nicely by surprise.

2) The Descent
Director Neil Marshall second appearance on this list, after Dog Soldiers. The Descent is darker, more mature and contains some genuinely disturbing imagery. Marshall, proving himself a deceptively skillful master of pacing and possibly the best director of 'group of people get picked off one by one' movies that ever was. Probably the best out and out horror movie on this list given the fact that number one is a bit of a cheat.

1) Dead Man's Shoes
Yes its an arthouse movie about character but its also a slasher movie about bloody revenge too right. People get picked off one by one by the awesome Paddy Considine, who gives a performance here that will stay with you. A great example of why the best horror movies are made by non-horror directors. They just bring something else to it.

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