30 Days of Night (2007)
I kind of feel like this is the sort of horror film that's destined to slip between the cracks of history and only be spoken of where hardcore horror fans with good memories congregate. Even though it did pretty well with both critics and filmgoers, it's just not that outstanding of a film. And I mean 'outstanding' in the literal sense: it doesn't do much to stand out from the crowd. Certainly the setting (an Alaskan town that goes through the titular 30 days of night every year, making it ideal for vampires) is novel but it never felt specifically like a vampire movie to me. You could have replace the bloodsuckers with zombies, ghosts, or aliens and it would have worked the same. The ending gets points for being slightly bleak, but the scene leading up to it where our hero defeats the main vampire by putting his hand through the evil guy's head is absurd.
Though I've never played it, I couldn't help but think of Silent Hill IV: The Room while watching this movie, since the two share a similar conceit of "main character is stuck in a room for most of the plot." That said, 1408 is surprisingly scary and imaginative for a PG-13 horror flick. John Cusack plays the same character he does in every movie, and they even manage to work in a scene where he gets rained on. (Fun fact: every movie John Cusack appears in has a scene where he gets rained on.) The series of twists that pepper the latter half of the movie are a bit annoying but I suppose that's a given in any of these horror films where we're not sure if the main character is crazy, hallucinating, or if it's really happening. The conclusion itself is satisfying and has a spooky, ambiguous outro like many Stephen King derived flicks do.
The Grudge (2004)
One of the problems with watching these films at home is that I don't think I'm getting the full effect of seeing them in a theater. Either that or I'm just really hard to scare these days. I remember hating The Ring the first time I saw it because it didn't strike me as either horrifying or a particularly good movie. The same goes for The Grudge, sadly, though I think it's a better movie. I liked the way they sprinkled the backstory of the haunted house throughout the movie but the huge problem I have with this film is the seemingly god-like power of the ghosts. Something that can come get you anywhere at any time should be scary but in practice it's not. The possibility that you can get away makes the action tense; if you can't get away and the villain will get you no matter what, it's not tense so much as boring. Moreover, it's hard to feel sorry for the tragedy of the family killed by the father when the resultant ghosts are so needlessly malicious and murderous to innocent people. All that said, it's a decent scary movie, and I'm a fan of setting a remake of a Japanese horror movie in Japan but with American characters mixed in.
The Omen (2006)
While I love the idea of the Antichrist inhabiting a child's body, thus causing those who try to stop him/it to look like child killing monsters, this film's ending bugs me to no end. Actually it's not the very ending itself; I'm a sucker for "evil wins" endings. No, it was the fact that--even knowing everything that Damien and his caretaker had done, including murdering his wife--the main character wimps out until his cohort, who has the guts to go through with killing Damien, is killed by another convenient falling object. Re-convinced by this turn of events, our hero stages the most clumsy kidnapping in history and wastes just enough time in the church to let the police arrive and stop him. Rather than having him recite the Lord's Prayer, it would have been more effective to nail the whole "I raised this child as my son, but he's the fucking Antichrist so I have to kill him even if the world never knows that I saved it" conflict by emphasizing Damien pleading "no please Daddy don't!!" and stalling until the police arrive that way. But I digress. Even the ever-beautiful and brilliant Julia Stiles couldn't save this film from being a grossly overrated piece of crap with overly convenient and arbitrary plot elements.
Planet Terror (2007)
One of the best developments of this decade has been the growth of horror films that don't take themselves seriously. Scream is often cited as a self-referential and slightly humorous horror film, but at its heart it tries to be the very thing it's trying to parody. You're supposed to be scared and in suspense of the villain (or villains, depending on the film). Despite the best efforts of 28 Days Later, however, zombies will never be scary to anybody anymore. So if you're going to bother making a zombie film in this day and age, you should follow the lead of films like Slither and Planet Terror, which have zombies (or zombie-like creatures, anyway) but don't take themselves seriously. Planet Terror is high on my list of horror films/b-movies for this decade because it's both realistic and ridiculous. I will love this flick forever because the son of one of the heroines, who could have been the typical 'annoying little kid that must be constantly saved and protected' horror film character, accidentally kills himself with a gun. And what's more, a chick with a machine gun leg is still an awesome idea and people just need to get over that fact.