Horror Films of the 2000s

McFarland. Mar. 2022. 438p. ISBN 9781476678054. $75. FILM
Muir (Horror Films FAQ) continues his decade-by-decade survey of horror films, this time focusing on movies falling under the shadow of 9/11. In his introductory essay, he connects the horror trends of the 2000s to world events—he links torture porn like Hostel to Abu Ghraib, and shaky cam “found footage” movies like Cloverfield to Ground Zero images captured by bystanders. Readers should note that Muir doesn’t mask his political views; he makes connections between the films and George W. Bush’s War on Terror and other policies. The bulk of the book is a year-by-year look at more than 300 movies. Each section begins with a time line of that year’s events; for each film, Muir includes a critical synopsis, the cast and crew listing, summaries, and (often lengthy) commentaries. Though he acknowledges that this isn’t a complete list, it’s a thorough one nevertheless—his survey covers not only theatrical releases but also direct-to-video ones and foreign language titles. Obviously, this series is a labor of love, and Muir’s depth of knowledge is apparent. He defends the divisive Martyrs, explains the workings of two installments in the Leprechaun franchise, and caps the book with his personal top-10 list.
VERDICT Highly recommended. Beyond the insightful main text, horror fans will find the supplementary material an incredibly useful way to find movies by convention (e.g., “Road Trip Gone Wrong”).
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