Though many would argue that the horror genre saw its finest days in the late 20th century, with the dawn of a new millennium came the birth of new ideas regarding cinema’s scariest genre. The ’70s saw the birth of modern horror, then throughout the ’80s, slashers were all the rage, and the ’90s continued that trend with countless lazy franchise sequels of increasingly questionable quality. However, with the advent of the new millennium came hope: hope that horror might become great again.

Unfortunately, the ’00s didn’t quite recapture the horror genre’s ’70s and ’80s success, but there were a few notable and interesting developments for horror. The genre was revitalized by a sudden boom of creativity: suddenly, horror movies became more than pale imitations and endless sequels. Instead, horror movies that were actually good started hitting theaters.

The resurgence of zombie cinema swept the globe, as did the unpleasantly named “torture porn”. The fascination with terrifyingly plausible horror movies featuring home invasions (many of which were vaguely labelled “inspired by true events”) got well and truly underway, but most importantly, horror movies began to explore themselves again. The ’00s saw horror movies once more establish deeper themes and ideas, and the decade breathed a much-needed sense of life into the genre. With all of that in mind, here are 9 of the ’00s best horror movies.

9. Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

Nick Frost, Penelope Wilton, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Kate Ashfield, and Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead

Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, Shaun of the Dead was directed by Wright, and starred Pegg. This translated to a creative vision so clearly communicated by the finished film that Shaun of the Dead went from zombie spoof to one of the best films of the undead subgenre. Perfectly blending horror and comedy, Shaun of the Dead riffs on all of the biggest zombie tropes while still delivering a thoroughly sound horror experience.

It’s the film that truly launched the careers of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost, and it also marked the start of their “Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy” – three otherwise unrelated films that explore different genres. Shaun of the Dead follows Shaun (Pegg) and his best friend Ed (Frost) as they attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse in North London. The film also features an exceptional ensemble of British actors capable of delivering both drama and comedy.

One of the most remarkable things about Shaun of the Dead is how well it holds up decades later. Its practical effects have aged remarkably well, and its social commentary remains as relevant as ever. Shaun of the Dead perfectly captures the sense of disillusionment that many had begun to feel with the horror genre, poking fun at the weaker elements of zombie movies while delivering a solid horror story of its own.