Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., or simply Lionsgate, was first founded in 1997 in Canada. Until Dogma in 1999, Lionsgate's films were all limited releases. But beginning in 2000, they distributed more and more titles that may not have the seen light of day otherwise. They were a champion for independent film, which included a great deal of horror and other genres.
Following the new millennium, the company established its position as a place for daring and experimental cinema. In the mid to late 2000s, Lionsgate alone was churning out more horror than any other studio. So, let's revisit ten of the best ranked Lionsgate horror movies according to IMDb. In some cases, Lionsgate only distributed the films in certain regions, but these projects will still be considered.
10 House of 1000 Corpses (2003) — 6.1
The year is 1977, and after learning about Dr. Satan at a roadside attraction in rural Texas, two couples go in search of his death site. In doing so, these couples are captured and tortured by a homicidal family.
By 2003, people were in need of a release in regards to all things horrifying in real life. Horror would quickly become a means of catharsis. Critics were put off by the violence in House of 1000 Corpses, but horror fans flocked to it. They ate up everything that Rob Zombie's directorial debut had to offer, and they still look forward to his new movies today.
9 Dagon (2001) — 6.2
A group of friends is boating off the Spanish coast when a huge storm appears out of nowhere. Their ship is heavily damaged and some of the crew is trapped on board. This leaves one man to seek help in a nearby village. The more he explores this weird place, the more he realizes the bizarre world from his dreams has become real.
Stuart Gordon's Dagon is loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow over Innsmouth. The Spanish-made film has some quality practical effects which supplement the story's over-the-top atmosphere.
8 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) — 6.4
Set in 1968, a group of teenagers enters an abandoned haunted house on Halloween night. There, they find a book of handwritten ghost stories. When one of the teens, Stella, keeps the book, she later finds stories that weren't there before. These aren't just campfire tales either, they're about Stella's friends and the horrible things that are going to happen to them soon.
The film adaptation of Alvin Schwartz's series of children's books was met with mixed reviews. Some were put off by its juvenile nature and PG-13 rating; others thought it was the perfect gateway horror movie for younger viewers.
7 May (2002) — 6.6
May is a lonely, socially awkward woman working in a veterinary hospital. Having grown up with an eye condition, she has always felt uncomfortable in her own skin. She has two people in her life who find her quirks attractive. However, when she is romantically rejected by those people, she becomes emotionally unhinged.
May performed poorly at the box office due to its limited release, but audiences and critics were in the movie's corner. They were drawn to this oddball of a horror movie and its charming lead, Angela Bettis.
6 High Tension (2003) — 6.8
When Alexa and Marie spend the weekend at Alexa's parents' house, a killer breaks in. The two women escape, but the homicidal intruder is hot on their trail and he will stop at nothing to find them.
High Tension (or Haute Tension in France) is one of the most well-known titles in the New French Extremity, a collection of cinema focusing mainly on transgressive films. Alexandre Aja's 2003 film helped kickstart the movement. High Tension prides itself on unmitigated violence and imposing visuals. There is the general consensus, however, that the twist ending does the film no favors.
5 Shadow of the Vampire (2000) — 6.9
In 1921, a German director begins shooting Nosferatu in Czechoslovakia. The man portraying the vampire Count Orlok is a character actor, and he only appears in makeup at all times. As filming continues, the crew can't help but notice Orlok's actor is taking his role too seriously. It begs one to wonder if he's actually acting.
Shadow of the Vampire is a metafictional story about Nosferatu. By all means, this is not a documentary, as no one died during the real movie's filming. That being said, this film is brilliant, as is Willem Dafoe's performance. Not only is this a self-aware dramatization of what didn't happen, but it's also a compelling vampire movie on its own.
4 The Cabin in the Woods (2011) — 7.0
Five friends vacation at an isolated cabin in the woods. When they are attacked by zombies, they try to leave. Their efforts are in vain, though, as an unseen force is pulling the strings from a remote location. Someone is keeping them in these woods for a higher purpose.
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods was intended to be released in 2010 by MGM and United Artists, but financial issues prevented that. Lionsgate thankfully saw to it that the movie would receive a proper theatrical run the following year. The Cabin in the Woods is a crowd-pleasing sendup of horror tropes while still offering something original, too.
3 Green Room (2015) — 7.0
A struggling punk band plays at a dive bar out in the sticks of Portland, Oregon. As it turns out, the venue is a neo-Nazi bar. When the band witnesses a murder, the staff refuses to let them leave. A bloodbath finally takes place as the musicians are forced to leave the safe confines of the green room.
This survivalist horror film topped many critic's year-end lists, and for good reason. Director Jeremy Saulnier has an artful, riveting way of showing how violence begets violence. As soon as the story shifts into the thriller bits, the tension is as tight as a garrote.
2 Frailty (2001) — 7.2
Acting as the "God's Hand Killer," a blue-collared single father in Texas eliminates anyone who he perceives to be a demon. His two sons have polarized opinions of their father's crimes. The younger one idolizes him while the older one is disturbed. Two decades later, the older son tells the story.
The late actor Bill Paxton pulled double duty in this 2001 movie, portraying the homicidal father while also directing. Frailty is a psychological thriller that Roger Ebert called "extraordinary." The film is very violent, but it's also rife with outstanding performances and indelible imagery.
1 American Psycho (2000) — 7.6
In 1987, a twenty-seven-year-old businessman named Patrick Bateman leads a double life. By day, he's that suave, urban professional that everyone looks up to or despises out of jealousy; at night, Patrick is a serial killer. Luring in victims with his charm and good looks, Patrick indulges in a rash of brutal murders.
American Psycho helped prove Lionsgate was a film studio that should be taken seriously. This controversial satire of 1980s yuppie culture and excess is hard to beat. Director Mary Harron brings a career-high performance out of Christian Bale, who captivates as the charismatic titular villain.