2. "The Cabin in the Woods"
Remember how "Scream" acted as both a love letter to the slasher genre and a satire of it? "The Cabin in the Woods" is kind of like that, only instead of slasher flicks, it's the entire horror genre that gets dissected while the story and scares unfold.
This is a hilariously dark horror comedy from the minds of Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Drew Goddard ("Cloverfield"), and it's genre satire at its finest. "The Cabin in the Woods" takes traditional horror movie tropes -- the virgin, the stoner, the jock, the cabin in the woods, etc. -- and completely tears them apart.
It's almost impossible to talk about the plot of this movie without ruining the entire set-up, so I'll just say this: things don't go as planned for five friends on their vacation in the woods, and things don't go as planned for the audience either.
Come for the gore, stay for the meta jokes.
1. "Evil Dead"
This remake of the definitive cabin-in-the-woods horror movie is fantastic. Seriously, it's great. In my review of it, I said, "By today's horror standards, 'Evil Dead' is an absolute triumph. It makes an effort to have you connect just a little with the characters before they die, it doesn't take itself too seriously and the most important thing? It's a genuinely fun movie."
Because it shares the basic set up of having five friends alone in a cabin and because the original is what inspired the premise for "The Cabin in the Woods," definitely see this one before you see that.
Be warned: this movie is extremely gory. After one of the friends unleashes an ancient evil, they get picked off one by one in extremely gruesome ways. There are tongues split, jaws sliced off, heads bashed in and more.
Fans of the original will be surprised to learn that "Evil Dead" changes the plot in very small but significant ways to make for a new, enjoyable experience. And the last 15 minutes of the movie are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.
Gorehounds will feel right at home with this pick.