The only film that sprang to mind was 28 Days Later, that along with Shaun of the Dead reanimated the Zombie genre. Everything else seems to be bad remakes or torture porn at the moment. Stuff like Hostel in particular i wouldnt even classify as horror. It takes more than disgusting imagery to make something a horror film.
I know this isn't a popular opinion--at least, not around here--but I thought Hostel
had a lot more going for it than people seem to think.
In fact, I suspect that a lot of people who brush it off as "torture porn" haven't even seen it.
Unlike a lot of horror movies, Hostel
had a brain, and something interesting to say about a wide range of issues, ranging from traditional Gothic themes like the return of the repressed, to more modern concerns like sex tourism. And in the process, it re-worked the traditional Gothic imagery of the crumbling castle into the crumbling post-Soviet factory--an interesting comment on our place in history, at present.
I also found Hostel
's tale of confinement, objectification, and sadistic torture just as timely in 2005, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, as Night of the Living Dead
was back in 1968. And it's worth noting that Romero's film was subjected to much the same criticism forty years ago as Roth's is today.
Now, that said--the sequel was pretty weak. And like George Romero's vision of a zombie apocalypse, Roth's post-modern 120 Days of Sodom
seems to have inspired a rash of less-thoughtful imitators. But an artist can hardly be blamed for other people's cheap knock-offs.