I love a good teen rom-com as much as the next person, but I've found I am way more nostalgic for the teen thrillers of the '00s than I am for all those romantic high school declarations of love. The early '00s were still riding the Scream wave of masterful horror/thriller movie making from the '90s, and the results were a ton of sometimes scary, sometimes cheesy thrillers that were just as addictive as Girl Scout Cookies. They starred all the actors you loved from the rom-coms, but dropped them in situations that were deadly, outlandish, and infinitely watchable.
If you haven't watched any '00s teen thrillers in awhile, you are seriously missing out. Remember when Paul Walker was chased by a psychotic truck driver in Joy Ride? Or when Leelee Sobieski got stuck in a glass house with maniacs in The Glass House? Well, you should, because those movies are classics.
Prepare yourself for a trip down nightmares at your middle school slumber party lane, because as soon as you remember these thrillers, you are going to want to watch them immediately. You can thank me after you've fallen down an '00s-tastic teen thriller rabbit hole of awesome.
1. Joy Ride (2001)
The movie that put me off playing practical jokes forever, Joy Ride is genuinely suspenseful and unnerving. Written by J.J. Abrams, it is chock full of Alfred Hitchcock homages — and Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, and Leelee Sobieski form a compelling trio. As for Candy Man, well, he instilled in me a deep mistrust for CB radios.
2. The Glass House (2001)
Sobieski spent 2001 running for her life onscreen. This time around, her characters' parents proved to be terrible judges of character when they made their rich besties the guardians of their children in the event of their death. Unfortunately, the rich couple has some serious money troubles that lead to them thinking offing their friends' kids for a big pay out is a good idea. Lots of terror ensues.
3. Disturbia (2007)
This Rear Window update is more fun than it is frightening, but Shia LeBeouf is excellent as a teen under house arrest who may or may not have a serial killer for a neighbor.
4. When A Stranger Calls (2006)
A '70s remake, When a Stranger Calls feeds into that weird fear you used to get when you were alone in a neighbor's house babysitting their kids after dark. Is anything likely to happen? Not unless you are in a horror movie, but it was always creepy anyway.
5. The Stepfather (2009)
Another remake, the best reason to watch this one is to observe Penn Badgley being a big damn hero once he realizes his new stepfather is totally bonkers.
6. The Hole (2001)
This twisty underrated movie starring Thora Birch and Keira Knightley is all about the psychological thrills. What sounds like a tragedy quickly reveals itself to be a plan masterminded by the last character you would suspect.
7. House Of Wax (2005)
Four reasons to watch 2005's House of Wax : Chad Micheal Murray, Jared Padalecki, Elisha Cuthbert, and Paris Hilton. Loves it.
8. The Hitcher (2007)
The moral of this story is twofold — never pick up Sean Bean if you see him on the side of the road, and don't mess with Sophia Bush, because she will kick your butt.
9. Scream 3 (2000)
Scream 3 included Sidney being a total badass and an insanely meta movie-within-a-movie plot that would break your brain if you thought about it too hard. In other words, it's a bloody good time.
10. Swimfan (2002)
This movie is Fatal Attraction Jr. — and while it doesn't have any bunny boiling, it does have one of the '00s most underrated stars: Jesse Bradford.
11. The House Of The Devil (2009)
Allow me to leave you with a quality thriller with supernatural elements. Directed by Ti West, The House of the Devil moves at its own pace, building suspense with every frame until everything boils over in a truly horrific manner. This one is not for the faint of heart.
No go forth and appreciate all the teen thrillers of the '00s that you totally forgot were awesome in their own special way.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (9)