It's been a while since I've had the urge to sit down and watch a good horror or thriller flick. I was wondering what people think are the films with the best sound. I'm not just referring to the sound design either. If you think the mix is stellar in a particular film, I'd like to hear that too.
While there are plenty of 'technically well made' horror films I can really only name a few horror/thriller films that had any residual depth for me and imho their sound MUST be excellent, otherwise they would not be such effective & powerful films. But it isn't that they are overtly over designed horror film soundtracks... quite the opposite....
- The Shining by Stanley Kubric
- The Omen by Richard Donner
- Retribution by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
- AntiChrist by Lars von Trier
Might do you good to peruse the "Films to study for excellence in sound design" for thrillers/horrors,
but these films are what I especially liked for their soundtracks:
- The Ring
- The Cell
- The Lovely Bones
- The Shining
I'll think about it for a bit and update my answer if I come up with any newer ones.
recent sound design and mix I liked: - Girl with the dragon tattoo
There are a few that impressed me in different ways!
To begin with, the sound from The Beyond (Lucio Fulci 1981) might be a tab bit crude and coarse, but here it works well! What impressed me here though is a scene where the fact that a ghost girl and her undead dog runs completely silently is heavily emphasized is something I appreciated a lot!
Froniere(s), an extremely violent and gory French nazisploitationflick, has both a really good mix and sounds with extremely nice texture and aural pain.
Which leads the Saw 4 and 5. They are a little to the bright side, but the sounds have an amazing texture to it, and is extremely well designed!
It was a while since I saw it, so I can't exactly remember what it was I liked with it, but the Korean movie The Host is in my "Good Sound Shelf", and I do remember it was for a good reason :-)
Though also, like most movies made before the advent of Pro Tools and Nuendo (I guess at least a few of you here remembers the old 35mm full-coat, reel-to-reel and NAB cart machines...), not perfection in sound quality, I really like the sound of Hellraiser! Like in Se7en (one of my absolute favorite sound-movies together with Wall-E and No Country For Old Men), I really think the grit and coarseness of the sound adds to the uncanny feeling of the movies by working with the limitations of the medium instead of against it! Something I can all too well relate to :-)
An oldie but a goodie... 1963's "The Haunting", directed by Robert Wise. Just about ALL the scare factor comes from the sound. A primer on making things sound spooky, and all done before digital - not that that makes it BETTER, just proof that a zillion plug-ins don't necessarily make good sound design.
Also someone mentioned "Drag Me to Hell", but for a much finer example of that crew (Marti Humphries and Co.) check out "The Exorcism of Emily Rose". "Hell" being a Raimi film was by necessity somewhat more over the top, while "Exorcism" plays on a more subtle note.