Try as I might, I haven't been able to find which horror blogger recently asked the question: Who are the new scream queens? (If anyone knows, clue me in so I can link to them) I'd like to submit one of my favorite actresses for your consideration: Radha Mitchell.
Take a look at this woman's filmography. She's been in movies with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, Denzel Washington, and Johnny Depp, and yet she still comes back to star in horror movies, even ones based on video games. She imbues every role with a gravity that elevates the material, and she looks damned fine doing it. Here's her horror filmography so far:
Pitch Black (2000)
Okay, it's sci-fi, but it's creepy sci-fi. This is the movie that made Vin Diesel a star. Why didn't it do the same for Radha? Oh yeah, because although she's beautiful, she doesn't tend to go for glamorous roles, and she comes off as more of an ass-kicker than a sex symbol. Some guys just can't handle a tough chick.
When Strangers Appear (2001)
I haven't personally seen this one, but I know it's classified as a thriller (read: horror lite).
Silent Hill (2006)
This movie falters only when it relies too much on CGI. Otherwise, it's an intensely creepy little trip down the rabbit hole with some unforgettable imagery and some brutal surprises. Radha pretty much carries the whole film, and once again, she's one tough woman. She doesn't go all Milla Jovavich or anything, but her determination to find her daughter carries her through some pretty gnarly stuff.
Again, I haven't personally seen this one, but it's about a giant crocodile. Radha vs. a giant crocodile, what's not to like? My money's on Radha all the way.
The Crazies (2010)
I thought this was one of the more effective remakes out there. It doesn't touch the social criticism of George Romero's original, but rather plays out as a straightforward humans-gone-savage-because-of-a-virus-type horror. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it serves its purpose well. And there's a reason the pitchfork has become the de facto image for the film: the pitchfork scene is one of the most unbearably tense scenes in recent horror. And who was there making it happen for us? You tell 'em Schnitzel:
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Silent Hill Revelation (2012)
I saw this one when I was like twelve, and pissed my bed every night for the next decade. Oh wait, this one's not out yet. Um... well, I'm excited about it anyway. And I concur with Schnitzel. Radha Radha Radha indeed.
So, her horror credentials may not be rock solid yet, but she's working on it. Let me hear from you, though. Who would you elect as a next generation scream queen?