If this year has taught horror fans anything, it’s that 2018 produced some of the best original stories the genre has seen in a LONG time. With so many memorable characters and performances showcased on the big screen (as well as the plethora of Netflix originals released), it was quite the challenge deciding which ones stood out above the rest.
While there are still a couple of titles I regrettably have yet to watch (no, I unfortunately have not seen Suspiria just yet), I’ve compiled a list of my 8 favorite horror films that I DID have the pleasure of viewing this year.
8. The Strangers: Prey at Night
The three masked psychos are back! The Strangers: Prey at Night follows a family of four staying in a trailer park for the evening. Thinking they are alone, it’s only a matter of time before the masked killers begin stalking and hunting their prey.
While I’ll admit that I still think the first film packed a bit more of a punch, Prey at Night still accomplishes the anxiety driven concept of “what would YOU do if you were stalked by murderous strangers?” If nothing else, this film is worth watching for the pool scene alone! The lighting and soundtrack fit the mood perfectly.
After her mentally ill mother passes away, Annie and her grieving family begin to have disturbing and supernatural experiences that may be linked to the family’s dark and sinister ancestry.
Hereditary was a film that polarized audiences. Many found it to be completely terrifying and unnerving throughout, while others complained about that lack of “scares” and slow moving plot. Personally, I appreciate the fact that the writers did not oversaturate it with predictable jump scares, and found the gradual unraveling of the family’s psyche highly effective (much like The Witch).
Lola is an ambitious camgirl who’s on a mission to become the number one sexual fantasy for all of her viewers. But when an exact replica of herself has gained control over her account and subsequent followers, the real Lola must figure out a way to regain her identity before it’s too late.
With the modern day obsession for likes, follows, and views, Cam took a unique approach to create a visual thrill ride that shows just how dangerous social media can become. While the ending didn’t quite resolve the way I had hoped, the film’s suspense built steadily throughout and was supported by a superb performance from Madeline Brewer. This one is definitely worth a watch!
It’s been 40 years since Michael Myers last wreaked havoc on Haddonfield, and Laurie Strode has been preparing herself and her family for his inevitable return ever since. But when his transport bus crashes and sets Michael loose on yet another murderous spree, Laurie must once again confront ‘The Shape’ in the hopes of killing him once and for all.
Intended to be a direct sequel to the 1978 original classic, Halloween combined both a modern day story with an old-school slasher tone. Director David Gordon Green did an outstanding job of paying homage to the original, while still keeping diehard horror fans engaged and on the edge of their seats (which is no easy task now a days). Don’t go into it comparing it to the original, but appreciate it for what it was intended to be.
In the year 1905, Thomas Richardson finds himself traveling to an isolated island to rescue his kidnapped sister from a mysterious cult. Upon arrival, Thomas begins to understand the sadistic nature of the religious fanatics, and why they have demanded such a large ransom for his sister’s return.
Writer and director Gareth Evans (The Raid) knocks Apostle out of the park. The visuals are stunning and the soundtrack fits the pace and tone brilliantly. The film reminded me of a blend between The Village and The Witch, but a bit more gruesome than both. It’s always refreshing to see an up-and-comer to the horror genre produce such a memorable and unique original story!
3. The Ritual
Four college buddies reunite to honor their deceased friend’s plans for a hiking trip through the woods of northern Sweden. After deciding to take a shortcut off the beaten path and into the dense forest, the group soon realizes that they are being stalked by a rather large, menacing presence.
The scenery and cinematography for The Ritual are absolutely breathtaking. The acting is believable, and the ending turns this mind bending thriller into more of a creature-feature. I was reminded of all of my favorite parts of The Blair Witch Project, combined with vibrant visuals and crisp sound design. Check this one out on Netflix ASAP!
2. A Quiet Place
In a world where man-eating creatures with ultra-sensitive hearing lurk about, silence truly is golden. Two parents do whatever it takes to keep their family as safe and silent as possible, but even the smallest noise can prove to be deadly.
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt show off some pretty impressive acting chops in A Quiet Place. Not to mention, the directing and writing prowess of Krisinski proves that he is a force to be reckoned with in the horror realm. I’m a huge fan of monster movies, and this one kept me clinched with suspense until the end. If this film doesn’t win the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing, I will be shocked.
Nicolas Cage stars in this visually stunning masterpiece about a couple living in seclusion in the woods, when their lives are turned gruesomely inside out by a hippie cult and their demonic biker henchmen.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… the only way I can describe this film, is if Hellraiser, Suspiria, and Blade Runner had a baby with the Manson family, and then that baby did a ton of acid with Nicolas Cage… I was sucked into this film from start to finish, and it absolutely stood out as my favorite film of 2018.
Honorable Mention: 14 Cameras, Bird Box, and most likely Overlord (even though I haven’t seen it yet).
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