This year has been a messy one, and it appears to only be getting worse as we near the conclusion of it; with civility, and the environment burning at an unprecedented rate.
On the plus side, this was a truly mesmerizing year for horror and not just in film; books, comics, and especially television have been churning out some of the best quality terror in recent memory. And streaming services such as Shudder, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have been responsible for distributing many of the brilliant pieces of work we’ve been blessed with in 2018.
The majority of the films I have chosen can be found on one or more of the aforementioned streaming services as I will point out below. Hopefully I can do them some justice and inspire you to seek them out. So without further ado, here is my list for best horror of 2018 in no particular order.
Disclaimer: I haven’t seen Halloween, Overlord, or Suspiria yet (don’t hate me).
6.) Revenge (Shudder)
I haven’t seen too many rape-revenge films–in fact, I intentionally avoid them. But the visuals and conceptual design of Coralie Fargeat’s directorial debut were to captivating to ignore.
The film takes the harshness of sexual assault, extreme violence, and the desert; three things so far removed from what many might call–beautiful, and makes them so. It is an undoubtedly gorgeous film; soaked in vibrant colors and bloodshed. And although the film may follow the typical format of the rape/revenge sub-genre, but with Fargeat’s direction and visual style she was able to create an electrifying experience that transcends its predecessors and will keep viewers on their toes until the final frame.
5.) Await Further Instructions (Amazon)
Ignore the negative reviews; if you enjoy shows like the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror then Await Further Instructions should be right up your alley. The end of the film in particular feels like an episode ripped right out of the Twilight Zone!
I believe a lot of the flack stems from how unlikable the characters are, which is a fair criticism. Many of the characters are terrible people, but they’re supposed to be. This film represents the turbulent divide between the right and the left and the strong (and sometimes dangerous) influence the news media and public figures can have on a population. Director Johnny Kevorkian puts this concept on display, while adding claustrophobia, bloody violence, and sci-fi chills within the confines of a dysfunctional English family.
4.) Hold the Dark (Netflix)
Director Jeremy Saulnier continues his signature style of crime-horror noir, and doesn’t disappoint. Much like his previous films: Green Room, and Blue Ruin–Hold the Dark is a bleak, bloody, and vicious experience. And often focuses on how monstrous people can become when they are driven to the edge; by retribution or by the desire to survive.
Hold the Dark can be a little confusing at times, and I think much of it stems from a lack of knowledge of native-Alaskan culture, which is unfortunate because its a major theme within the story and a key trigger for the animosity between characters. But isn’t a major distraction, and viewers can still enjoy the experience despite its shortcomings in the script.
3.) The Ritual (Netflix)
David Bruckner delivers the Scandinavian chills with his latest film. Not only does it feature one of the most original monsters in recent memory, but Bruckner was able to take the classic cliche of hikers lost in the woods and make it scary (and unique).
The dialogue feels completely genuine between the four main characters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of it was adlibbed by the actors. The decision by Bruckner to keep the monster hidden in the background until the third act, was a brilliant maneuver that created a unsettling atmosphere chalked full of memorable moments of fear.
2.) Annihilation (Amazon)
Alex Garland’s followup to Ex Machina leans more towards the science-fiction genre but it has plenty of horrific moments. One scene in particular was shocking and deeply disturbing. The film carries a somber tone throughout its entirety, and when its violent–it can be bloody, and even hard to watch. The film is gorgeous, well shot, and features some great performances–especially from Natalie Portman.
I don’t understand the mixed reviews, people seem disappointed that there either wasn’t enough horror or enough sci-fi. I think the balance was handled pretty well. Personally I would have enjoyed a little more horror but It just depends on your preference. The movie is great regardless, and definitely worth the watch!
1.) Terrified (Shudder)
This Argentinian film is a trip, one that I’m still trying to wrap my head around! At 88 minutes it is a very short movie, and with its insane visuals and cosmic-horror influences, it flies by! I think the movie could have been a lot better if it was a bit longer. The third act seems rushed and the very end is particularly confusing.
This haunted-house flick does some things that I haven’t seen before (like the haunting taking place over an entire neighborhood instead of one house) and gets really inventive with its scares. The “haunting” itself is something different, and perhaps more effective and chilling of an idea than your traditional demonic possession. The paranormal investigators are a lot of fun to follow, and despite the chilling atmosphere they offer up some much needed (but brief) comedic relief to cut through the blistering suspense.