Elizabeth’s Top 13 Horror Films of 2018
2018 is a powerhouse year for horror with films that push boundaries, show different perspectives, and inhabit unexpected places. It was difficult to rank the films because they are so different from each other.
13. Anna and the Apocalypse
Anna and her friends sing songs and fight zombies on Christmas. This is the teen zombie musical I needed. It kept me laughing and tapping my toe with genuinely catchy songs. The danger of the zombies isn’t lessened and some deaths are genuinely tragic.
12. Mom and Dad
Parents experience an uncontrollable urge to kill their own children, leaving a teenage girl and her little brother fighting for survival. Dark humor colors the disturbing scenario and has parents acting like their behavior is normal. Nicolas Cage’s character is crazy before anything even happens and ramps up the intensity as the story goes on.
11. Unfriended: Dark Web
Dark web denizens torment a group of college friends during their game night. This is a well constructed and tense film that is only improved with the changes from the first film like the older characters, hacker villains, tense atmosphere, and surprising death scenes.
Villagers in Estonia have to worry about starvation, plague, and cold on top of the Devil, automatons, magic spells, and visits from the dead. November is filmed in icy black and white plus combines harsh realities with fantastical yet equally harsh fairy tale elements. It’s a beautiful film that makes magic mudane and has a familiar romance storyline to ground it.
Gray is paralyzed and his wife is killed in an attack that leads him to accepting in implant that speaks to him in order to get revenge. It uses well worn tropes, but then makes a hard turn near the end to go against them. The style of the fight scenes is amazing with mechanical precision and the ending is insane.
After a cult murders his wife Mandy, Red goes on a quest of revenge that descends into madness. Mandy has colorful, hallucinatory visuals alongside a rich mythology, experimental score, and a killer performance by Nicolas Cage. Through the weird commercial, creatures that could be demons, and a horrific cult, Red’s suffering is the human thread.
7. mon mon mon MONSTERS!
A bullied boy and his bullies stumble upon two man-eating monsters and capture the child only to torture her for their own amusement. mon mon mon MONSTERS! takes a hard look at humanity, represented by a cruel group of bullies that abuse unchecked, compared to literal monsters, who look after each other no matter what. The ending is nihilistic and hardhitting yet satisfying.
6. Bird Box
A woman has to take her two children down a river on a two day journey through a post-apocalyptic world where they have to be blindfolded to survive. Bird Box has a tense atmosphere, a unique concept, and emotional stakes. Josh Malerman’s book is amazing, but seemed impossible to adapt and this film captured it perfectly.
Laurie Strode spent 40 years preparing for Michael’s return and finds herself facing him alongside her family on Halloween. This film had a lot to live up to as a reset of the series and continuation of the original film. It fulfilled all of my expectations and had a good balance of humor, tension, and scares.
4. Suspiria (2018)
Susie Bannion joins a German dance school with missing students and dark secrets. This reimagining of Suspiria doesn’t retread the same territory as the original and delves more into the mythology behind the witches, their beliefs, and modern dance. It’s visually striking with unique music and a surprising ending.
3. What Keeps You Alive
Julie and Jackie go to a remote cabin to celebrate their first anniversary, but Jackie has a different plan than a romantic getaway. What Keeps You Alive has an isolated cat and mouse game that kept me on the edge of my seat. Hannah Emily Anderson captures Jackie’s slipping mask of normalcy.
A suburban neighborhood is terrorized by paranormal ocurrences while a volunteer group investigates the cause. The situations make things lurking inside of sinks, under beds, and in closets scary for adults. Genre tropes are changed and kept me guessing until the end.
Jen is raped and injured in a remote desert with three men hunting her. Coralie Fargeat writes and directs from the perspective of women, which is rare in the rape revenge genre. It starts with the small ways Jen’s boundaries are violated and how she tries to protect herself in subtle, socially acceptable ways. Revenge is bloody, satsifying, and avoids the typical exploitation of the subgenre.