The Top 13 Horror Films of 2018
2018 was a pretty damned good year for Horror. It started off strong, in my opinion, with the release of the latest Insidious film (which did not make my list, lol) and continued on with a series of controversial indie features, some big studio events, and lots and lots of foreign goodness. Some of the films on my list actually came out in 2017 but did not appear to these American eyes until 2018, so I’m counting them.
Enough with the blah-blah’s! On with the List!
A sequel that got a lot of hype and pretty much lived up to it. Not perfect by any means but fun and exciting and yes, seeing The Shape back in action was maybe the Event of the year.
12. The Predator
I know a lot of people didn’t care for it, the ending was a mess, and the editing left some things to be desired, but by God we got another Predator movie and they did all the right things right, as far as I am concerned. Some great action, great Predator kills, the expansion of the mythology, and a marvelous crew of humans to go up against the Big Bad. It wasn’t perfect but it delivered the 80’s much better than many of its imitators did.
11. Ghost Stories
This one got a lot of hype in horror circles and it’s pretty damned good. A cool anthology with lots of creepy scares. It’s nice to see that, in this day and age, little films can be effective and thrilling. Lots of heart here.
10. Witch in the Window
Another tiny film and another film with big, ballsy heart. There’s really only like maybe five scares in this thing, but they are so powerful that they almost overwhelm the rest of the sentimental, lovely story. This is a quiet one, punctuated with some jarring horror.
The opposite of quiet, this one is loud and banging around like the mutated Nazi monsters within it. A great War Film, period, gets mixed with a Pretty Danged Good Horror Film, and the results are lots of fun. Nothing really new here if you’ve already seen Frankenstein’s Army, but a good guitar riff is a good guitar riff, and this one rocks.
Another film that’s been called derivative to its detriment, I found it to be scary and compelling. Yeah, it’s nothing new, but the cast carry this thing, and the story itself was just different enough to hold its own. And yes, many scary scenes.
7. Satan’s Slaves
It’s always good to see foreign horror, because I think it brings unique twists to the genre and fresh perspectives. That’s one reason why you’ll see a lot of it on this list, and this Islamic take on ghosts and Satanic hauntings is superb. There were some subtle, creepy things going on here, and some not so subtle. A terrific film.
One of my films (of many) that some might not consider Horror, but by God it is. This one takes the Rape/Revenge subgenre to new heights. Great characters, great twistings of genre tropes, combined with some action-packed scenes and more naked, bloody bodies than I’ve seen in quite a while. Raw and fantastical, all at once.
Things are getting tougher now. This could be considered simply Sci-Fi but there’s too much Body Horror going on in this one to deny it’s place on a list like this. Weird, compelling, interesting, beautiful, bizarre, disturbing…this film becomes a fever dream of alien invasion and species mutation. Oh, and that bear. That scene alone justifies this film on this list. Maybe the scariest moment of the year.
This one is pure exploitation, with tons of other subgenres thrown into the blender, but there’s more than enough blood and guts to make this list, as well as those Cenobite Bikers and just the general, overall tone of the film. Another weird one, and magnificently weird, at that. Yes Nic Cage rocks but god, so does everything about this film. This is the cinematic experience of eating cotton candy while you huff paint and stare at a picture of Jesus.
3. The Ritual
One of the scariest movies of the year, hands down, and the best monster of the year, hands down. A compelling story of male bonding and dissolution, mixed with Folk Horror and Spiritual Terror, The Ritual delivers on all fronts. It was very hard not to put this higher on my list. But…
Along came this film from Argentina and it legitimately scared me more than any other on this list. It’s almost like an anthology gone wrong, and sometimes the connective tissue doesn’t make sense, but the nightmarish content goes a long, long way in making me not care about some of the narrative issues. This is flat-out terrifying and if you want to get scared really good, start here. End here. Things don’t get much more Horror than this little movie.
1. Assassination Nation
What? Does this deserve to be on this list? Up until last night, I was debating this question. I showed the film to a friend of mine and his first words were, “I didn’t expect this to be a horror film.” And that settled it for me. You can read my review elsewhere on this site, but yes, this is the most terrifying film of the year, mostly because it’s #true. If this happened in real life, to the magnitude it does in this movie, you can almost guarantee this would be the results. We live in a dangerous, scary time, and this film not only exposes the beating, raw heart of this #truth, it rips it from our bodies and throws it on the floor and stomps on its wet, pulsing muscle. This is what it looks like when society falls apart, and this is how simply it could happen. And don’t get me started on that long tracking shot or that absolutely horrifying home invasion scene. This is fantastic film-making, soaked in blood and #truth and seasoned with social commentary. This is why movies matter. This is why Horror Films matter.
So there you go. If you haven't seen any of these, I recommend them highly. Go get yourself some Horror!