MY TOP 10 HORROR MOVIES OF 2018
10. Hell Fest
This is probably not the tenth best horror film to come out this year. Matter of fact, I’ll guarantee it isn’t…but this is my list dammit and this is my tenth favorite horror film of 2018. It was just so nice to see a 90’s style slasher film NOT tied to any previous franchise released on the big screen. The twist at the end was a well crafted microcosm of the entire film. Simple and fun. The entire layout was a natural nostalgia trip to the days of the late 90’s and early 2000’s when Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer by-products were all the rage. We don’t need to relive the entire period but a fun two hour trip was nice.
I’m well aware of how much higher this will be on most lists. This wasn’t even crazy Cage. This was frenzy Cage. On an unholy level of awesome. Mandy delivered some of the best scenes of the year in any genre. Moments of pure unfiltered cocaine Cage and a macaroni cheddar goblin aside; the first half of the film suffers a bit from the same disease as last years batshit (but fun) film, The Void. There’s a lot of visual meandering that doesn’t feel like it necessarily adds anything substantial to the story line. The parts here are ultimately better than the whole…..but some of the parts were balls on fire awesome.
8. The Clovehitch Killer
Dylan Mcdermott will never get the praise he deserves for this role and that’s a goddamn shame. He completely sheds his normal cool dude skin for an awkward sodie pop fueled nerd dad who may or may not be the next BTK. The Clovehitch Killer takes what My Friend Dahmer attempted last year and dunks that shit; Asking not only the question of “What’s it like to know a serial killer?” but “What if my perfectly normal parent is a torturous sexual deviant serial killer whom my entire town is obsessed with?” A fantastic film for those interested in the nuances of serial killer psyche and true crime in general.
7. A Quiet Place
Something about the marketing for A Quiet Place hit the perfect mark between “this shit is scary” and “you can take the whole family to see it”. For example, when I saw this in theaters there was an older couple. The type that you were surprised to see in an horror movie audience. At one point the loud whispering lady leaned over and said to her husband “You know, they are married in real life.” To which he hilariously leaned over and replied “SHHHHHHHHHHHH”. I still laugh about this when I think about it. The kind of cute dismissive old man moment you don’t get in most horror auditoriums. Everyone seemed to love A Quiet Place and for good reason. John Krasinski and Emily Blount delivered an entertaining horror experience that even made us cry and maybe shit our pants once or twice.
6. The House That Jack Built
If an art house film and serial killer biopic became a movie Megazord it’d be The House That Jack Built. This is one of the greatest serial killer films I’ve ever seen. It’s the closest thing to the depraved genius of American Psycho I’ve witnessed. It’s my favorite performance by an actor (Matt Dillon) this entire year. Eventually, the artsy side of Jack hijacks the wheel and we veer into self important Lars Von Trier-ville but that isn’t enough to fuck up my fascination with Mr. Sophistication.
Most of the time movies drop in January because they are unworthy pieces of hot salad poop. Sounds disgusting, I know. Unsane came out during that month of early movie darkness and as a result no-one speaks of it. Well, here I fucking am! This Steve Soderbergh film turns out to be a great stalker film based on paranoia and imprisonment. Two of the worst ways to describe your career choice, but hey if the shoe fits; kill yourself with it. Wait, what were we talking about again? Bonus points for super slasher film vibes towards the end.
Overlord was too cool for all of us. That’s the only possibility I can fathom for why it didn’t do better at the box office. Bad marketing perhaps? The DREDD curse strikes again! (Drops to knees, screams “KARL URBAN!!!” at the sky whilst crying). Either way, Overlord finds a spot in not only the top five horror movies of the year, but top five action also. All the rad makings of a fun B-movie built to look like a summer blockbuster. A blast from start to bloody end. It actually would have been my favorite action film of the year if it weren’t for Mission Impossible: Fallout.
Hereditary not only boasts this years Oscar winner for best lead actress (if only the Academy voters watched horror or movies) but it also pulled off a legendary movie rope-a-dope. If you’re a fan of boxing or the film Broken Arrow, you’ll know the rope-a-dope as a basic fake out of your opponent. You show them the left, then knock them out with the right. Hereditary gives you a deep, dark look at loss and grief. A lot of dark family drama with smooth little moments of subtle horror. It is then, while you are weak and emotional; that it kicks you in the throat, lights you on fire and throws you out of a window. It even calls you a bitch on your way down. Hereditary follows all this up with a smart, occult ending that will have you thinking, talking and seeing old people wieners dangle. That last part wasn’t a positive. Scariest movie of the year? Yes.
2. The Strangers: Prey At Night
Again, not saying this is the second best horror film made in 2018. Not even the scariest. I do feel like it’s the funnest. The crew behind Prey At Night took what most thought would be a terrible cash grab follow up to the original home invasion film, flipped the script and walked away slowly as it exploded most bodaciously behind them.
The crews behind Halloween pulled off the impossible. Not that they brought back Jamie Lee Curtis after so many years away from the franchise. Nor that FX artist Christopher Nelson created a universally beloved mask for Michael; A task that has escaped so many before him. Not that the writers and director were able to live in cohesion among nostalgia and creativity. Not that new Michael Myers actor James Jude Courtney mastered the nuances of Nick Castle’s 1978 movements which others can barely even explain verbally, much less recreate. No, it’s that the crew behind Halloween 2018 made Michael Myers scary again. The shape is once again a force to be reckoned with.
Halloween wasn’t perfect. There were issues with certain characters. The ending doesn’t seem sure of itself or where it wants to go next. Things weren’t as final as promised (though I’ve always hoped the sequels kept coming.) The way it came to exist in 2018 was however, perfect. This movie was an event. For a time the world treated Halloween as though it were the next Avengers film. At least it felt that way in my world. When released the crowds were huge and the theaters were packed. The film was received positively on Rotten Tomatoes and almost all of the word of mouth buzz had been positive. The people returned the favor by making this the highest grossing slasher film of all time. Halloween isn’t just a movie; It’s the official resurgence of the slasher genre.
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