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Top 25 Best Horror Movies Of 2018

New: Top 10 Best Horror Movies 2018 Let’s count down the best horror movies of 2018 as it stands. The scary list features the usual mix of remakes (‘Suspiria’), spinoffs (‘Venom’), adaptations (‘The Ritual’), adapted plays (‘Ghost Stories’), sequel-cancelling-sequels (‘Halloween’) and original fare (‘Mandy’). Let me know your favourites, or any I’ve missed, in the comments.

Based on (1) what I’ve seen (2) advance word, reputation and anticipation, these are the top 25 best horror movies 2018 has birthed so far, or still has in the stomach. Get excited.

25th – Hell Fest
Starring: Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Tony Todd
Director: Gregory Plotkin
Released: September 28, 2018 (U.S. Dates)
Best Horror Movies 2018

 -Seen It-  Six teens take a trip to Hell Fest, a huge horror-themed park bustling with visitors and costumed actors hired to scare. But in amongst the haunted houses and mazes a real masked killer latches on and starts stalking the group. Picking them off unnoticed in a place already filled with screams and ‘corpses’… Director Gregory Plotkin is an established editor and cut three of the best genre films of recent times: ‘Game Night’, ‘Happy Death Day’ and ‘Get Out’. However as director, his only prior credit is ‘Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension’. ‘Hell Fest’ is a throwback to 80s slasher horror in an unironic or knowing way, running through the same ideas. It’s aimed at teens and the conversations are inane, failing to develop anyone to care about. The forced fun they are trying to emote is grating and the “funny one” is so unbearable that it’s hard not to will her death. There are some nice ideas in here, but they’re undeveloped. Here are three examples: (1) The park is an interesting setting and they make a couple of good points about the mechanics (“Look at the hands”) but it would been significantly more interesting if they had broken out from the little-to-say six-teen-friends cliche and had characters from across the setting, giving more insight and embracing random teen victims in an always busy locale. (2) A frail Tony Todd is wheeled out briefly as an MC for the park, his voice is still sinisterly wonderful, but it’s just a remember-this-guy cameo. In one accidental moment he seems to be talking directly to the killer over the tannoys. This could have been a good psychosis dynamic for a very underwritten villain. (3) There’s almost a dramatic public execution scene, which would have been a dynamite way of panicking the whole park. They cop out, but given what happens minutes later it would have been no inconvenience narratively… What does work nicely are some of the performances in the final moments, since characters don’t react with any fear to the killer it becomes quite realistically conversational. The first main-cast murder is disturbing in part for this reason, while the final girl unwittingly encouraging a real murder is another good moment. If you’re particularly drawn to also-ran old school slashers, and all their frustrating weaknesses, you’ll get some value from ‘Hellfest’.

24th – Pyewacket
Starring: Nicole Muñoz, Laurie Holden
Director: Adam MacDonald
Released: March 23, 2018
top horror movies 2018

 -Seen It-  An angst-ridden teen (Muñoz, TV’s ‘Defiance’) finds solace from the death of her father, and from the strained relationship with her controlling mother (Holden, ‘Walking Dead’), by dabbling in the occult. But a traumatic house move and blow out argument lead her to do the unthinkable: put a death curse on her mother. No sooner has the ritual been performed than she regrets it. But it may be too late, as an dark presence known as Pyewacket slowly emerges, threatening to destroy them both… ‘Pyewacket’ plays like a cautionary tale (don’t put a death spell on ur mom dumbass, unless you’ve really thought about it first…), based on a simple but psychologically powerful premise. The central mother-daughter psychodrama makes it an intriguing watch, with the lead performance a decent one. But the film ultimately feels thin and low on ambition. The lore is minimal and despite being short (88 mins), the build up is slow and it’s all suggested presence until the last 15 minutes. It leans quite a bit on audio jumpscares using household objects during scene transitions, and the presence moments, while fine, don’t break any new ground. As a result it’s less scary than occasionally eerie, with a payoff that’s increasingly predictable. P.S. Pyewacket is a common name for a witch’s familiar, and was the name of the character pictured below here

23rd – The Nun
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Demián Bichir, Jonas Bloquet
Director: Corin Hardy
Released: September 7, 2018
Scary Movies 2018

 -Seen It-  1952. After a nun in a Romanian monastery hangs herself, a Vatican-appointed priest (Bichir, ‘Alien: Covenant’) and a young unordained nun (Farmiga, ‘The Final Girls’) are sent to investigate if the monastic ground is still holy. Assisting them is a local man (Bloquet, ‘Elle’), who discovered the body. Struggling to speak to the nuns within the monastery walls, they soon come under attack from the titular demonic being… From the director of decent Irish horror ‘The Hallow’ and the screenwriter of both ‘Annabelle’ films. Star Taissa Farmiga is the (much) younger sister of Vera Farmiga (21 years), who starred in both ‘Conjuring’ films in a similar investigative role. ‘The Nun’ is the highest grossing of the ‘Conjuring’ films ($350m worldwide from a $22m budget), but it doesn’t deserve it. On the positive, it’s nice to see the series try a gothic horror, the monastic setting is an intriguing one. The productions values are good and several of the jump scares work. However, the scare sequences are turned up to 11 almost on arrival and stay there, each playing like the bombastic finale. In between, the character development goes nowhere, the absence of interesting dynamics between the leads causes boredom. It’s never properly explained why the young Nun was sent there. And ironically for an origin story about the demonic Nun, it tells us nothing about her, except she was originally somewhere else. The film doesn’t allow us to get to know any of the other nuns at the monastery either. It seems like a no-brainer that an all female cast of nuns dealing with the emergence of evil would have been a far better enterprise.

22nd – Veronica
Starring: Sandra Escacena, Claudia Placer, Bruna Gonzalez
Director: Paco Plaza
Released: March 3, 2018
New Horror Movies 2018

 -Seen It-  Madrid, 1991. A 15 year old schoolgirl is left responsible for her young siblings while her mother works long hours. When she plays Ouija during an eclipse hoping to connect with her dead father, it summons an evil supernatural force which gradually besieges her and pushes her to the edge… Based on the “real” case, this Spanish-language chiller comes from the co-director of ‘Rec’ and ‘Rec 2’, who also solo-directed (the panned) ‘Rec 3’. The ideas here are familiar to any ghostly chiller and it’s hard to see that the actual case had enough to warrant a film. For all its effort there isn’t much of a sense of danger either. The lead actress, making her debut, is fine but the character is dull: She does housework, there’s no adult conversation, it’s a boring life. However by nature of its Spanish setting it gathers some interest. There are some creative shot choices, creepy moments (most memorably the eclipse sequence) and a certain intensity toward the end. It’s passable, but non-essential.

21st – The Predator
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane
Director: Shane Black
Released: September 14, 2018
Top 10 best horror films of 2018

 -Seen It-  When a Predator spacecraft, being pursued by an Upgraded-Predator, crashes on Earth, the closest witness is an army sniper (Holbrook, ‘Logan’). He manages to mail scattered armour parts to his autistic son before he’s detained by authorities and thrown in with a batch of ex-army PTSD sufferers (including Keegan-Michael Key ‘Key & Peele’, and Thomas Jane ‘The Fog’). Meanwhile a biologist (Munn, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’) is summoned to examine the Predator that’s been captured, discovering its DNA is cross-species, before it breaks loose and goes on the rampage. The PTSD vets team up to find and protect the sniper’s son, but the Upgrade-Predator is soon on the scene too… Writer-director Shane Black had a small acting role in the first ‘Predator’ but didn’t write or direct it. He went on to become the master of the buddy-cop actioner, from penning ‘Lethal Weapon’ to helming ‘The Nice Guys’. He also lost a step directing a sequel to another established franchise, ‘Iron Man 3’. ‘The Predator’ is a partially-entertaining entry that starts off well enough but falls apart the longer it goes on. As the vastly superior ‘Predators’ showed, it’s better to have 1 great concept than 10 weak ones. This film is closer to ‘Predator 2’ than ‘Predator’, as it favours having the creature walking around in plain sight over mystery and fear. The makeup/fx on the Predator are solid, big money has been spent throughout, the lead isn’t bad, there are some genuinely funny moments (see waking up Munn), and it’s gripping during the breathless lab breakout and school sequences. However the problems are far more numerous, including: reliance on coincidence, muddled objectives, silly exposition leaps, heavily-used magical autistic kid, friendly Predator dog (!), silly glib scientists, awful Predator communication ideas, gunshots only being fatal when convenient, the Predator’s swivel chair, and a final scene idea bad enough to put the franchise into dormancy for a decade. The main antagonist/hunter is not really the creature but rather a nonsensical human who wants to eliminate the looney team for witnessing the alien, even though there are dozens of other witnesses throughout.

20th – The House That Jack Built
Starring: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Riley Keough
Director: Lars von Trier
Released: December 28, 2018
best horror movies 2018

The highly intelligent Jack (Dillon) introduces the murders that defined his development as a serial killer over a span of 12 years, postulating each as a work of art. And as the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks to create the ultimate piece: A collection of all his killings manifested in a House he’s building… Co-starring Uma Thurman as a potential victim and Bruno Ganz from the “Hitler subtitle” memes. Controversial director Lars von Trier (the divisive ‘Dogville’, ‘Nymphomaniac’, etc) last ventured into the horror genre with 2009’s harrowing ‘Antichrist’, but he says this is more brutal. ‘Jack’ caused walkouts at Cannes with its sadism and rule-breaking, although some critics called it just an empty provocation.

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14 Comments »

  • gd smith said

    There are some good ones on here.
    I don’t know about the Suspiria remake. On the one hand the teaser trailer is quite good. On the other, it isn’t really a story. So much of it is the visuals and sound, that it seems odd to look at it as any kind narrative fiction. The remake sort of comes across like the Herzog version of Nosferatu. It’s very classy but it simply isn’t Nosferatu, which taken as a story is just Dracula anyway. The actual narrative part of Suspiria is pretty much like any number of kids books where a girl finds out her teachers are witches or maybe the Demon Headmaster or something like that. Some films are just exist in their final form as what they are rather than as stories to be retold.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      I wrote this before the teaser trailer was released and was very impressed by the footage, matched my high expectations. Narratively it doesn’t say much but it is only the teaser and horror narratives often just set up a thin premise and then leave the rest to visual mood and suspense (eg Halloween). For me the trailer captures that unsettling dream-like quality of Argento at his best. There’s also something just so creepy about the ’70s aesthetic for horror, starting with the wallpapers.

      Which ones on here are you anticipating the most, or are there any I didn’t include?

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  • gd smith said

    I’ve seen Some of them and liked.
    Looking foreword to Ghost Stories, Heredity, Slice, House that Jack Built, Extremely Wicked and Suspiria, which I think will be good, but it just isn’t Suspiria. The point to me is that you can remake anything, but if you remade say Eraserhead it would not be Eraserhead because it’s not primarily a story in the first place. Suspiria to me is the same kind of thing. It’s too much about authorship and too tied to an aesthetic that only really exists as the 1977 film. From what I gather the director of the new one doesn’t think of it as a remake, but more as separate film with the same title. Really it’s about name recognition being used to green-light an intriguing project. Less interested in things like The Nun.
    Most of them I will watch. I’m a horror nut. The one I’m most doubtful of is Halloween. I love slasher films, but I tend to like the knock-offs more than the sequels. So I’d rather watch a film a bit like Halloween with a masked killer and a different title than another Halloween sequel. But I will absolutely watch the sequels anyway.They’re a bit like nature-run-amok or monster movies, generally, in that respect. Just having a new beast or new killer refreshes the formula.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      For me this Halloween is the last hoorah for John Carpenter (it seems he is fairly closely involved), my favourite horror director. It’s just an essential event, one that’s making all the right noises (pre-trailer). Though it will be a major challenge to instill fear again after 40 years of the Myers mask in pop culture.

      Susperia sounds like a genuine passion project from a filmmaker of a superior intellect. If it ends up feeling like its own thing, I’m totally fine with that.

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  • gd smith said

    Having seen the trailer for Halloween, it looks better than I expected.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Seems it’s practically a remake, but it has captured the vibe of the first film very well. Is Myers still scary? Jury’s out on that. Hereditary will almost certainly be the better/more terrifying film, but can’t wait to see it.

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  • putch said

    I watched Suspiria in LA this past weekend and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! It’s top of my list of 2018 horror films (and in all time along with the original). I’m so glad they didn’t copy and paste like Other remakes. This version is definitely more grim and evil. Both are great. Don’t compare. Just love both! You could tell Luca Guadagnino put his heart and soul into this film and it shows. He’s been wanting to make Suspiria since he was a kid. Bravo on a great retelling Luca! Go see it everyone! Don’t believe the bad reviews calling it the next “Mother!”.

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  • 80sLiveThroughMe said

    Summer of 84 is great. It’s funny all these people calling this a Disturbia ripoff when that film was a ripoff of Rear Window. Fright Night? The Burbs? Who cares. I loved every scary creepy minute of it. Total 80s vibe. Absolutely creepy. The quality is great, the story line is interesting. U are connected to all the kids.. The villain is a nightmare. Watch it. Total recommend as best horror movie of 2018.

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  • ancient cat said

    the Ritual i wasnt very encouraged to watch cause of the mixed reviews it received, but in the end its bloody brilliant, the monster that appears is something else.

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  • Manor said

    Mandy – best horror movie of 2018 so far.

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  • MeglaDissapoint said

    I can imagine Jason Statham having a drink with the shark at the end of a day’s filming. Whole thing just piss take of Jaws with no crimson goo.

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  • butchrmeo said

    The 2018 horror movies I would recommend are A Quiet Place & Pyewacket. nothing is as frightning as what you can’t see just sense..

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  • Woodv said

    Annihilation is my 1. An acid trip of a movie. That motherf**king wall in the pool… I’ve never seen body-horror so disturbing yet so beautiful. I felt an insane amount of dread and uneasy

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  • speeddemon said

    some good choices but scariest movies of 2018 are hereditary + veronica watch if you don’t believe me………

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