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Top 25 Best Horror Movies Of 2018

9th – The Ritual
Starring: Rafe Spall, Sam Troughton, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier
Director: David Bruckner
Released: February 9, 2018

 -Seen It-  Four old University pals (headed by Rafe Spall, ‘The Big Short’/’Prometheus’) go trekking in the Scandinavian wilderness to honour a murdered friend. Shortcutting through dense, sinister forest they spend a night in an abandoned shack, one that’s occupied by an unsettling Nordic artefact. Experiencing horrific nightmares they emerge the next morning realising they are lost, and something large and unholy is in pursuit… From the American director of ‘Southbound’, this adaptation of the novel makes for a fine British horror. Sitting somewhere between ‘Blair Witch’, ‘Wicker Man’ and ‘Troll Hunter’, it’s propelled by great chemistry and well observed, witty dialogue among the four men. Rather that the usual contrivances, everyone reacts as you’d imagine middle class Brits in their 30s actually would. The atmospherics are smart and eerie, with the night in the shack providing the most memorable chill. The sharp tension and ensemble entertainment slip a bit in the final act as it transitions into a creature feature and the group is broken up. Still, Rafe Spall gives an understated, grounded performance throughout, a cut above what’s typical for the genre.

8th – Ghost Stories
Starring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther
Directors: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Released: April 20, 2018

 -Seen It-  A professor who debunks ghost encounters (Nyman, who also co-directs) is summoned by a retired sceptic, his childhood inspiration, to disprove three cases that still perplex him on his deathbed. He sets out to interview a glum night watchman (Whitehouse, ‘The Fast Show’), a nerve-shattered teen driver (Lawther) and a cocky, rich new parent (Freeman, ‘Hobbit’), all of whom claim to have had a life-changing and terrifying supernatural experience. As the professor himself starts to be spooked by fleeting visions, he wonders if a greater game is in play… An adaptation of the stage play, which has been running on and off for 7 years, this is written and directed by its creators Jeremy Dyson (of ‘The League Of Gentlemen’) and Andy Nyman (best known for his work with psychological illusionist Derren Brown). It’s a very British film that takes familiar beats and ideas from old ghost stories (including ‘A Christmas Carol’) and has fun with them, never afraid to go for a big laugh or big scare. They’ve had plenty of time to fine tune the tale on the stage and it’s led to a cleverly weaved story within a story. Andy Nyman’s lead performance is unassuming but relatable, Martin Freeman has campy chilling fun, and Paul Whitehouse shows he should get more film work as he nails his segment with pathos, humour and believability. The three main suspense sequences build well, but their payoff jumps are a little underwhelming (“Oh that ghost lady’s wearing a lot of stage makeup”), it’s actually the unexpected scares in the bookending story that have more impact, and the closing moments that are most haunting.

7th – Suspiria
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Released: November 2, 2018

A young ballet dancer (Johnson, ’50 Shades’) travels to a prestigious dance academy in Berlin in 1977, only to discover it’s a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders… Remake of the 40 year old (!) Dario Argento giallo classic. This version comes from Luca Guadagnino, the veteran director of ‘A Bigger Splash’, which also starred Johnson and Swinton in the leads, and the Oscar-winning ‘Call Me By Your Name’. Chloë Grace Moretz and Mia Goth (‘Cure For Wellness’) have supporting roles, as does the lead from the original, Jessica Harper. The screenwriter wrote ‘A Bigger Splash’, and the AMC series ‘The Terror’ (92% on RT). This take is set in the same year as the original, and will thematically focus on “the concept and uncompromising force of motherhood.” Argento had a style all his own, with dream-like sequences and a logic that flew in the face of Hollywood scriptwriting. But while the original can’t be replicated, there isn’t really a better director out there for a remake (Nicolas Winding Refn already had his turn with ‘Neon Demon’) – Guadagnino is Italian, he’s an experienced multiple award-winner, his visual style (see ‘I Am Love’) could evolve nicely into the material. It’s been a long-time passion project of his, he’s been the driving force to it getting made. The period setting is a good choice, the cast is strong, and he’s already shown he can get the best out of possibly the world’s top actress, Tilda Swinton. Heck, he even looks like Argento

6th – Annihilation
Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez
Director: Alex Garland
Released: February 23, 2018

 -Seen It-  A biologist’s (Portman) military husband (Isaac) returns from a secret mission a broken man, before falling into a coma. He had been sent into “the Shimmer”, an expanding area of unnatural and dangerous mutations which began from a comet. To help save him she volunteers for the next (suicidal) mission, joining an all-female team of a psychologist (Leigh), paramedic (Rodriguez), physicist (Tessa Thompson), and geologist (Tuva Novotny). They hope to uncover what is happening and why, but as they approach its center the DNA mutations run amok may kill them all… Adapted from the 2014 novel by writer-director Alex Garland, on a red hot streak of form after ‘Dredd’ and ‘Ex Machina’ (having written the likes of ’28 Days Later’ and ‘Sunshine’ before that). ‘Annihilation’ is scattered with memorable nightmarish imagery, its DNA concept is deeply creepy, the wildlife creature design is great, and there’s a powerfully strong sense of mystery throughout. There’s some interesting discussion of self-destruction but you’re not left with much to think about as you were after ‘Ex Machina’. It’s also, honestly, a pretty bleak, slow and humourless film with an ending different to the book that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

5th – Mandy
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Released: September 14, 2018

 -Seen It-  A lumberjack (Cage) lives a peaceful reflective life with his artist partner Mandy (Riseborough, ‘Oblivion’) in a woodland cabin. When she catches the eye of an insane, insecure cult leader (Roache, ‘Batman Begins’), he and his followers, helped by a demonic biker gang, kidnap and destroy her, leaving the lumberjack for dead. In despair and fury he forges a battle axe and tracks them down to enact a bloody revenge… Director Panos Cosmatos (son of George P. Cosmatos who made the great ‘Tombstone’) establishes himself here as one of modern cinema’s most interesting visual artists. It’s all set in a dreamlike 1980s that’s both mellow and menacing, with striking hypnotic visuals (right down to the onscreen chapter-title cards). It’s underscored by a constant droning era soundtrack that haunts with its love theme and flares up to punctuate the madness (the Icelandic composer has sadly since died). The visuals are constantly experimenting in effective ways, from juxtaposing the faces of two people in conversation to the jarring unstylised master shot showing Cage having a bathroom breakdown immediately after the attack. In the often hyper-stylised version of reality, with the ramblings of the thin-skinned cult leader and his fawning drugged-up followers, Nicolas Cage is for a time the most normal thing onscreen. But he soon absorbs the cosmic darkness and descends into blood-splattered insanity (while the film itself becomes more narratively straightforward following one-by-one revenge). Cage is luckier to have this film than vice versa. He’s hurt his currency with endless terrible films, and his onscreen rage meltdowns have become familiar. The filmmaker is good enough to have carried another actor on that journey of madness, and having one who hadn’t gone this route before would have added to the originality displayed in other departments. That’s not to say Cage isn’t effective, or that it isn’t his best film for years.

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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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