Taking a second to look back on the year as a whole, I realized that 2018 was actually a pretty damn good year for horror fans. Sure, there was a bunch of lackluster efforts to weed through, but there was also some pretty amazing stuff going on all year long.
Have a gander at the list below of just a few of my favorite things horror-related from the past 12 months. Keep in mind that everything listed is presented in no particular order because, well, trying to rank things accordingly would be just too difficult for me.
A Quiet Place – For his first foray into the genre, John Krasinski came out swinging. More than just a typical creature-feature, A Quiet Place has a lot of substance, dealing heavily with the varying relationships between family members. It will pull on your heartstrings more than once, while delivering some gnarly looking monsters along the way.
Hereditary – This one is rather polarizing; if you look at the varying reviews across the interwebs, you’ll see tons of hate and tons of love for Ari Aster’s debut feature film. I happen to fall into the category of “love it,” as this one delivered more than one moment where I acclaimed aloud, “no way!” Incredible special effects, effectively creepy storytelling, and a nomination-worthy performance from Toni Collette make Hereditary one of my favorite from not only this year, but perhaps the last decade.
The Strangers: Prey at Night – Perhaps one of the most anticipated sequels of the last decade, this one did not disappoint. It has quite a different feel than the original 2008 film, catering more towards the throwback slasher crowd, but I absolutely loved everything about it; From the soundtrack to the kill scenes, I can’t recommend this one enough.
Halloween – I know there are a lot of people who are tired of our favorite horror icons making returns in new movies, whether they are reboots or sequels, but I’ll be the first to admit that I will always spend my time and money on these releases. Ignoring all sequels that came after the original Carpenter ’78 film, David Gordon Green, along with the help of Halloween alumni, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter, himself, was able to capture a whole lot of what made the first entry in the four decade old franchise so magical, while also putting a beautiful modern flair on it all.
The Night Comes for Us – Timo Tjahjanto is no stranger to the horror genre. As half of the Mo Brothers, Tjahjanto’s work has been featured in some of the biggest anthology films of the last 10 years — V/H/S/2 and The ABC’s of Death. While The Night Comes for Us isn’t a straight-up horror film, it is more brutal than most I’ve seen this year. The action sequences, featuring some of the best martial artists ever seen on screen, including The Raid: Redemption‘s Iko Uwais, are incredibly fun to watch. They will also make you wince and writhe in pain, as you see some of the most innovative deaths in film, horror or not.
The Ritual – This one almost flew right by me. I had seen some positive remarks made about this one on various social media outlets, but never heard too much about the details of the film. Randomly perusing Netflix with a friend one night, we decided to give this one a watch, based on the simple fact that it was the only title I recognized. I was extremely impressed, as I was presented a pretty original story based on ancient Gods terrorizing a group friends on a hiking trip honoring their deceased mate. Technically David Bruckner’s The Ritual is a 2017 film (according to iMDB), but it was added to Netflix and viewed by most this year, so it’s a perfect fit for this list.
May the Devil Take You – There is only one director that has made this list twice. I’m referring to the almighty Timo Tjahjanto. I don’t know how he did it, but this talented filmmaker has managed to give genre fans two amazing films in 2018. More horror than his other film listed above,
Sebelum Iblis Menjemput is like a traditional Asian ghost story mixed with the very best aspects of The Evil Dead. Over-the-top gore, bones bending and breaking in impossible angles, and a whole slew of demons are just a few of the things I loved about this one. If Sam Raimi won’t make movies like this anymore, I’m more than okay with this half of the Mo Brothers being the one to take over the mantle.
The Song of Solomon – This one is not for everyone. Fans of the most extreme horror films will love this one, however. Featuring a cameo by filmmaker Jim Van Bebber and a starring role by indie darling, Jessica Cameron, Song is guilty of having some of the most grotesque scenes I’ve seen in quite some time… and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. You can click on the title listed above to read my full review of this one to get a better idea of what to expect from Stephen Biro’s extreme, low-budget masterpiece.
Admittedly, I did not watch many horror-related series this year. I know there were a ton, played on almost every channel or streaming service you can think of, but the ones listed below are the ones I watched and liked best.
The Haunting of Hill House – Mike Flanagan can do no wrong in my opinion. When I found out that the man who brought us movies like Gerald’s Game and Hush was trying his hand at an entire series, I knew I was in for something special. I couldn’t have been more correct as Hell House was the right kind of creepy, while also making me feel for each and every character I was introduced to throughout the 10 episodes. If I had more time, I would certainly re-watch this one over and over again. In fact, I know many people who have done so and they have all assured me that the more you watch this one, the more you will catch hidden in the shadows of every single episode.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Not the Sabrina we grew up with, Chilling Adventures is a much darker origin story of our favorite 16-year-old half witch. This one is on the complete opposite side of the spooky spectrum from Hell House, as it is much more light-hearted and fun. If you’re a fan of witches, this is the one for you. Based on the Archie Comics series of the same name, this one isn’t going anywhere any time soon either. A new ‘chapter’ was just released for the Holiday season and the second season isn’t too far away either, making its premiere in April of 2019.
I know I’ve probably already lost you because of the length of this, so I won’t continue on much longer. This year has been a pretty great year for fans of all things horror, not only in the film or television realm.
Fans of horror-influenced music had a bunch of exciting titles to listen to whether it was any of the myriad of death metal, horror punk, or psychobilly releases from throughout the year, the horrorcore rap sounds of artists like Komatose or Alla Xul Elu, or the long-awaited new album from Brooklyn death rap legend, Necro.
Horror has been everywhere in 2018 and I am excited to see what comes next for all of us in the new year. Here’s to hoping that 2019 is just as good, if not better, than this year has been!