Real life may have been terrifying enough in 2018, but film lovers will always want their scares. We got plenty of movies offering psychological terror, paranormal thrills and gross-out fun. Here are 10 of the year's best, in no particular order.
Right at the end of the year, this Netflix original starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, based on a critically acclaimed novel by Detroit author Josh Malerman, stole all of the headlines and became a meme sensation. It’s not overly bloody (although it has a couple of moments), but the tension is high as Miss Congeniality attempts to get her kids across some wild water while blindfolded so as to avoid an entity that drives those who see it crazy. It’s well written, nicely shot and perfectly creepy.
Rarely does a film advertised as “scary as fuck” live up to the hype, but Hereditary really is super chilling. From the frankly terrifying little girl to the twists that — we don’t care what anybody says — nobody really sees coming, Hereditary wasn’t only one of the best horror movies of the year, it was one of the best movies of the year.
The fifth installment in the Conjuring universe after the initial Conjuring movies and the two Annabelle spinoffs, The Nun told the tale of the demon nun that appeared in the first few films, and it was surprisingly effective. Let’s be honest — children, clowns, dolls and nuns will always bring the scares in horror flicks.
Nick Cage gets to let his gonzo psycho loose in this heavy-metal psychedelic post-apocalyptic fantasy featuring biker cults, kidnapped love interests and bloody battles. It’s a riot.
Remakes are rarely a good idea, and Dario Argento’s original Suspiria was considered untouchable by many. That said, Luca Guadagnino’s effort is far from a disaster. The story, of course, centers on witchcraft at a ballet school, but there’s so much going on. See it, but please see the original first.
Summer of 84
In the wake of Stranger Things came this Canadian gem, set in the '80s with a gorgeous sense of authenticity, about a bunch of kids who suspect their police officer neighbor of being a notorious serial killer. From there, shit goes down. No spoilers, but it’s a thrill ride.
It wasn’t without its controversy, but this female-written and -directed rape-revenge thriller was smarter than your average I Spit on Your Grave. It’s also another excellent example of the French extreme horror that is currently ruling the larger genre. Coralie Fargeat’s directorial debut is a solid bloodbath, but it’s not for everyone.
Mom and Dad
Made in 2017, but it counts because it wasn’t released until January 2018. Mom and Dad is another example of Nic Cage at his zany best (he’s having a great time with his roles of late). He and Selma Blair play parents under the influence of some sort of virus that has made all parents attack their kids. It’s a super-violent dark comedy, but the scene in the newborn wing of a hospital depicting a row of fathers staring with sheer hate at their newborns is deeply unsettling.
Overlord is based on a video game, so it should suck. Somehow, though, it really doesn’t. Imagine if the origin story of Captain America went wrong. Here we have Nazis experimenting/torturing to create a super soldier, but things don’t go well. It’s a gore-soaked action fest, and is better than it has any right to be.
May the Devil Take You
This Indonesian horror film has a fairly conventional demonic-possession premise, but the story is so beautifully told that it feels fresh. Don’t watch it alone.