A Good Year for Horror!
Let’s take a look back at how 2018 fared in terms of horror movies. We saw some high quality re-treads of old formulas and some bold ventures into completely new territory. Here are 2018’s top 5 horror movies!
5. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, a small film out of Korea, directed by Beom-sik Jeong, is a great example of a movie that takes a worn formula and manages to make it absolutely scary as f**k. There’s nothing very new about the premise or in how the plot unfolds, but the horror imagery and atmosphere are really well executed. Think of it like this: If you love supernatural horror movies with a heavy dose of slow-burn jump scares, then you’ll love Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum.
The story follows a group of live-streamers as they explore the most haunted location in Korea, all while broadcasting their horrifying journey to an increasing number of enraptured viewers online.
4. Suspiria - 2018 Remake
Suspiria (2018), starring Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, is a remake of a 1977 movie of the same name. The 1977 version was directed by Italian horror auteur, Dario Argento.
It took me a while to realize that I really liked the remake of this movie. It walks a fine line between interesting, sophisticated filmmaking and terrible, B-movie garbage… kind of like the original. Luckily, it manages to stay on the right side of that line.
Suspiria (2018) is directed by Luca Guadagnino, in a surprising departure from his 2017 critical and commercial success, Call Me by Your Name, which earned several Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Best Actor for its lead, Timothee Chalamet) and one Oscar win (Best Adapted Screenplay).
Suspiria tells the story of a young woman who joins a prestigious dance company that is run by witches. It manages to build intriguing tension throughout, features some stellar dancing, some pretty brutal violence and a decidedly psychedelic end sequence.
3. The House That Jack Built
A little pretentious: check
Strikingly original: check
Featuring some truly memorable imagery: check
It looks like it ticks all the boxes of a Lars von Trier film. It’s not his best work, but wow is it disturbing. Stirring up controversy from its inception and earning a slap on the wrist from the MPAA for an unapproved screening of an unrated version, The House That Jack Built manages to create a viewing experience similar to what it might feel like to push thumbtacks into your eyeballs. It’s also worth noting that one can’t help but feel like Lars von Trier maybe thought he was making a comedy… if you watch it, you’ll see what I mean. This movie is not for people who are easily shaken.
Matt Dillon also gives a brilliant and unfortunately overlooked performance as the title character. The story, told in a series of incidents, follows the serial-killer-exploits of Jack. While the incidents unfold for the viewer, Jack philosophizes with Verge (a character modeled after Virgil from The Divine Comedy), played by the late, brilliant Bruno Ganz.
Hereditary, directed by Ari Aster, takes an interesting approach to the demonic horror sub-genre, by balancing the drama of a family tragedy with a disquieting atmosphere. The stellar cast, led by Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro and Ann Dowd, all bring their A-game. The film is not your typical, jump-scare driven supernatural horror. Its style leans on a pervasive sense of unease, stalwart performances that give the viewer a window into the trauma the characters are experiencing and creepy lore… with the exception of the end sequence, which feels much more familiar.
The story follows a family as they cope with the surprisingly gruesome death of a loved one, while sinister forces close in on them.
1. A Quiet Place
Who knew Jim from The Office could make an awesome horror movie?! John Krasinski delivers on all fronts, both in front of the camera and behind it. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski play two parents who are trying raise a deaf daughter and survive with their family in a world that has been taken over by fiendish, blind monsters who hunt by sound alone.
The film features clever sequences, high tension and scary creature design. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It isn’t the scariest movie on this list, but it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser.
0. Bonus Title - Mandy
Thank you, Nicolas Cage… thank you for being you. This movie is bizarre, awesome, visually remarkable, tonally insane and overall a wonderfully distinctive movie.
Panos Cosmatos, the director of this eccentric film, has a unique, consciousness-expanding style. Watching Mandy feels like a dream or some kind of hallucinatory experience. It doesn’t follow many conventions, is hard to classify and even harder to forget.