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Top Ten Horror Releases of 2018

Written by Joel Harley

The time of the year is upon us again where film writers reflect upon 2018-gone-by and say things like “in an unpredictable, volatile and often depressing world, we can at least take solace in cinema.” And, cliché or not, it’s true, we can, and here I am, about to do such a thing. And, as gloomy and miserable as the year has been (politically, at least, for this liberal Englishman of Brexit Britain), it has been a fine year for cinema.

It’s always nice when one’s Top 10 list fits a loose theme, and the theme this year is comebacks. 2018 was the year when we saw new outings from the Puppetmaster and Leprechaun franchises, and the year He Came Home. It also brought us new work from talent behind the camera (see the first entry on this list) and a major comeback from My Favourite Actor Of All Time (appearing not once, but twice here).

There’s plenty of the new and original too though, including some truly impressive genre debuts and exciting new concepts. It’s almost enough to give one hope for 2019. Almost.

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Possum

From Darkplace to a dark place. Matthew Holness’s creepy, chilly psychological portrait of a man struggling with a Babadook-esque puppet and the crimes it (maybe?) forces him to commit is about as far away from the director’s Garth Marenghi days as it’s possible to get. What it lacks in laughs it more than makes up for in atmosphere and deep, pervading – uniquely British - dread.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Night of the Virgin

A riotously gory, gag-reflex-testing splatter film about a gawky nerd trying to get laid on New Year’s Eve, Night of the Virgin is the most repulsed I have been by a horror film this year, and the hardest I’ve laughed in a while too.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Annihilation

Its enchanting, gorgeous, unsettling visuals may have deserved a place on the big screen, but for my money, Netflix’s big sci-fi/horror mindfuck was their single greatest success story this year, putting the big screen to shame. The only thing that came close was seeing the anniversary re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey at my local arthouse. Well, it certainly wasn't going to be that Cloverfield mess, was it?

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Upgrade

Sci-fi with (another) genre twist and some of the most incredible action sequences in years. Upgrade reinvents the revenge movie and the body horror film, combining all of the above with an effective streak of black comedy to deliver one of the smartest, most inventive man-on-a-vengeance-kick flicks since Oldboy.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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The Ranger

Punks vs The Man in a National Park. Filling that Maniac Cop/The Tripper/Hatchet shaped hole in my heart, Jenn Wexler’s darkly funny slasher film is the horror debut of the year, marking the director (and cast) as one to watch, and serving up the best horror villain of the year.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Halloween

Which isn’t to say that there’s no room for the old guard. Sidestepping the remakes and continuity issues which have plagued his franchise for years, Michael Myers made his long-overdue return in this sequel to John Carpenter’s original classic. This is Laurie Strode’s movie though, and Jamie Lee Curtis finally gets the tribute she has deserved since *shudders* Resurrection, bringing an up-to-the-task daughter and granddaughter to the fray too.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Ghost Stories

Fans had been clamouring for a movie version of Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s hit stage play for years, and this adaptation didn’t disappoint – a quiet, chilling, quietly chilling portmanteau piece with excellent performances and four excellently judged, perfectly spooky stories at its heart.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Mom & Dad

Nicolas Cage gets the horror movie role he has always deserved as ‘dad’ in this sort-of-kind-of zombie movie about parents going insane and murdering their own children. Director Brian Taylor puts the Cage Rage to good use, but Selma Blair proves to be the real heart of the movie, bringing surprising pathos to her Soccer Mom Gone Mad.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Hereditary

Maybe the best theatrical horror film of the year, Ari Aster’s supernatural nerve shredder might not have been as scary as its reputation suggested, but its unpredictable story and viscerally effective twists have stuck with me nevertheless. Toni Collette deserves all of the acclaim – and more - she’s gotten for her part in the movie, and Hereditary marks Aster as a genre talent to be reckoned with. Hail King Paimon.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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Mandy

A second showing for Nicolas Cage on this list, and my favourite film of the year bar none; one I watched three times in very quick succession. Like Mom & Dad, Mandy is about more than just its Nic Cage bug-outs (not that there isn’t some gold in there), its nightmarish atmosphere, trippy visuals and spaced-out performances making for a truly transcendent cinematic experience.

 

 

About The Author
Joel Harley 02
Staff Writer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for HorrorTalk and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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