2018, The Bad Year Horror Movies Blew Up

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that over the past couple years the horror genre has seen an unprecedented box office boom and critical resurgence. While the horrors of the world outside give us panic attacks, the horrors of the big screen inside give us comfort in the form of manageable, enjoyable thrills. We’re exorcising the blood, sweat, and tears of living through one of the most confusing times in the history of the United States of America. 2018 especially has been a historic year for the genre, both at the multiplexes and on the indie circuit. So for ole’ Hallow’s Eve, I’ve compiled a short list of those horror films from this year that you should check out if your plan for tomorrow evening involves popcorn and a blanket.

Note: I have yet to see Suspiria, my most anticipated horror film of the year. 

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If You Don’t Want Scary, But You Want a Good Thriller:  A Quiet Place

a-quiet-place

An alien movie in the vein of Signs, but not as scary, Jon Krasinski’s sophomore directorial effort is a nail-biting thriller and a mini-potboiler about family and parenting in the guise of good ole’ fashioned monster-movie fun. Krasinski and wife Emily Blunt are well-cast (I see you moving up in the world, Halpert) and young Millicent Simmons is something of a revelation as their deaf oldest child. The use of silence here is deafening.

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If You Want Scary, But Don’t Mind a Bad Movie:  Unfriended Dark Web

dark web

The rare breed of preposterous yet realistic, at least relative to other horror films, and that makes it disturbing enough to recommend (oh so slightly) on that merit alone. I kind of, sort of hated it on the grounds that I’m no fan of pointless nihilism. Regardless, if you don’t mind hate-watching a bad movie that’ll make you squirm and think twice about the internet, this is the one for you.  My full review

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If You Want Something Familiar:  Halloween

halloween

The latest installment in this never-ending franchise is exactly what you expect it to be, maybe a little less. Michael Meyers offs a slew of young’uns in the throws of sex and drugs, but meets his match with an older Laurie Strode who’s been waiting years to off him. Not many surprises in store, but plenty of fist-pumping moments to get your money’s worth at the multiplex. My full review

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If You Want Something Different:  Annihilation

Annihilation

Or if you want some science fiction with your scares. Natalie Portman headlines Alex Garland’s mind-bending follow-up to the imitable Ex Machina. A team of scientists venture across a dimensional chasm into a world where up is down and human beings aren’t so human anymore. Portman is reliably aces and Garland’s imagery is both beautiful and unnerving, not to mention layered with subtext. Want to question your own existence? Here you go.

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If You Want the Best Horror Movie of the Year:  Hereditary

hereditary

If you can get through the simultaneously enthralling and plodding first hour, you’ll be rewarded with the scariest one hour of cinema this year. The last hour of Ari Aster’s unsettling debut is a tour-de-force of impeccable acting from Toni Collette and Alex Wolff, and of course, a horror film for the ages complete with bowing corpses, spontaneous combustion, decapitation, and an otherworldly being whose origin isn’t quite explained. Hereditary is all the scarier for it.

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