When I was first asked to pick my Top 5 horror films from 2018, I did not realize how difficult it would be. From old classics returning triumphantly, to mind bending independent outings, horror cinema in 2018 was truly a unique year.
Below is my Top 5 favorite flicks from 2018. You will see some familiar faces in the list and some new films that surprised and delighted me immensely. So let’s close out the year with the best horror outings according to me.
I know I will get some eye rolls with this one. But I actually enjoyed this film. I had sworn I would never watch a Hellraiser without our beloved Doug Bradley behind the pins. But, I believe that Paul T. Taylor gives a commendable performance as the Prince of Hell.
Hellraiser: Judgement tells the story of 3 police detectives attempting to stop the murderous rampage of a serial killer. The killer slaughters his victims based on the biblical 10 commandments.
The three detectives literally raise hell when their paths are crossed with the cenobites. A nice thing about Hellraiser: Judgement is it introduces some new and interesting characters to the series. The character of the Auditor I thought was an interesting direction that I would actually like to see more of.
With a series like Hellraiser, it is hard to continuously tell the same story and keep it interesting. I applaud those involved for churning out a film that is way better than most of the direct to video outings we have been subject to. It is definitely worth checking out for fans of the series.
This film surprised me most out of anything I watched this year. A man wakes up covered in blood and has no recollection of what has happened to him. An idyllic summer camp has been turned into a bloodbath.
As he attempts to unravel the disturbing events that have transpired, he discusses it via phone with his best friend Chuck, played wonderfully by Alyson Hannigan. He slowly realizes, as the title implies, that he may in fact be the killer.
What set You Might Be the Killer apart from the same old slasher at summer camp retread, is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The movie makes many reference to classic horror films and the main characters discuss how to avoid those exact scenarios.
The kills are fun and there are several that make you do a double take, Fans of classic slashers films will eat this up because it gives off that feel. All of the counselors fit into the stereotypical classic 80’s mold, including the final girl. When it comes to slashers, I guess I can’t say “they don’t make them like they used to” anymore. You can read my full review of the film here.
Upgrade is an intense and wild trip through the world of transhumanism and overreach of technology. Grey and his wife are brutally attacked and left for dead at the hands of a group of criminals. Grey survives but is left to live as a quadriplegic.
Grey is approached and given the chance to walk and live a normal life again with an artificial intelligence implant known as STEM. After STEM is surgically implanted in his spine he sets out to uncover his attackers.
STEM slowly begins to take over giving Grey subhuman abilities in strength, movement and brain computing power. He exacts his violent revenge but the line between his own free will and STEM begin to get blurred.
Upgrade, very much like The Terminator before it, explores the possible dangers of unchecked technology spiraling out of control. With the rapid advances in science, A.I. and cybernetics, a scenario like Upgrade could not be that far off. It definitely gives you a lot of very important questions to ponder.
Upgrade explores themes of body horror and transformation very intelligently. It is well written and the performances by the actors really sucks you into the story. You also begin to empathize with Grey as he loses control over himself and does the bidding of the machine.
Terrifier continues the murderous exploits of Art the Clown from the film All Hallow’s Eve. Two girls on their way home from a Halloween party find them in the crosshairs of Art. He stalks them down while dispatching any other innocent victims he encounters on the way.
What makes this film more unnerving is you never get a definitive why, as to why Art chose his victims or what his motivation is. He simply stalks the females and kills them, because he can. The kills in Terrifier are top notch and brutal.
Art the Clown uses a whole litany of weapons at his disposal, and even kills a guy with his oversize clown shoes. But, what makes this film, 100%, is David Howard Thornton’s performance as Art. Without uttering a word, and utilizing only facial expressions, he is able to convey the most evil, despicable character to grace the horror genre in a while. This is a must see for horror fans, hands down.
2018 was a huge year for fans of the Halloween franchise, me included. We finally got to see The Shape stalking the streets of Haddonfield one more time, and on the big screen. Halloween takes place 40 years after the original murders.
Laurie Strode, traumatized and living in constant fear of Michael’s return, has prepared herself for just such a scenario. During a prison bus crash, Michael escapes and heads home to Haddonfield.
He picks up his brutal slashing spree like he never left. Laurie and Michael get the rematch we deserved in H20, as horror’s heavyweight titans face off one more time.
I really enjoyed this outing of The Shape and seeing him return to what he does best, stalking Laurie Strode. I also enjoyed the subtle nods to the other films in the series in this one. The blink and you’ll miss it silver shamrock masks on the trick or treater’s was a nice touch.
So there you have it folks, my favorites of 2018. If the trend continues in 2019, I believe that we will be in for another great year in horror and look forward to covering it for you! Malicious wishes to all my friends in the New Year.