Monday, December 24

Favorite Horror Films 2018

Favorite Horror Films 

    10. Cold Hell
The game of chase that exists in a vast majority of horror films is part of what makes the genre so engaging and scary. “Cold Hell” exploits this aspect with precision, taking a serial killer tale and matching it against a no-fear, tough-as-nails female taxi driver named Özge. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky pulls no punches with this film, combining frenetic action with gruesome set pieces for a film that puts a unique style on Giallo sensibilities and the often-familiar serial killer genre.  

     9.    Terrified (Aterrados)
We all remember those haunting images from horror films that are somehow singed into our subconscious; the little boy floating outside the window in “Salem’s Lot”, the ghastly nun standing down the hallway in “The Conjuring 2”. Imagery is a powerful tool in cinema and for the horror film, it’s what separates the memorable from the mundane. Director Demián Rugna arranges some moments of nightmare fuel with the film “Terrified”, a loosely structured haunted house film with some of the best scares of 2018. It’s raw, gruesome, and filled with moments that are bound to keep you awake at night. 

     8. The Ritual
The story of four men on vacation who venture into the woods and make a wrong turn into terror seems routine enough of a horror premise but director David Bruckner makes something so much more engaging and emotional with “The Ritual”. Instead of a masked killer, werewolves, or witches, the film wisely crafts a wholly unique monster that is designed with effective creepiness. Put this film on the biggest screen you can find, turn up the sound, and turn off the lights.

    7.        Anna and the Apocalypse 
Who would have thought that in 2018 we would get a bouncy, humorous zombie comedy musical? Who would have thought it would be so good? Well, John McPhail’s new film “Anna and the Apocalypse” is an absolute blast that combines humor and horror with some very fun and memorable musical numbers. Hopefully, this film will find its audience in the future because it has all the makings of a new Christmas cult movie that you could sing-a-long with. 

     6. The House That Jack Built
Lars von Trier. Love him or hate him, the line is firmly established with his catalog, the director is undeniably one of the most interesting filmmakers of the 21stcentury. Von Trier takes another step into the realm of horror with the personal, exploitive, disturbing film “The House that Jack Built”. Filmmakers have many times utilized the film screen as a canvas for working through personal concerns, Von Trier does the same; in one moment the auteur demonstrates his meticulous and obsessive compulsions for the craft through a humorous murder clean-up and in numerous other moments he trolls the critics that have demeaned his artistic endeavors by straightforwardly pushing the limits of his storytelling. Lars von Trier paints the grotesque with elegant strokes. 

5. A Quiet Place 
Silence is a powerful tool in cinema, it can heighten a scene of drama, play a critical role for a punchline in comedy, or rattle the nerves in horror films. “A Quiet Place” is a simplistic story that is accommodated by its impeccable design. All the best horror films understand that fear is more than scary monsters, it’s a culmination of different emotions that contribute to the power that fear has over the mind. Director John Krasinski effectively plays with the different aspects of emotion in clever ways through the character design, the sound elements and secluded atmosphere of the film, which help in crafting some truly exciting and terror-filled moments. 

     4. Mandy
If there is one thing that can be said of director Panos Cosmatos, it’s that this artist has uncompromising command of his style. “Mandy” will undoubtedly be remembered for the surprisingly restrained, yet also wildly unhinged, performance from actor Nicolas Cage. However, the film is an experience of complete and captivating horror, a dream about love and peace that turns into a nightmare about hatred and destruction. Mr. Cosmatos pulls the viewer into the nightmare with beautiful images and stunning atmosphere. This is the film experience of 2018. 

    3.         Revenge 
The “rape-revenge” subgenre of horror is hard to watch and oversaturated with an abundance of bad films. These assumptions were present when the trailer for Coralie Fargeat’s film “Revenge” dropped. Instead of clichéd narratives, one-dimensional characters, and exploitive sexual elements, Ms. Fargaet’s brilliant “Revenge” offers a view of this often-grotesque subgenre with a powerful grasp on narrative structure, particularly the aspect of feminism and point of view of exploitation, but also on cinematic tone which is handled with biting humor and buckets of blood. 

     2. Suspiria
Nothing is sacred in today’s remake obsessed film world, yet it still sounds absolutely foolish when you think of someone remaking Dario Argento’s cinematic masterpiece “Suspiria”. Director Luca Guadagnino, who last helmed the critically acclaimed film “Call Me by Your Name”, crafts one of the best witch horror films ever made with his re-envisioned version of “Suspiria”. With rich details, meticulous structure, and a brilliant performance from Tilda Swinton, this version stands confidently and boldly on its own designs. 

     1.  Hereditary 
Horror films have utilized the family dynamic, mostly broken beyond repair, to build visions of invasive family structure terror. Think of films like “The Omen”, “The Shining”, or even more recently “The Conjuring”. What makes director Ari Aster’s first feature film different from most is the structure concerning the family, specifically the historical structure and the ongoing trauma and despair that has permeated the foundation of this family’s ancestry. “Hereditary” takes the viewer into horrific aspects concerning grief, trauma, and ultimately despair before unleashing the supernatural threat, it’s why the film is so effective. It’s this journey into the emotion that ultimately makes the visions of horror resonate so strongly. 

The Rest of the List

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