2018, unfortunately, wasn’t a great year for the horror genre. At least not for me. Among the lists I have been compiling since 2013, there have been many years that I found disappointing, but I can say that 2018 was the worst among them. There hasn’t been a year yet that can compare to 2013 and 2016. I can’t say that they were all bad films, but in a year where there should have been films that made an impact, unfortunately, most of them were just average.
That’s why I decided to fill my list with films that truly deserved it, instead of filling it with a bunch of movies.
Insidious: The Last Key
James Wan’s Insidious series, which he initiated, continues to grow. After the thing that Elise Rainier saw and got scared of behind her chair in the second film but was not shown to us, they focused on the past continuously. The Last Key, the fourth film in the Insidious series, goes back in time to explain how everything actually started. Compared to the third film, The Last Key is more successful, but it falls short compared to the first two films. Unfortunately, as the Insidious series started to focus on the past, it became repetitive and started to lose its appeal. Considering it was a bad year for horror, The Last Key became a film that I could include among the best of the year.
Most Beautiful Island
Most Beautiful Island, which was screened as part of !f Istanbul 2018, is a very interesting film that manages to unsettle and frighten the audience, although it may not be a typical horror film. Directed by Ana Asensio on a low budget, who also stars in it, the film consists of intense scenes and tells the story of a financially struggling woman who takes on a strange job that she believes will bring her a lot of money. Ana Asensio invites us behind a door from which people enter and come out crazy and crying. As I said, it’s not exactly a horror film but more of a suspenseful thriller. Most Beautiful Island, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful works of the year.
Hereditary, Ari Aster’s first feature film, is a horror film produced by A24. For some, it is also the best horror film of the year. It’s fair to give credit to Ari Aster for offering a unique perspective through an intriguing directorial approach. Hereditary successfully applies the recent trend of scaring the audience without revealing much for most of its 120-minute duration, only to deliver a shocking blow in the final 20 minutes that keeps viewers glued to their seats. I also want to commend the last 20 minutes of the film, which did have an impact on me. However, the fact that it doesn’t reveal much and relies solely on music to create tension is a negative aspect for me. Nevertheless, I have to say this: In a year with bad horror films, Hereditary shines as one of the standout movies. But it’s safe to say that Ari Aster himself stands out more than the film.
Full Review: Hereditary – Film Review
What Keep You Alive
The film, which features Hannah Emily Anderson, a rising talent who has made a name for herself in recent years and whom I consider extremely talented, tells the story of two lovers who retreat to a forest house and plan to spend their entire vacation making love. However, their holiday is unfortunately ruined, not by an outsider who goes mad, but by someone inside who turns out to be insane. The film, which pushes the boundaries of logic a bit like the director’s previous film Revenge, can distract your concentration if you think too much. However, if you don’t take the events too seriously, it becomes a very successful example of a “female psycho.” The film maintains its action until the last minute and stands as one of the most successful horror/thriller examples of the year.
James Wan’s initiated The Conjuring series continues to grow. The series has now expanded beyond the main films with spin-offs, and the latest installment, The Nun, was released this year. The Nun, which tells the story of Valak, who made an appearance in The Conjuring 2 and is revealed to be extremely dangerous, unfortunately didn’t turn out to be the film we expected. It falls short at times, even though it should have been a much stronger and scarier film. A creature as horrifying as this needed a film that could have become legendary, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
Mandy, which I had the chance to watch as part of the Filmekimi festival, is one of the craziest works of the year. Mandy, which allowed us to discover Panos Cosmatos, may be a simple revenge film in terms of its story, but its content is extremely wild and vibrant. In the film, where the director showcases his own style, monochromatic shots take precedence over exploding lights, exploding lights with hues, and colorful scenes. Focusing on the revenge story of a woman’s husband killed by a cult, the film is a complete gore fest. Of course, when Nicolas Cage takes on the lead role, it results in a fantastic work. Mandy, one of the most visually stunning works of the year, is also a successful piece in terms of acting.
Full Review: Mandy– Film Review
Starring Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, the film Suspiria, based on Dario Argento’s cult 1977 film of the same name, divided audiences and sparked debates. I cannot deny that the adaptation falls far behind the original Suspiria, but I still believe it is one of the most noteworthy productions of the year. The film delicately handles feminist narrative, and its dance scene offers visually stunning imagery that could potentially become a cult classic. Additionally, it’s worth noting the high-level performances of the actors and the depth with which the characters are portrayed.
A Quiet Place
A post-apocalyptic universe film in which John Krasinski took on the roles of writer, director, and one of the lead actors, starring alongside his wife Emily Blunt. The film focuses on the story of people who have to live with creatures that kill anything that makes a sound, portraying the survival struggle of a pregnant woman with two children. The film’s most successful aspect is its ability to create suspense without relying on music. By not using any music and presenting sound as a reason to be afraid rather than something frightening, the film becomes one of the most successful works of the year despite its logical flaws. And it seems that a second film is on the way.
Full Review: A Quiet Place – Film Review
Unfriended: Dark Web
Released in 2014, Unfriended could be the first horror film entirely made through computer cameras. The fact that they were able to create significant tension within a single frame and attract attention showed that this series could continue. However, the disadvantage of the film was its “fantastical” nature. Dark Web eliminates this fantastical aspect and focuses entirely on a logical direction that delves into human brutality. In my opinion, it becomes one of the most successful works of the year. The film strikes a balance between suspense and fear, even though it may be slightly exaggerated, as it portrays a perversion that we could potentially encounter. Its realism definitely makes the film more terrifying.
Mom and Dad
Another suspenseful horror film on my list. Mom and Dad, directed by Brian Taylor, known for the Crank series, is the second Nicolas Cage film on my list. The film revolves around a scenario where one afternoon all parents decide to kill their children, and it successfully maintains the tension and fear until the last minute. It offers a wild action experience and is the kind of film that will make the audience jump up and down, as it is utterly crazy. Naturally, it’s a Brian Taylor film. One shouldn’t be surprised.
Instead of adding mundane fears to the list and prolonging it, I chose only the good ones, and I reserved the end of this list for the horror film I liked the most this year: The Ritual. I believe fans of the Blair Witch legend and series will love The Ritual, as it depicts a group of friends who embark on a journey to commemorate their lost friend from a convenience store robbery, only to be hunted down one by one by an unknown entity. The film has a psychological aspect and includes scenes that push the boundaries, along with creature designs that will be remembered for years to come. It is the most successful horror film of 2018.