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TOP FIVE HORROR OF 2018

I’d go on about how 2018 was a great year for horror, but every year is always a great year for horror, it’s a great genre! With each passing year horror is becoming more mainstream and films that need attention are getting the accolades they deserve. We had awesome cinematic releases such as the monumental HEREDITARY, and lest we forget the films that have been released on streaming networks and digital release. Netflix gave us access to awesome films like CAM and THE RITUAL, not to mention the recent thriller BIRD BOX. For my top five I chose the horror media that I enjoyed the most, not necessarily which was the better made. So here they are, my favorite entries into the genre for 2018:

 

5. CHANNEL ZERO: DREAM DOOR (E.L Katz)

My number 5 horror film for 2018 is actually not a film it’s a TV show. I have not heard too much buzz around the most recent season of CHANNEL ZERO but as much as it flew under the radar this year, it stuck out on mine. CHANNEL ZERO: DREAM DOOR tackles some of my favorite concepts such as telekinesis and tulpas; think DROP DEAD FRED,but homicidal.

Based on online short stories rather than genre trends, CHANNEL ZERO has been putting out some seriously original and creepy content since its creation and DREAM DOOR has been the best season yet. If you have had CHANNEL ZERO in your peripheral but haven’t got around to seeing it, this is the season start on.

DREAM DOOR had some fantastic monsters and villains including a contortionist clown- played by contortionist and actor Troy James. While clowns have been a popular villain in horror for a while now, ‘Pretzel Jack’ manages to be completely unique and quietly terrifying.

CHANNEL ZERO: DREAM DOOR was full of great performances from a diverse cast – including a cameo by Barbara Crampton. I found myself profoundly invested in the characters and the suspense was palpable episode to episode.

 

4.CARGO (Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke)

The zombie sub-genre is one of my least favorite in horror, but Australian film CARGO brought something new and  special. After seeing it, I can’t let it go unnoticed and underappreciated. A great take on a zombie outbreak, with fresh ideas such as emergency kits with “countdown-to-zombification” wristbands and suicide machines.

The 2013 short of the same name by the same directors was heartbreaking . The feature film that it was turned into  was just as emotional, as our lead character tries to find a safe haven for his baby daughter.

Set in the Australian outback, CARGO is very realistic with its character choices- having one main character and most of supporting cast being indigenous Australian actors. We know how good of an actor Martin Freeman is but shining opposite him was Simone Landers. The lack of whitewashing in this film sets it apart from other genre films and makes CARGO a more genuine, therefore more engaging zombie film. The idea that those with a special connection to the land-as do Aboriginal Australians- would be better equipped for survival in an apocalypse situation is a great concept I’d like to see used more.

 

3. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (Mike Flanagan)

Cheating again with another entry in my top 5 being a TV series. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE was one of my most anticipated 2018 entries into the genre and it was everything it promised to be and more! THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE had it all: jump scares, creepy moments that sent chills, fully developed characters and an engaging story to wrap it all up. The series breathes new life into the gothic ghost story in a fresh and intimate way.

The series’ heartbreaking portrayal of mental illness and all its complexities was a brilliant and moving subplot; weaving its way into my heart instead of using it as shock value (*cough UNSANE *cough). It was an emotional drama that had me crying at more than one point.

In my opinion Mike Flanagan has never made a bad film, on the contrary I think all his work is stellar and he deserves to be viewed as one of the horror film greats. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is full of actors who have worked with Flanagan before so all the performances were amazing. This is also impressive for a show with so many child actors.

Also, apparently there are hidden ghosts in many scenes that most of us missed so that is something to look out for  and a reason why I can’t wait to give THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE a re-watch.

 

2. SUSPIRIA (Luca Gudagnino)

Well here we are at what in my opinion is the pièce de résistance of horror in 2018.

I watched the original for the first time in 2017 and after I saw it I thought “well that was pretty, but this needs a remake with an actual storyline” so when this re-imagining was announced I was so excited. The sheer vision of SUSPIRIA is amazing.  While each component is great, to sit back and watch it as a whole is more like an experience than a film.

I love that SUSPIRIA 2018 chose to give the story a greater context by showing the political climate of Berlin. The whole film has such an authentic feel to the era it was set in. This may have contributed to the film’s long runtime but to be honest I could have sat there for 5 hours and watched this film.

I also love that they went nearly opposite to the original’s bright, Giallo colour scheme, opting for muted hues that really worked just as well if not better.

It was a genius move having the film begin by telling us the dance school being run by witches- something that is only revealed at the end of the original. It was much more frightening to see all their spells and torture in action. Once you knew the ill intentions of the teachers at the dance school everything became much more sinister and the film was shrouded in dread. SUSPIRIA was brutal in its violence and the scene in the mirror room, you know the one I’m talking about, was one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve seen in a long time.

 

1. ANNIHILATION (Alex Garland)

For my number 1 film I have chosen one which upon seeing it, has quickly become my all-time favorite film. Visually stunning, ANNIHILATION is what CGI was made for.  It is so beautiful, you could watch it on mute and still be mesmerized, but I wouldn’t recommend that as the soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful. It has to be the colors that have caused me to fall so in love because ANNIHILATION is a giant rainbow, terrifying, lucid dream.

The five female leads gave amazing performances with each having their own agency and character arc. A fantastic leap for inclusiveness in the genre. I always try to find the feminism in a film if it is there and for me ANNIHILATION had in in droves. To have the heroes of the story be chosen not because they’re scientists or military but because they’re female scientists or military is a story I can get behind.

This film has the most amazing creature designs I’ve seen in a long time, the main one being the terrifying bear-hybrid; that thing is pure nightmare fuel so naturally I love it.  But in all seriousness it has to be one of the best monsters I’ve ever seen in horror.

I guess I can’t really put my finger on why I love this film so much, but I watched it four times in 2018. ANNIHILATION really inspired me, I think it opened up my imagination this year and helped me appreciate the fantasy genre more.

 

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Erin Grant

Erin Grant

I have been a horror fan ever since I was old enough to sneak off to the
horror section at the video shop. After realizing that your average person
doesn’t want to watch and talk about horror movies, let’s say….
Incessantly, obsessively, I started writing what I wanted to say.
I especially love anything body horror so Cronenberg is my favorite
director. I love celebrating the horror that comes out of my home country
Australia as well."

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