Horror reached terrifying new heights last year–Jordan Peele’s Get Out smashed box office records and won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, while movies like IT and Annabelle: Creation reminded moviegoers how fun it is to scream bloody murder in a darkened theater. Yet the thrills of 2017 cleared the way for 2018 to be an even bigger year for horror. These are the best horror movies of 2018 so far that will leave you screaming for more.
A Quiet Place
A passion project from The Office’s John Krasinski, A Quiet Place opened to rave reviews in April 2018. With Krasinski directing and starring alongside his IRL wife actress Emily Blunt, this movie tells the story of a family living in hiding in complete silence from monsters with super-hearing in a post-apocalyptic world. With shades of Jurassic Park and Signs, A Quiet Place is a welcome addition to the genre for its high stakes and high tension drama.
Claire Foy, best known as Queen Elizabeth on Netflix’s The Crown, finds herself in a rather unique house of horrors in this venture from director Steven Soderbergh. Unsane paints a very real–and very plausible–portrait of a young woman committed to a mental institution after she unwittingly checks herself in. Is she being falsely imprisoned or is this just a symptom of her delusions? Rising above the gimmick of its filming (only on an iPhone 7), Unsane will leave you feeling a little less than mentally stable.
The Strangers: Prey at Night
The thing about a horror franchise attempting to cash in on its original terrors is that sometimes it just works, especially if that first movie is as scary as 2008’s The Strangers. In this sequel, a family of four (Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks plays the mother) checks into a super-creepy trailer and hopes for the best. Instead, what they get is unadulterated horror at the hands of the same masked killers from the first movie, who are as homicidal as they are un-picky about their victims.
Your parents may have warned you to stay away from Ouija boards, and after watching Veronica, you may wish that you had heeded their warnings. In this freaky Spanish exorcism tale, a Catholic schoolgirl named Veronica becomes haunted by spirits from beyond who are desperate for a link to the living world. Veronica first screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, then reached American audiences via Netflix in February 2018. It quickly gained a reputation as “Netflix’s scariest film.”
A group of male friends reunite for a hiking trip in celebration of a friend’s life. But when one of them gets injured, they decide to take a different route than originally planned, through the thick forest. Big mistake. What begins as a fun filled adventure turns into a total nightmare. The Ritual premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2017 but, as with Veronica above, terrified a whole new audience when it appeared on Netflix in February 2018. With scares equivalent to The Blair Witch Project or The Descent, The Ritual, based on a novel by Adam Nevill, is a frightening flick that will have you swearing off camping trips forever.
The torture porn tables are flipped in this awesome revenge fantasy movie from French director Coralie Fargeat. Perhaps not since 1978’s I Spit on Your Grave has there been such an epic rape-revenge movie. When a dude and his drug-dealing friends rape and attempt to murder Jen, they quickly discover that they’ve messed with the wrong gal. Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 (boy, what a year), Revenge was released in France in February 2018, then in the United States in May 2018.
During the War of 1812, a young Mohawk woman finds herself and her two lovers being pursued by a group of American soldiers. Lovers of indie horror cinema will find much to love here from Ted Geoghegan, the writer and director of 2015’s We Are Still Here. This ambitious and low-budget horror darling mines the undeniable, brutal truth of American history.
In this moody English horror drama from a writer on The Orphanage, a group of siblings live isolated from society and will stop at nothing to keep their family together. But as an outsider, played by The Witch’s Anna Taylor-Joy, discovers, the secrets that the Marrowbone children are harboring might mean they are the ones of whom she should be afraid. Marrowbone hit American theaters in April 2018.
Paranormal-debunker Professor Phillip Goodman is challenged to solve three unsolved cases that just might make him a believer after all. Told in vignettes by charming British writers and directors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman (who also stars as Professor Goodman) and boasting a great performance from Martin Freeman, this smart and original horror romp premiered at the London Film Festival in October 2017 before hitting American shores this year. The eerie tale injects new life into the classic English ghost story.
This utterly creepy film could have easily been a victim of its own hype. From its debut at Sundance on, Hereditary has been lauded as one of the scariest movies of the year. And this time, the critics were not wrong. Between Ari Aster’s writing and directing and the beautifully ratcheted-up distress of Toni Collette and Alex Wolff, playing mother and son, this family horror will leave you unsettled.
Featured still from "Hereditary" via PalmStar Media