Thrills, Chills, and Plenty of Gore: These Are the 10 Best Horror Movies of 2018

Dec 31 2018 - 10:45am

After the critical acclaim for 2017 horror movies like Get Out [1] and It [2], we (aka POPSUGAR's most horror-obsessed writers, Quinn Keaney and Ryan Roschke) were more excited than ever to see what thrills, chills, and all-out screams the genre could deliver in 2018. While there were a few notable missteps — we, respectfully, would like to pretend Truth or Dare [3] never happened — the year has been full of inventive, truly horrific stories playing out on the big screen. Once you finish checking out our top picks ahead, see what horror movies are headed your way in 2019 [4].

— Additional reporting by Ryan Roschke

The Ritual

"An ill-fated hike through a dark, foreign wood. Eviscerated bodies hanging from trees. A cabin full of horrors. These are just some of the grisly things you'll have to endure if you decide to sit down and venture into The Ritual, David Bruckner's disturbing original horror film on Netflix. But let me be the first to tell you: it'll be worth it. While, at first, the plot seems like it's yet another rehash of something we've seen approximately six billion times before — a group of friends go on a trip into the woods, things take a very wrong turn — somehow it still breaks new ground. Tonally and narratively, it reminds me of 2015's The Hallow, which finds a family fighting to survive against an onslaught of demonic creatures that live in the woods behind their remote home in Ireland. The use of folktales about ancient evil is part of what elevates The Ritual past its run-of-the-mill premise, but it's the bond between the core friends that gives the film its depth." — Quinn Keaney, Entertainment editor


"Whew. I rarely get rattled by horror movies, but this one really got me good. Hereditary presents as a simple ghost story at first, but the deeper you go, the wilder it gets. By the time you reach the end, it's bonkers, outright terror. Hereditary keeps you at the edge of your seat, keeps you guessing, and keeps you wrapped around its finger." — Ryan Roschke, staff writer

Ravenous (Les Affames)

"This is actually a pretty introspective and beautiful film, as far as movies in the zombie genre are concerned. That being said, watching a small group of desperate survivors attempt to navigate the aftermath of a zombie-like outbreak in rural Quebec still delivers plenty of nauseating scares. Its unique, out-of-the-box ending, however — which, for the record, I still haven't fully figured out months later — is what really solidified it as one of my under-the-radar favorites this year." — QK


"This disturbing and witchy masterpiece isn't so much a remake of the 1977 film but a brilliant reimagining. Director Luca Guadagnino has taken the source material and expanded, intensified, and deepened it. Suspiria has some of the most disturbing scenes I've seen in a REALLY long time. Plus, it's got some incredible choreography and three different Tilda Swintons." — RR

A Quiet Place

"John Krasinski [5]'s sci-fi horror masterpiece, A Quiet Place, made me snap to attention after its shocking first death [6], and I remained 100 percent engrossed from that point on. Knowing that no character is off limits from the deadly, sound-hunting aliens (not even the small children) raises the stakes in such a significant way that it's impossible not to sit rapt as you watch Krasinski and real-life wife Emily Blunt [7] try to protect their offspring from the dystopian horrors lurking just outside. One of the many refreshing aspects of the film is it doesn't spend precious minutes explaining how the aliens came to earth, how many other survivors are out there, or even what's up with the government — it drops us straight into the action and ratchets up the tension with each scene until you find yourself gasping for air. Everything about the film is excellent, but Blunt in particular gives a jaw-dropping performance." — QK


"First, let me say that this film is a lot. It's campy and wild and stunningly violent. But second, let me say that this truly insane, '80s-tastic shock to the system is a necessary watch for any horror fan. Panos Cosmatos's Mandy stars Nicolas Cage [8] and Andrea Riseborough as Red Miller and Mandy Bloom, a couple enjoying a remote, peaceful existence in the Pacific Northwest in 1983. Then, a sadistic cult bursts on the scene and destroys everything they hold dear, going so far as to kidnap Mandy. The invasion sparks a tale of bloody vengeance that sees Cage at his most unhinged (and entertaining), snorting literal handfuls of cocaine before going into battle and using a dead biker's flaming severed head to light his cigarette. I mean, this movie features a chainsaw duel and a fight with a demon alien, all set to a heavy-metal soundtrack. What's not to love?" — QK


"If you loved Quentin Tarantino [9]'s Inglourious Basterds, I'm pretty sure you'll love Overlord. This new entry obviously shares the similar World War II setting, but it's also a really great story packed with lovable characters and a whole ton of Nazi murder. The camp levels are off the charts, and I mean that in the best way. Overlord is a trip from start to finish!" — RR


"Occult horror-thriller and all-out gore-fest Apostle stars Dan Stevens as Thomas Richardson, a failed missionary who returns home to London in 1905 only to discover that his sister has been captured by a cult led by the dangerously charismatic Prophet Malcolm (Michael Sheen) and is being held for ransom. Thomas's rescue mission starts off simple enough, infiltrating the cult's island community and bonding with a few of the followers. But as he gets closer and closer to the literal beating heart of the matter, he uncovers an evil secret that blends myth and metaphor in such an interesting way that I didn't even mind its divisive, not-quite-sensical conclusion." — QK


"In September 2017, when I first laid eyes on the photo released of OG scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis standing with her former foe [10], serial killer Michael Myers, that announced a sequel to the 1978 original was incoming, I let out an actual squeal. The Myers franchise is my favorite of the iconic slasher series that hit screens in the late '70s and '80s, and I couldn't wait to see how a David Gordon Green-directed reboot [11] would shake out. Spoiler alert: Curtis's older (but perhaps not altogether wiser) Laurie Strode kicks all the ass, having spent years preparing for another showdown with the homicidal maniac who murdered her friends decades earlier. This movie is wildly fun, features stomach-turning kills, and pays just the right amount of homage [12] to the untouchable genius of John Carpenter's first stab at the story (pun very much intended)." — QK


"Annihilation: I don't even know where to begin with this one! The film, adapted from Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, is a thrilling masterpiece that's rich with stunning visuals, great thematic depth, and some truly chilling sequences of terror. It's not often a horror movie affects me on a visceral level while also making a larger point. You're definitely going to have to thaw out from this one." — RR

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