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So far, 2018 has proven to be another great year for the horror genre. We have seen some stellar scary movies debut, but they can't all be winners. With that in mind, it's time for us to take a look back on the first half of this year and break down the rankings of 2018's scariest flicks!
To accomplish this, we have put together a list of the biggest horror films that have debuted so far in 2018. Horror is obviously a massive genre that means different things to different people, so our list will encompass several different styles of movies, from full-blown horror movies to moody, atmospheric sci-fi with heavy horror influences. On that note, let's kick things off with a Netflix movie that took all of us by surprise.
10. The Cloverfield Paradox
Talk about a letdown. The Cloverfield Paradox was Netflix's big surprise for audiences after the 2018 Super Bowl, and while audience expectations were incredibly high going into the film, they quickly turned to disappointment in the face of an undercooked sci-fi film with minimal logic or character development. The film was released based on the promise that it would tie together the Cloverfield universe and offer answers to our burning questions. Instead, we found ourselves scratching our heads and wondering why we bothered watching in the first place.
9. Truth Or Dare
It's true that Blumhouse has been on a roll over the course of the last few years with films like Split and Happy Death Day, and while it's also true that films like Halloween and Glass promise to continue that solid work, Truth or Dare was a total let down. Poorly thought out, bland and plain dumb at times, Jeff Wadlow's take on the classic children's game often ended up inducing more laughs than scares, failing to deliver on a simple premise of a demon forcing college students to accomplish dares or tell the truth
When the trailers for Winchester first dropped, the prospect of Helen Mirren headlining a mainstream horror movie was enough to get fans of the genre very excited. Alas, the final product wasn't nearly as impressive, as Winchester ultimately devolved into a run-of-the-mill ghost story with few genuinely effective scares and a poorly-cooked overarching story. There is some fun to be had in this movie, and there's a definitive style that sets it apart from other horror romps that have debuted in 2018, but that can't change the fact that Winchester was a disappointment on almost every level.
7. The Strangers: Prey At Night
As a love letter to classic 1980s slasher cinema, The Strangers: Prey at Night delivers a throwback style that will satisfy many members of the horror community. That said, as a standalone horror movie, the film provides a few scares, along with notable lulls. The emphasis on style and kinetic energy arguably diminish some of the creepy charms of 2008's The Strangers, and while it's still incredibly scary to watch a family get butchered seemingly at random, the love of the 1980s aesthetic sometimes interferes with the believability. It's a solid slasher outing for fans of that particular subgenre, but it doesn't necessarily move the dial forward or innovate in any meaningful way.
6. Insidious: The Last Key
The Insidious franchise has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years, but the most recent installment in the series, Insidious: The Last Key, also happens to be a pretty good jump scare romp. Taking the roller coaster approach that has made Insidious (and also The Conjuring) so beloved by mainstream horror fans, The Last Key delivers a solid haunted house on a hill adventure that lacks some of the soul, atmosphere, and narrative complexity of its predecessors, but also offers up plenty of good scares and inventive set pieces to make up for its shortcoming.
Steven Soderbergh is one of those filmmakers who always seems to want to break new ground and try something that the mainstream hasn't accepted yet. That's exactly what Unsane (a film shot almost entirely on an iPhone) does. Featuring some genuinely awards-worthy performances from Claire Foy and (surprisingly) Jay Pharaoh, the psychological thriller tells the story of a paranoid woman who begins to question her own sanity during a psychiatric evaluation in a mental hospital. Despite the groundbreaking format, Unsane is mostly just a thriller that relies on standard genre conventions, so your enjoyment of the film will likely depend on how you set your expectations for the narrative.
4. The Ritual
Sure, The Cloverfield Paradox may have sucked, but Netflix still managed to deliver one definitively awesome horror movie in 2018. Specifically, we're referring to The Ritual, a film about a group of friends hiking through the northern European wilderness on the anniversary of their friend's murder. Grim, creepy and chock full of atmosphere, this dark and brutal horror romp has numerous layers that deal with the element of survivor's guilt, even if the film's ending doesn't offer up nearly as much fear as its first and second acts do. Stay out of the woods and check this film out from the comfort of your couch.
Annihilation blends the lines of horror and sci-fi in some truly spectacular ways, but the film's emphasis on body horror and an overwhelming sense of foreboding cannot be ignored. Make no mistake, this is a terrifying movie with some moments that would even make David Cronenberg cringe, and it features some of the inventive uses of well-worn science fiction tropes that we have seen in recent memory. The lack of true resolution may irk some fans who want answers to the questions that Annihilation poses, but in the end, the film's insane visuals and expert tone make it one of the year's best scary flicks.
2. A Quiet Place
John Krasinski's A Quiet Place arguably seems like a film that's destined to become a Halloween mainstay among many horror fans. A tightly-packaged and effective high-concept thriller, Krasinski's lean and mean PG-13 movie capitalizes on its premise with impeccable precision, offering up a glimpse at a wholly unique post-apocalyptic wasteland and a simple family trying to survive from day to day. Packed with tension from end to end, A Quiet Place is one of the best theatrical experiences in recent memory, and it's an absolutely must-see for anyone looking at horror movies in 2018.
Though it did not debut to universal acclaim from audiences when it first hit theaters (in fact, it received a downright terrible D+ CinemaScore rating), Ari Aster's Hereditary still stands out as the best horror movie that the genre has offered this year. Between its relatable grim story about a family coming apart at the seams, its masterful camerawork that continuously tricks the eye and a handful of sequences that will induce instant insomnia, this Oscar-worthy film stands as the horror movie to beat this year -- until we get the rest of this year's biggest genre offerings, that is.