2018 has been a year dominated by a summer of blockbusters. Movies such as Avengers, Solo, and Jurassic World are the bread and butter of the modern film industry. While there’s no use crying over spilt milk, it does fall to us less enamoured folk to discover some real hidden gems out there. 2018 may have been the year for caped crusaders, lightsabers (or a lack thereof), and dinosaurs, but it was also the year for some poignant and gripping cinema, some of which flew under the general radar.
In no particular order, here are my top five films of 2018.
1. A Quiet Place
John Krasinski’s directorial debut starred himself as well as his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. Perks, eh? A Quiet Place is a fresh and innovative horror film. Krasinski takes the concept of staying quiet for fear of monsters, and applies it on a much larger scale. Featuring blind monsters that hunt by sound, the film features very little dialogue, allowing for a tense and engrossing viewing experience.
Yes, there are plotholes, a lack of soundproofing seems unrealistic, and why on earth are this couple deciding to have another baby in this viscous and joyless world? But finding a horror movie without plotholes is an unenviable task, and ‘A Quiet Place’ has enough quality that we can look pass these faults.
Much like Ex Machina, Alex Garland’s second feature is a tense and enigmatic thriller. The film is littered with ambiguity, a brick wall for some, yet at no point does it feel needless. Instead, it arouses our curiosity, and pulls us deeper into the movie. Annihilation is an enthralling and incredibly visual experience that manages to hold you completely in the moment, and keep you contemplating long after its final minute. Isn’t that the mark of a brilliant film?
Hereditary, at its heart, is a character piece, about confronting one’s past demons, and illustrating the pain and suffering that can be contained in our own family. Toni Collette produces the performance of her career as the distraught and increasingly unstable Annie. The film possesses all the right characteristics for a great ghost/horror film. It’s creepy, subtle, and comprises a thoughtfulness unseen in many films of the same ilk. It also features potentially the creepiest child since Damian in The Omen.
4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Straight to Netflix movies are something of a strange commodity. They have no theatrical release as such, and debate is rife as to whether they should be considered for awards. The sheer volume of movies that Netflix has pumped out this year means treasures are hidden amongst the stinkers, such as The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It’s classic Coen brothers, an anthology collection of six short films that speak wonders of the freedom and majesty of the old west while not shying away from the brutal and unforgiving nature of the time.
If you’ve read my piece on Mid90s, you’re familiar with my feelings on the film. It’s a brilliant representation of a kid growing up around skateboarding, literally showcasing the good, the bad, and the ugly of this misunderstood sport. Hill’s film is a nostalgic and a rewarding viewing experience, a strong directorial debut from an actor whose resume has only grown since his breakthrough in Superbad.
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