I didn’t see many new movies in the theater last year, so most of the new-to-me movies I watched and loved were from previous years. I’ve also been on a kind of horror kick, watching that genre more than any other and my top eight will clearly reflect that, although there’s a teeny bit of romance and drama in the mix as well. Anyway, here are the eight movies I loved in 2018.
What were some of your favorite movies from last year?
The Shape of Water (2017)
In this stunning and strange dark fairytale, a mute womanfalls in love with a creature from the deep, who she decides to free from a government organization treating like a specimen for testing. Guillermo del Toro has long been my favorite director and The Shape of Water is a gorgeous example of why. His passion for monsters is clear in the way he seems to always present the most beautiful of monsters — not to mention the entire world in which those monsters and outcasts live. From the cinematography to the editing, this is a masterpiece of a film.
One of the few movies I saw in theaters, Halloween ignores all the past sequels providing a refreshingly satisfying edition within the franchise. The story sees Laurie Strode (last girl of the first film) still locked in survivor mode, forever preparing for the boogyman to come lunging out of the closet. Scarred and hard edged, she is determined to be ready for when Michael Myers breaks free — which of course he does. One of the great things about this movie is how it shows trauma being passed down through generations, with Laurie’s daughter and grand daughter feeling the effects of her ongoing fear and resolution. While it’s got some logic flaws here and there, the movie maintains a solid level of tension along with some good jump scares — a solid addition to the franchise.
When his office building becomes quarantined due to spread of a virus that knocks peoples’ inhibitions to zero, recently fired Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) and aggrieved, former client decide to take it man and deliver some well-earned pay back. As Cho and Cross fight their way to the top, chaos roars around them with office staff destroying the office, attacking each other, openly having sex, and acting out their worst impulses all around them. Mayhem is faced paced, violent, and darkly humorous.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Anyone who has said “the romantic comedy is dead” would be proven wrong over the past year. The genre is very much alive with a number of successful titles coming out in theaters and streaming. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of these titles, in which a teen girl writes secret love letters to boys that she has had a crush on — never intending to actually send them out. When the letters suddenly make their way into the world, things go wonderfully, wildly wrong. This movie is sweet, funny, and entirely charming — a movie I’ll definitely use for comfort watching in the future.
The Eyes of My Mother (2016)
A lonely little girl who grows into a lonely and disturbed woman, so desperate for companionship she carves it out of the people around her. The Eyes of My Mother is a subtle and deeply unsettling horror film, with black and white cinematography that adds beautiful weight to the quietly unsettlingly scenes.
During WWII, British and French troops have been cornered by the Germany army, trapped up against a beach in Dunkirk, France. The movie follows three different stories, covering the land air and sea as soldiers and civilians work to save the lives of the men on the beach. I’m not a war movie fan, but between the gorgeous cinematography, brilliant editing and sound design, and compelling interwoven storyline, Dunkirk is a powerful and thrilling film.
The Fly (1986)
A scientist develops a means of teleportation. It would be an amazing discovery, if a fly didn’t happen to enter the chamber when he while he was testing the machine on himself — leading to a slow genetic mutation. It’s clear why The Fly is considered to be a classic of the horror genre, with its phenomenal, cringe inducing special effects — not to mention a very attractive Jeff Goldblum.
I’m not sure this movie belongs here. Did I love the experience of watching movie? Not really. It was the last movie I saw in 2018 (it just missed being on my December Culture Consumption), and I’m still processing how I feel about it. I’m not sure I’ll ever know how I feel about it.
Herditary was by far the most visceral movie experience I’ve experienced in a long while — and I don’t used the word “visceral” lightly. From minute one, this movie does everything it can to make it’s viewers feel uncomfortable, starting with moving in on a miniature house with disembodied footsteps. From the use of wide angle shots to the disorientating sounds and music to the way the actors are presented as haggard (compared to the glossy prettiness seen in many other horror movies), Hereditary keeps things slightly (or totally) off kilter. With this constantly present tension, the shocks when they come are ever more brutal and surprising. I spent the vast majority of this movie with my body locked, every muscle tensed tightly — and this while watching the movie in the cozy space of my cousin’s house, where I could pause it and process as needed. (I can’t imagine what the experience would have been like in the theater. I think I might actually have fainted.)
I totally understand why people would hate this movie (one moment in particular fairly early on would drive people away from it). But I also understand why people would love this movie. If the purpose of a movie is to make the audience feel something, then this is a film masterfully executed, providing an experience wrought with discomfort, revulsion, and horror.
After watching this movie with my cousin, I told her that while I thought it was a fantastically made film, but that I didn’t think I would ever be able to watch it again. In the couple of weeks since watching it, I’ve since recovered from the emotional and physical shock and I’m now considering a return to Hereditary in order to better understand how this movie affected me in the way it did.