2018 was an incredible year to be a genre fan. As the times grew weirder, so did the films, with the industry’s established minds and exciting new voices alike turning to the realm of the strange and the surreal to tell their stories, pushing the boundaries of conventional narrative with big, impressive swings.
And boy does that fearlessness pay off in cinema. 2018 officially cemented a new golden age of horror in my mind, seeing filmmakers turn from comparatively straightforward awards contenders toward psychedelic experimentalism. And for someone like me, who’s always had a profound love of the weirdest and wildest stories, it was an inspiration.
Not to be that annoying person screaming on a soapbox, but if there’s one thing I hope we can learn from 2018’s best movies to carry with us into the new year, it’s to think more boldly and more freely, to communicate more thoughtfully and clearly, and to strive for bold strokes in expression. If we’re stuck in times like these (and until one of you dopes invents the time machine, we definitely are), then the best way through it is with good, ambitious art.
In that regard, it shouldn’t be surprising that 2018 was an embarrassment of riches on the film front, packed with incisive, wise storytelling and cutting analysis of humanity’s best and worst. Which makes it especially hard to narrow down ten films this year. Well honestly, it’s always hard, but it wouldn’t be a proper Top 10 if I didn’t make a show about it. As for ranking, well, that’s a fools errand from the ground up, so feel free to take the number rankings here with a giant grain of salt. Or ignore them entirely! Especially the first two, which are honestly interchangeable in my love for them.
Housekeeping notes: Nobody sees everything. In this day and age, that’s ridiculous and inevitably I will see something soon that makes me go “Fuck, that should have been on my list!” We do what we can. Speaking of which, I’m disgustingly behind on documentaries and foreign films this year. With that in mind, here are the biggest films I missed, my list of shame, each confessed title an act of penitence to the movie gods: Burning, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Shoplifters, Three Identical Strangers, The Hate U Give, and Zama. There are obviously many more, but these are the ones that haunt me.
On that cheerful note, let’s head into my Top 10 movies of 2018, a list I will never have any future doubts about and will definitely get no shit about online.