2018 had a great variety of amazing movies across a range of genres which surprised and amazed me. As a result we have this list where each film sits within its own sub-genre unique from every other entry. There’s a couple of first-time writer/directors, some Netflix projects, something for everyone. Each film on this list deserves to be there but a couple missed out so before we start the countdown I have some honourable mentions to go through.
Bohemian Rhapsody ended up being a stellar film covering the life of Freddie Mercury and Queen featuring their incredible music as a backdrop and Rami Malek‘s best performance to date. Black Panther delivered on all the hype with a fast paced, thrilling, superhero story that capitalised on a great villain and strong performances. It did so well people are actually taking its Oscar nomination chances seriously. Lastly, Game Night was a pleasant surprise and a half. It’s not often a crime comedy comes close to my top 10 but Game Night‘s story was engaging and had me laughing on multiple occasions. It was a tonne of fun and held many surprises along the way.
#10 – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
We kick things off with what is the best romantic comedy that released in 2018 and that is Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. This really is a charming story filled with a tonne of heart and themes of love, family, and friendship. The characters are so loveable and it’s hard not to get behind them considering how well their stories are set up and developed over time. The comedy isn’t too cheesy and is genuinely effective and humorous keeping an upbeat tone throughout. The chemistry between all of the actors involved makes each of the relationships work and seem very authentic which makes it a joy to watch.
#9 – Halloween
Michael returned this year after a 40-year hiatus and is back to finish what he started in finally killing the one who got away… Laurie Strode. But not so fast because Laurie has been training for this day for 40 years and thus the showdown begins. Halloween brings back the simple and straightforward slasher genre and executes it perfectly. It’s a thrilling story with plenty of build-up and a conclusion that pays off satisfyingly. David Gordon Green has directed a love letter of sorts to the original 1978 Halloween and for fans of the franchise this is the definitive sequel. Jamie Lee Curtis comes back to her iconic role and is still just as fantastic playing this older, wiser, and stronger Laurie. This rivalry is one for the ages and it deserves a place on this list as it’s a thrilling horror slasher.
#8 – Love, Simon
Love, Simon is an incredible gay-representation coming-of-age love story with plenty of heart, emotion, and humour to go around. You can’t help but fall in love with this group of characters and this heartwarming story and it’s all presented so real. The chemistry between this group is astounding and I was wholly invested in their story for the entire runtime. It throws you through a number of emotional highs and lows and because you care about these characters so much you’re instantly invested. The humour is great and lightens the tone throughout and the performances from everyone are on point delivering the emotional dialogue to a tee. Even the minor supporting roles are thoroughly entertaining just making this an all round great film.
#7 – Annihilation
Science Fiction for the intelligent mind at its finest.
Annihilation will throw your mind through a loop of questions, theories, ideas, and potential answers. Best experienced with as little knowledge of the plot as possible, Annihilation commands your full attention and all of your smarts to understand its secrets. On top of the mind-bending story, Alex Garland‘s masterful sci-fi thriller is absolutely stunning. The scenery and cinematography is beautiful across every scene so if the story isn’t doing anything for you at least you can admire the visuals. The five lead female performances are all strong and they compliment each other so well. Natalie Portman is the star of the group and for good reason because she is incredible in every single scene. It does move at a slower pace so if you’re looking for something a little more upbeat then this might not be the one.
Available on Netflix I highly recommend this one for anyone who enjoys a good intelligent watch every now and then.
#6 – Hereditary
Hereditary is a harrowing horror experience that will no doubt unsettle you right down to your core. The atmospheric horror is some of the most effective ever put to film. It’s riddled with shockingly unsettling scenes that only get more intense as time goes on. The lead performances from Toni Collette and Alex Wolff are stellar and capture all of the emotion and terror these characters are going through. From a technical standpoint too this film is exceptional with carefully calculated camera work enhancing the terrifying nature of each scene. It is a very slow film so it takes you for a long ride but it hooks you in early and straps you along so you barely notice the pace. Definitely not one for everyone but if you think you can stomach it then go for it.
#5 – Searching
Searching happened to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the year as the mystery thriller presented entirely through computer/phone screens had me deeply engaged in its story and characters. The story hooks you in to these characters instantly through emotion, within minutes you feel like you know these characters, care about their relationship, and are all in on this missing persons search. The way the story progresses is masterful, it hides many twists and turns around its corners and goes to places I never thought it would. It shocked and surprised me in one of the most pleasant ways last year. The lead performance from John Cho is captivating and emotional and gets you 100% on the side of his character. If it’s a good entertaining mystery you’re looking to solve then Searching is a fantastic one. I’d say it gives off similar vibes to Prisoners (2013) so you know roughly what you’re getting into.
#4 – Avengers: Infinity War
What would this list be without a superhero film? Just about the only superhero film to release this year that deserves a spot here is of course Avengers: Infinity War, part one of the culmination of a 10-year long series of films. There are a lot of characters and there’s a lot of action packed into this film so no doubt it moves very fast, but not so fast to where it’s hard to follow. All (or most) of your favourite superheroes are present and they all get a fairly even amount of screen-time. It’s action packed, there’s a good amount of humour, and the arrival of villain Thanos poses a major threat only he could deliver. What’s great about this film is that I know people who aren’t typically interested in superhero films who walked away enjoying this one despite having not seen many of the preceding entries in the MCU. It’s the biggest film in the MCU to date but still not good enough to crack the top 3 here.
#3 – Ready Player One
It seems like ages ago that Ready Player One hit the big screen but Steven Spielberg‘s return to Sci-Fi won’t be forgotten any time soon because it is phenomenal. It blew me away with its world building inside the OASIS where I could spend hours watching adventures inside there. The 70’s and 80’s pop culture references are what grabbed me going into the film and they did not disappoint as the backdrop to a great thrilling story with fantastic characters and relationships. The visuals are incredible, the score is amazing and there is not a single minute of this film I didn’t love. It’s by far some of the most fun I’ve had in a movie this year and one I can see myself rewatching over again.
It also happens to contain my favourite scene/sequence out of all the films to release in 2018 which is a bonus.
#2 – A Star is Born
A Star is Born was not on my radar all year, then it came out of nowhere and blew me away with the strength of this deeply moving love story. The story is so tight and contained and centred around these two characters that from the moment they’re both introduced I was instantly hooked on their individual journeys. The way their relationship develops over time is captivating, emotional, and guided through by a phenomenal soundtrack which features hands down the best original song of the year. The music from both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga can only be described as beautiful. It enhances the emotional weight of each scene and sucks you further into the story. The two of them deliver exceptional performances with Lady Gaga being my pick for the best actress academy award coming up. It’s exquisitely directed, written, and there isn’t a thing I could point out as a negative which is why it’s so high on this list but unfortunately just falls short.
#1 – A Quiet Place
Here we are at #1 and a horror thriller has taken all the glory and rightly so as A Quiet Place is a wholly original incredible work of modern horror. John Krasinski has jumped right into the horror genre by writing and directing this film and he has executed it phenomenally. This film keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time and and genuinely makes you terrified to make a single sound. This was the first time I had ever been in a theatre where not a single sound was made for the entire duration of the film. The runtime sits only at an hour and a half but feels well over two hours in how tense every damn scene is. The use of sound is incredible in how silence is the most terrifying thing in here. The performances are great from experienced actors Krasinski and Emily Blunt but Millicent Simmonds is brilliant in every scene. It’s emotional, it’s harrowing, and it’s one of the best times I had watching a film in 2018.