2018 was a great year for genre films…sometimes. In any given year, they can be a mixed bag with some years faring better than others. So without further ado, here are my picks for the 5 best and worst genre films of 2018.
5. Worst. The Predator.
There isn’t really that much to say about this one. Despite seeing this film at TIFF with Shane Black in attendance, it’s hard to remember a thing from this film. It’s mediocre, it’s forgettable, it’s blandly acted, horribly written, has a really weird message and is slightly offensive. Just overall not a great time.
5. Best. Hereditary.
Hereditary is a chilling and expertly directed horror movie. It’s terrifying when it wants to be, constantly tense, due to the eerie camera work as well as the stellar performances, especially by Toni Collette, and incredibly uncomfortable. The film has the strange ability to make you recoil and wince in pain at everything, even the most mundane moment of the film. Nothing feels safe in the world of Hereditary. Although this seems like a strange add on, the sound in this film is spectacular. The score is genuinely terrifying even without the horrific images to accompany it, and the sound design is unsettling and uncomfortable to listen to. It’s fantastic.
4. Worst. Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is just lame. There’s no other word for it. It’s boring, predictable, nonsensical and honestly just annoying at times. It takes every fun moment from the original and beloved Star Wars films, and tries to explain them, often in ways that make no sense. Its poorly acted, poorly shot. In fact, the film is almost entirely either underexposed or just poorly lit, and really exists for no reason. No-one asked for this, and it horribly underperformed as a result.
4. Best. Halloween (2018).
In direct contradiction to Solo, a good Halloween sequel is something fans of the now 40 year old franchise have been asking for since the original was released. There have been several, some good, some bad, but we’ve finally gotten a great one. Halloween (2018) is a fantastic film. It’s fun, it’s tense, it’s very scary, it’s pulpy, gory, and a great sequel. The homages, both subtle and not so subtle, are fun to catch and often get a laugh. They’re not shoe-horned in or frustrating like in other films (again, naming no Solo names) but instead act as a compliment to the original, allowing this film to settle in amongst the formidable franchise. Halloween is a great horror flick, an awesome movie, and a near perfect sequel.
3. Worst. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
In direct contradiction to Halloween (2018), Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is one of the worst sequels in recent memory. It’s terribly written, with one of the most cliché driven and frustratingly nonsensical scripts ever put to screen. The acting is abysmal. Not even Pratt’s usually sharp comedy chops, and effervescent charm can’t save this one. The CGI, well impressive, is flat as a board, much like the cinematography. Nothing in this film feels real, whether it be the computerized creatures, or the real actors. The whole movie feels like it was made in a machine.
3. Best. Bad Times At The El Royale.
Bad Times At The El Royale is an original film, both in that it breaks the monotony of the constant sequels and remakes being churned out at breakneck pace, but it’s also very original. The story is full of fun twists and turns that leave the audience guessing, but wraps things up perfectly. The cast is stellar and the cinematography is incredibly dynamic. It’s one of the most subtly beautiful films of the year, reminiscent of the Hateful Eight in a lot of it’s sweeping wide shots of claustrophobic interiors. It’s a great movie, and a fantastic thriller if you’re looking for a slightly creepy, mysterious neo-noir to watch.
2. Worst. The Cloverfield Paradox.
The Cloverfield Paradox makes no sense. While expecting a twist that didn’t happen, it ended without having an ending. It’s poorly written, badly acted, sloppily directed (which could be the product of this film having been made not as a Cloverfield film before being retrofitted with small details to make it one), and honestly is a very disappointing conclusion to the Cloverfield trilogy.
2. Best. A Quiet Place.
A Quiet Place is one of the most original and inventive horror movies in recent memory. Its rare to see an entire theatre of people walk in with full bags of popcorn and then leave with the bags still full. The film instilled genuine terror of making noise into the audiences watching, and it’s understandable. The film is so atmospherically convincing that you become immediately engrossed into the universe Krasinski created and perfectly crafted in this film. It’s wonderful, and so fun to experience. A Quiet Place is easily one of the best genre films of the year.
1. Worst. Prospect.
Prospect makes no sense. It is just pure incredulity, wrapped up into a very badly shot and poorly directed film. The cinematography is flat as a board, and looks as if it were shot on a DSLR with a poorly constructed LUT placed over it. There’s this particle effect placed over about half the shots, that doesn’t move with the camera. The camera could shake around and the filter would just stay over the whole screen and still. It was genuinely funny for a while, until the hour mark when it not worth staying for any longer. It’s certainly not worth your time.
1. Best. Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
Mission Impossible: Fallout is one of the best action movies ever made. You don’t need to be inventive and creative story wise when you have some of the incredible stunts, breathtaking choreography, and awe inspiring camera work that this film possesses. Each scene one-ups the last, from the halo jump, to the bathroom fight, to the motorcycle chase, to the foot chase, to the helicopter battle. There are so many stand out scenes that you forget that they strapped an IMAX camera to a man’s head and had him jump out of a plane to get a real one take shot of Tom Cruise doing a halo jump. You forget that Tom Cruise really learned how to fly a chopper and did a corkscrew turn for this film. You forget that Tom Cruise broke his leg on this film. You can tell how much of a labor of love it was for everyone involved, so not only is it entertaining from an action perspective, but it feels honest. The film, despite being a studio action film, and the 6th installment of a franchise, feels like it has a lot of passion and creative care put into it. It’s a shockingly good film, and one of the best action movies ever.
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