Grief-stricken ghost stories, giallo and slasher flick redos, retro (and not so retro) cabin-in-the-woods riffs, rape-revenge movies, non–rape-revenge movies, worst-case-tech scenarios, aliens run amuck — 2018 gave us a grab-bag of horror stories that offered a break from the IRL terrors blasting from your Twitter feed. You could see old friends (welcome back, Laurie Strode, we missed you!), meet new auteurs, lose your cool after some choice jump scares or watch others lose their heads. (No, like, really lose their heads.) There were big blockbusters and midnight-madness cult curios. And, when all else failed, you could simply rewatch a grinning, bloodied Nicolas Cage taking on biker demons, and feel genuinely sorry that it was such an unfair match for the demons.
These were the 10 horror movies that spooked us, unnerved us, thrilled us, chilled us, wrecked us and revived our hopes for the genre. The word “elevated” will not be once, except for just now, so ok, maybe it will be used once. But that’s it. The favorites in this highly personal list — the only type of movie that’s more subjective than comedy, in terms of reactions, is horror — all fall somewhere between gonzo-giddy to gag-reflex-testing. But they all reminded us of the power of making things go bump in the night, making you afraid of the dark and making you question your notions of reality.