Movies from this genre are as popular as any other. Everyone has their preferences for the sub-genres, but sometimes horrors, can be so well made, that they can even deserve an Oscar. In other cases, they are just made for money and the irony is that these are often the most successful ones. Here I’ll order the best and the worst for this year. Of course I will add my thoughts in each one, because the critic and audience scores can be quite different. From the worst:
8. Slender Man – 8% in RT
For this first/last entry, I can agree with the critics, that it’s the worst movie, produced by Sony, ever. It was made after a game with the same name, which was quite popular a while ago. Sadly it incorporates exactly what you can expect – nothing. In the game, you as the main character walk in a forest with a flashlight, trying to avoid the Slender Man. If he sees you, you die. That’s it. He resembles a tall, faceless man, with long limbs. The figure is creepy without a doubt and it produced some of the best jump scares imaginable. I must give it credit for those, even though I hate them, because they’re lazy. Since the game has little to no story, the moviemakers had to come up with a plot for a whole movie. What they came up with? A missing childrens story, which were presumably kidnapped by the demon and brought to the forest (like we haven’t seen that before). The Slender Man, himself has several appearances, but nothing in the movie shows completeness or progress of any kind. The trailer is disturbing, but not necessarily interesting. In conclusion, nothing happens in this movie, thus the last place in the chart.
7. Halloween – 79% in RT
For this contestant, the audience and critic scores, match. It’s one of the most successful horrors of this year, with overall box office of 251 million and budget of… 10 million. Why then I placed it so low? Because it’s more funny, than scary. The latest chapter of the Michael Myers saga is as absurd as the previews ones. However I understand, why it’s so profitable. Firstly, the action takes place on one of the most beloved holidays in America. Secondly if you approach it with the idea that it’s a black comedy, it’s actually good. The story tells, that while Myers is being transferred between sanatoriums, he escapes. Once loose, he starts to terrorize the home town of Laurie Strode (the only living teen from the first installment). The usual horror tropes are especially exaggerated here. Running in a straight line, tripping over nothing and falling, unlocked doors, incompetent police, horrible aim of the protagonists and many others. They are so absurd, that the seemingly strength and invincibility of Myers, vanishes the moment he faces a protagonist. Ran over by a car, no problem. Shot in the shoulder, no problem. Hit with a bat in the head, no problem. Shot with a shotgun, point blank, a miss. Hit by Laurie, he jumps back 3 meters. So, if you want to watch a sick comedy, this is your movie. For me, however, horror is more than just a serial killer walking through a neighborhood in 2018, when every second person has a smartphone.
6. The Meg – 45% in RT
Another movie for giant sharks. After Jaws, every new shark movie is either bad or worse, with few exceptions. The blockbuster from 1975, was the first popcorn summer movie, laying out the formula of success. Total fun, suspension and one of the best lines in movie history, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”, is what made it so popular. Why am I mentioning it? Because The Meg, is the complete opposite. It might’ve been better if it was left as R-rated, as it was preview sly intended. But due to commercialism, it was decided to be left as PG. Although it made around 500 millions in box office, the movie was, simply put, boring. Jason Statham played one of his most famous roles, an invincible man and only the support characters were in any danger. The deal here was the WOW effect. The Meg was supposed to blow our minds in terms of size and strength and that’s why the mid movie plot twist was so important. However, once seen, it can’t really surprise you again. Even their attempt to recreate the iconic beach scene from Jaws was not well executed, because we couldn’t care less for the lives of strangers, running from a giant CGI shark. The plot is messy, suspension is zero, acting is “meh…”, which can be said for the movie in general. If you’re a fan of giant sharks, eating people, better watch Sharknado for the 15-th time. At least it doesn’t take itself seriously.
5. The Cloverfield Paradox – 20% in RT
After we received two masterpieces, which were part of the Cloverfield universe, we expected as much from the third one. The original name of the production was The God Particle and it was supposed to tell more about how the monsters came to our world. What shocked me the most was, that the movie was not released in theaters, but landed directly on Netflix with its new name. Critics destroyed it not long after, but that doesn’t mean that the movie was bad. To tell you the truth, its issue is not the story in general, but the total lack of monsters, which were supposed to have more appearances here. The movie tells about a near future, where the resources are near depletion (one of the great clichés). To prevent that, a group of scientists on the International space station, perform experiments in order to create a new element, which should resolve the energy crisis. The action, even with some speedups is quite slow and many of the strange occurrences are not developed or explained. At some point the movie just gallops through, without giving any meaning to the events. Unfortunately this is not the best work of J.J.Abrams. However, the movie itself, if recognized as a stand alone is not half bad. It delivers a good dose of Sci-Fi thriller elements. But as a sequel to Cloverfield it fails miserably. Instead I would recommend “Life” with Ryan Reynolds, which ironically has more to do with monsters coming to Earth (which resemble the ones in Cloverfield), but has nothing to do with the franchise, officially. In general, if you want to watch a good Sci-Fi horror thriller, TCFP is will be to your linking. But if you want to watch a good finale to Cloverfield franchise, better watch “Life” and imagine it as part of the universe. You will be shocked.
4. The Nun – 27% in RT
This is the second movie in this chart, which profited tenfold its investment. Its box office comes to 350 million, with 22 million budget. But is that enough to mark this movie as successful? The critics say no, the audience says yes. I think that it’s overrated. In the Conjuring 2, the demon Nun character was very well received. The atmosphere, the creepiness and its look were just amazing. It delivered one of the best jump scares in movie history, so it made sense for the producers to capitalize from it, by making a spin-off. But what they didn’t realize is that we didn’t really need this stand alone movie. Giving the demon a backstory and placing it in a monastery during one of the world wars is highly controversial with the Catholic idea, that demons can’t walk into churches, no matter how corrupted they are. However, the movie actually delivers as a horror. The pacing is fast for the jump scare sub-genre and the demon in general is quite active. He shows in different forms, haunting the protagonists and trying to invade or kill them. In most movies, everything starts slowly and it takes ages for something to actually happen. That is not the case here. The plot twist trope, which is used in almost every movie now, is also well developed. In general, although the movie sometimes strikes as boring and slow, it’s very well made. The acting is also good, incorporating one of the sub lead actresses from American Horror Story: Coven. It deservers its place here.
3. The Predator – 33% in RT
To put this movie or The Nun in 3’rd place was a tough choice. I chose this, due to personal preference and because here the action is very good, although scattered. Most action scenes are well made, but the movie goes as far as this. After many failed attempts to repeat the success of the original Predator from 87’th, it seems that the producers thought that clashing two on our planet will be the breakthrough for the franchise. Idea, which looks very good on paper, but poorly executed on the screen. Sadly, the movie suffers from two very common issues. Firstly, the focus are again the humans and not the predators. The Alien worked so well, because the focus was only Ripley, not the entire crew. But in latest movies, if there are aliens involved, producers think that we want to see the humans fighting them, which we don’t. The second is the child. It seems that nobody learns from Robocop’s mistakes. A child has no place in Sci-Fi horror thrillers. But even with these issues, this movie is still the best sequel to this day (including the poorly made AvP’s). It’s innovative, bold and even too dynamic. If they made a better story it might’ve made a lot more in the box office. I am truly a big fan of the franchise and waited for this movie with great anticipation, but it somehow failed to deliver its potential. The after credit scene was as cringe as possible and just added a nail in the coffin. I believe that only a full reboot will bring salvation to this franchise. No one expects the success of the first, but at least it can start fresh. Perhaps Disney will fix it, producing it through their R-rated platform, of course. Disney channel is for princesses and Deadpool. I would rate this move as 7/10.
2. Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare – 15% in RT
This movie, although destroyed by critics is probably the most successful in this chart, with box office of 95 million and budget of only 3.5 million. It’s this year’s Blair’s witch. Despite not being something original, it strikes with it’s ability to make every situation as dark as possible. There is just no happy ending here. The movie tells the story of a group of teenagers (of course), going to Mexico on a vacation. There, they enter a deadly game of Truth or Dare, with rules dictated by a “naughty” demon. He gives them the choice to either play or die. The truth choice brings out dark secrets, which we all have and the dare choice might cost you your life. That feeling of weakness motivates our characters to think of ways to escape the game, which takes an interesting path in the third act. These changes are what make the movie different. Completely deserved 2’nd place. I strongly recommend.
1. A Quite Place – 95% in RT
And the winner is… the director’s debut of John Krasinski (The Office). A movie, accepted by viewers and critics as a masterpiece. In some cases it even feels entangled with Cloverfield, but like “Life” it has nothing to do with it. The movie tells the story of a family, living in a farm which is as soundproofed as possible. Why? Because the monsters that lurk in this world, although blind are highly sensitive to sound. Something like Daredevil. The family has to live in silence with two small children and a baby. On first glance it seems impossible. I can’t say that the movie is perfect, because it has a lot of potholes and problems, but that’s not the most important thing here. The acting, the atmosphere and the suspension are what makes it great. Viewers sink in this horrific world, where normal things are now luxury. Listening to music? Only with headphones. Playing board games? Silently as possible. Toys? Completely forbidden, because they’re noisy. The solution to defeating the monsters in the end is so simple that makes you think, why nobody thought of it till now, but we can’t have everything. This is truly the best horror thriller of this year and rightfully takes the crown.