Last year flew by like a speeding train and now sadly—or maybe happily—it has come to an end. I didn't get a chance to watch everything I wanted to see, but I made sure to shove as much horror goodness into my eyeballs as possible, and I've now reflected on the horror releases that stood out to me in 2018. From the divisive Hereditary to Netflix's wildly popular Bird Box to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1, here is my list of favorites for 2018:
Bird Box: I hadn't seen any of the discussions about Bird Box on social media before viewing the film. The holiday season had just begun, and I found myself with a lot of downtime so, of course, I headed straight to Netflix. I saw that it was listed in the "Trending" category and since Sandra Bullock rarely lets me down, I took a chance on it.
It is getting compared to John Krasinski's A Quiet Place from earlier this year, but I think the two films are quite different from one another. Yes, there are alien (in the sense of foreign to our world) creatures that have invaded the planet, threaten all humankind, and force us to abandon a sense, but that's kinda where the similarities end. I found that Susanne Bier's Bird Box centers on the theme of connection. When we are stripped of our senses, how are we best able to connect to each other in a meaningful way? The message is a powerful one, as it is so easy to have your head in your phone even while you are surrounded by real people. I appreciate the film's reminder to never take human connection for granted.
Mr. Mercedes Season 2: Every year, I watch a television show or a movie and say to myself, "Why didn't more people watch this?!" For the second year in a row, I unfortunately have to say this about Mr. Mercedes. This gem of a show deserves all of the viewers and all of the accolades! I thought it would be really tough to follow up a near-perfect first season, but Jack Bender, Harry Treadaway, Breeda Wool, Brendan Gleeson, and the entire cast pulled it off with flying colors.
The second season loosely follows the second book in Stephen King's Mercedes killer series, Finders Keepers. Most of the cast from season 1 returned with some new additions, the breakout for me being Jack Huston's Dr. Babineau. He was an intense man who loved science and was willing to go to great lengths to achieve medical history. He reminded me of another highly intelligent doctor with a penchant for experimentation.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse: Ryan Murphy recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in film and television, and it is greatly deserved. He continues to amaze me with all of the horror (and non-horror) content he cranks out every year.
Season 8 of American Horror Story focuses on the terror of what would happen before, during, and after an apocalyptic event. We officially learn that all of the seasons of AHS connect in some way, but that American Horror Story: Murder House and American Horror Story: Coven are directly connected. The apocalypse is brought on by an adult Michael Langdon—the Anti-Christ that we first meet as a child at the end of American Horror Story: Murder House—played by the insanely talented Cody Fern. The witches of Ms. Robichaux's Academy for Extraordinary Women hatch a plan to take Michael down and stop the apocalypse from ever happening.
Except for one major thing that happens in the last ten minutes of the season, it is a beautiful, harrowing, and dark season that gave me my new favorite AHS "villain" in Michael Langdon and favorite warlock in Behold Chablis (Billy Porter).
Hereditary: This film was released over six months ago, and I still think about the film's creepy imagery. I guess that's an easy achievement for a film that combines Ari Aster's direction with claustrophobic art design and powerful performances from the entire cast, especially Toni Collette and Alex Wolff.
I really enjoy films that take you on the same journey as the main characters. Navigating through a slice of life with this broken, dysfunctional family that doesn't know what is real and what is not is something I could only do once in theaters, but I'm incredibly happy for the experience.
My Sister, the Serial Killer: I recently joined a book club called Belletrist that was created by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss. Each month, a book is nominated for "book of the month" and the topics range from horror to memoirs. For the month of December, Belletrist nominated Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer.
My Sister, the Serial Killer follows a young woman named Korede who knows that her sister, Ayoola, is a serial killer. ***Major spoiler for those who haven't seen Dexter***: To get a better scope of what the novel is about, think Deb after she finds out that Dexter is the Harbor Bay Butcher. I like that Oyinkan asks the audience to consider what they would do if in Korede's position while also examining sisterhood, Nigerian culture, growing up in the age of social media, and so many other interesting topics. It's a quick and intriguing read, that's for sure!
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: I am a huge fan of Riverdale on The CW, so when I heard that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was going to spearhead a show based on his comic of the same name for Netflix, I may have audibly squealed. Because the show is on Netflix, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is able to use the dark and somewhat gory imagery found in the comic.
There's so much to love, I don't even know where to begin with what I enjoyed about the show! I must have an affinity for older, witchy women, because Zelda and Hilda, Sabrina's aunties, were so much fun to watch for ten episodes. I wish Roberto could somehow write a spin-off show for Zelda and Hilda where they meet Aunt Frances and Aunt Jet from Practical Magic and go on wild adventures together! I also really enjoyed Ambrose, Madam Satan, Father Blackwood, and Prudence. If the season had been released just a little earlier, I would have definitely dressed up as Prudence for Halloween. I cannot wait to see what the Dark Lord has in store for Sabrina and the gang this April!
Cavitycolors' Horror Shirts: My first horror shirt purchase ever happened this year from the folks at Cavitycolors. I have been inspired by Elvira for as long as I can remember. So, imagine my giddiness when Cavitycolors announced Mistress of the Dark apparel. I got an Elvira slouch tank top and a red and black Christmas Evil baseball tee. I can't get over how crisp and detailed the artwork is on both. The shirts were also reasonably priced and the company is always putting out new items. Happy to finally be a part of the horror tee community.
Cam: I've seen a number of movies that center around the dark side of technology - but none that made me want to find a way to permanently scrub myself off the internet the way Cam did. A lot of the film's narrative rides on Alice, played by Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black, Hemlock Grove), and her performance was solid and very believable. Her believability may have come from the fact that Isa Mazzei, Cam's screenwriter, is a former cam girl and based a lot of what happens to Alice from personal experiences. It's also a refreshing take on sex work, as it doesn't judge Alice for her profession or her choices after things start to go awry.
Want to know what other members of the Daily Dead team enjoyed in 2018? Catch up on all of our favorites coverage here.