Despite what some internet party-poopers might have said, 2018 was a great year for horror. It was also a solid year for superhero movies, rock & roll films and more. We asked you to pick your favorite cinematic offering of 2018, and you hit social media with a wide range of selections, some deadly serious (The Death of Stalin), some tongue-in-cheek ("The Lord of the Rings, every year"). Below are the top 5 vote-getters.
What Mandy lacks in intricate subplots and subtle character development, it more than makes up for by being the perfect vehicle to spur Nicolas Cage's late-career renaissance as a surreal, charming madman we can't stop watching. Packed with neon, otherworldly sets and lighting, the film is an aesthete's feast on LSD — nonsensical add-ons like the infamous Cheddar Goblin commercial punctuate the movie's straightforward romantic revenge storyline, while bloody murder scenes fulfill the audience's desire to see the bad guys get what they've earned. Even better, the film is heavy-handed with heavy-metal themes and imagery (and soundtrack). In all, Mandy is an uncanny Technicolor hesher fantasy flick that's a midnight cinema cult classic already.
For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, throwing a bunch of characters on screen has had mixed results. At times, movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron become convoluted and hard to follow. Avengers: Infinity War manages to handle its enormous cast of nearly every MCU superhero you can think of, and deliver a galactic war epic with real stakes. Each character is handled expertly, creating a prism of everything fans love from the individual films with time to shine for everybody. The looming threat of Thanos is finally realized, and its dour conclusion offers hope and a hook into the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.
We're in a far better place for average quality of superhero movies than we were 10 years ago, but there's still limitations for what's possible using live-action actors. Rarely do the movies capture the colorful quality of the comics or the way reality can be fractured and fucked with in the medium, but both turn out to be the major strengths of Spider-Man: Enter the Spiderverse. Anchored by Miles Morales, Spider-Verse introduces a bevy of alternate reality web-slingers once only seen in the comic books, and a take on Peter Parker different than what any film has offered thus far. It's a radiant portrayal of the hero, and a true love letter expressing why so many can relate to the wall-crawling persona.
Hereditary is a once-in-a-generation horror film that may rely on some well-hewn tropes familiar to cinephiles, but the acting skills, gorgeous cinematography, and stunning plot twist in the final act combine to make the final product so much more than the sum of its components. Toni Collette gives a career-defining performance as a mourning mother teetering on, and possibly plunging past, the edge of madness. By forcing the audience to constantly question reality and motivations all the up to the wrenching conclusion, director Ari Aster and his crew created a film that haunts viewers long after the credits. A breathtaking monument to classic themes of occultism, loss and mental illness, Hereditary is one of the finest horror movies to come out of Hollywood in ages.
The music, the catalog and the performance of Mercury/May/Taylor/Deacon was nothing less than grand in scope, so to expect anything else from the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody would be pointless. And though the enigmatic Freddie Mercury sits as the spiritual center of the picture (and arguably, the band), Bohemian Rhapsody is a story of triumph and the bonds of friendship between the four members of Queen from their humble beginnings in London to their triumphant appearance on LiveAid to 1.9 billion people. Also, Rami Malek's performance of Freddie Mercury is damn near perfect.