Oh, 2018. The year that felt like it went on forever. Not only did the year drag, but it was also one of the most bland years in the cinema that we’ve seen in a while. The Oscar season, which is normally rich with solid dramas, fizzled out, and Blockbusters ruled the year.

That said, there were still plenty of solid films that released in 2018. To be honest, I thought some of these actually released back in 2017, which originally had me struggling to come up with ten films.

Please note that I have not seen every single release of 2018, and that I am missing a few “big” titles, if you’re into the Oscar races, because they never released where I live. With that in mind, let’s jump into my top ten films released in 2018!

10. Assassination Nation (dir. Sam Levinson)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
A hacker is releasing everyone’s private photos and videos in Salem, and the small town is about to implode. Assassination Nation was a film whose trailer left a sour taste in my mouth. It was loud, revealed way too much, and didn’t even look that good, so I passed on seeing it in the theater, much like rest of America. Then I saw friends saying it was great, even going as far as personally recommending it to me. There are a few “blah” moments as the film hits its climax, but I was engaged. It’s like Spring Breakers and Mean Girls had a baby, and it was kind of glorious.

09. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (dirs. Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
Look, I know what you’re thinking: “how the hell can a Puppet Master film be on your top ten list?” I honestly don’t know. I heard some buzz on this one being nasty and brutal, and when Amazon had it for sale for a $1, I had to buy it. The Littlest Reich didn’t let me down. It doesn’t hold back, it’s fun and gory and there’s just some messed up moments. This is the schlock that horror fans crave.

08. Maze Runner: The Death Cure (dir. Wes Ball)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
I’m a big fan of the Maze Runner book series, and after not liking the second film in the series, I had low expectations for Death Cure. Keep in mind that this film was delayed after an on-set injury to the lead, and it ended up releasing in January. These were all signs that this was not going to be a good movie. Well, I was wrong. January is no longer the dumping grounds for the worst of the worst, and this film was fun, exciting, and was probably my biggest surprise of the year.

07. Wont You Be My Neighbor? (dir. Morgan Neville)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I don’t remember much about it, outside of the puppets and songs, but I really wanted to see this documentary. I never knew the show had tackled so many major topics, but was geared towards helping kids understand the events that are going on in the world. I actually cried in the theater during this. It’s a touching, honest look at a man who helped shape so many kids in America, even if we never realized what he was doing for us.

06. Skate Kitchen (dir. Crystal Moselle)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
I hadn’t heard of Skate Kitchen, but one of my Twitter friends loved it so much that they saw it twice in the theater, so I just knew I had to see the film. It’s a coming-of-age, slice of life look at skating. There’s one scene about midway in that didn’t work for me, but otherwise I really enjoyed Skate Kitchen.

05. Paddington 2 (dir. Paul King)
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While this is technically a 2017 release for the entire world, it didn’t hit North America until 2018 due to legal issues and another studio getting the rights for North America. It’s a fun, feel good film that left a smile on my face the whole time. If you’re looking for some joy in your life, give this a watch.

04. BlacKkKlansman (dir. Spike Lee)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
In the political climate we’re in, BlacKkKlansman holds nothing back, and just hits everything on the head. A summer release that fell to the wayside for me, but I caught it on Blu-ray, and really enjoyed it more than I was expecting. Strong performances and directing make this one worth seeing.

03. Annihilation (dir. Alex Garland)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
A group on women head into an unknown alien-like hub that has appeared on Earth. I’ll leave the description at that. I loved Annihilation in the theater. One of those slow-burn scifi films with a hint of horror underneath it all. There’s one scene that unnerved me when I first saw it, and it has stuck with me almost a full year later. Annihilation is gorgeous and haunting.

02. The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
I went into The Favourite with no expectations. I saw a single trailer, but couldn’t remember anything from it. But what a glorious film this is. The sets are not just breathtaking, but compelled me to live in them. They were just stunning to look at, and the cinematography was fantastic as well. The fish-eye shots were euphoric for me. The acting was fantastic, the direction was top notch, and the script was sharp as knives. The Favourite is something I’m glad I saw in the theater, and I can’t wait to add this one to my collection.

01. Suspiria (dir. Luca Guadagnino)
IMDbLetterboxdQuick Review
I love the original Suspiria. From its soundtrack, to its bright visuals, it’s a fever dream you can’t escape from. I’m always nervous when I go into a remake of a film I love, and I knew the one teaser trailer I saw for this was enough. The team behind this version made it clear before release that this would be a “re-imagining”, rather than a full-on remake, and that it was going to take a colder tone, rather than the vibrant visuals of the original. Once I saw the poster Mondo did for this – which, in turn, was picked up as the international poster for the film – I knew I had to see it in theaters. Suspiria only hit 311 theaters, and I was lucky enough that one of those was within an hour of me. So I dragged Jeff along, who didn’t want to see it because of the “sadistic violence” in its rating.

I was gobsmacked for two and a half hours. I was living the film. From its twisted dances, to its absolutely crazy finale, I was hooked. The acting is superb, the cinematography is fantastic, and it has an amazing soundtrack. On top of that, the sets are glorious enough to die in. I’m just sad that I couldn’t see this a second time in theaters because I loved it so much.


So those are the ten best 2018 films I saw last year. Do you agree? Disagree? What did I leave off my list that leaves YOU gobsmacked? Leave a comment down below, and share your ten best films from 2018.


Chris Ranson
Film Critic at Cinefessions
Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He's been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.