Another year of horror films have come and gone. As we bid adieu to 2018, we look back on all the terrors and frights that graced our cinema screens and streaming platforms. 2018 was a big year for horror, delivering indie stunners like Revenge and Mandy, the revival of the quintessential slasher 40-years later in David Gordon Green’s Halloween, as well as some festival standouts and flicks that exploded into theatres through word-of-mouth, like Ari Aster’s Hereditary, and John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place.
In addition to counting down our favorite horror and genre films of 2018 [see Kimberley Elizabeth + Jonathan Dehaan’s picks], we’re also saying goodbye to 2018 by counting down some of the standout performances, villains, and moments in film this year. Read on for the 10 Best Male Performances of 2018, and check out the rest of our Best of 2018 lists!
10. Anton Yelchin’s Tim – Thoroughbreds
Anton Yelchin’s final on-screen performance as Tim is not one to be missed. A scummy, low-level drug dealer, Yelchin disappears in the role as a character unlike any he’d portrayed previously, in his impressive career cut short. Nightmare on Film Street’s Jonathan Dehaan had nothing but praise in his review, saying “Yelchin’s performance is delivered with such belief and understanding of the character, that it reminds us (again) of the talent we have lost. Like Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice, Yelchin’s time on screen is limited, but it will no doubt be seen as one of his most impressive roles.”
9. Jovan Adepo’s Boyce – Overlord
Adepo’s portrayal of novice army cadet Boyce is a refreshing hero for this action/horror crossover. He brings the perfect amount of naivety and heart for the audience to immediately connect with his fight to stay alive and ultimately – do what is right.
8. Martin Freeman’s Mike Priddle – Ghost Stories
A successful businessman who’s overwhelmed with fatherhood and a potential spectre baby, Martin Freeman’s turn at the final act in Horror Anthology Ghost Stories steals the show. Without talking too much about his role, it isn’t one to miss – and definitely a highlight of 2018.
7. Linden Porco’s Leprechaun – Leprechaun Returns
Quite possibly 2018’s most pleasant surprise was the charmingly hilarious Leprechaun: Returns. Still a silly slasher by every right, it is Linden Porco’s successful adoption of the famed Leprechaun (previously played by fan-favorite Warwick Davis) that wins over our hearts. He serves up wit, sass, and is filled to the brim with the charm and has the foul potty mouth we remember from the early 90’s.
6. Logan Marshall Green’s Grey Trace – Upgrade
There are a few gents on this list that earned their spot based on the pure physicality of their performance – and Green’s Grey (that was weird to type) dances circles around them. Or fights, rather. It is his completely controlled, seamless execution of the the choreography in Upgrade and the body mannerisms he is required to adopt for the various physical states of Grey – being partially paralyzed in a car accident, embodying the very real, physical manifestation of depression.. to then being a killing-machine fighting (literally) for revenge. Top notch!
5. James Jude Courtney / Nick Castle’s Michael Myers – Halloween
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more anticipated return to the screen this year than the Shape. (Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode perhaps, but that doesn’t count) And disappoint he did not. Stomping through trick-or-treaters, haunting gas station washrooms, and being the silent, intimidating stalker we know and love – Mikey stays near and dear to our hearts even after all these years.
4. Jakob Cedergren’s Asger Holm – The Guilty
The weight of the tumultuous rollercoaster that is The Guilty rests solely on the shoulders of headstrong cop Asger Holm. Being given the police’s version of a time-out, Asger is on desk duty, taking calls as a 911 operative. It is here that The Guilty takes place.. and we watch the tense and harrowing night unfold across Cedergren’s face. Don’t sleep on this thriller!
3. Nicolas Cage’s Red – Mandy
If you had of told me one of the most emotional portrayals in 2018 came from none other than the king of cray, Nic Cage – I would have believed you, but I would have shorted the stock just in case. But- Mandy delivered the hype and then some with a melancholic, kick-ass acid trip – and it is Cage, swirling at the heart of it – delivering emotion, rage, and heartbreak that gives this flick its wings.
2. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joe – You Were Never Really Here
Reserved, sad, pained. Yes, Joaquin Phoenix has played these things a thousand times, but in You Were Never Really Here he’s also a pretty darn efficient mercenary that squeezes every stoic, melancholic ounce out of the role. His character battles his own demons all while being thrust into a world where two wrongs might just make a right.
1. Alex Wolff’s Peter Graham – Hereditary
At the heart of 2018’s most dread-filled and tense horror film Hereditary, is Alex Wolff’s Peter. As the character is wrenched from any sense of normalcy and emotional stability, Wolff is able to tap into a jarring, raw and realistic emotional response – tearing at our heartstrings in the process. You’d be hard-pressed to find another teen male portrayed with such emotional honesty on-screen, and Peter easily earns his spot at the top of our list.
Honorable Mention: Sweater Pugs – Channel Zero: Dream Door
Umm, hello. They had sweaters. (see also: Honorable Mentions – Best Female Performances)