Whilst 2018 was turbulent for certain genres, it did dish out out some tasty treats for horror fans. Netflix is killing it for consistent chills, and with some surprising hits last year, we can’t wait for a new wave of scares in 2019.
For now, let’s pay a little homage to the home of some of the most gripping horror we’ve witnessed these last 12 months.
The Haunting of Hill House
Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, this supernatural thriller was dubbed as “a work of genius” by horror master Stephen King. The paranormal series transfixed viewers and is one of the most harrowing tales to come to Netflix for many moons.
As we follow the lives of a broken family, we are thrown between past and present, slowly uncovering the dark and tragic secrets that lurk in this most haunted of houses.
Why can’t this family move past the tragedy bestowed on them, will Luke make it, and can Nell ever escape the bent neck lady?
Making a Murderer
The eagerly awaited Season 2 of Making a Murderer finally arrived to Netflix in Autumn. Season One of the drama opened with the Avery family’s quest for justice after Steven Avery was falsely imprisoned for sexual assault.
Steven Avery, wrongly convicted in 1985, was eventually acquitted of the crime and returned home to his family after tragically serving 18 years in prison before his case was dismissed. After his release, however, he was arrested in 2005 for the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach, a local photographer. In 2007, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole. Even more shockingly, his 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey was convicted as his accomplice following a troubling confession that may have been coerced.
Though the pair face life behind bars, Brendan faced a lesser sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole in 2048. Consistently proclaiming their innocence in a long pursuit for justice, we can’t help but follow the latest from the Avery family as the latest series uncovers serious flaws in the prosecution’s case, and a newly enlisted elite defence team strive for exoneration.
Recruiting the help of Kathleen Zellner, renowned for exonerating wrongly convicted men, we watch as she scrutinises every bit of evidence with a fine-tooth comb. Every press release, every phone call and every meeting is heavily documented in a bid to retrace Teresa’s last steps that fateful night, and find out who (if not Steven) actually killed her, and destroyed so many other lives.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Sabrina made her return on October 26th in the long-awaited series, and she was back with a bite. Should you be of a certain age, you may remember Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a TV series for a younger, more innocent audience. This series, from the team behind Riverdale, boasts a much darker tone.
Taken in by two bickering aunts, and of course Salem the talking cat, Sabrina’s life as a teenage witch did not differ greatly from our own… for the most part. Boys, bullies and the coming of age dramas made Sabrina a likeable pre-teen heroine.
However, the new depiction of Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) appears to have grown up and her girl-next-door image is now a thing of the past. As we follow the enchantress, we quickly discover that she harbours a few sinister secrets. We delve into the realms of Satanism, demonic possession and revenge in this new cult show, which is expecting its second season this Spring.
The Innocent Man
Inspired by John Grisham‘s only non-fiction book, and created by Ross M Dinnerstein and Clay Tweel, The Innocent Man is a true tale of loss and sorrow on an unimaginable level. Two women with no connection are brutally murdered in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma in the 1980s – and their cases are much deeper and darker than we are first led to believe.
If gruesome details weren’t enough to keep you awake, real pictures of the crime scenes accompany some shocking evidence. We are introduced to the very men who are accused of these despicable crimes and are permitted to watch the interviews of their apparent confessions.
However, this wouldn’t be a Netflix hit without there being some sort of mind-bending twist half way through! As time passes and the case begins to unravel, two men are left fighting for their freedom… but will they make it out alive?
Directed by Susanne Bier, and starring Sandra Bullock (or “that lady from Bird Box” as the younger viewers seem to know her!) and John Malkovich, this Netflix special swept over us and left us no choice but to take our blindfolds off and watch in awe and terror.
Along the same sort of premise as a Quiet Place and The Happening, Bird Box unfolds dramatically as an apocalyptic sensory deprivation nightmare is unexpectedly unleashed on the world.
If all hell breaking loose wasn’t enough, this devastation comes as Malorie walks out of a maternity appointment, meaning it’s not just her own life she has to save but that of her unborn child. Limited resources and an unforgiving environment set the scene for her journey, and she faces one terrifying struggle after another.
The characters fight to survive the unknown creatures plaguing society – creatures that cause the deaths of anyone who looks directly at them. They are faced with the choice; look and see the world for what it is, or live and never see the world again.
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, Murder Mountain isn’t your average missing persons documentary. As we delve deeper, it soon becomes apparent that this documentary, based in the sleepy town of Humbold, is actually about California’s largest Marijuana distributor.
This town became quite famous among hippie folk, who travelled from far and wide to come and help cultivate the green dream for a rather large profit. However, as time went on and greed kicked in, things inevitably started to take a nasty turn.
This series has it all; drugs, police chases, vigilantism and of course, a few gruesome murders here and there… It’s not quite the Californian dream these young hopefuls had in mind.
The Netflix docu-drama follows two families in pursuit of their loved ones, who have sadly disappeared into a puff of smoke, at the aptly named Murder Mountain.
Originally released in 2016, Slasher is now on its second season. Those looking for a bit of light entertainment will find themselves hooked after one of the most violent opening scenes on Netflix!
When Sarah Bennett’s parents were murdered by a killer known as ‘the Executioner’, she was left with a life-time of questions and missing pieces to many puzzles. So naturally she returns with her husband to the quiet community of Waterbury, and moves back into her parent’s house where the killings occurred three decades ago.
Sarah soon finds herself surrounded by murders, which revolve around the seven deadly sins – murders that may be the work of the Executioner. But the Executioner (A.K.A. Tom Winston) is in prison. This can only mean one thing: somebody else is behind the mask in this new wave of torment and gore. As deep dark secrets begin to surface, everybody Sarah knows and loves is a victim – or perhaps a suspect.
Sinner (Season 2)
True to form, Sinner wastes no time treating us to a quaint family road trip that ends in unexpected death and tragedy. Detective Harry Ambrose returns to his childhood town in New York to aid the investigation with his best friend’s daughter, now a police officer.
The pair try to wrap their heads around why an 11-year-old boy poisoned his parents with tea, and watches them slowly choke to death on their own insides. Lovely.
Ambrose soon realises the disturbing truth about where the boy has come from, and strives to fight the enigma that is Vera, a matriarch in the boy’s life.
Long buried secrets the home town would rather die than divulge and a commune that welcomes strays and the vulnerable seem to be intertwined. Ultimately, Ambrose is led to a sinister conclusion only he can prove.
This fun five-part series is a light-hearted practical take on the forces of good and bad walking the streets of Mexico City. Elvis (Horacio Garcia Rojas) is a smooth-talking demon vigilante who appears unfazed and even blasé in the face of pure evil. The cheeky Chappy oozes charm, even when he’s missing his target on collecting malevolent souls for his boss, who is also his brother!
His help is required when a young priest discovers he has a daughter, and that said daughter has recently been kidnapped by demons. Elvis enlists the help of his sister and her best friend, as the two have some very unusual gifts, which could help retrieve the girl from the grips of the demonic netherworld.
It’s quite the family affair, and if you like a bit of sarcastic comedy and a lot of blood and guts, we can recommend Diablero for a good laugh and squirm alike.