Ah, “genre film.” Like “world music,” this vague catchall means a little less with every passing year, as the arbitrary walls of taste continue to fall. At its conception, it was exactly what it sounds like, referring to any picture that clearly lumped itself into a genre, so that they could be distinct from the more dignified umbrella of “drama.” In the present day, there’s plenty of disagreement among critics and academics about what this pair of words should actually means, many hoping to do away with the notion entirely and let movies be movies. But for the purposes of this list, the operating definition covers thrillers, sci-fi, and horror.

The following roundup of ten movies representing the cream of the genre crop has been assembled to convey the lushness and variety of this year’s offerings. In 2018, we got not one but two good Nic Cage movies (and ready your buns for a scorching 2019), a surge of new grotesquerie fueled by women and the feminine, a pair of love triangles ending in surreal violence, and just for flavoring, a generous helping of fake blood. Those among us looking for the outré need look no further:

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