Best Netflix Original Movies of 2018 - Featured Image

The year 2018 proved to be yet another evolutionary year for Netflix Original movies. From reviving the romantic comedy to uplifting the auteur filmmaker to terrifying horror flicks, Netflix is checking all the boxes. In addition to leveling up the quality of their films, Netflix is producing more films than previous year. With all these choices of what to watch, we;ve created a list of the 10 best Netflix Original movies of 2018.

Psychological Horror Netflix Originals 2018

10. CAM

CAM  •  Let Me Explain Video Essay

In the new age of technology and the internet, filmmakers have been experimenting with the incorporation of the webcam in story. While some films may lean too far into the novelty of the webcam as a perspective, the film CAM dives deeper into those whose lives revolve around it.

Alice Ackerman (Madeline Brewer) is an online cam girl obsessed with becoming number one in the rankings. When she is locked out of her own account, she discovers a girl who looks just like her is broadcasting from it. The film follows Alice’s pursuit of retrieving her account and finding out who this identical girl is.

Evocative, twisted, and engaging, CAM leaves no stone unturned at this peak behind the curtain story of the girls behind the webcam and the intimacies of the lives they live. CAM takes the risks that many other films or filmmakers wouldn’t even consider. In doing so, the film is honest and provocative in a way that can leave a viewer engaged yet perplexed at the absurdities of the webcam life.

70%
filmmaking
65%
story
75%
acting
70%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Conversation Starter
  • Solid Performances
  • Colorful Cinematography
  • Ambiguous Ending
  • Confusing Plot Points
  • Slow Points

Netflix Original Movies 2018

Conclusion

While it falls short of putting a finger on exactly what it is trying to say, the story itself is a ride worth taking and finds its niche among the best 2018 Netflix movies.

Best Netflix Original Movies 2018

9. Cargo

Directors Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling  •  Interview

While most zombie pandemic films rely on the gore and action of the combat against the undead, Cargo finds its own voice by addressing different conflicts unders the same zombie premise. The film follows Andy played fantastically by Martin Freeman . After he is bitten by the undead, Andy has a limited time to find protection for his infant daughter before he too turns and becomes a threat to his own family.

Unfolding in the immersive setting of the Australian outback, the film creates suspense by building a rather unique premise within an overcrowded genre.

Although it may be to some viewers disappointment, the lack of action and gore opens up space for unexpected layers of emotion. On top of the story, Freeman’s stellar performance lands Cargo a spot on our list of the best 2018 Netflix movies.

65%
filmmaking
75%
story
80%
acting
73%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Great Performances
  • Thematic Depth
  • Beautiful Setting
  • Odd Character Decisions
  • Slow Points
  • Predictable

Zombie Netflix Original Movies 2018

Conclusion

By building on themes of fatherhood and sacrifice, Cargo rises above the cliches of the zombie flick with depth and emotion.

Based on True Events Netflix Drama

8. 22 July

22 July  •  Cast Interview

Based on the true events of the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of Norway, 22 July follows the horrific attacks by a right wing extremist group killing 77 teens at a youth camp. Although the film includes parts of the attack itself, it draws a focus on the aftermath on the survivors, families and on the country.

Director and writer Paul Greengrass exercises restraint and empathy in his approach to this highly sensitive topic. The result is a film that is extremely devastating, yet hopeful and empathetic toward the courageous victims and survivors of the attack.

Creating a film based on such horrific, true events takes proper execution and genuine empathy. Greengrass does this well as he explores the consequences of such an event rather than focusing on dramatising the event itself.

70%
filmmaking
75%
story
75%
acting
74%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Raw Emotions
  • Important Takeaways
  • Tasteful Execution
  • Drags at Points
  • Single Character Focus
  • Overly Long Runtime

Netflix drama Movies 2018

Conclusion

The film may be difficult to watch at times due to the horrific attacks, but the themes of courage, hope, and resilience speak volumes over the fear and hate.

Romantic Comedy Netflix Originals

7. Set It Up

Set It Up  •  Pizza Scene

Is there anything more relatable than some hijinks to get more free time from work? In Set It Up two overworked assistants devise a plan to set up their bosses and free them from their never ending work days. By developing a meet cute situation, they set their bosses up and celebrate their liberated life… or so they thought.

In this modern day parent trap meets the workplace, director Claire Scanlon finds a perfect balance between rom and com. Set It Up is a classic unexpected love story that is a push in the right direction for Netflix’s desire to revive the rom-com.

70%
filmmaking
75%
story
75%
acting
74%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Hilarious
  • Relatable
  • Charming Leads
  • Predictable
  • Cheesy
  • Over the Top at Points

New Netflix Original Movies 2018

Conclusion

Set It Up hits all the points we love about romantic comedies while treading lightly on the overused cliches. It’s lighthearted, relatable plot and charming characters result in a solid watch.

Best Horror Netflix Original Movies 2018

6. The Ritual

The Ritual Cast  •  Interview

The depths of the Scandanavian forest are the eerie backdrop to this supernatural horror film. When four university friends reunite to hike through the Scandanavian forest, a mysterious evil begins to linger and stalk their every move.

Without going into any further spoiling details of the film, the story is as haunting as it is unpredictable. Director David Bruckner creates a tone that is both realistic in the fear it creates yet supernatural as the story dives deeper into an ancient evil.

Although the story of a few friends entering a creepy forest sounds like a beaten down horror plot line, The Ritual finds its own voice in its tone and unpredictability. Just when you might put a finger on what might happen next, it takes a different turn. It is a film you will definitely remember next time you go walking through the woods.

80%
filmmaking
70%
story
75%
acting
75%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Production Design
  • Sound Design
  • Unpredictable
  • Some Character Choices
  • Vague Plot Points
  • Sporadic Pacing

Horror Netflix Originals 2018

Conclusion

At times, the story does lose some of its logic (even for a horror film), but it is made up for by stellar production and sound design and an unpredictable plot.

Rom-Com Netflix Original Movies 2018

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before  •  Scene Breakdown

This testament to Netflix’s revival of the rom-com is filled with charm and all the high school hijinks you’d want out of a teenage romance. When the love letters of Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, are accidentally mailed to her crushes the result is a story that is honest, funny, and heartwarming. It unfolds as a relatable tale of teenage love that is perfect for viewers of similar age to Lara or those older who cherish the nostalgia of a high school romance.

80%
filmmaking
80%
story
80%
acting
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Heartwarming
  • Charming Lead
  • Relatable
  • Cheesy at Points
  • Predictable
  • Supporting Actors

Best 2018 Netflix Movies

Conclusion

Though Rom-coms are often filled with all too familiar character tropes, the familiarity within To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is honest, awkward, and heartfelt in all the right ways.

Comedy-Drama Netflix Originals 2018

4. Private Life

Tamara Jenkins  •  Close Up

Private Life is both heartfelt and devastating. It’s emotionally layered story revolves around Richard (Paul Giamatti) and Rachel (Kathryn Hahn), an artistic and intellectual couple that faces the reality that they may have missed their window to have a child.

As they explore assisted reproduction methods and potential adoptions, Richard and Rachel find themselves working through their marriages biggest challenge yet. Director Tamara Jenkins captures the humor, love, and obstacles an aging couple faces in the pursuit of a family.

Giamatti and Hahn deliver powerful performances while director Tamara Jenkins beautifully captures the frustrations and persistence of a determined couple’s desire to start a family.

80%
filmmaking
85%
story
85%
acting
83%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Engaging Dialogue
  • Emotionally Charged
  • Humorous
  • Slow Pacing
  • Ambiguous Ending
  • Overly Long Run Time

Netflix Original Movies 2018 List

Conclusion

Private Life poses the existential challenges of life honestly without judgement, creating characters that deserve sympathy and compassion making it one of the best 2018 Netflix movies.

Experimental Netflix Original Movies 2018

3. The Other Side of the Wind

The Other Side of the Wind  •  Behind the Scenes

After more than 40 years of development, Orson Welles’ final film The Other Side of the Wind finds its way to Netflix. Though principal photography of the film took place in the 70s, Welles had been working on the film into the 80s until his death in 1985 and was famously unfinished until now.

This film within a film follows Jake Hannaford, a fictional filmmaker that eerily resembles and without a doubt is based off of Welles himself. Hannaford returns to Hollywood after being exiled (again, much like Welles) and is preparing for the release of his comeback film The Other Side of the Wind.

The Other Side of the Wind is meta, experimental, and somewhat tragic given the context of its origin. Welles was never able to see the final cut of the film and somehow this plays into the magic of it.

90%
filmmaking
85%
story
90%
acting
88%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Engaging Editing
  • Old Film Footage
  • Experimental
  • Niche Audience
  • Chaotic
  • N/A

Mockumentary Netflix Originals 2018

Conclusion

The film is a testament of Welles attitude as a filmmaker and his desire to experiment through unconventional methods. While it may not be for everyone, it is a definite watch for anyone seeking a unique film experience.

Western Netflix Original Movies 2018

2. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

How to Write Like The Coen Brothers  •  Subscribe on Youtube

The Coen Brothers are at it yet again, but this time experimenting with form. Netflix partners with the Coens to create a unique six part western anthology that may have been too unorthodox for a theatre release. The six short films take place in 19th century Old West following a variety of characters taking part in manifest destiny. The film features performances from Tom Waits, Liam Neeson, and James Franco throughout the wide wild landscape of the Old West.

100%
filmmaking
90%
story
90%
acting
93%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Beautiful Cinematography
  • Star Studded Cast
  • Experimental Structure
  • Less Entertaining Bits
  • N/A
  • N/A

Best Western Netflix Originals 2018

Conclusion

While it does not rank very high on the list of the best Coen Brothers films, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is an entertaining ride through the post-Civil War West that no Coen Brothers fan or western fan oughta miss.

Best Dramatic Netflix Original Movies 2018

1. Roma

Director Alfonso Cuarón  •  Interview

Alfonso Cuarón is in full power as director, writer, cinematographer, and co-editor of Roma, a black and white drama set in 1970s Mexico City. The film follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a domestic worker for a middle-class family and the hardships she endures during the turbulent times of early seventies Mexico City.

Cuarón’s masterful filmmaking techniques create a story that is beautiful, personal and equally devastating. While the film does take it’s time to start, the pacing is necessary for the intimate experience of the film. The performances are powerful and framed by Cuarón’s stunning cinematography.

Cuarón’s passion is evident in every detail of the film. It is patient, emotional, and personal in ways that no Netflix Original has done before. Roma is a testament to the future of Netflix. By embracing the auteur, one can only imagine the doors Netflix will open for future filmmakers.

100%
filmmaking
95%
story
100%
acting
97%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Stunning Cinematography
  • Powerful Performances
  • Emotionally Intimate
  • Slow Start
  • N/A
  • N/A

Best Dramatic 2018 Netflix Movies

Conclusion

Netflix’s trust in Cuarón’s vision as an auteur has resulted not only in one of the best Netflix Originals of 2018, but one of the best films of 2018 in general.

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Best Movies on Netflix

Looking for more movies to watch on Netflix? Searching for that next film that will inspire your next project? Now that you’ve checked out our list for the best 2018 Netflix movies, checkout our list of Best Netflix Movies that you can watch right now.

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