close menu

The Best Movies at TIFF 2018 You Need to See

As the calendar ushers in September, the conversation turns to pumpkin spice, Halloween, and longing for autumn weather. For movie lovers, it marks the beginning of festival season, when movies positioned as Academy Award contenders are first screened for audiences. This week marks the start of one of the biggest events in the upcoming festival line-up, the Toronto International Film Festival. In years past, Oscar contenders like Lady Bird and Moonlight have premiered alongside midnight movies such as Blair WitchRawThe Disaster Artist, and more. With over 300 films on offer at this year’s TIFF, there’s a wide range of films for every type of moviegoer. Here are our top picks of the must-see movies to watch at this year’s festival!


Director David Gordon Green’s follow-up to the 1978 slasher classic will have its world premiere as part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness slate. The film catches up with Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee-Curtis), scarred and still shaken by the events that took place 40 years ago in the first movie. Her family must once again face off against Michael Myers, an escaped serial killer determined to get his revenge once and for all. Halloween also features a score by the iconic John Carpenter, a perfect treat for horror fans this season.

Beautiful Boy

Based on best-selling memoirs by father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy centers around a family coping with their son’s addiction, relapse, and recovery over several years. The movie stars Amy Ryan and Steve Carrell as Vicki and David Sheff, while up-and-coming actor Timothée Chalamet portrays their son, Nic. Moviegoers may know Chalamet best for his breakthrough role in last year’s Oscar nominated coming-of-age drama Call Me by Your Name, or his excellent supporting part in Lady Bird.


Shane Black’s latest installment in the much-loved Predator series opens the Midnight Madness line-up at this year’s TIFF. This time, a young boy (played by Jacob Tremblay) triggers the return of technologically-advanced extraterrestrials to Earth. In the small town where the creatures land, a ragtag crew including an ex-soldier (Boyd Holbrook) and biologist (Olivia Munn) take action to prevent the end of the human race.

First Man

Damien Chazelle‘s highly anticipated follow up to La La Land (which won him the Best Director Oscar) reunites the director with Ryan Gosling once again. In this biopic, Gosling portrays astronaut Neil Armstrong, from his first days in NASA’s astronaut program to his historic walk on the moon eight years later in 1961. The film boasts an impressive supporting cast including The Crown’s Claire Foy and Ant-Man’s Corey Stoll. First Man promises to be an inspiring look at one man’s heroism and the sacrifices made for the chance of a lifetime.

The Wind

The Wind offers up a sinister, dread-soaked horror tale in a Western setting. In director Emma Tammi’s solo feature debut, Lizzy Macklin (played by Caitlin Gerard) moves to the American frontier to settle in with her husband Isaac (Ashley Zukerman). The couple get more than they bargain for when an evil presence makes itself known and slowly rekindles Lizzy’s own infectious paranoia, much in the same vein as 2015’s creepy folk-horror flick The Witch

High Life

One of France’s most celebrated filmmakers, High Life marks Claire Denis’ first English-language film. The provocative and existential sci-fi drama stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth, and André Benjamin as a group of dangerous, last-chance criminals sent into the depths of deep space. Pattinson’s character is the only crew member awake aboard the ship, tending to the ship and sleeping crew. When the crew wakes, conflicts erupt and chaos soon strikes. Denis’ foray into space exploration recalls the science fiction of directors Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky.


One of the more off-the-wall films in TIFF’s Midnight Madness slate, Nekrotronic is a tale of technology gone awry. Monica Bellucci stars as the queen of the underworld (yeah, you read that right) who uses the internet and social-media apps to demonically possess the masses. A group of demon hunters, known as the Nekromancers, put their faith in a luckless sanitation worker (Ben O’Toole) who carries a magical, ancestral power that may help the group defeat evil forces offline for good.


Director Karyn Kusama, best known for the horror-thriller The Invitation, follows the 2015 feature with a crime-thriller set in Los Angeles. Nicole Kidman plays Erin Bell, an LAPD detective beaten down by her job. Bell and her then-partner Chris (Sebastian Stan) spent many months undercover with a young gang of delinquents in an attempt to prevent bank robberies with tragic results. Years later, the leader of the group re-emerges and Bell reckon with the demons from her past in order to work her way back into the gang and right old wrongs.

In Fabric

One of the most buzzed-about movies at the fest, In Fabric is a creepy phantasmagoria film perfect for the Midnight Madness crowd. Peter Strickland (director of the giallo-esque Berberian Sound Studio) helms the feature that follows the misfortunes of a series of customers who come into contact with an eerie, bewitched dress at a department store. Dreamlike and spooky a la David Lynch’s work, In Fabric boasts an amazing cast including favorites like Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie and The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt.


Actor Paul Dano (There Will Be BloodSwiss Army Man) steps behind the camera in his directorial debut based on Richard Ford’s 1990 novel. Set in 1960s Montana, the film follows a teenage boy named Joe (Ed Oxenbould) experiencing the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. The boy’s mother Jeannette (Carey Mulligan) fights to keep the family afloat after her husband Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job. As tensions arise and the dynamics of the family change, the family must decide if their increasingly complex relationship is worth saving.

Legend of the Demon Cat

This epic Chinese adaptation of a bestselling novel by Japanese author Baku Yumemakura sounds wild solely based on premise alone. A demonic cat possesses a general’s wife and wreaks havoc among the Tang Dynasty imperial court, killing the Emperor in the process. A famed Chinese poet and Japanese monk must join forces and form an unlikely duo to track down the talking black cat, who turns out to be the restless spirit of a woman murdered by the previous Emperor. Talking cats? Ghosts? Murder? Yep, we’re sold.

Images courtesy of TIFF

Michelle Buchman is the social media manager at Nerdist Industries. She’s also a huge cinephile. Feel free to follow and chat movies with her on Twitter, @michelledeidre.

How Much Turkey Would You Need to Eat to Get Knocked Out by Tryptophan Alone?

How Much Turkey Would You Need to Eat to Get Knocked Out by Tryptophan Alone?

A Definitive Ranking of All the Candy from WILLY WONKA

A Definitive Ranking of All the Candy from WILLY WONKA

Sebastian Stan is a

Sebastian Stan is a "Chubby Dumpling" in China and Chris Evans LOVES IT