2019 is already off to a hot start when it comes to my favorite genre: horror. Between Gaspar Noe’s wrecking ball of a breakdown with Climax, the highly overlooked creeper The Prodigy, and Nicolas Pesce’s anti-love body horror cat and mouse game Piercing, 2019 is off to the races with fantastic offerings for the genre. Even the slight (and only tangentially horror) Happy Death Day 2 U was a fun theatrical distraction. But the year is long and the number of potential horror hits higher than ever. There is no doubt that a handful of these will be joining our countdown of the 100 greatest horror films of the decade come the end of the year. Check out the breakdown of what to expect for horror for the remainder of 2019.
Do note that this is not a comprehensive list of all 2019 horror movies to come as I’ve intentionally left off fare like the second untitled Annabelle sequel (first time director and a checkered past with the franchise has me thinking it won’t be very good) and The Curse of La Llora (the trailer was simply awful, hoping the film is much better.) Similarly I don’t have New Mutants on here (not convinced it’ll ever see the light of day at this point honestly) and the 47 Meters Down sequel (does not look inspired in the least bit). So don’t come after me.
3 FROM HELL
A trilogy Rob Zombie makes with his latest, a continuation of characters from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Zombie’s last film 31 was utter trash so here’s hoping that 3 From Hell is at least a return to some kind of form.
In the wake of much scandal, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, recently freed from his associations with Marvel, takes on a smaller-scale passion project, making a dark twist on the Superman origin story, presupposing that a superpowered alien invader did not come with good intentions. Very curious to see how dark Gunn is willing to go with this one and if his Troma roots will shine through.
Before seeing the trailer, one might assume that this remake of the 80’s slasher was a hacky cash grab. But what we saw was truly impressive and with a cast that includes Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry, this summer studio horror flick looks to actually bring Chucky back to life for good reason.
Born of the French New Extremity movement, Alexandre Aja has delivered high highs (Piranha 3D) and low lows (Horns) but his latest is hopefully a return to form. The survival-horror centers around a young woman trapped in a Category 5 hurricane who must scratch and crawl her way out of danger – which includes murderous alligators.
Nicolas Pesce’s second horror film of 2019, Grudge is yet another remake of the acclaimed J-horror film but this time looks to take things a bit more seriously, with a lot less Sarah Michelle Gellar. With Pesce’s eye and a cast that includes John Cho, Jacki Weaver, Lin Shaye and Andrea Riseborough, this American remake could finally do the original justice.
THE HOLE IN THE GROUND
The second creepy kid movie of 2019 (the first being the hugely underrated The Prodigy), The Hole in the Ground got high marks out of Sundance, where critics praised its effective command of classical horror tropes, scoring points for pure moviemaking competence if not originality.
IT: CHAPTER 2
2017’s It now stands as the most successful horror film of all time and fans the world over are waiting to see how director Andrés Muschietti brings a close to the story of Pennywise and The Loser’s Club. Will there be giant turtles? Only time will tell.
The Witch is arguably the best horror film of the 21st century and one of its best pictures as well so of course the follow-up from director Robert Eggers come more than highly anticipated. A black-and-white fantasy horror derived from “old sea-faring myths”, Egger’s latest for A24 stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson and couldn’t come any sooner.
Little Monsters made a huge splash with its Sundance debut, with critics and fans fawning over the Lupita Nyong’o-starring tale of a kindergarten teacher who must save her students from a zombie outbreak.
The directors of Goodnight Mommy further explore strained mother-son dynamics in this chilly tale of a soon-to-be-stepmom who is snowed in with her fiancee’s two children in a remote village. Another Sundance debut that saw critics praising the psychological torment and overarching sense of claustrophobia.
Who hasn’t always wanted to see Octavia Spencer go cray in a horror movie? I know I have and Ma looks to answer that thirst. I’m not quite sure how Tate Taylor, director of The Help, will fare with psychological horror but the first trailer looked promising.
Ari Aster knocked my socks off with Hereditary (my favorite film of 2018) so the fact that he’s delivering another horror movie just a year later is no small cause for celebration. A brightly-lit cult horrorshow about backpackers dropping in on some Swedish mid-summer festivities, Midsommar has a high bar to clear and the first trailer made good on that promise.
There are too few female horror directors and none with as auspicious a debut as Jennifer Kent, who delivered overnight cult classic The Babadook. The Nightingale isn’t a horror movie in the traditional sense but, according to Sundance reports, is said to contain some of the most harrowing and brutal sequences we’ll see all year recounting a woman’s quest for revenge in the Tasmanian wilderness.
Steven King is as hot as he’s ever been and the directors of festival sleeper Starry Eyes take the challenge of reintroducing one of his most iconic stories. The remake is set to debut at SXSW in but a few days and promising footage suggests that the filmmakers and cast are taking the story of a cemetery that brings the dead back to life very seriously.
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
Guillermo del Toro’s horror-producing track record isn’t as glamorous as his name might suggest but with Trollhunter director André Øvredal behind the camera, this take on the classic 90s book of scary stories has the potential to be both a big critical and box office winner.
Get Out is one of the extremely few modern horror movies to earn a nomination for Best Picture from the Academy and Jordan Peele’s follow-up, which stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Elisabeth Moss, looks to tilt away from racial allegory and more towards full-blown horror.
Iranian director Babak Anvari (Under The Shadow) tackles a different direction in his English-language debut about a New Orleans bartender who finds a cursed cell phone. Starring Armie Hammer, Zazie Beetz, and Dakota Johnson, Wounds‘ Sundance showings saw mixed reactions but no shortage of cockroach pranks.
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