2019's Biggest Horror Movies To Look Forward To
By Dan Auty on
While horror has remained popular throughout the years, the genre does seem to be going through a particularly healthy phase at the moment. It has become a major critical and commercial force, with stunning independent horror movies, mainstream box office smashes, and award-winning modern classics helping raise its profile to an all-time high. From Hereditary and Suspiria to A Quiet Place and Halloween, 2018 was a great year for fans and the success of these movies has ensured that the next few years should be just as awesome and scary.
2019 has much to live up to, but there's tons of great stuff on the way. Horror is of course a genre that thrives on sequels, so there is inevitably plenty of those to come over the next 12 months. The most anticipated sequel is unquestionably It: Chapter 2, the second part of the hugely successful Stephen King adaptation. Other sequels include Rob Zombie's 3 From Hell, long-awaited follow-up to cult favorite The Devil's Rejects, the Blumhouse-produced horror comedy Happy Death Day 2U, and the third Annabelle movie.
There's also some notable reboots and adaptations. Stephen King's Pet Sematary gets a new version, while the classic novel The Turn of the Screw has been updated in a classy new adaptation produced by Steven Spielberg. Hellboy returns to the screen with Stranger Things' David Harbor in the lead role, and we finally get to see if the X-Men horror movie, The New Mutants, has been worth the very long wait.
But of course, it's not all sequels and reboots, there are some intriguing original movies too. The ever-busy James Wan produces the spooky ghost story The Curse of Llarona, while former Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn brings us the mysterious Brightburn, which just got a trailer. Finally, Jordan Peele follows Get Out with Us, which will reportedly be every bit as provocative as his stunning directorial debut. So here's the biggest horror movies to look for in 2019....
Release date: January 4
This dark thriller kicks off 2018's horror slate. It features Lost in Space star Taylor Russell and Daredevil's Deborah Ann Woll. Both are part of a group who are invited to compete in an escape room challenge. Of course, this being a horror movie, the penalty for being the last to leave each room is death. The movie is directed by Adam Robitel, who helmed this year’s Insidious: The Last Key, and has seemingly taken influence from the both the Saw series and the Cube movies.
Happy Death Day 2U
Release date: February 14
Happy Death Day was perhaps the most purely enjoyable horror movie of 2017, and the fantastically titled sequel arrives on Valentine’s Day next year. The movie picks up after student Tree has escaped the time-loop that saw her killed by a masked psycho again and again.This time round she reenters the loop to find out why she got stuck in it the first time, but discovers that her murderous nemesis, Lori, has been somehow resurrected and wants revenge. The first movie was a smart, knowing horror spin on Groundhog Day that balanced laughs and scares in equal measure, and featured a stand-out lead performance from rising star Jessica Rothe. With Rothe, director Christopher Landon, and producer Jason Blum all back for the follow-up, this is an absolute must-see.
Release date: February 22
Henry James's 1898 novel The Turn of the Screw has been adapted numerous times over the years, and this latest version arrives in February. It comes with plenty of calibre both in front of and behind the camera; the cast is headed by Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049, the upcoming Terminator 6) and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It), and there's a role for Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright. The Turning is directed by acclaimed music video maker Floria Sigismondi, and it is something of a passion project for producer Steven Spielberg, who reportedly wanted to be involved with a scary movie again. This tale of a nanny and her spooky experiences while looking after two kids in a old house is a true classic, and a new take on the material is very welcome.
Release date: March 15
Almost nothing is known about Us, Jordan Peele's follow-up to his modern horror classic Get Out, even though it hit screens in March. But it's got an impressive cast--it reunites Black Panther's Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke, and also stars Elizabeth Moss and comedian Tim Heidecker. Beyond that, all we know comes from this story story in The Hollywood Reporter which says that the movie "centers on two couples, one white and one black," and that it will be "as provocative and thought-provoking" as Get Out. We can probably expect a trailer soon, but either way, this is one to get excited about.
Release date: April 4
The Stephen King adaptations keep on coming. Expectations are extremely high for It: Chapter 2 in September, but before we get to that, we have this new adaptation of King’s classic 1983 novel Pet Sematary. The movie focuses on a family who move into a new house near some typically spooky woods. There are stories about local kids who buried their dead pets in a makeshift cemetery (with a misspelled sign), and it soon becomes clear that there are some dark forces at work. The movie stars Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), John Lithgow (The Crown, Dexter), and Amy Seimetz (Alien: Covenant, Stranger Things), and is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, who picked up much acclaim for their indie horror Starry Eyes. King's novel is one of his scariest and most harrowing works, and while the 1989 movie holds up pretty well, there's plenty of scope for really diving into the story's darkest themes. Pet Sematary arrives in April--in the meantime check out the impressive first trailer.
Release date: April 12
While Guillermo Del Toro's two hellboy movies are fan favorites, they weren't financially successful enough to produce a third movie. But the wise-cracking, cigar-chomping demonic anti-hero is set to return in this reboot, with Stranger Things stars David Harbour taking over from Ron Perlman the lead role. While Del Toro's films were fantasy-based action movies, it sounds like this new Hellboy will be a much darker, more horrific affair. Director Neil Marshall (Game of Thrones, The Descent) has stated that he has returned to the tone of Mike Mignola's comic books and has described the movie as "more violent and more bloody" than the previous entries. Hell yes.
The Curse of Llarona
Release date: April 15
While James Wan’s biggest movie are Furious 7 and the upcoming Aquaman, he remains a key part of the modern horror genre. He helped create three of the genre's biggest franchises--Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring--and continues to produce movies for other filmmakers. The Curse of Llarona is his latest; it's the directorial debut of Michael Chaves, and stars Linda Cardellini (Mad Men, Bloodline) as a social worker who discovers her family is being targeted by a ghost from Mexican folklore, who wants to claim her children. The first trailer was released in October, and it looks like a suitably scary ride.
Release date: May 24
Brightburn was originally set to get a big launch at San Diego Comic-Con in July, but the abrupt firing of the movie's producer-James Gunn-from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 meant that the event was quickly cancelled. The film was also pushed back from its November 2018 release to May 2019. We don't actually know anything about the plot yet--the title was only revealed in October--and no images or footage have been revealed yet. Brightburn stars Elizabeth Banks (who previously appeared in Gunn's 2006 horror fave Slither), and the fact that Sony has decided to release it in a prime May slot suggests there is plenty of confidence in the movie.
Release date: June 21
The Grudge series is one of the more confusing horror franchises, with various sequels, reboots and remakes spanning two decades and two countries. It all started with the Japanese straight-to-video horror movie Ju-On: The Curse in 2000, which spawned several sequels. In 2006, the third movie in the Japanese series was remade in Hollywood as The Grudge (by the same director, Takashi Shimizu), which itself was followed by two sequels. In 2016 we had the Japanese Grudge/Ring crossover Sadako vs. Kayako, and next year, another American series reboot, simply called Grudge, hits theaters. Phew! Like the first remake, his latest one is produced by Sam Raimi's Ghosthouse Pictures, and the impressive cast includes Andrea Riseborough (Mandy), Demián Bichir (Alien Covenant), Betty Gilpin (GLOW), and John Cho (Searching). Whether or not we need what will be the 13th Grudge movie remains to be seen, but it remains a popular, scary supernatural series.
47 Meters Down: The Next Chapter
Release date: June 28
47 Meters Down was one of 2016's surprise hits. The low budget shark thriller was weeks away from being dumped onto home entertainment platforms, when the sale to a new company meant that it was suddenly given a theatrical release. And it went on to do very well, earning $67 million in the US against a $5 million production budget. Inevitably a sequel follows, which once more traps a bunch of victims underwater with hungry sharks around them. The first teaser didn't exactly reveal much, but Collider reports that it will be set in Brazil.
Release date: July 3
The Conjuring universe is one of the most successful horror franchises of recent years, and next up is Annabelle 3, the latest in the series of scary doll spin-offs. Producer James Wan has described this one as "Night at the Museum with Annabelle," in which the titular doll activates all the other spooky artifacts owned by paranormal investigator the Warrens. Annabelle: Creation was way better than this year's The Nun, and this next entry sounds like massive fun. It's helmed by Gary Dauberman, who wrote the first Annabelle and the smash hit Stephen King adaptation It, and who makes his directorial debut here.
The New Mutants
Release date: August 2
The horror-themed X-Men spin-off New Mutants was originally set to hit theaters in April 2018, but a series of delays means that we won't get to see the movie until August next year. The movie has undergone extensive reshoots, but while that often doesn't bode well, in this case it sounds like it might be good news for fright fans. According to a report earlier this year, in the wake of the huge success of It, the studio decided that The New Mutants should fully embrace horror, instead being the more teen friendly movie they were insisting director Daniel Boone delivered. With any luck this tale of mutant teenagers undergoing some terrifying experiences in a sinister hospital is the Elm-Street influenced "'rubber-reality' supernatural horror movie" that Boone promised in early interviews. We'll find out in August.
It: Chapter 2
Release date: September 6
Although Stephen King movies have been a box office draw for decades, no previous adaptation matched the huge success of 2017's It. The movie stands as one of the biggest horror movies of all time, and there's no reason to think that the sequel won't be just as huge. It: Chapter 2 completes the story of the Losers Club and their battle against the ancient shapeshifting evil being, most famously personified by the terrifying clown Pennywise. This time we follow the adult versions of the kids from the first movie, played by the likes of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader. Director Andy Muschietti is back--as is Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise--so expect another expertly crafted commercial shocker that puts as much emphasis on character as on scares.
Release date: October 11
Although the zombie comedy Zombieland was a critical and commercial success, it's taken nearly a decade for the sequel to happen. Since then lead actors Jesse Eisenberg and in particular Oscar-winning Emma Stone have become major stars, while the movie's writers--Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese--have scored major success with the Deadpool movies. But all are returning for the sequel, as are director Ruben Fleischer (Venom) and co-stars Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin. With all the main players back on board, hopes are high that Zombieland 2 will be every bit as funny, gory, silly, and heartfelt as the original. Unfortunately, there's no word if Garfield-regretting Bill Murray is coming back too.
3 From Hell
Release date: TBA
It's fair to say that musician/filmmaker Rob Zombie's directing career has been a divisive one to date, with movies such as Lords of Salem, 31, and the Halloween remakes really splitting critics and fans. However, many agree that 2005's The Devil's Rejects is his strongest movie, so expectations are high for the belated follow-up, 3 From Hell. It reunites the three main characters from that film--Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Otis B. Driftwood (Bill Moseley), and Vera-Ellen "Baby" Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie). These murderous, degenerate lunatics were last seen facing a barrage of police gunfire at the end of The Devil's Rejects, so how exactly they survived remains to be seen; all we know is that Zombie says 3 From Hell will be "different" to its predecessor. Nevertheless, it will still hopefully feature the same unwholesome mix of violence, gore, sleaze, and dark humor that made Devil's Rejects such a cult favourite.