The Biggest Horror Movies Of 2019 To Look Forward To
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 we've already had some great movies and there's tons more 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 5 months. The most anticipated sequel is unquestionably It: Chapter 2, the second part of the hugely successful Stephen King adaptation. Other sequels and reboots include Rob Zombie's 3 From Hell, the follow-up to cult favorite The Devil's Rejects, a sequel to The Boy, and the long-awaited Zombieland sequel.
But of course, it's not all sequels and reboots, there are some intriguing original movies too. Satanic Panic pits a pizza delivering teenager against an evil devil-worshipping cult, Daniel Isn't Real looks like a bizarre cult classic in the making, and The Lighthouse is the new movie from The Witch director Robert Eggars. And outside the US, festival hits such as One Cut of the Dead and Tigers Are Not Afraid will be making their American debuts. So here's the biggest horror movies to look for in 2019...
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.
One Cut Of The Dead
Release date: September 13
Since its domestic release in 2017, this low-budget Japanese zombie comedy has become one of the most profitable movies ever made, grossing more than a thousand times its tiny $25,000 budget. It reaches the US this year thanks to Shudder. It's a hilarious, wildly inventive film that takes place on the set of a zombie movie--which is itself attacked by zombies. It's been selling out festival screenings for the past year and has become a hit in every country it's been released in so far. A cult classic in the making.
3 From Hell
Release date: September 16
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.
Release date: September 23
Satanic Panic was the snappy title given to a moral panic that occurred during the 1980s, when parents and church groups became convinced that satanism was creeping into the suburbs and corrupting America's youth. It's also a great name for a horror comedy. This film stars Hayley Griffith as a pizza delivery driver who ends up in the clutches of a devil worshipping cult, led by former X-Men star Rebecca Romijn. It's picked up some great reviews from festivals, and the recent trailer makes looks like hugely unwholesome fun.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Release date: September 24
This highly acclaimed Mexican ghost movie has been compared to the work of Guillermo Del Toro in the way it mixes supernatural thrills and real-world horrors. It focuses on a group of orphaned children who are trying to survive amidst a brutal drug war, and who can also see the ghosts of the dead around them. It's taken a while to get here--it did the festival circuit last year, but has now found a 2019 US release via horror streaming service Shudder. One of the year's must-see genre movies.
Daniel Isn't Real
Release date: December 6
This psychological chiller has picked up rave reviews from festivals over the past few months, and it hits theaters in December. A troubled young man is revisited by his dormant imaginary friend, who pushes him into some very dark places. Daniel Isn't Real has been compared to the likes of Fight Club and Donnie Darko, and features a breakout performance from Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of everyone's favorite Austrian action icon.
Release date: October 18
One of the most acclaimed movies at the recent Cannes Film Festival, The Lighthouse is director Robert Eggers' follow-up to the highly acclaimed The Witch. It's a dark, scary period tale, filmed in black and white, starring Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson as 19th century lighthouse keepers. Anyone who saw The Witch will know how good Eggers' is at creating an atmosphere of pure dread, and advance word on The Lighthouse is that it's every bit as chilling as its predecessor.
Zombieland: Double Tap
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: Double Tap looks every bit as funny, gory, silly, and heartfelt as the original.
Release date: November 8
With movies like Gerard's Game and Oculus under his belt, Mike Flanagan was already one of horror’s best young filmmakers when he co-wrote and directed last year's highly acclaimed Netflix hit The Haunting of Hill House. The success of Hill House has raised his profile even further, and expectations are high for his next movie, Doctor Sleep. It's an adaptation of Stephen King's 2013 sequel to his classic The Shining, and stars Ewan McGregor as the adult version of the earlier novel's young, psychic protagonist Danny Torrance. The movie arrives in November, before Flanagan moves on to his Hill House follow-up--The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Release date: December 13
Although Halloween is widely credited for kickstarting the slasher movie craze, it was predated by 1974's terrifying seasonal horror Black Christmas. The film has already been remade once in 2006, and this December, another version arrives. Like last year's Halloween reboot, the new Black Christmas is produced by Blumhouse Films, which knows exactly how to retool a horror classic for a modern audience. It'll be directed by Sophia Takal, who previously helmed the acclaimed indie horror Always Shine, and stars Imogen Poots (Green Room) and Cary Elwes (Saw).
Release date: October 15
The threat of modern technology has long been a favorite subject for horror filmmakers. The Drone is a darkly funny chiller in which a domestic drone is possessed by a vengeful serial killer, who sets about causing bloody mayhem when he targets a pair of newly-weds. The movies has some similarities to this year's Child's Play remake, in particular the way the drone takes control of various household electrical objects. But director Jordan Rubin's previous work--which includes Zombeavers and Shudder's recent Critters reboot series--has proved that he's not someone who takes his horror that seriously.
Brahms: The Boy II
Release date: December 6
Annabelle and Chucky aren't the only scary dolls to hit theaters in 2019. Brahms: The Boy II is a sequel to 2016's successful The Boy, and focuses once more on the spooky porcelain doll Brahms, who is set to terrify another family in Heelshire Mansion. Anyone who has seen the first movie will know it has a clever twist, so it remains to be seen how another movie can work now we know what it is, but with any luck, the creepy atmosphere and well-executed jump scares will remain intact. William Brent Bell directs more, and this time the cast includes Katie Holmes and The Witch's Ralph Ineson.
Release date: TBC
The 2016 Iran-set chiller Under the Shadow was one of that year's best horror movies, and expectations are high for director Babak Anvari's follow-up. Wounds has an impressive cast--including Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name), and Dakota Johnson (Suspiria)--and focuses on a bartender whose life is changed for the worse when he finds a cursed phone in his bar. Wounds was originally set to arrive in March, but despite being initially pulled from released, producers Annapurna Pictures have stated it will arrive later in 2019. Outside of the US, horror fans will be able to check it out on Netflix.
Girl on the Third Floor
Release date: TBC
The path from wrestling star to movie actor is a familiar one, and CM Punk is the latest WWE icon to make the move. Girl on the Third Floor sees Punk--real name Phil Brooks--play a man with a troubled background who starts renovating an old mansion for his family. Inevitably, the house has an equally dark past and terrible things things start happening. The movie is the directing debut from horror producer Travis Stevens, and early reviews have praised both Punk's performance and the impressively old-school gloopy vfx work. Check out the creepy first trailer here.