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'v 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 8 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, the Child's Play reboot, the long-awaited Zombieland sequel, and the third Annabelle movie.
But of course, it's not all sequels and reboots, there are some intriguing original movies too. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn brings us the superhero horror Brightburn, Hereditary director Ari Aster returns with the terrifying-looking Midsommar, while Ma looks like it'll be another smash for Blumhouse. 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...
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. It's a superhero horror movie that stars Elizabeth Banks (who previously appeared in Gunn's 2006 horror fave Slither), and puts an evil spin on the superman mythos.
Release date: May 31
The hugely entertaining horror sequel Happy Death 2U might have only just left theatres, but producers--and low budget genre specialists--Blumhouse has plenty more movies on the way in 2019, including Jordan Peele's Us in March and Ma two months later. It marks the first horror movie from director Tate Taylor, who previously helmed the 2016 thriller hit The Girl on the Train, as well as the acclaimed drama The Help. Ma stars the brilliant Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water, Hidden Figures) as a lonely woman who invites some teenagers into her house to party. Inevitably, things start to go very bad for them. Sounds like another creepy, scary gem from Blumhouse.
The Dead Don't Die
Release date: June 14
Indie legend Jim Jarmusch is best known for directing low-key comedy dramas such as Night on Earth and the recent Paterson, and is not the most obvious choice to helm a wacky zombie comedy. Jarmusch has dabbled in horror before, but while 2013's Only Lovers Left Alive was a strange, sad deconstruction of the vampire myth, the trailer for The Dead Don't Die suggests he's going for a much broader approach here. But there's no arguing with the cast--which includes Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, and an undead Iggy Pop--and let's face it, it does look damn funny.
Release date: June 21, 2019.
The Child's Play franchise is now 30- years and seven films old, and is set to get a reboot this summer. Confusingly, series creator Don Mancini is not involved, but he will be continuing the original series about possessed killer doll Chucky on the small screen with an upcoming SyFy series titled Chucky. This film version is a complete reboot of the story and characters--it stars Aubrey Plaza (Legion) and Brian Tyree Henry (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), plus Gabriel Bateman (Light's Out) as the kid who end up in possession of evil Chucky and Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky. With the third Annabelle movie also on the way this year, 2019 is setting itself up to be the year of the scary horror doll.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged
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.
Annabelle Comes Home
Release date: July 3
The Conjuring universe is one of the most successful horror franchises of recent years, and next up is Annabelle Comes Home, 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.
Release date: July 12
French filmmaker Alexandre Aja has been behind some of the biggest, goriest horror movies of the past 15 years, including High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, and Pinanah 3D. Crawl is his latest release, and it's an intriguing-sounding mix of disaster movies and old-school monsterfest. Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner) plays a woman who gets trapped in her Florida house after a hurricane hits, bringing not just devastating floods but hungry alligators too. Aja knows exactly how to scare an audience and this should be no exception.
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.
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark
Release date: August 9
Guillermo Del Toro remains as busy as ever--he's got the Netflix horror anthology series 10 After Midnight and a new animated version of Pinocchio on the way, and he's also produced an adaptation of Alvin Schwartz's classic spooky kids book series Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, which arrives in August. The calibre behind the camera is high--as well as Del Toro, director André Øvredal has proved his genre credentials with The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Trollhunter, while writer John August previously worked with Tim Burton on the likes of Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. The movie is set to adapt four spooky favorites from the books, and the first trailer certainly sets the right tone of scary but fun spooky tales.
Release date: August 9
Ari Aster made an incredible impression with his debut film--the terrifying and disturbing Hereditary--and expectations are high for his follow-up. Midsommar stars rising star Florence Pugh (Fighting with my Family) as a woman vacationing in a Swedish village who becomes involved with a sinister cult. The first trailer gives off seriously scary Wicker Man-vibes, and the movie looks set to solidify Aster's status as one of horror's most exciting new talents.
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.
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 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.
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.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Release date: TBC
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.
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.
One Cut Of The Dead
Release date: TBC
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 its been released in so far. A cult classic in the making.