We’re not exaggerating when we’re saying this decade has been the best so far since the…1980’s? Both in underground, foreign AND mainstream cinema, horror is back on the map. Recent flicks like ‘Get Out’, ‘It Follows’, ‘Hereditary’ and ‘It’ moved larger audiences than ever to movie theaters world wide. And so far, 2019 didn’t disappoint either. ‘Midsommar’ and ‘Us’ for example are both horror flicks who appeal to large audiences while maintaining a cutting edge.
So even though we’re only halfway 2019, we certainly don’t think it’s too early to look back a little already. But we’re looking forward as well. Included on this list are some highly anticipated 2019 horror movies. By the end of the year, this article will get an update. Let’s see how many of these anticipated titles will still be on this list. Enjoy!
Us (US, directed by Jordan Peele)
Hotly anticipated after the huge success of 2017’s ‘Get Out’, director Jordan Peele returns with another highly original horror/comedy flick. Us starts out as a relatively conventional home invasion film when a family are being visited in their California holiday home by…themselves. From then on, the films is getting freakier and less funny and more interesting with every scene. While the central message of the film is certainly to debate about, Peele again made a smart horror film with something to say about our contemporary society.
Pet Sematary (US, directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer)
There has been no shortage of Stephen King adaptations lately. Or adaptations of adaptations for that matter. ‘It’ was more than great, while last year’s ‘The Dark Tower’ was kind of disappointing. This year, Hollywood decided ‘Pet Sematary’ could use a reboot. A classic King tale about a family moving to a rural New England town, only to find out sinister things are happening at the local graveyard for pets. Be prepared for a ton of jump scares, uncanny children (and animals!) and a great, dark atmosphere.
Midsommar (US, directed by Ari Aster)
In 2018, ‘Hereditary’ was on pretty much everyone’s favorite (horror) movie list. Hot on the heels of that comes ‘Midsommar’, a completely different but no less devastating beast. Entirely taking place during during daylight (‘Midsommar’ could very wel be the sunniest film ever), the film tells the disturbing story of an American couple traveling to the north of Sweden to celebrate a summer festival in a remote village. What starts out as an idyllic event, soon turns into something quite sinister. Be prepared for something completely different.
Doctor Sleep (US, directed Mike Flanagan)
(To be released in november 2019)
Without a doubt one of the most hotly anticipated horror flicks to be released this year. Yup, it’s another Stephen King adaption. The sequel to ‘The Shining’, brilliantly brought to the big screen by Stanley Kubrick in 1980. The book, which was released in 2013, was met with positive reviews, so we have high hopes for this movie. British actor Ewan McGregor is Danny Torrance, now well in his forties. Still haunted by what happened at the Overlook Hotel, he struggles with anger issues, depression and substance abuse. When he and his family move to rural New Hampshire, he meets a young girl who seems to have the same supernatural gift…
The Hole in the Ground (Ireland, directed by Lee Cronin)
It’s not a understatement to say that Ireland’s film industry is in the middle of some sort of horror new wave at the moment. In recent years, exciting films like ‘A Dark Song’, ‘The Canal’ and ‘The Lodgers’ made clear that there’s certainly enough talent on the Emerald Island. ‘The Hole in the Ground’ is yet another strong Irish title. Somewhat reminiscent of Jennifer Kent’s ‘The Babadook’ (2014), this dark and moody psychological tale of horror evolves around mother Sarah O’Neill and her young son Chris. After moving to an isolated place near the woods, young Chris behavior is starting to get more disturbing with every day. A slow-burning movie that favors strong storytelling rather than cheap jump scares.
Child’s Play (US, directed by Lars Klevberg)
With all these horror reboots being produced nowadays, it’s no surprise that our beloved, murderous toy doll Chuck got a make-over too. Produced by the people that brought us ‘It’, ‘Child’s Play’ is darkly funny update of the 1988 movie. The story is neatly placed in contemporary America, with all the new technology available that makes this story even better. Even more so than the original movie, ‘Child’s Play’ doesn’t take itself too serious. It’s not often that reboots are better than original movies, but this is definitely one of them. Honorable mention for Mark Hamill’s delightful voice acting by the way.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Directed by André Øvredal)
(To be released in August 2019)
In 2010, Norwegian director André Øvredal directed the highly successful ‘Troll Hunter’, a wild found footage film that actually managed to surprise, shock and make you laugh. His English-language follow-up ‘The Autopsy of Jane Doe’ did’t disappoint either, even though it covered more familiar ground. ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’, which will be released at the end of this summer, seems to be the contender for best Halloween horror flick of the year. Taking place during Halloween, the plot evolves around a bunch of teenagers who, after a joke has gone terribly wrong, are being haunted by an evil female spirit.
The Lighthouse (Canada, directed by Robert Eggers)
To say the least, expectations were high for directors Robert Eggers’ next project. ‘The VVitch’, which was praised for its creepy atmosphere and rich historical details was an instant classic. Now he’s back with ‘The Lighthouse’, a sort of fairytale taking place on a remote Canadian island in the 19th century. WIllem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson (who are the sole two actors in the film) are stuck with each other with the task to run a lighthouse. However, there’s something quite the matter on the island. Shot on 35mm black and white and spoken in authentic Old English, this film almost feels like a documentary from 1895.
It Chapter Two (US, directed by Andy Muschietti)
(To be released in September 2019)
After the enormous success that was ‘It’ in 2017, it goes without saying we’re dying to see the sequel. The first movie was so great because it paid tribute to the original 1990 TV-movie, while at the same bringing something new and cutting edge to the table. In the second chapter, which takes place some 30 years after the shocking events we saw in part one, the Loser Club reunite once again to get rid of that creepy clown once and for all. James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader lead the cast, while Billy Skarsgard reprises his role as Pennywise. The first film was great, let’s hope they won’t blow it with this one.
The Dead Don’t Die (US, directed by Jim Jarmusch)
For anyone familiar with the films by American cult director Jim Jarmusch: this film isn’t exactly scary but it can’t be NOT included on this list. With a stunning, star-studded cast (familiar Jarmusch actors like Bill Murray and Tom Waits but surprising names like Selena Gomez and Iggy Pop too) this is a film a lot of people were looking forward to. After all, Jarmusch experimented successfully with horror cinema before; vampire fairytale ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ really did the job. In ‘The Dead Don’t Die’, Adam Driver and Bill Murray team up as two poorly equipped cops in small town that becomes overrun by the dead. Even though the film received mixed reviews from film journalists. there is more than enough typical, quirky humor that make this film stand out from other recent zombie comedies. It’s the Jarmusch touch you’ve got to appreciate.
The Lodge (US, directed by Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz)
(To be released in November)
Met with positive reviews at the Sundance Festival earlier this year, this wintry cabin horror is bound to be one of the better films of this 2019. Starring Alicia Silverstone and Riley Keough among others, this film tells the story of a woman and her two soon-to be stepchildren in a snowed in cabin. The bond between the three of them isn’t exactly perfect, but when they are forced to celebrate Christmas together/keep a bloodthirsty supernatural power at bay, they have to rely on each other. ‘The Lodge’ is directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, the Austrian couple that brought us instant cult classic ‘Goodnight Mommy’ in 2014.
Der Goldene Handschuh (Germany, directed by Fatih Akin)
Turkish-German director Fatih Akin isn’t exactly known for making horror movies. With critically acclaimed art house drama films like ‘Auf der Anderen Seite’ and ‘Gegen die Wand’ he became one of the key figures in Germany cinema. ‘Der Goldene Handschuh’ isn’t horror in the traditional sense either, but if you’re up for gruesomely bloody slasher biopic about one of Germany’s most notorious serial killers, you’re in for a treat. Some critics deemed ‘Der Goldene Handschuh’ as being exploitative and sadist. The film evolves around Fritz Wonka, a seriously twisted guy from Hamburg who killed a handful of prostitutes in the 1970’s. Not for the faint of heart!
Lords of Chaos (Sweden/Norway, directed by Jonas Åkerlund)
Another European production that might not completely qualify as a horror movie, but will probably appeal to horror fans anyway. Based on the non-fiction book ‘Lords of Chaos’, this film explores the violent black metal scene that originated in 1980’s Norway. The movie focusses mainly on the bloody rivalry between Euronymous, the singer of quintessential black metal band Mayhem and Varg Vikerness, the illustrious musician behind one-man project Burzum. But it also shows the other stuff this scene got world famous for: the church burnings and killings. Filmed on location with a Scandinavian crew, ‘Lords of Chaos’ has an all-American cast, which is kind of weird at first, but it definitely won’t stop you from enjoying this, bloody, darkly comical rock movie.