The horror landscape of the past few years has been dominated by sequels and remakes and, for the most part, that trend will continue with the movies of 2019. And while we're always surprised by megahits that seem to arrive out of nowhere (like Hereditary and Cam did in 2018, for example) there's already a huge lineup of hotly-anticipated genre flicks in the pipeline.
Being a horror fan in the latter half of the 2010s has been joyous as our often-maligned genre has made serious inroads into popular consciousness. There's no shortage of excitement for upcoming releases and, even when we're disappointed by something we were looking forward to, there's always something else on the horizon to keep our hopes high.
With all of this in mind, I've put together a list of my top 10 most anticipated horror movie releases scheduled for 2019. Believe me, it was tough limiting it to only 10 entries; even though they didn't make the list, I'm also excited to see Glass, Annabelle 3, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, The New Mutants, The Lighthouse, and Captive State (among others). Whether or not these films end up making my top 10 horror movies of 2019 list remains to be seen. I'll get back to you all in a year!
Happy Death Day 2U - February 14th, 2019
Back in 2017, Happy Death Day was a surprise horror hit, striking a chord with genre fans and critics alike. It proved that there's still room for innovation in the time-loop troupe best exemplified in Groundhog's Day while scoring a big win for PG-13 rated horror movies (something most hardcore aficionados normally scoff at). Happy Death Day 2U reunites the original's director Christopher Landon and star Jessica Rothe (as Tree Gelbman) for an adventure described as more along the lines of Back to the Future (with a baby-faced killer, or course). We're not expect any deep subtext or psychological trickery; just a batshit crazy good time!
Us - March 15th, 2019
Of course we're extremely excited to check out Jordan Peels's follow-up to the socially-conscious Get Out (for which he won an Oscar for Best Screenplay); that goes without saying. But after seeing the trailer for Us, which dropped like a Christmas gift from Santa (or Satan), I'm practically chomping at the bit! This time, Peele is tackling the home-invasion horror formula but with a terrifying twist: Uber-creepy doppelgängers! While supernatural components are on the menu, we're also expecting subtext swimming with biting social commentary, something that's becoming Peele's trademark.
Pet Sematary - April 5th, 2019
Starry Eyes filmmakers Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer will most likely transition from indie powerhouses to rising stars in mainstream, major-studio horror with the release of Pet Sematary this April. The novel by Stephen King is considered one of his most disturbing and the 1989 film adaptation by Mary Lambert remains a terrifying classic. Not only are we hoping to see aspects of King's novel that didn't make it into Lambert's film, we're excited to see how Kölsch and Widmyer will re-set the story in the 21st Century.
Hellboy - April 12th, 2019
My growing anticipation for Neil Marshall's Hellboy reboot is something of a surprise. Like many horror aficionados, I was extremely disappointed when it was first announced that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman had divorced the franchise after producing two incredible films. I let my hopes for the future of the series drop further when it was announced that the budget for Hellboy 2019 would be significantly less than its predecessors. With the release of the film's first trailer, however, I'm changing my tune. While del Toro's Hellboy movies were visually stunning, Marshall's Hellboy (which stars David Harbour as Big Red) looks like a straight-up horror movie. It's also important to note that Hellboy 2019 is rated R whereas the first two Hellboy movies were PG-13. Plus, Harbour has described some of the extreme violence that awaits us and it sounds seriously gory. Sold!
The Curse of La Llorona - April 19th, 2019
Based on the enduring urban legend of The Weeping Woman, The Curse of La Llorona looks like a potent mix of procedural thriller and supernatural horror with echoes of 1992's Candyman. The trailer focuses on a poor family living in a car who, by night, are terrorized by a ghastly specter; it's also heavily steeped in religious imagery juxtaposed against winter gloom-almost oppressively atmospheric. The fact that The Curse of La Llorona is produced by James Wan and includes actor Tony Amendola as Father Perez (a character who appeared in 2014's Annabelle) has many hypothesizing that it's an official entry in The Conjuring Universe (which also includes 2018's The Nun). We'll know one way or another on April 19th.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged - June 28th, 2019
Big-budget, never-shredding, shark-themed horror movies have become a summertime staple for genre fans. The trend began in 2016 with The Shallows, returned with a vengeance in 2017 with 47 Meters Down, and flopped colossally in 2018 with The Meg. When 47 Meters Down: Uncaged hits US theaters next June, I'm hoping for a return to basics. Forget the billion-dollar underwater labs, the sleek submersibles, the volumes of fringe-science. Just give us a few unsuspecting vacationers crossing paths with the ocean's ultimate alpha predators and terror will certainly ensue. Johannes Roberts, who directed and co-wrote the first 47 Meters Down, is back at the helm so we're hoping for more of the chilling magic he delivered in 2017.
Midsommar - August 9th, 2019
We know very little about Midsommar at this time. It seems to involve some American vacationers in Scandinavia, a troubled relationship, and a pagan cult. What we know for certain, however, is that Midsommar is the sophomore feature film by Ari Aster, the 21st Century Master of Horror who has already earned himself a spot in the genre canon with his debut, Hereditary (a film likely to adorn every single list of 2018's best horror movies). Aster has already made a huge impact on the horror landscape, so I plan to run (not walk) in order to see whatever he kicks out next.
IT: Chapter 2 - September 6th, 2019
Stranger Things ignited a fever for 1980s-era nostalgia, a phenomenon that paved the way for a Stephen King Renaissance in 2017, exemplified by the trifecta of films Gerald's Game, 1922, and (most significantly) Andy Muschietti's IT. While the fever cooled a bit in 2018, expect the King Renaissance to resurge big time in 2019 with the previously mentioned Pet Sematary coming down the pike in April and IT: Chapter Two floating into US theaters in early September. When the shapeshifting fiend Pennywise emerges from his 27-year slumber, the Losers Club, now adults, must reunite to exterminate the scourge of Derry once and for all. A bigger budget and a tidal wave of buzz means we can expect an every bigger, more terrifying experience with IT: Chapter Two.
Three From Hell - TBD
Though we've yet to get an official release date (or a trailer, or even a substantial synopsis) for Rob Zombie's sequel to The Devil's Rejects, fans of the more extreme ends of the horror spectrum are excited to reunite with the Firefly clan in Three From Hell (especially since they were all presumed dead the last time we saw them). In addition to Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Sheri Moon Zombie returning to reprise Captain Spaulding, Otis Driftwood, and Baby Firefly respectively, the sizable ensemble cast is a who's-who of classic and indie horror icons including: Emilio Rivera, Danny Trejo, Kevin Jackson, Wade Williams, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Clint Howard, Pancho Moler, Daniel Roebuck, David Ury, Sean Whalen, Austin Stoker, Dee Wallace, Richard Brake, Bill Oberst Jr., Richard Riehle, Dot-Marie Jones, and Tom Papa.
Rabid - TBD
Another as-yet-unscheduled horror flick we're dying to experience in 2019 is the remake of David Cronenberg's seminal body-horror Rabid. It's being helmed by "Twisted" twin filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska, considered modern masters of the body horror following the release of their extreme surgery shocker American Mary in 2012. The remake will star Laura Vandervoort as Rose, a role played by porn star Marilyn Chambers in 1977. The Soskas have become legends of indie horror over the past decade, and their legions supporters (myself included) suspect Rabid will be their ticket to mainstream superstardom. Bring it on!