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The 25 Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2019

Between US, IT: Chapter Two, and new movies by the directors of The Witch and Hereditary, 2019 is ready to freak us all out.

by | February 13, 2019 | Comments

The past several years have proven to be a impressive showcase for the horror genre, producing critical darlings and box office hits like It Follows, The Babadook, Get Out, IT, and Hereditary, just to name a few. 2019 looks set to continue that trend and scare the pants off of us in all kinds of fun ways. Thanks to the huge success of IT, we’re not only getting its much-anticipated climactic sequel, but also a number of other Stephen King adaptations, including a remake of Pet Sematary and the sort-of sequel to The Shining. On top of that, we’ve also got a new version of Child’s Play, festival hits like Sweetheart and Little Monsters, and new films from breakout directors Jordan Peele, Robert Eggers, and Ari Aster. We’ve listed all the upcoming titles in order of release date, so mark them in your calendar and start looking for someone to scream with you in the theater.


Universal Pictures
(Photo by Universal Pictures)

Happy Death Day 2U (2019) 70%
Directed by: Christopher Landon
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Suraj Sharma, Ruby Modine, Phi Vu
Opening on: February 13, 2019

A sequel to the 2017 Blumhouse slasher, directed by Christopher Landon. Set two years after the original, the film revisits Tree Gelbman’s story as she re-enters a time loop in the search for a killer. Only in this iteration, her friends are also reliving the same day over and over.


The Hole in the Ground (2019) 84%
Directed by: Lee Cronin
Starring: Seána Kerslake, James Cosmo, Simone Kirby
Opening on: March 1, 2019

Hailed as one of the scariest movies to premiere at Sundance, the Lee Cronin-directed The Hole in the Ground is an arty A24 horror release about a woman who tries to restart her life in a remote village, until an encounter with a local takes her down the road of paranoia and insanity.


Level 16 (2019) 82%
Directed by: Danishka Esterhazy
Starring: Celina Martin, Katie Douglas, Sara Canning
Opening on: March 1, 2019

Written and directed by Danishka Esterhazy, Level 16 premiered at Fantastic Fest and was hailed as a smart play on The Handmaid’s Tale. At a mysterious school for girls, residents are brought to a dour building and live their entire adolescence there, learning how to be proper and perfect young women — with dire consequences if they aren’t. Relevant.


Body at Brighton Rock (2019) 66%
Directed by: Roxanne Benjamin
Starring: Casey Adams, Emily Althaus, Miranda Bailey
Opening on: March 8, 2019

Roxanne Benjamin has contributed horror shorts to the Southbound and XX anthologies, but Body at Brighton Rock marks her feature directorial debut. It’s described as a “survival thriller” about a park ranger who spends the night at a crime scene on a remote mountain trail.


Wounds (2019) 51%
Directed by: Babak Anvari
Starring: Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz
Opening on: March 19, 2019

Babak Anvari’s first English-language film and a follow-up to 2016’s Iranian ghost story Under the Shadow, Wounds stars Armie Hammer as a bartender who finds a cell phone that plunges him into a horrific nightmare. For those who have been craving some ickier gross-out stuff with their arthouse horror, reviews say this one might fill that hole.


Us (2019) 93%
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Elisabeth Moss
Opening on: March 22, 2019

Jordan Peele is both a maker and a studious watcher of film. He loaded Get Out with homages and references to such diverse classics as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Night of the Living Dead. Because of what Peele called the “genre confusion” surrounding Get Out — Golden Globes categorized it as a comedy — Us slashes some of the comedy and goes “full horror” to tell the story of a family on vacation who encounter evil doppelgangers of themselves.


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Directed by: Sylvia Soska, Jen Soska
Starring: Laura Vandervoort, Stephen McHattie
Opening on: March 25, 2019 (UK)

The Soska sisters will be smuggling their David Cronenberg remake down from Canada later this year. Already legends in the horror community for their penchant for blood and body gore, the Soskas modernize this tale of a woman who undergoes experimental plastic surgery and subsequently develops a taste for blood, leaving a zombie legion in her wake.


Paramount Pictures, Orion Pictures
(Photo by Paramount Pictures, Orion Pictures)

Pet Sematary (2019) 58%
Directed by: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow
Opening on: April 5, 2019

A remake of Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation of Steven King’s Pet Sematary, 2019’s version is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. A couple moves to a new house by a mysterious “sematary” that supposedly brings pets back. As the first trailer reveals, it’s the couple’s daughter — not their son — who dies in this version, and they bury her with the hope she’ll come back to life. Written by Jeff Buhler and Suspiria-penner David Kajganich.


The Curse of La Llorona (2019) 29%
Directed by: Michael Chaves
Starring: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez, Tony Amendola
Opening on: April 19, 2019

Director Michael Chaves gets to cut his teeth on features with Warner Bros.’ new folktale horror film, based on the Mexican myth of a woman who drowns her children in a fit of anguish. The teaser trailer evokes the melancholic fish-out-of-water elements of the American remake of The Grudge.


Brightburn (2019) 57%
Directed by: David Yarovesky
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Matt Jones
Opening on: May 24, 2019

Written by Brian and Mark Gunn — cousin and brother to James Gunn, who produced — the film teams them up with Slither actor Elizabeth Banks, who plays a mother taking care of an alien boy with violent tendencies who crash-lands on Earth in this chilling reimagining of the Superman origin story.


Ma (2019) 55%
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Missi Pyle, Luke Evans
Opening on: May 31, 2019

Octavia Spencer re-teams with The Help and Get on Up director Tate Taylor to headline this Blumhouse psychological thriller about a woman who befriends some teenagers and lets them party in her house, before some bad things happen and “the best place in town” turns into “the worst place on Earth.”


Child's Play (2019) 63%
Directed by:
 Lars Klevberg
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, Gabriel Bateman
Opening on: June 21, 2019

Director Lars Klevberg helms this remake of this 1980s supernatural slasher with a reimagined Chucky doll, updated for the 21st century. In this version, a young mother played by Aubrey Plaza gifts her son a high-tech doll for his birthday, but the doll rejects its programming and goes violently rogue. In other words, no voodoo shenanigans here.


47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019) 44%
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Starring: Nia Long, Sophie Nélisse, John Corbett
Opening on: June 28, 2019

Mandy Moore was already subjected to the terrors of the deep sea, and now director Johannes Roberts returns to torture an entire group of adventurous backpackers who submerge themselves in an underwater city in this shark-attack thriller.


CBS Films and Lionsgate, Warner Bros.
(Photo by CBS Films and Lionsgate, Warner Bros.)

Midsommar (2019) 83%
Directed by: Ari Aster
Starring: Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, William Jackson Harper, Jack Reynor
Opening on: August 9, 2019

Ari Aster wasted no time after the premiere of Hereditary. Midsommar is his second film and features Lady Macbeth’s Florence Pugh and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’s Will Poulter. A couple travels to a quaint Swedish village for a festival, only to be trapped in a bizarre and dangerous competition with a pagan cult. Shades of The Wicker Man.


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) 78%
Directed by: André Øvredal
Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Dean Norris, Michael Garza, Austin Zajur
Opening on: August 9, 2019

Executive producer Guillermo del Toro selected Troll Hunter-helmer and fellow monster lover André Øvredal as the man to lead an adaptation of the children’s book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The film combines multiple stories to tell the tale of a group of kids who must unravel the mystery behind a “wave of horrific deaths.”


It Chapter Two (2019) 63%
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Bill Skarsgård
Opening on: September 6, 2019

It: Chapter Two picks up 27 years after the kids who faced off against Pennywise the clown have matured and all but forgotten that fateful summer. Bill Skarsgård returns to play Pennywise, and the cast is filled out by some heavy hitters, including Bill Hader, James McAvoy, and Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain. Hader has said Skarsgård’s Pennywise is even scarier in person.


Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2019)
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Starring: TBA
Opening on: October 11, 2019

The 1990s Nickelodeon light horror series Are You Afraid of the Dark? shaped a generation of kids’ tastes, tapping into the self-awareness and kitsch evolving in the horror genre at that time with more palatable-for-kids stories. Though the plot is still unknown, director D.J. Caruso has shown he can handle ’90s throwbacks with films like Disturbia and Eagle Eye.


Doctor Sleep (2019) 77%
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Jacob Tremblay, Bruce Greenwood
Opening on: November 8, 2019

And yet another Stephen King adaptation, Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor as a grown-up Danny Torrance (from The Shining). Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of EvilThe Haunting of Hill House) directs this story about an alcoholic man with psychic powers who attempts to protect a girl with similar abilities from a cult with nefarious motives.


Eli (2019) 48%
Directed by: Ciarán Foy
Starring: Kelly Reilly, Lili Taylor, Max Martini
Opening on: TBD

Netflix adds to their horror collection with the release of Ciarán Foy’s Eli. The film tells the story of a boy with a debilitating illness whose parents allow a doctor (played by Lili Taylor) to seal him off from the world to conduct some medical experiments — what could go wrong? — as the boy begins to question if the doctor has his best interests at heart.


NEON and Hulu, FilmNation Entertainment
(Photo by NEON and Hulu, FilmNation Entertainment)

Jacob's Ladder (2019) 5%
Directed by: David M. Rosenthal
Starring: Jesse Williams, Joseph Sikora, Michael Ealy, Karla Souza
Opening on: TBD

David M. Rosenthal remakes this Adrian Lyne classic with a cast including Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams, Nicole Beharie, Karla Souza, and Guy Burnet. Producers have revealed this version is more of an homage than a straight remake and focuses on telling the story of two brothers, which might appease some purist fans of the original.


The Lighthouse (2019) 90%
Directed by: Robert Eggers
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson
Opening on: TBD

Robert Eggers directs this fantasy horror film, his much-anticipated follow-up to The Witch, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Not much is known about the story except that it’s about an aging lighthouse keeper in Maine. Both Dafoe and Pattinson have already cited how excruciating, torturous and wet filming was.


Little Monsters (2019) 80%
Directed by: Abe Forsythe
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Gad
Opening on: TBD

In Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o plays school teacher Miss Caroline, who takes her class on a field trip to a farm close to an American “regeneration” experiment. There’s a zombie breakout, and Miss Caroline must save herself and her students. Early reviews praise Nyong’o’s commitment to a role that could have been merely silly in others’ hands.


The Lodge (2020) 74%
Directed by: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
Starring: Riley Keough, Jaeden Lieberher, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Armitage
Opening on: TBD

Fans of Hammer horror might be excited to hear they produced this gothic thriller from directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. The story centers on two parents who battle each other for their children’s souls — one is Catholic, the other a survivor of an Evangelical death cult.


Sweetheart (2019) 94%
Directed by: J.D. Dillard
Starring: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen
Opening on: TBD

Kiersey Clemons stars as a woman washed ashore on a mysterious island, where a monster rises up from the water at night, hungry for its next meal. Reviews out of Sundance were fairly positive, and almost all declare that J.D. Dillard — who made a subtle reinvention of the comic book hero in 2016’s Sleight — pulls off the incredible feat of keeping tension taut with just a single character (for most of its runtime) in a spare, static location.


In the Tall Grass (2019) 37%
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Harrison Gilbertson, Rachel Wilson
Opening on: TBD

One more Stephen King adaptation this year, directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube). Story follows a sister and brother who drive through Kansas and stop to inspect the calls for help they hear coming from the fields on the side of the road. Patrick Wilson will star and try to make grass scary.

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