The Must-See Horror Movies of 2019

What’s interesting about our little #BooCrew here at Film School Rejects is how our individual tastes differ. Every movie that made the cut on this prestigious list of upcoming horror releases is a reflection of our group’s voting process and shared general interests, but there are a couple of inclusions here that are surprising even to us. That’s because of Anna’s love for Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson, Jacob’s loose cannon optimism for remakes of remakes, Brad’s tasteful unpredictability, and Kieran‘s passion for Scottish indie horror. And while new Stephen King movies are always a big deal in our House of Horrors, you won’t find a bigger completest of his work than Rob. These individual passions coupled with our general consensus is what makes the movies you’re about to read about absolutely essential viewing.

Still, we wish some of the excluded movies individual members of the team were stanning for made the list, though. Those were some real wild cards. If you witnessed Jacob’s adorable excitement for Dennis Quaid’s The Intruder you’d be rooting for the movie to succeed and then some. Kieran also tried to make a case for Tom Six’s next offensive trolling opus The Onania Club, but the rest of us refused to humor him. Brad, on the other hand, is the only person on the planet who’s excited about the Jacob’s Ladder remake.

The selection of titles chosen here contains a healthy mix of mainstream blockbusters, indie efforts, and those movies that occupy the intersection between both. Whether you whore for gore, seek originality, have an appetite for monster destruction, or prefer a crowd-pleasing chiller, we have all of your horror needs covered. And, as always, we apologize if the movie you’re most looking forward to isn’t included.


19. 3 From Hell

I’m a Rob Zombie stan. Sure, I was a fan of his music in my flailing metalhead years of early high school and tantalized by his garish, orgiastic music videos. But I’m a Zombie stan today because of the body of his cinematic work. While I will be the first to point to all the problems his films may suffer from, because he’s far from a perfect director, it’s the moments of pointed, monstrous satire between the imperfections that consistently keep stoking my interest. While many deride his last film 31 for being derivative, I found it to be a bitingly entertaining cinematic middle finger to his own work. A way of regurgitating everything anyone has asked of him by doubling down into an abyss of his own creation. Which is to say, despite 31 not being an experience you may want to revisit, it’s still a fascinating example of artistic risk-taking. And what’s a bigger risk than reviving the characters you’ve sworn for a decade will never be back? While 3 From Hell will be the closing act in the trilogy of films he started with House of a 1000 Corpses, we still don’t know what the film will be about. But with Rob Zombie’s unique voice, and the comedy stylings of Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Bill Moseley, whatever 3 From Hell brings won’t easily be forgotten. (Jacob Trussell)

18. Little Monsters

Great, another zombie movie. That’s what you’re thinking, right? I feel you. The undead haven’t excited me since Shaun of the Dead, but every year there’s at least one or two zombie movies that do something fun with the subgenre. This looks like another winner. Starring Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad, the cast is exciting for a start. Throw in a storyline about a washed-up musician teaming up with a kids show personality to protect a bunch of children from a zombie outbreak, and you have the added excitement of young folks potentially being eaten. As a fan of Cooties and Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, I’m all for more movies about adolescents in peril courtesy of brain-munching rascals if they must keep making zombie flicks. (Kieran Fisher)

17. Hellboy

It breaks my heart that Guillermo del Toro never got to make his third Hellboy movie and end his saga on his own terms. At the same time, I’m just happy that we get to see a new Hellboy movie. Better yet, it’s a Hellboy movie with Neil Marshall in the director’s chair and this project is very much in his wheelhouse. While this marks his first comic book adaptation, we can always rely on Marshall to something fun, bloody, and action-packed. And should this movie do well, it could open the doors to a Hellboy cinematic universe. Please support this movie so that said universe becomes a reality. Granted, the last thing the world needs is another cinematic universe, but Hellboy and his monster compatriots are way cooler than your average superhero. (Kieran Fisher)

16. Crawl

It remains to be seen if director Alexandre Aja will ever make another movie that’s as savagely visceral as High Tension or as fun as Piranha 3D, but he has a fan in me anyway. Despite having not reached the heights of those movies (or his fantastic remake of The Hills Have Eyes) with his most recent efforts, you can at least rely on him to deliver something solid and entertaining. This one takes place during a hurricane and follows a young woman (Kaya Scodelario) who must protect herself and her father from hungry alligators. That’s a premise I can get behind, and with Sam Raimi on board as a producer, Crawl has potential hit written all over it. (Kieran Fisher)

15. Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Nostalgia bait strikes again! Though the plot of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? is so far unknown, it’s based on the Nickelodeon series of the same name. The 90s TV show told a new scary story every week with a framing device of a group of teens nicknamed The Midnight Society telling stories around a campfire. The show aired over 90 episodes which means there’s a plentiful catalog of spooky inspiration for director D.J. Caruso to draw from. The film won’t be released until October so we all have lots of time to debate what form the film will take and how much it will utilize the plots from the original series. Let the speculation begin! (Anna Swanson)

14. Automata

I’ve already shared my excitement for this movie on this very site. Hex Studios is producing some of the most original, interesting, intelligent, artistic, and entertaining horror fare out there at the moment, and they’re doing it on their own terms. In Automata, a man finds himself the victim of a cursed 300-year-old clockwork doll, which leads to some supernatural shenanigans and some unexpected surprises for viewers. For instance, the latest trailer reveals an epic battle, creepy aristocrats, and lighting that would give Mario Bava the horn. This is going to be a treat. In the meantime, I urge every single one of you to check out Lord of Tears, The Unkindness of Ravens, and The Black Gloves to see what they’re all about. You can thank me later. (Kieran Fisher)

13. The Dead Don’t Die

In Only Lovers Left Alive, vampires have never appeared cooler, more suave, elegant, or lethargic. Can Jim Jarmusch do the same thing for zombies? Huh. I dunno. But I want to see him try, or swing wildly in another direction and reveal these ghouls as their most metaphorically nightmarish iteration to date. Whatever this particular son of Lee Marvin decides to do with the walking dead subgenre, I am down for it. Throw in Bill Murray and a dozen other compelling performers and you would have to be dead yourself not to be intrigued. (Brad Gullickson)

12. Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary remains among Stephen King’s most horrific novels, and Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation is still among the best horror movies made from his work. There’s room for improvement, though, and that’s reason enough to look forward to a new adaptation. The fact that we’re getting one from the filmmakers behind the terrifying and affecting Starry Eyes makes the news even more exciting. Early looks suggest a truly creepy atmosphere and tone befitting the story’s sad horrors, and actors like Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow promise performances designed to hold our attention through to the bloody and shambling end. (Rob Hunter)

11. Grudge

Nicolas Pesce’s Eyes of My Mother may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny how viscerally shaken it leaves audiences, be it the grotesque visuals or the sheer bleakness. And when I imagine everything that I crave from a Japanese horror film: it’s grotesque visuals and sheer bleakness. With Pesce — along with a cast featuring Andrea Riseborough, John Cho, and Demian Bichir — tackling The Grudge, about the deadly curse and mother-son creeper duo Kayako and Toshio, I can only begin to imagine what level of artistry will be brought to what could be seen as just another Americanized remake of a highly acclaimed J-horror film. But based on his work on Eyes and his upcoming Piercing, Pesce could be the first American director to truly bring a unique visual aesthetic to a subgenre that has left us with static expectations in 2019. Could this movie be better than its overseas predecessors? The jury is still out. But is it on track to be the best American Japanese horror film? Absolutely. (Jacob Trussell)

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