All things being equal, 2018 was an amazing year for horror films despite what Vogue thinks (see article). The year was full of fun slashers (Halloween, Terrifier, Leprechaun Returns), independent horror (Hereditary, Mandy), and few mid-budget winners (Halloween, A Quiet Place).
Looking at the films we know are arriving in 2019 as 2018 comes to close promises another big year in the genre, large enough to possibly eclipse the past 12 months. Instead of struggling to find 10 or 15 strong candidates, the first of the year list this season is cut from over forty known releases heading our way. And, the list has a variety of subgenres and approaches to horror included from the usual sequels and remakes to adaptations of beloved books and creepy properties to a few original horrors and new films from beloved horror directors.
Let’s take a look at the top 25 most anticipated horror films of 2019. As usual, dates are subject to change.
25. The Addams Family
An animated family friendly fright film from directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon based on the popular characters created by Charles Addams. The voice cast includes Chloe Grace Moretz as Wednesday, Charlize Theron as Morticia, Oscar Isaac as Gomez, Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, and Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley. The film is currently set for release on October 18, 2019.
Guillermo del Toro produces this upcoming horror fantasy from director Scott Cooper, featuring a young student in a small Oregon town harboring a dangerous secret. The cast includes Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Graham Greene, and Jeremy T. Thomas. Release date is yet to be announced but anticipating a late 2019 slot.
23. Three From Hell
Rob Zombie returns to the trio of characters, the Firefly family and friend, that have captured the attention of horror fans in his previous films House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Shari Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, and Sid Haig return as Baby Firefly, Otis Firefly, and Captain Spaulding. Other cast members of note include but are not limited to Clint Howard, Danny Trejo, Dee Wallace, Richard Drake, Daniel Roebuck, Sean Whalen, and Bill Oberst Jr. No firm date has yet been announced.
22. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
Director Johannes Roberts heads back to sea for another round of shark filled underwater terror. Nia Long, John Corbett, Sophie Nelisse, Sistine Rose Stallone, and Corinee Foxx head up the dinner plate…er…cast. This go around the victims…er….divers are exploring an underwater sunken city and soon discover they are not alone. The film is set to release on June 28, 2019.
21. Zombieland 2
The director and cast return to double tap their way out of any zombie situation they may encounter and delight the audience each step of the way. Ruben Fleisher is hot off his monster hit Venom reuniting Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody Harrelson. The rumors of cameos and guest stars are already flying fast and furious. If all goes well, the film will land in theaters on October 11, 2019.
20. The Prodigy
Jackson Robert Scott, little Georgie in the 2017 It remake, is looking to cause some trouble in this possession film from director Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact, At the Devil’s Door). Taylor Schilling, Colm Feore, and Brittany Allen also star. The film hits theaters early in the year on February 8, 2019.
Whenever Sam Raimi gets behind a film, the horror community listens. He is producing a nature-runs-amok horror film with director Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D, Horns, High Tension). The cast includes Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, and Ross Anderson. The beasts who looks to feast on the cast is a hungry swarm of alligators. Yum! No firm date has yet been announced.
Twin directors Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary) are looking to put their spin on the 1970’s David Cronenberg classic, Rabid. Laura Vandervoort, Stephen Huszar, Greg Bryk, and the always terrific Stephen McHattie star. The film is set to land in UK theaters in March of 2019 and likely heading Stateside later in the year.
17. Child’s Play
Despite the controversy of MGM vs Dan Mancini over the future of the franchise, curiosity about how a remake of Chucky’s first film turns out remains high. The director is Lars Klevberg, who is also behind the yet-to-be-released Polaroid (originally set for 2015). The cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, David Lewis, and Gabriel Bateman. Look for Child’s Play on June 21, 2019.
After more than a half dozen films. both US and Japan, the Grudge franchise returns to theaters this year to scare us all over again. But the film has potential pedigree. The director is Nicolas Pesce, who impressed critics with The Eyes of My Mother in 2016 and again with Piercing (2018). The cast includes Jacki Weaver (Birdbox), Andrea Riseborough (from Mandy), Betty Gilpin (Glow), William Sadler (Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight), Demian Bichir (The Nun), and John Cho (Exorcist TV series). However fan favorite Lin Shaye stirs the interest the most, proclaiming the film to be damn scary. Sound good to me! The film looks to chase away Chucky on June 21, 2019.
15. The Hole in the Ground
The early buzz for this creepy tale from director Lee Cronin has all the right earmarks for a potential genre classic. It is heading to Sundance Film Festival and is being compared to the like of The Babadook. On top of that, before it can even premiere Stateside, the film was acquired by A24 to follow their past genre hits The Witch and Hereditary. Keep your eyes peeled for
14. In the Tall Grass
Horror legend Stephen King and his equally talented son Joe Hill teamed up to create the chilling tale In the Tall Grass. Talented director Vincenzo Natali guides the film with a cast that includes Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring, Insidious, Aquaman), Rachel Wilson, Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, and Will Buie Jr. Look to get lost looking for help in the tall grass later this year.
13. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Guillermo del Toro is producing another potential genre classic adapting the popular children’s book by Alvin Schwartz. Andre Ovredal (Troll Hunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe) is directing. The cast includes Gil Bellows, Dean Norris, Javier Botet, Lorraine Toussant, and Jane Moffat. Look for this spooky entry in theaters on August 9, 2019.
12. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
D.J. Caruso is set to direct this adaptation of the popular Nickelodian series. At this point very little else is known even though it has a release date of October 11, 2019. Regardless, fans of the show are intrigued and there’s always room for some good family-friendly mayhem and monsters.
Ari Aster impressed many critics and horror fans with his hit debut genre film Hereditary. Aster’s sophomoric effort is called Midsommar and little is known about the film outside a young couple visiting an isolated Swedish village and hints of…witchcraft. Regardless, expectation is high. The cast includes Will Poulter and Florence Pugh. The film is currently set to land in your local theater on August 9, 2019.
We’ve mentioned Guillermo del Toro a number of times on the list thus far, but sadly he is not attached to the 2019 version of Hellboy. However, with creator Mike Mignola backing the feature and Neil Marshall directing, the reboot looks promising. David Harbour (Stranger Things) is Hellboy facing Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil) as The Blood Queen. Sasha Lane, Ian McShane, Penelope Mitchell, Thomas Haden Church, and Daniel Dae Kim round out the cast. Despite the cast and crew stating the film is to be far more frightening and horrifying than the previous films, the first trailer displayed a surprising amount of humor. We will find out early in the year when the film opens April 12, 2019.
09. Pet Sematary
At first, the idea of remaking Pet Sematary seemed unnecessary. But the success of It and other recent franchises make the concept a little more palatable. Add John Lithgow in the role of Jud Crandall, debut a creepy, effective trailer and we may have another Stephen King hit. Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz round out the cast. Come April 5, 2019 we’ll find out if “Sometimes dead is better.”
08. Annabelle 3
The Conjuring franchise is on a role with the two Conjuring films and The Nun
07. Happy Death Day 2U
Blumhouse delivers many a horror film to theaters each year nowadays. While many of them entertain their audiences, not many of them sit high on the anticipated list. Happy Death Day surprised audiences and horror fans in 2017 with its delightful horror twist on Groundhog Day and the winning performance from its star Jessica Rothe. Director Christopher Landon returns to direct and Rothe reprises her role as Tree Gelbman once again facing the recurring nightmare of being chased and slaughtered over and over again. Prepare to laugh and scream on February 14, 2019 with the perfect horror filled date movie.
Producer James Gunn, along with writers Brian and Mark Gunn and director David Yarovesky, promises a sinister version of a young-hero-turned-evil interpretation of
05. The Curse of La Llorona
Director Michael Chaves brings the Latin urban legend about the curse of La Llorona to the big screen this spring. The film looks to be a frightening addition to the genre already impressing James Wan, who is producing the film and who has pegged Chaves to direct The Conjuring 3. 2019 could be a big year for this newcomer. The film stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Patricia Valesquez. Look to fear the curse on April 19, 2019.
M. Night Shyamalan surprised us all with Split and its gobsmacked ending revealing that Denis, Patricia, and the Beast all resided in the same cinematic universe as David Dunn. Now, we are going to get Glass, where the two worlds collide and Mr. Glass is along for the ride. All the cast is here: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Anna Taylor-Joy, and newcomer to franchise Sarah Paulson. “It sounds like the bad guys teaming up!” We’ll all find out what’s in store early in 2019 when Glass releases on January 19, 2019.
03. It: Chapter 2
There is no doubt Tim Curry is a hard act to follow in the role of Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s It. Yet, somehow, Bill Skarsgard managed to do just that and crank it up a few notches at the same time making the remake a huge hit in 2017. Andy Muschietti directs once again. Pennywise returns with all the same young cast, adding their adult counterparts. Look for James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Jay Ryan, Isaiah Mustafa, and James Ransone to join the cast on September 6, 2019.
Jordan Peele is back to frighten us once again. This time he is introducing a new terror called the Tether. In his sophomore effort, Us, Peele follows a family on vacation where they encounter dastardly doppelgangers out to do them no good. Even the trailer is frightening. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss lead the cast. The film hits theaters on March 15, 2019.
01. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
There’s nothing better than a great Kaiju film. Godzilla was close, Kong: Skull Island was a tad bit closer. Based on the trailers and the glorious addition of Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, Godzilla: King of the Monsters from director Michael Dougherty looks to redefine the genre. The shots in the trailer are spectacular, pieces of art almost in their composition and color pallet. It all looks like marvelous monster mayhem. And we cannot wait! Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins, Vera Farmiga, Charles Dance, Kyle Chandler, Bradley Whitford, Ziyi Zhang, Thomas Middleditch, CCH Pounder, David Strathairn, and Ken Watanabe make up the star studded cast. See you in the theaters on May 31, 2019.
Now that you’ve seen the list, look for the Most Anticipated Horror Films of 2019 poll for all Grue-Believers to complete in the coming week. The results of the poll will be revealed on an upcoming episode of Horror News Radio. See you there!