A new year, a new slate of horror movies to anticipate. This year, as with nearly every year, there are so many horror films to choose from. And as with every year, there are some movies that look DOA (like La Llorona, which looks so cheesy) as well as some films that will blow us all away (Jordan Peele’s Us looks way intense, I’m ready but so unprepared at the same time).

That being said, this year’s anticipated horror list includes a whole lot of sequels (4 total) and remakes (2 total). 2019 is the year of Stephen King, as his stories have inspired THREE of the fourteen movies on my list. But there’s also a fair bit of original content, like Us, Brightburn, and Ma.

I’m just so excited to see all of these. As always, stay tuned for my reviews of these films! Enjoy!

anticipated horror

Velvet Buzzsaw (2/1 – Netflix)

“After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.”

The more I read about this film, the more confused and intrigued I become, which means I had to include it on my list of anticipated horror films. First, the cast is mind-blowing—Jake Gyllenhaal, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, and Toni Collette? Awesome. Second, Dan Gilroy directs the film (Nightcrawler), so you can be sure he knows how to do suspense well. And third, apparently this film is a takedown of the art world and promises some dark humor along with supernatural fury?

Can I just say how wonderful it is to use gruesome horror to spoof the art world? I love anything both artsy and fartsy. I especially love it when it can poke fun at pretentious gatekeepers of the art scene and the insane frenzy around certain pieces.

The best part? I won’t have to wait long for this anticipated horror film; after premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Netflix will stream Velvet Buzzsaw.

UPDATE: The trailer just dropped today, and this movie looks like so much bonkers horror fun! Paintings done in blood! Paintings that come to life and attack people! Paintings that try to devour pretentious art hipsters! A big metal ball sculpture that eats Toni Collette’s arm? AMAZING. SIMPLY DELIGHTFUL. I can’t wait!

anticipated horror

Happy Death Day 2U (2/14 – Theatrical)

“Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.”

So, I really enjoyed Happy Death Day, which was the slasher-Groundhog Day mash-up I didn’t know I needed in my life. Sure, it didn’t reinvent the slasher wheel, nor was it free from some pretty glaring plot holes and continuity issues, but damnit, Happy Death Day was a really fun movie. Tree was a good, snarky character, the story was engaging, and the comedy was solid. I’m excited to see what they do with this sequel (as tenuous as the logic for it might be). Hence, it’s landed a spot on my list of most anticipated horror films of 2019.

anticipated horror

Us (3/15 – Theatrical)

“Accompanied by her husband, son and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a child. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that something bad is going to happen to her family. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. When the masks come off, each stranger takes the appearance of a different family member.”

I am shaking and crying. SHAKING AND CRYING.

I love Jordan Peele. LOVE HIM.

I LOVE that he saw The Strangers and was like, What a shit movie, let me make one that’s already 1000X more creative and scarier. There was no way I couldn’t include this on my list of anticipated horror.

There’s really nothing more to say about Us, except that Lupita Nyong’o is a wonderful actress, and I’m sure that this part is juicy AF.

Other than that, I’m so excited for Us. I can barely contain myself. I can only go see it, attempt to digest my thoughts, and then spend a good deal of time mulling the film over. Just like I did with Get Out.

anticipated horror

Pet Sematary (4/5 – Theatrical)

“Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his neighbor Jud Crandall, setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unspeakable evil with horrific consequences.”

So I’m usually against horror remakes, but Pet Sematary is one of those films that could use one. It’s not the original adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel is bad (Little Gage has always scared the shit out of me, bad practical effects or not). It’s just that the horror genre has come a long way in production values , and I think Pet Sematary deserves a second crack.

Which brings us to the remake.

It looks atmospheric AS HELL, and I’m READY FOR IT. I’m ready John Lithgow to serve his particular brand of creepy/crazy. I’m ready for more weird scary shit with more convincing effects than the original. And I’m ready for a more poignant exploration of the novel’s themes (it remains to be seen if the remake will succeed here, but one can hope!).

anticipated horror

Hellboy (4/12 – Theatrical)

“Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.”

Ok, so, the Guillermo del Toro adaptation of Hellboy is one of my favorite action-horror films—who doesn’t love a good let’s-kick-the-shit-out-of-occultist-Nazis movie?—but I’m intrigued by this adapation. Sacrilege, I know.

For one, Neil Marshall has proved himself a very effective horror director, what with both The Descent and Dog Soldiers on his resume. This adaptation is reportedly quite gory and violent, significantly upping the horror factor. There’s also the fact that Hellboy creator Mike Mignola was involved with early drafts of the screenplay and confirms that the film is a new story we haven’t seen adapted yet. And while I’m going to miss Ron Perlman as Hellboy, David HArbour has proved his sarcasm and acting chops with his role on Stranger Things.

anticipated horror

Brightburn (5/24 – Theatrical)

“A couple’s prayers are seemingly answered when an object crash-lands on Earth, carrying a life-form that looks like a baby boy. As the years pass and the alien grows older, it starts to use its mysterious powers in sinister and destructive ways.”

Brightburn asks a very simple but compelling question—what if Superman wasn’t inherently good but instead had a much darker, malicious side to him that he used against us?

Because damn, what a compelling premise. It’s kind of a wonder no one made this movie before this point, but I guess no one ever felt the need to. This movie is obviously about our fears of a powerful being who is supposed to act with our best interests at heart. Without his inherent selflessness, Superman could easily be a tyrant against whom we have no real defenses.

Not to get too political, but does this remind you of a current leader with toddler-like ways, who has at his fingertips command of the most destructive weapon in human history? Does it make you consider how we may have relied too much on the restraint of past leaders?

Because of these questions, Brightburn is easily in my top 3 for most anticipated horror movies of the year.

anticipated horror

Child’s Play (6/21 – Theatrical)

“Terror strikes when a woman unwittingly gives her young son an evil toy doll.”

Here’s another remake of a classic (and cheesy) ‘80s horror movie that scarred me forever. For that reason alone, I want to see the remake of Child’s Play and face my fears about my dolls trying to maim and kill me. This is the film franchise that instilled within me a lifelong fear of having my Achilles tendon slashed. Yeesh.

On a more serious note, this remake, like Pet Sematary, has the chance to vastly improve on quality of the original. I only hope that this remake keeps some of the gallows’ humor of the original, which was one of the best parts.

anticipated horror

The New Mutants (8/2 – Theatrical)

“Magik, Wolfsbane and other teenage mutants try to come to grips with their superpowers while staying at a secret facility.”

New Mutants was supposed to be released last year. After a little bit of concerning news of reshoots and pushed release dates, we’re finally getting the film later this year. And boy, am I interested in seeing how this horror treatment of superhero lore goes. As with Brightburn, there is a lot of fertile ground to mine with superhero stories. The thought of children with superhuman abilities that they can’t control or understand is fucking terrifying, and the idea of those children being used and abused is equally frightening. I hope The New Mutants speaks to our fears about the potential of children as well as our anxieties that we might fail or betray the most vulnerable among us. And that’s why it’s one of my anticipated horror movies for the year.

anticipated horror

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (8/9 – Theatrical)

“Teens band together to solve the mystery of macabre deaths in their small town.”

Guillermo del Toro was never going to leave us for long, and now he’s back as writer-producer for Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark, the feature-length film adaptation of the legendary children’s books. And when I say legendary books, I mean DAMN LEGENDARY. There wasn’t a kid in school who didn’t have a morbid fascination with those books, vacillating between curiosity and fear of those macabre and freaky ink drawings.

I hope hope hope that del Toro and director Andre Ovredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe) can capture the energy of those drawings. If they can succeed, I have a feeling that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will be a horror film for the ages.

anticipated horror

It: Chapter Two (9/6)

“The evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to torment the grown-up members of the Losers’ Club.”

If I had one (major) criticism of the 2017’s adaptation of It, it was that the film wasn’t scary enough. I get it—it’s tricky to create truly disturbing horror when your cast is comprised of children, because while people want to be scared, seeing children in harm’s way isn’t a great way to sell tickets. And yet, that’s kind of the whole point of It.

But now, I think the follow-up, where the Losers’ Club is all grown up, can afford to be much, much more frightening. I really want to see Pennywise/It flex its muscle and live up to the novel’s horror, which is what we’ve all wanted to see from the jump. Hence, It: Chapter Two is probably one of the most anticipated horror films of the year.

Zombieland 2 (10/11 – Theatrical)

“Zombie slayers Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock square off against the newly evolved undead.”

I, like countless horror fans and non-horror lovers alike, enjoyed the crap out of Zombieland, both for its excellence as a zombie movie and its achievement as a hilarious black comedy. Its often the first movie I recommend to non-horror lovers as a way to show them just how much fun this genre can be. I hope that same fun makes it into this sequel, and I feel confident that it will since the sequel will benefit not only from the return of director Ruben Fleischer, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and the original cast of Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin. Sequels are rarely as good as their originals, but with many of the same players reuniting, Zombieland 2 will certainly be an eagerly anticipated horror film worth your attention.

anticipated horror

Are You Afraid of the Dark? (10/11 – Theatrical)

“A film adaptation of the classic Nickelodeon horror series “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” written by Gary Dauberman (It).”

Oh man, talk about a blast from the past! I used to love this show, but because I wasn’t allowed to watch it at home, I had to sneak episodes of it whenever I was at my grandparents’ house, and then act like I hadn’t freaked myself out so I could keep watching. The show probably wouldn’t scare me currently (though some episodes are still surprisingly dark), but I’m heartened by the filmmakers’ stated commitment to the disturbing tone of the show and to creating quality children’s entertainment that doesn’t sanitize things too much. If they can balance nostalgia with legitimate horror, Are You Afraid of the Dark will be excellent and earn it’s place on my anticipated horror list.

anticipated horror

In The Tall Grass (TBD – Netflix)

“Brother and sister are driving through Kansas during their road trip. Suddenly, they hear calls for help coming. They stop to investigate and get lost in field of tall grass.”

Netflix was one of 2018’s strongest players in the horror game, with amazing films like The Ritual and Apostle as well as tv shows The Haunting of Hill House and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It’s looking to continue that streak with its first known horror movie of 2019, In the Tall Grass.

Based on one hell of a disturbing Stephen King/Joe Hill novella (because it’s also the year of Stephen King adaptations), In the Tall Grass is sure to be messed up. I can think of nothing more disorienting than a film about two people, one of whom is pregnant, trapped in an impossible field of tall, obscuring grass. Don’t forget that Vincenzo Natali, who directed Cube, a Canadian sci-fi-horror movie about a series of rooms that trap and kill a group of people, seems ideally equipped to make this hotly anticipated horror movie.

anticipated horror

 Ma (TBD – Theatrical)

“In this new psychological horror-thriller from Tate Taylor and Blumhouse, a lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.”

Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer is jumping on the Blumhouse horror train! She and The Help director Tate Taylor are reuniting to bring us Ma, and while the details are a bit sparse, I’m excited for the film. Taylor described the script as “f—ing weird and awesome.” He also immeditately wanted Spencer for the lead role, a role that promises to expand Spencer’s body of work and show us a side of her we haven’t seen before. Additionally, Taylor has said that, “More than being scary, [the film is] going to make people think…It’s going to have meaning and purpose. At the same time, there will be all the tropes of a horror movie, where you scream and cover your eyes.”

I can’t wait to see what this caliber of directing and acting talent will do with a horror movie!


What hotly anticipated horror movies are you looking forward to? Did I leave any off my list of 2019 anticipated horror movies that you think I should have included? Let me know in the comments!

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