The horror genre is enjoying a commercial, cultural and artistic renaissance in no small part due to the disarray and division of modern society. Horror has always by tradition fostered social comment and held a polished mirror to the human condition to check it’s still breathing. With a fresh crop of talent spreading their sophomore wings and an endless myriad of new fears and prejudices to exploit it promises to be a stellar year for fans of all things dark and twisted.
Come with me as we explore the horror films most likely to define the genre landscape in 2019.
2019 will see a slew of Steven King adaptations kicking off with this horrifying dissection of the grieving process as a relocated doctor encounters a cursed burial ground.
Don’t expect any of the campness of the 1989 version as King’s most nihilistic novel is given a more grounded dread-drenched atmosphere in keeping with the nature of the book that even scared the author as he penned it.
Nurturing the source material is Midnight Meat Train screenwriter Jeff Buhler and Suspiria remake writer David Kajganich with directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch who helmed the criminally overlooked Starry Eyes. The cast is well rounded with the always solid John Lithgow and Jeté Laurence who was the only good thing about last years hateful The Ranger.
Due Date: UK & US Cinemas April 5th 2019
3 FROM HELL
Love or loathe his work the horror community always stops to rubberneck at a new Rob Zombie movie and the latest exploits of the notorious Firefly Family will be no exception. After surviving the hyper stylised shootout to the strains of Freebird the degenerate threesome lays waste to the prison system.
Filmed in part in the same earthquake damaged decommissioned women’s prison used in Legally Blonde Zombie’s film will feature sky-high levels of senseless violence. Look out for gratuitous shotguns to the face and spectacular decapitations courtesy of Hugo Villasenor the man behind the grotesque killings of Bone Tomahawk.
Expect the usual contentious back and forth with the censors but also prepare for a different experience from its proceeding instalments House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects.
Due Date: March/April 2019
It was thought that Robert Egger’s follow up to the mighty horror marmite mountain that was The VVitch would be his unique take on Nosferatu. However, before we can feast our eyes on that 2019 will see the release of a fantasy-horror story set in the world of old seafaring myths called The Lighthouse.
Filmed on 35mm black and white stock with Eggers soon to be trademark single-minded attention to detail this tale of ageing lighthouse keeper “Old” is reported to be aesthetically gorgeous. Shot on the Leif Ericson trail at Cape Forchuin Nova Scotia the film will utilise some of the most starkly beautiful backdrops on the planet.
It also carries the creative stamp of approval of being released by the incredible A24 who appear to have a ruthless world domination plan to hoover up any quality cutting edge horror film that crosses their path.
Main cast members Willem Dafoe, who endured the vehemence of Antichrist and Robert Pattinson have both gone on record emphasising the gruelling nature of the shoot. Not least a near waterboarding level of environmental realism.
The early word on the film describes a totally unique and ambitious universe that manages to somehow feel scary, suspenseful, wondrous and beautiful all at the same time.
Expect historically authentic high-end arthouse shocks blended with cerebral and intense emotional subtleties. That and a meticulously recreated 60ft late 2oth century lighthouse and an imperial shit-ton of windy rain and freezing fog.
Likely Due Date: June 2019 after a no doubt extensive festival run.
Inspired by an early Twilight Zone episode called Mirror US tells the tale of a likeable family terrorised by doppelgangers during an idyllic beach house vacation.
Jordan Peele has only been making movies since 2017 and already has more best picture nominations than any other black producer in film history. Get Out extrapolated a $4.5 million budget into a net profit of $124 million. His upcoming take on The Twilight Zone is the most awaited series of the year. Seldom has a genre player exploded on the scene with such force.
Securing the opening slot of this year’s prestigious SXSW festival Peele’s new film is supremely mischievous in its dealing of the race card. Having made racial tension the core theme of his debut he opts instead here to cast a black family as a statement of normality. He revels in the fact he has made the issue of race both everything and nothing in the space of two pictures.
The director had his cast watch 10 prominent horror flicks including The Shining and The Babadook and the early word is that Peele has taken these influences to craft intense periods of genuine terror.
Expect a popcorn social horror thriller with plenty of wry dark humour, scissor violence and the kind of confident film making that only manifests during a perfect storm of talent and circumstance.
Due Date: UK & US Cinemas March 22nd 2019
Brightburn uses the generic blueprint of the Superman story and gives it a nasty horror twist. What if a super-powered alien teenager was less altruistic apple pie and more evil bastard dick wad?
This James Gunn produced film was scuppered in the choppy wake of his tweet controversy and will move from innocent bystander to the main protagonist as it injects a dark sickness into the safe spaces of the Disney experience.
In a deliciously ironic twist of fate, it is directed by David Yarovesky who played a Goth Ravager in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Expect superb effects, subversive manipulations of superhero stereotypes and buckets of mega-violence.
Due Date: UK & US Cinemas 24th May 2019
A feral teen is plucked from a Catholic hospital by a bishop intent on transforming her into a poster girl for religious rehabilitation. However, the influence of her savage heritage is destined to unleash some catastrophic mommy issues for everybody.
This direct sequel to the controversial cult horror film The Woman is a passion project directed by the leading lady of the original Pollyanna McIntosh. Source material author Jack Ketchum and director Lucky McKee produce assuring continuity in this instalment of the trilogy started by inbred cannibal flick Offspring in 2009.
The titular Darlin’ is played by rising star Lauryn Canning who is reported to shine brightly enough in the role to signify a major breakout performance whilst McIntosh herself reprises her role from The Woman with typical commitment and relish.
Expect unflinching on-screen brutality, vicious social issue horror and plenty of ‘hell hath no fury‘ type carnage.
Due Date: Will get picked up at Cannes in May 2019
After his terrifying ordeal at the hands of The Overlook Hotel Danny Torrance blanks out his past by getting perpetually drunk. When he finally embraces sobriety his “shine” power re-emerges and he finds himself in a bitter battle with a nomadic band of ruthless quasi-immortals.
Grasping the potentially poisoned chalice of a sequel to one of the greatest films ever made in The Shining is the act of a director who is swimming in confidence. In a naturally smooth upsweep of his career arc, Mike Flanagan thinks he’s the man for the job. Flushed with the critical and popular success of his brilliant but overlong Netflix show The Haunting of Hill House and a superbly gruesome King adaptation already under his artistic belt (Gerald’s Game) it is hard to argue.
Flanagan went into the process with eyes wide open and with full recognition that the original Kubrick masterpiece would have to be acknowledged even though Doctor Sleep is a much different kind of novel. He even had a still-secret phone call with the original Danny Torrance after tracking the actor, who only ever appeared in one other movie, down. Ewan McGregor who plays grown-up Danny in the new film has hinted heavily that the script is incredibly faithful to the book and its classic theme of good vs evil.
Expect well-orchestrated jump scares, psychic skirmishes and absinthian beneath the line mutterings from mortally piqued horror cinema snobs.
Due Date: UK & US Cinemas Nov 8th 2019
An enraged young convict woman enlists the help of an Aboriginal tracker to hunt down the British soldiers responsible for an appaling attack on herself and her family.
Director Jennifer Kent follows critically acclaimed The Babadook with a genuinely punishing western revenge thriller set in the implacable Tasmanian wilderness of 1825. The film is totally different from her debut in terms of subject matter but similar in terms of tone and emotional gravity.
Presented with a stern pre-warning at The Sundance Film Festival The Nightingale is relentless in its autopsy of human brutality and will be one of the most shocking releases of 2019.
Expect cleverly transposed social commentary, near constant harrowing violence, bodies in trees and a numb arse from its epic runtime.
Due Date: UK & US Cinemas Summer 2019
A faded low tier rock star tries to impress a kind-hearted kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline by acting as a chaperone on a petting zoo outing. As they become entrenched in a zombie apocalypse they must all dig deep to protect the children from becoming a mini buffet.
This Australian zom-com has plenty of blood and gore to please undead addicts but it is the strong performances and visual gags that will win your heart. The movie belongs to Lupita Nyong’o who will soon be one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. Fresh from the huge, and not a little controversial, success of Black Panther she rules in the upcoming horror behemoth Us and then heads up the remake of incomparably violent John Woo heroic bloodshed masterpiece The Killer.
Expect foul dialogue, instant cult status and Nyong’o going zombie-mental with a spade.
Due Date: Neon, Hulu Summer 2019
TONE – DEAF
Angsty Olive has had an all too common millennial meltdown. Her relationship is in the dumpster and she is recently unemployed. Looking for a therapeutic bolt-hole to massage her sensibilities she makes the always terrible mistake of renting a house in….the country. The house is owned by old school widower Harvey who is struggling to suppress strong psychopathic tendencies. Cue a brutal generation clash for the ages.
Riding on the wave of mistrust and incredulity that currently rages across America this film could not feel more relevant if it featured Donald Trump spanking Russel Brand across the buttocks with a rolled up copy of The New York Times.
The director Richard Bates Jr. has a super spicy body of work behind him with Excision, Suburban Gothic and the massive cult festival hit Trash Fire. The special effects are coordinated by the legendary Frank Ceglia whos truly epic career spans Spielberg’s first feature 1941 to Marvel’s latest series Runaways.
Expect razor-sharp dialogue, a comedic postmortem of the American dream and sudden scenes of abject violence.
Due Date: Mid 2019
Young couple Dani and Christian journey to a Swedish village called The Hargas during its fabled mid-summer festival where strange traditions and rituals abound. Dani has recently experienced a devastating family tragedy and as a result, becomes plagued by a hideous sense of foreboding. Soon it becomes apparent that they have stumbled upon a dangerous pagan cult.
No film split audiences more in 2018 than Ari Aster’s troubling Hereditary. This sophomore effort is easily the most eagerly awaited by the horror community as they anticipate more high-class frights. Aster has shown the same meticulous attention to detail as his debut by constructing and building an entire village from scratch to use as a set.
The film is structured in a similar escalating fashion to Aronofsky’s Mother with a final act that will keep the internet discussion forums buzzing for months. Darker and more violent than Hereditary, Midsommar offers an unflinching meditation of the consequences of an unbalanced and tormented inner psyche.
Expect devastating agism, abrupt acts of astonishing savagery, an ultra traumatising drug flashback and swathes of gaudy floral attire.
Due Date: UK & US Cinemas Aug 9th 2019