The 68 Best Horror Movies of 2019

in fabric movie
'In Fabric' | A24
'In Fabric' | A24

It's officially a franchise: After ranking the best horror movies of 2017 and 2018, we completed the trilogy (and have even tacked on 2020 for good measure). Like any beloved franchise, the best horror movies ranking includes a careful mix of fan service and fresh ideas to keep both the horror devotee and the novice satiated. With 2019 in the books, it's time to reflect on the scariest, goriest, nerve-wracking horror movies of the year, and there's no shortage of material to work with. If you saw something good that I missed, or you want to yell at me respectfully for including a documentary on the list, find me on Twitter @scottEweinberg.

Like this kind of stuff? Good: Check out our picks for the Best Movies of 2019 and the Best TV Shows of 2019, and also our profiles of 9 Horror Directors Creeping You Out This Year and Next.

the prodigy movie
Orion Pictures

68. The Prodigy

Release date: February 8
Cast: Jackson Robert Scott, Taylor Schilling, Colm Feore
Director: Nicholas McCarthy (At the Devil's Door)
Why it's good: There's always room for another "killer kid" flick if you ask me, and while this one borrows quite a bit from both The Omen and Child's Play (yes, really), it also earns a lot of credit for being well-crafted, consistently creepy, and unexpectedly, well, dark. Plus that lead kid (Scott) is pretty damn great.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

thriller movie blumhouse

67. Thriller

Release date: April 14
Cast: Jason Woods, Jessica Allain, Mykelti Williamson
Director: Dallas Jackson
Why it's good: If you have an affection for the classic slasher flicks of years past (particularly the 1980 Canadian favorite Prom Night), here's a low-key but enjoyable homage that's packed with all the tragic pranks, hooded killers, red herrings, and (mostly) deserving victims you'd expect. It's nothing we haven't seen before, plot-wise, but there are enough interesting performances and plot contortions to keep things interesting until the late-arriving mayhem hits the screen. Plus it's set in South Central Los Angeles, which is pretty unique for a slasher flick.
Where to watch it: Netflix; rent on Amazon

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66. The Field Guide to Evil

Release date: March 29
Cast: Birgit Minichmayr, Marlene Hauser, Niharika Singh
Director: Several, including Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mommy)
Why it's good: Indie horror fans have no shortage of anthology flicks to choose from these days, and here's another decent effort to add to the list. Like virtually every multi-story horror film ever made, The Field Guide to Evil is a decidedly mixed bag -- the offerings here range from quietly fascinating to atmospheric yet dull -- but it does have the distinction of being a truly international affair; the segments found within represent myths, legends, and fears from nations like Austria, Hungary, India, Greece, Turkey, Poland, and the United States.
Where to watch it: Hulu; rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

the dead don't die
Focus Features

65. The Dead Don't Die

Release date: June 14
Cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny
Director: Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)
Why it's good: Longtime cult film icon Jim Jarmusch has made lots of films that have delighted critics and (indie-friendly) audiences in equal measure, but this oddball zombie comedy was noteworthy upon its release for earning all sorts of negative reviews and disappointed reactions. But I kind of liked it! Yes it's weird, droll, dry, and occasionally dumb, but it's really difficult to dislike a laid-back zombie invasion in which Bill Murray and Adam Driver are the laconic cops on the scene.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

the curse of la llorona
Warner Bros.

64. The Curse of la Llorona  

Release date: April 19
Cast: Linda Cardellini, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas
Director: Michael Chaves (feature film debut)
Why it's good: This sixth entry in the long-running horror series that also boasts two Conjurings, three Annabelles, and one Nun doesn't reinvent any wheels by revisiting the well-known Latin American legend of the "weeping woman" who stalks young children, but like the previous chapters, it knows how to deliver some satisfying scares in a very moody atmosphere.
Where to watch it: VOD

escape room movie
Sony Pictures

63. Escape Room

Release date: January 4
Cast: Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine, Logan Miller 
Director: Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key)
Why it's good: A bunch of strangers awaken inside of a booby-trapped maze. You know the drill by now. Take a dash of Hostel, a splash of Cube, and a good portion of Saw and you're pretty much up to speed on what Escape Room has to offer -- and yet, despite its relatively familiar set-up (and PG-13 rating), there's still a decent amount of clever twists, chills, kills, and (of course) escapes to be found here. 
Where to watch it: Starz; buy on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

Annabelle Comes Home
Warner Bros. Pictures

62. Annabelle Comes Home

Release date: June 26
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace
Director: Gary Dauberman
Why it's good: Between The Conjuring, The Nun, and previous Annabelle entries, this marks the seventh entry in the long-running occult horror series that's focused mostly on demonic possessions, very haunted houses, and (of course) extremely creepy dolls. This chapter seems especially geared towards younger horror fans, but that doesn't stop it from spinning a decent yarn and offering some highly amusing scares in the second half.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

Eric Zachanowich/Netflix

61. Fractured

Release Date: October 11
Cast: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Stephen Tobolowsky
Director: Brad Anderson (Session 9)
Why it's good: A stressed-out father drops his wife and daughter off at the hospital for a routine CAT scam, but when he returns to pick them up, they're nowhere to be found. Yes, we've all seen the "suddenly missing loved one" premise in countless movies and TV shows but director Brad Anderson is good at bringing some craft and color to even the most familiar of plots. (Check out 2013's The Call for an example.) Sam Worthington does an admirable job of playing the confused man who has no idea what's going on, and while you might figure out the big twist before the finale, it's still a suitably suspenseful way to spend 90 minutes.
Where to watch it: Netflix

belzebuth movie

60. Belzebuth

Release date: August 29
Cast: Tobin Bell, Joaquín Cosio, Tate Ellington
Director: Emilio Portes (The Popcorn Chronicles)
Why it's good: If you've seen at least one good "exorcism" movie (like, say, The Exorcist) then odds are you'll be familiar with where this brutal Mexican horror ends up -- but the material that comes before Act III (it focuses on a detective trying to crack the case of several dead children) is haunting and disturbing in equal measure. Definitely not for all tastes (trigger warning, again, for violence against children) but adventurous genre fans will probably appreciate the creepy occult goings-on and the sudden jolts of visceral horror.
Where to watch it: Shudder


59. Hellboy

Release date: April 12 
Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim
Director: Neil Marshall (The Descent)
Why it's good: While most of the critics (and the opening weekend audience) made their opinions immediately clear on the new movie version of Hellboy -- and the reactions were not kind -- I found myself having a fairly decent time with this R-rated adaptation -- despite some obvious glitches in the areas of clunky editing and inconsistent special effects quality. Guillermo del Toro's awesome Hellboy movies are lush and deeply imaginative pieces of dark fantasy. This new version seems content to plunk Hellboy and his eclectic mess of horror tropes into sort of a wise-assed Bond movie structure, and for the most part it works as amiably insane monster madness. Well, it did for me, anyway.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

zombieland 2
Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

58. Zombieland: Double Tap

Release date: October 18
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg
Director: Ruben Fleischer (Venom)
Why it's good: Yeah it's just more of the same, only 10 years later, but when you've got such a game cast, an amiable tone, not much plot to deal with, and a lot of colorful zombie carnage to offer, that's enough to warrant a mindlessly entertaining sequel. Chalk me up for Zombieland 3 in 2029.
Where to watch it: VOD soon

47 meters down uncaged
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

57. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Release date: August 16
Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju 
Director: Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down)
Why it's good: Four intrepid yet highly irresponsible young women decide to explore a sunken Mexican city, only to discover a whole bunch of blind, hungry sharks. This in-name-only sequel to the sleeper hit from a few years back is little more than an underwater slasher flick, but it's got some really nice cinematography, a slick score, and a nice handful of legitimately scary, suspenseful set pieces. As far as shark movies go, those assets alone make this an above-average B-movie cable flick.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

the body at brighton rock
Magnet Releasing

56. Body at Brighton Rock

Release date: April 26
Cast: Karina Fontes, Casey Adams, Emily Althaus
Director: Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound)
Why it's good: A young park ranger eager to earn her stripes discovers a dead body while patrolling deep in the woods -- and things get even creepier once a mysterious stranger starts poking around as well. It's a simple set-up, but it's also a well-crafted and quietly engaging thriller... especially when the plot twists start piling up.
Where to watch it: VOD


Release date: October 25
Cast: Carmen Ejogo, Theo Rossi, Emma Greenwell
Director: Zak Hilditch (1922)
Why it's good: A single mother on a dusty road trip finds herself in dire straits after her little girl is bit by a rattlesnake, but things get even freakier after she's offered a very dark bargain in exchange for her daughter's life. In other words, she's told she has to kill a total stranger before sundown. 
Where to watch it: Netflix

glass movie
Universal Pictures

54. Glass

Release date: January 18
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Bruce Willis
Director: M. Night Shyamalan (Unbreakable)
Why it's good: While it's safe to say that this bizarre third entry in a strange "anti-superhero" trilogy goes to some highly unexpected (and perhaps even unpopular) places, there's always something to be said for audacity and unpredictability, both of which M. Night Shyamalan exhibits here with no apologies. I'm not sure I even like this movie all that much -- despite a few great moments -- but I respect its boldness.
Where to watch it: HBO Go/Now; buy on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

pet sematary
Paramount Pictures

53. Pet Sematary

Release date: April 5
Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimitz, John Lithgow
Director: Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes)
Why it's good: There's not much here that fans of the Stephen King novel (and Mary Lambert's 1989 adaptation) haven't seen before, but this one avoids the "stinky remake" curse because it does manage to throw in a few new twists we didn't see coming, plus the cast is great and the titular "sematary" is brought to life (relatively speaking) in very creepy fashion. Fair warning that this is definitely a downbeat horror story, but hey, so is the source material.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

nightmare cinema movie
Cranked Up Cinema

52. Nightmare Cinema

Release date: May 29
Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Mickey Rourke, Belinda Balaski
Director: Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead), Joe Dante (Gremlins), Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus), David Slade (30 Days of Night), Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers)
Why it's good:  Virtually every horror anthology you'll ever come across could be described as a "mixed bag," and that's the case once again with this low-budget, but generally amusing, collection. Highlights include a truly creative slasher flick subversion that opens the anthology, plus we get Joe Dante tackling plastic surgery and a few more freaky stories that deliver the goods. Unfortunately, the final segment is way too long for its own good, and it treads some highly familiar supernatural territory. Still, on the whole, a worthwhile effort that you should check out if you dig mini tales of terror.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

Sony Pictures

51. Brightburn

Release date: May 24
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Jackson Dunn, David Denman
Director: David Yarovsky (The Hive
Why it's good: Ever wondered what would happen if Superman turned out to be, well, evil? The writers of this movie sure have! Brightburn plays exactly like a modern re-telling of Superman's arrival here on Earth, only this time around he's an alien who only seems decent. But once early adolescence rears its head, this poor kid goes from an awkward outcast to something monumentally snotty, belligerent, and violent. The pre-teen from hell, essentially. Although fairly predictable, given that it's unofficially based on a story we all know pretty well, this mean-spirited horror story does manage to deliver a few unexpected shocks and dark jolts.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, YouTube, Vudu, and VOD

haunt 2019
Momentum Pictures

50. Haunt

Release date: September 13
Cast: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain
Director: Scott Beck & Bryan Woods
Why it's good: It presents a very standard premise -- a bunch of friends find themselves trapped and helplessly lost in a very creepy but ostensibly "fake" haunted house -- but still manages to deliver a big bag of both tricks and treats. It takes a little while for the flick to find its feet but once we get past some fairly standard plot and character set-up and settle into the scary stuff, there's a good deal of freaky funhouse style amusement to be found.
Where to watch it: Shudder

the golem movie
Epic Picture Group

49. The Golem

Release date: February 5
Cast: Hani Furstenberg, Ishai Golan, Kirill Cernyakov
Director: Doron & Yoav Paz (Jeruzalem)
Why it's good: There hasn't been a movie version of this supremely creepy old myth since 1920, and this long overdue, low-budget but beautifully shot new version stands as a fascinating adaptation in its own right. Sometimes described as Jewish folklore's take on the Frankenstein legend, the story takes place in 17th century and deals with an monster conjured to fight against evil men, but of course the monster only makes things much, much worse.
Where to watch it: VOD

into the dark pilgrim

48. Pilgrim

Release date: November 1
Cast: Reign Edwards, Kerr Smith, Courtney Henggeler
Director: Marcus Dunstan (The Collector)
Why it's good: Once again, the mixed bag that is Hulu's horror anthology Into the Dark yields a unique, bizarre, and creepily compelling tale of privilege, entitlement, appropriation, and... well, retribution. Suffice to say that a Thanksgiving gimmick goes freakishly awry when a pair of "pilgrims" attend a modern Thanksgiving feast.
Where to watch it: Hulu

Dark Sky Films

47. Darlin'

Release date: July 12
Cast: Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Pollyanna McIntosh
Director: Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman)
Why it's good: The unlikely indie horror trilogy that began with Offspring (2009), and continued with The Woman (2011) draws to a close with Darlin'. "The Woman" herself (Pollyanna McIntosh) takes over the directorial reins and delivers a pitch-black horror comedy that takes aim at evil men and the social structures they hide behind -- such as religion, medicine, politics, and plain old sexism.
Where to watch it: Stream on Tubi; rent on iTunes, Amazon, VOD

black christmas
Universal Pictures

46. Black Christmas

Release date: December 13
Cast: Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donohue
Director: Sophia Takal (Always Shine)
Why it's good: There was some degree of controversy when this remake of the 1974 Canadian classic was delivered with a PG-13 rating -- but the first remake (from back in 2006) was both extremely R rated and not very good. Fortunately this revisit is creepier, funnier, and smarter than the previous one, and like its predecessors, the new rendition gives the women some time to shine. But be sure to check out the original first.
Where to watch it: Theaters

rabid 2019 movie
Shout! Studios

45. Rabid

Release date: December 13
Cast: Laura Vandervoort, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Stephen McHattie
Director: Jen & Sylvia Soska (American Mary)
Why it's good: Some genre fans might say it's wrong to remake David Cronenberg, but hey, one of Cronenberg's very best movies (The Fly) is a remake, so it only seems fair. Plus it turns out that this remake of Cronenberg's fourth feature is pretty impressive in its own right as it updates the cult classic tale of sexuality, alienation, and infection. 
Where to watch it: VOD

into the dark culture shock
Greg Gayne

44. Culture Shock

Release date: July 4
Cast: Martha Higareda, Richard Cabral, Barbara Crampton
Director: Gigi Saul Guerrero (ABCs of Death 2)
Why it's good: Hulu's "Into the Dark" horror film series has been a decidedly mixed bag -- although certainly worthy of a look if you dig the scary stuff -- but this entry ranks among the best of the bunch. It's about a desperate Mexican woman who tries to cross the U.S. border, and ends up in a very twisted sort of Twilight Zone landscape. Smart, darkly funny, and unexpectedly freaky.
Where to watch it: Hulu

eli movie

43. Eli

Release date: October 18
Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Kelly Reilly, Lili Taylor
Director: Ciaran Foy (Citadel)
Why it's good: A young boy with a rare autoimmune deficiency comes to realize that his creepy new hospital is probably -- you guessed it -- very haunted. It's a simple set-up with some impressive assets and a few cool twists. (Full review here.)
Where to watch it: Netflix

ma movie
Universal Pictures

42. Ma

Release date: May 31
Cast: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis
Director: Tate Taylor (The Girl on the Train)
Why it's good: Some actors are so much fun to watch you can simply write a character for them and build the whole movie around them. It's generally known as a "star vehicle" -- and that's precisely what Ma is for Octavia Spencer. Oh, sure, this fairly straightforward thriller -- which is about a bunch of teenage friends who take advantage of a quietly unhinged woman in their neighborhood -- would probably be decent enough with anyone in the lead role, but it's the effortless wit, warmth, and (occasional) weirdness of Octavia Spencer that makes Ma a whole lot better than average.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

all that we destroy hulu

41. All That We Destroy  

Release date: May 3
Cast: Israel Broussard, Aurora Perrineau, Samantha Mathis
Director: Chelsea Stardust (Satanic Panic)
Why it's good: A brilliant scientist has discovered the key to human cloning, and what does she use it for? Crafting a collection of victims for her psychotic son. Yeah. This one's pretty dark. But it's also fairly smart, focusing as it does on the prickly moral quandaries that inevitably arise when someone pushes Mother Nature too far -- or when you've got a bloodthirsty lunatic locked inside your house. Easily one of the best of Hulu's "Into the Dark" movie series. 
Where to watch it: Hulu

luz horror movie
Yellow Veil Pictures

40. Luz

Release date: July 19
Cast: Luana Velis, Jan Bluthardt, Johannes Benecke
Director: Tilman Singer
Why it's good: A young woman stumbles into a police station to report an attack -- only it turns out to be a demonic attack. As in, she truly believes that an evil, otherworldly spirit is pursuing her. The setting, the set-up, and the enjoyably bizarre approach to such a potentially familiar story are all suitably scary... but what if this young woman isn't crazy? What if she's right? The debut feature from Tilman Singer is consistently strange, quietly disturbing, and sometimes difficult to decipher, but it's never less than fascinating.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

the wind
IFC Films

39. The Wind

Release Date: April 5
Cast: Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles, Ashley Zukerman
Director: Emma Tammi
Why it's good: A woman in the middle of nowhere begins to realize that something very unpleasant is roaming the nearby landscape. Bolstered by two fantastic performances and a mounting intensity that pays off in impressive fashion, this slow-burn but well-paced chiller set on the desolate 19th century frontier of untamed America is definitely worth checking out.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

freaks movie
Well Go USA

38. Freaks

Release date: September 13
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park
Director: Zach Lipovsky & Adam B. Stein
Why it's good: It requires just a little bit of patience (and an open mind) to appreciate what this clever sci-fi/horror combo has to offer, but for those who give it a fair shot, Freaks delivers an unexpectedly smart and satisfying piece of storytelling. It's about a seemingly psychotic man who keeps his daughter locked inside their home -- but maybe there's a good reason for the man's manic behavior.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, etc

sweetheart movie
Universal Pictures

37. Sweetheart

Release date: October 15
Cast: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen, Hanna Mangan Lawrence
Director: J.D. Dillard (Sleight)
Why it's good: A young woman survives a shipwreck and washes ashore on a deserted island, all of which is scary enough; but it turns out there's also a freakish sea monster that roams the beach at night looking for something to eat. Imagine sort of a gender-switched Robinson Crusoe story, only with the added threat of a sea monster, and you may enjoy this well-shot and gradually intensifying thriller.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

child's play 2019
United Artists Releasing

36. Child's Play

Release date: June 21
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Mark Hamill
Director: Lars Klevberg (Polaroid)
Why it's good: Chucky's earned himself a whole bunch of sequels by this point -- and he also has a TV series in the works -- so it only makes (financial) sense to deliver a remake of some sort. And to its credit, this reboot does manage to find its own footing while still capturing some of the goofy B-movie fun of the 1987 original. For example, this time around Chucky isn't just a toy; he's a multimedia app that can do a whole lot more damage than his knife-wielding predecessor.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

satanic panic 2019 movie

35. Satanic Panic

Release date: September 6
Cast: Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O'Connell, Hayley Griffith
Director: Chelsea Stardust (Seeing Green)
Why it's good: An affable young pizza delivery woman stumbles across a cult full of witches who of course worship Satan, and she spends the rest of the night trying to stay one step ahead of the bloodthirsty lunatics. This energetic horror comedy is sillier than it is scary, by design; it's populated by a collection of game actors who seem to get the joke, and features a few gore scenes that'll delight the hardcore horror fans.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

the banana splits movie
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

34. The Banana Splits Movie

Release date: August 13
Cast: Dani Kind, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carere
Director: Danishka Esterhazy (H & G)
Why it's good: Now here's a weird one! Someone took an obscure old kid's series from the 1970s and decided to turn it into a gory horror movie with a firm satirical edge! It's a bizarre idea to be sure, but if you've ever found yourself creeped out by those big, freaky Chuck E. Cheese characters -- or if you're a fan of the Five Nights at Freddy's video games -- then you might have a fairly good time with this bizarre concoction. And then show it to your parents to see what they think.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

the girl on the third floor
Dark Sky Films

33. Girl on the Third Floor

Release date: October 25
Cast: Phil Brooks, Sarah Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn
Director: Travis Stevens
Why it's good: A dutiful husband arrives at his new home with plans of fixing the place up for his pregnant wife, only to discover freaky noises, spongy goo in the walls, and a handful of exceedingly odd neighbors. And that's before the scary stuff begins. Leading man Phil Brooks (aka C.M. Punk) evokes an Evil Dead-era Bruce Campbell with the big chin, huge eyes, and painful pratfalls as he struggles with his domestic headaches situation. This one's sort of a sampler platter of haunted house, slasher flick, and straight-up genre weirdness.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

knives and skin
IFC Midnight

32. Knives and Skin

Release date: December 6
Cast: Kate Arrington, Marika Engelhardt, Tim Hopper
Director: Jennifer Reeder (Signature Move)
Why it's good: This unique and oddly compelling high school thriller borrows from a few fascinating inspirations; to me it felt like a twisted combination of David Lynch, Heathers, and Glee! Ultimately it's about a girl who goes missing, the politics of adolescence, and the cruelty of youth. Plus it's got some great music.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, etc.

kindred spirits

31. Kindred Spirits

Release date: October 24
Cast: Caitlin Stasey, Thora Birch, Macon Blair
Director: Lucky McKee (The Woman)
Why it's good: What starts out like a typical mid-'90s-style "estranged psycho sister" story gradually evolves into a full-bore horror story that boasts more than a few dark surprises. (As if we'd expect something truly conventional from Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson.) To say much more would spoil the surprises but keep an eye out for this Lifetime movie next year.
Where to watch it: Lifetime

in the tall grass

30. In the Tall Grass

Release Date: October 4
Cast: Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Patrick Wilson
Director: Vincenzo Natali (Splice)
Why it's good: The nasty little novella from Stephen King and Joe Hill gets the inevitable movie treatment; fortunately the producers thought to hire one of the most consistent genre directors around. Two grown siblings get lost within a sea of very tall grass, only to discover that this particular patch of land contains threats both mundane and, well, exceedingly freaky. Earns bonus points for consistently finding new ways to keep the location both visually compelling and subtly threatening.
Where to watch it: Netflix

little monsters hulu

29. Little Monsters

Release date: October 11
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Alexander England, Josh Gad
Director: Abe Forsythe
Why it's good: Just when you think the zombie comedy is played out, we get not only the brilliant One Cut of the Dead from Japan, but also this energetic winner from Australia. Nyong'o (who also stars in Us, another of this year's best horror films) plays a lovable schoolteacher who has to contend with an obnoxious new suitor, a whole bunch of adorable kids, an astoundingly annoying TV host, and a sudden zombie invasion. It's a lot of fun.
Where to watch it: Hulu

Universal Pictures Australia

28. Boar

Release date: June 25
Cast: Nathan Jones, John Jarratt, Bill Moseley
Director: Chris Sun (Come and Get Me)
Why it's good: It's safe to say that Spielberg's original Jaws pretty much kick-started an entire sub-genre filled with ravenous sharks, bears, snakes, alligators, and giant pigs! Boar is clearly -- even enthusiastically -- inspired by the 1984 Australian cult classic Razorback, and while the movie treads on some familiar ground, there's always something to be said for an "animal attack" movie that delivers the gory goods in quick, slick, efficient fashion. Plus the giant pig puppets are pretty damn scary.
Where to watch it: Shudder

the hole in the ground
DirecTV Cinema

27. The Hole in the Ground

Release date: February 26
Cast: Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Simone Kirby
Director: Lee Cronin (Minutes Past Midnight)
Why it's good: A struggling single mom must contend with a new home, an ominous neighbor, a strange kid, and a gigantic freaking sinkhole in the woods behind her house. I'm usually a sucker for low-key Irish horror flicks, and while this one takes a little while to warm up, it turns out to be a quietly satisfying chiller when all is said and done.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

godzilla king of the monsters
Warner Bros.

26. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Release date: May 31
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown
Director: Mike Dougherty (Trick 'r Treat)
Why it's good: There are few things I love more than a good kaiju movie. Doesn't matter where it's from. Obviously the Japanese are the masters, but you'll also find some giant monster epics from South Korea (The Host), Norway (Troll Hunter), and the US. Godzilla's latest Hollywood production is, for my money, the best one yet, and a worthy counterpart to the equally entertaining Kong: Skull Island from a few years back. Plot? Four ancient kaiju (including Godzilla) have awakened from hibernation and destroy a whole bunch of stuff while a group of hard-working character actors do all they can to keep the "talky bits" interesting. And they pull it off!
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play

depraved horror movie
IFC Midnight

25. Depraved  

Release date: September 13
Cast: David Call, Joshua Leonard, Alex Breaux
Director: Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter)
Why it's good: The classic Frankenstein story gets a modern retelling in this grim, strange, and quietly compelling feature from longtime indie favorite Larry Fessenden. Most of the requisite components are on hand -- such as a stitched-together corpse and a diseased brain -- but this version also taps into some decidedly modern themes as well, including PTSD, pharmaceutical company malfeasance, and the true definition of "toxic" masculinity. 
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

Paramount Pictures

24. Crawl

Release date: July 12
Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Ross Anderson
Director: Alexandre Aja (High Tension)
Why it's good: Horror fans love a good killer croc (or alligator) flick, from 1980's Alligator to the snarky Lake Placid, with lots of goofy indie flicks in between. (Plus there are lots of good gator movies from outside the U.S.!)  And here's a nifty new addition to the list: It's about a young woman, her injured dad, a flooded house, and a throng of exceedingly hungry alligators. The flick may take a little while to get moving, but ultimately delivers a solid meal of tension, suspense, and nasty shocks.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

in fabric

23. In Fabric

Release date: December 6
Cast: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Julian Barratt
Director: Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio)
Why it's good: Call it weird, avant garde, or plain or "artsy" but there's something undeniably fascinating about this bizarre tale of a haunted garment, and the lives it touches in rather horrific ways. In the hands of a conventional genre filmmaker the premise alone would prevent the viewer from taking the material seriously, but then Peter Strickland is not a conventional genre filmmaker. Yes, it's bizarre but the patient viewer is rewarded with some smart, subtle, scary filmmaking.
Where to watch it: VOD

climax movie

22. Climax

Release date: March 1
Cast: Sofia Boutella, Lea Vlamos, Souheila Yacoub
Director: Gaspar Noé (Enter the Void)
Why it's good: Gaspar Noé sure knows how to make divisive movies. Not just as in films that divide audiences down the middle, either; I admire and detest this movie in (almost) equal measure, which is generally what Noé is going for in the first place. On a surface level, Climax is about a large dance troupe whose big party is ruined when someone spikes the punch with hard drugs and everyone pretty much loses their mind. The movie starts out in fascinating fashion -- a bunch of interviews with the dancers is followed by one of the wildest dance numbers you'll ever see -- then it slowly, gradually, eventually gets all sorts of mean, cruel, nihilistic, and nasty. Whether or not there's an actual point to all this madness, however, is up to you.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

click to play video

21. Bliss

Release Date: September 27
Cast: Dora Madison, Tru Collins, Jeremy Gardner
Director: Joe Begos (Almost Human)
Why it's good: An angry young artist finds her muse after getting hooked on a freaky new drug and discovering a taste for human blood. Works as a legitimate metaphor about the angst-laden existence of the starving artist, but also kicks some ass as a gritty, freaky, nasty vampire story, thanks in large part to a great lead performance and a perpetually intense visual palate.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

the head hunter
Vertical Entertainment

20. The Head Hunter

Release date: April 5
Cast: Christopher Rygh, Cora Kaufman
Director: Jordan Downey (ThanksKilling)
Why it's good: A lone warrior in an unnamed ancient land does battle with all sorts of monstrous foes, until one day he gets a chance to avenge the death of his only child. This darkly beautiful and powerfully atmospheric import is light on plot but heavy on mood, plus it's pretty short and to the point, and the ending is pretty damn solid.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

happy death day 2u
Universal Pictures

19. Happy Death Day 2U

Release date: February 13
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Phi Vu, Israel Broussard
Director: Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day)
Why it's good: We horror fans will speak up, and not happily, when a new sequel turns out to be little more than an unthoughtful copy of the previous film. So let's give some credit to a horror sequel that not only heads off in some unexpected directions, but some pretty weird ones, too. Those who loved the first film's "slasher Groundhog Day" set-up will find more to enjoy here, but to its credit, HDD2U also dives headfirst into the science-fiction pond -- plus it's even funnier than the first flick.
Where to watch it: Stream on HBO Go/Now; buy on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

hagazussa movie

18. Hagazussa: A Heathen's Curse

Release date: April 19
Cast: Aleksandra Cwen, Claudia Martini, Tanja Petrovsky
Director: Lukas Fiegelfeld
Why it's good: If you're down with a damn good piece of slow-burn arthouse horror cinema, this German import is an accomplished debut indeed. It's basically about a shunned woman who lives on the edge of the forest, and how she's mistreated by the locals (just like her mother was when she was young) but something deep in the forest promises to help her break this cycle of abuse. And break it she does.
Where to watch it: Stream on Shudder and Amazon Prime

Dread Central Presents

17. Harpoon

Release Date: October 8
Cast: Emily Tyra, Munro Chambers, Christopher Gray
Director: Rob Grant (Alive)
Why it's good: Three estranged but oddly close friends find themselves trapped upon a drifting yacht with no way to control the vessel. And that's when all sorts of dark secrets start coming out, which leads to all sorts of twists, turns, betrayals, and back-stabbings. Loaded with darkly amusing moments, a few inspired set pieces, and unexpected bouts of sudden violence... not to mention a pretty great ending.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

ready or not
Fox Searchlight Pictures

16. Ready or Not

Release date: August 21
Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett (V/H/S)
Why it's good: A new bride quickly discovers that all of her in-laws are trying to kill her in order to appease an ancient curse that threatens to destroy their empire. The flick is basically one extended chase scene featuring a nastily colorful collection of villains, but leading lady Samara Weaving and a fun ensemble keep all the plates spinning. Plus the ending is a freaking blast.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

lifechanger movie
Uncork'd Entertainment

15. Lifechanger 

Release date: January 1
Cast: Lora Burke, Jack Foley, Bill Oberst Jr.
Director: Justin McConnell (Galaxy of Horrors)
Why it's good: A monstrous shapeshifter runs through a whole series of unfortunate victims on a quest to find a mysterious woman. Yes, the monster is the main character, which is fascinating by itself, but this clever indie horror flick also treads into some surprisingly deep, touching, and thought-provoking waters. It's also super gory, which is a plus.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

the perfection

14. The Perfection

Release date: May 26
Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber
Director: Richard Shepard (The Matador)
Why it's good: You know those wonderfully, willfully trashy thrillers about wealthy, gorgeous, talented people who end up doing simply terrible things to one another? This movie, which screened at Fantastic Fest in 2018, is exactly like that. It starts out like a war of wills between two world-class musicians... and then it quickly spins out of control in all sorts of dark and amusing ways. To say much more would ruin the dark surprises, but suffice to say it's delightfully insane.
Where to watch it:Netflix

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

13. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Release date: August 9
Cast: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush
Director: Andre Ovredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe)
Why it's good: The beloved scary storybooks of our pre-teen years have finally been transported to the big screen, and the result is a good deal of low-key, old-fashioned, family-friendly, and appreciably creepy fun. Several of the tales found in Alvin Schwartz's source material find themselves sprinkled into traditional framework about three adventurous teenagers and one haunted book, which is tougher than simply presenting the stories in anthology form. Plus the creature effects are really cool.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

Doctor sleep movie
Warner Bros.

12. Doctor Sleep

Release date: November 8
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran
Director:Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game)
Why it's good: If you're going to make a sequel to The Shining, here are two essential requirements: Stephen King has to write it, and there's probably nobody better to adapt it than Mike Flanagan, who did a great job with King's Gerald's Game. Here, Flanagan delivers another smart, dark, fascinating adaptation; Ewan McGregor plays the now-grown Danny Torrance -- and rather excellently -- who is forced to hit the road and do battle with a "shine"-swallowing vampire (Rebecca Ferguson, also great) who's nearly immortal.
Where to watch it: In theaters

daniel isn't real
Samuel Goldwyn Films

11. Daniel Isn't Real

Release date: December 6
Cast: Miles Robbins, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Mary Stuart Masterson
Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate)
Why it's good: This is a dark and challenging tale of a troubled young man whose "imaginary friend" makes an unwelcome return and inspires all sorts of horrible repercussions. Bolstered by a great script and some excellent performances, this is a smart and audacious piece of horror storytelling.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

the lighthouse movie

10. The Lighthouse

Release date: November 1
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman
Director: Robert Eggers (The Witch)
Why it's good: Two colorfully rotten men are tasked with keeping an isolated lighthouse running, but they quickly succumb to boredom, animosity, and frequently amusing madness. Visually striking and oddly compelling, this bizarre combination of dark comedy and offbeat thriller may go to some unexpected places, but it's certainly never boring.
Where to watch it: In theaters; rent on iTunes and VOD

horror noire: a history of black horror

9. Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror

Release date: February 9
Cast: Keith David, Tony Todd, Loretta Devine
Director: Xavier Burgin
Why it's good: This one is cheating a bit, because it's not a horror movie, but a fantastic documentary about the impact, influence, and artistry of black filmmakers within the horror realm. Since this is a space for horror fans, though, and this is a film horror fans should watch, I'm including it. It's often said that the best way to educate an audience is to entertain them at the same time; Horror Noire skimps on neither the education nor the entertainment. There's so much that's worth covering, Shudder could probably turn this into a longer series... and may have already considered it.
Where to watch it:Shudder

it chapter 2
Warner Bros. Pictures

8. It: Chapter Two  

Release date: September 6
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader
Director: Andy Muschietti (Mama)
Why it's good: Those adorable but frequently terrified "losers" from It are back -- only now it's 27 years later and most of those "losers" have gone on to have relatively happy lives. But unfortunately Pennywise the psychotic (and seemingly immortal) clown is back, which means it's time for a big reunion and a whole bunch of horrifying standoffs between our heroes and the freakish, kid-killing creature. Chapter Two makes for a perfectly horrific double feature with Chapter One, only this time around we have some pretty fantastic grown-ups doing the running and screaming.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

high life movie

7. High Life

Release Date: April 5
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin
Director: Claire Denis (Trouble Every Day)
Why it's good: If you're in the mood for something ambitious, strange, occasionally shocking, and oddly thought-provoking, here's a deep-space "adventure" story that rapidly devolves into chaos. It's about a bunch of condemned criminals put to work inside a space station that's on its way to a black hole... but why? Part sci-fi mind-twister, part claustrophobic horror story, it features some fantastic work from Pattinson and a whole lot to say about the innate nature of humanity -- and not much of it is pleasant. I'm not entirely sure I even "get" all of this flick after only one visit, but it certainly kept my interest throughout.
Where to watch it: Stream on Amazon; rent on iTunes, Vudu, VOD

velvet buzzsaw netflix

6. Velvet Buzzsaw

Release date: January 31
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette
Director: Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
Why it's good: The upper-crust Los Angeles art scene gets a firm punch in the mouth from this smart, weird, funny, and occasionally rather scary combination of social satire, jet-black farce, and smartly constructed horror. On the surface, Velvet Buzzsaw is about a collection of seemingly haunted paintings, but it's also a scathing indictment of how art is exploited at every turn. The entire cast is great, but it's Gyllenhaal's colorful portrayal of a smug art critic that keeps the forward momentum going.
Where to watch it:Netflix

one cut of the dead

5. One Cut of the Dead

Release date: September 24
Cast: Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama
Director: Shin'ichiro Ueda
Why it's good: Originally released in Japan in 2017, low-budget zombie film One Cut of the Dead will make its way to American shores this year for the first time ever thanks to Shudder. Initially, the movie gives the impression you're watching a very cheap, very familiar piece of Japanese zombie cinema. And then you realize that you're not watching a zombie invasion; you're watching a hard-working team film a zombie movie. That's when it gets slightly funny, but then an actual zombie invasion does break out -- and that's when One Cut of the Dead goes from slightly amusing to downright, drop-dead, brilliantly funny. To say much more would spoil the surprises, so I'll leave it at this: Horror fans will love this movie. And they will almost certainly watch this movie at least twice. It's that damn clever.
Where to watch it: Shudder

us movie

4. Us

Release date: March 22
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Director: Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Why it's good: What starts out like a potentially familiar "home invasion" thriller quickly evolves into a twisted, freaky mind-game in which impressively disturbing new ideas hide behind every other corner. On the surface, Us is about a mysterious family of horrific "doppelgängers," but dig just a little deeper and you'll find all sorts of fascinating themes and ideas. Plus, while the entire cast is aces, Lupita is simply amazing. Expect her to bring a nomination to the horror fiends early next year.
Where to watch it: Stream on HBO Go and HBO Now; rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

midsommar movie

3. Midsommar

Release date: July 2
Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Raynor, William Jackson Harper
Director: Ari Aster (Hereditary)
Why it's good: Have you ever found yourself on a vacation trip you immediately regretted? Weird people, freaky food, uncomfortable lodgings, and all you can do is try your best to grin and bear it until you can finally return home? We've all been there, and now there's a supremely creepy new "folk horror" story that captures that discomfort perfectly. In a nutshell, four college friends, plus one of the group's grieving girlfriends, decide to visit an obscure Swedish festival deep in the Scandinavian forest -- and let's just say things quickly go from odd to uncomfortable to downright horrific. To say much more would ruin the dreadful fun.
Where to watch it: Stream on Amazon; rent on iTunes, Vudu, VOD

parasite movie

2. Parasite

Release date: October 11
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, So-dam Park
Director: Bong Joon-ho (The Host
Why it's good: Call it a domestic thriller. Call it a (very) dark comedy or a scathing indictment of capitalism. You could even call it a horror movie, in some ways, but to explain precisely why would ruin some of the fun. Suffice to say that all the praise you've heard is well-deserved. This is social satire wrapped in a twisted soap opera with a side of unflinching brutality.
Where to watch it: In theaters; also available to purchase on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu

tigers are not afraid

1. Tigers Are Not Afraid

Release date: August 21 (NYC), August 23 (LA), with national rollout and VOD to follow
Cast: Paola Lara, Juan Ramon Lopez, Ianis Guerrero
Director: Issa Lopez
Why it's good: We've all seen some harrowing films about brutal drug cartels and the horrific impact they have on their native lands, but I cannot recall one that tells the story from the perspective of five homeless children, nor one with such a fascinating and poignant usage of dark fantasy and horror themes. Reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro's early films (particularly The Devil's Backbone, a stone-cold masterpiece), this is a brilliant, dark fable that has something essential to say about real-world tragedy, but it does so in such a wonderfully honest, powerful, and endlessly creative fashion. You simply won't find a much better genre film this year.
Where to watch it: Stream on Shudder; rent on YouTube

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Scott Weinberg is a film writer and critic who has written for outlets such as Playboy, FEARnet, and Nerdist. He tweets @scotteweinberg but ignores mean people.