Best Horror Movies of 2019, Ranked: Good New Scary Movies to …

Best Horror Movies of 2019, Ranked: Good New Scary Movies to Watch - Thrillist

It's officially a franchise: After ranking the best horror movies of 2017 and 2018, we're going for the trilogy. Like any beloved franchise, continued success will require a careful mix of fan service and fresh ideas, no easy task for an internet article. The year is far from over, but there are more than a few titles to include while we wait for the final glut of horror films to arrive in theaters and on demand.Which means you should check this space often, and 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.

Release date: February 8Cast: Jackson Robert Scott, Taylor Schilling, Colm FeoreDirector: 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

Release date: April 14Cast: Jason Woods, Jessica Allain, Mykelti WilliamsonDirector: Dallas JacksonWhy 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

Release date: March 29Cast: Birgit Minichmayr, Marlene Hauser, Niharika SinghDirector: 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

Release date: June 14Cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe SevignyDirector: 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

Release date: January 4Cast: Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine, Logan MillerDirector: 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:Hulu, Starz; buy on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

Release date: June 26Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna GraceDirector: Gary DaubermanWhy 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

Release Date: October 11Cast: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Stephen TobolowskyDirector: 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

Release date: August 29Cast: Tobin Bell,Joaqun Cosio, Tate EllingtonDirector: 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

Release date: April 12Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae KimDirector: 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

Release date: August 16Cast:Sophie Nlisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne TjuDirector: 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: Coming soon to VOD

Release date: January 18Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Bruce WillisDirector: 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

Release date: April 5Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimitz, John LithgowDirector: 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

Release date: May 29Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Mickey Rourke, Belinda BalaskiDirector: Alejandro Brugus (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

Release date: September 13Cast: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClainDirector: Scott Beck & Bryan WoodsWhy 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:Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD

Release date: June 21Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Mark HamillDirector: 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

Release date: August 13Cast:Dani Kind, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo CarereDirector: 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

Release date: July 12Cast: Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Pollyanna McIntoshDirector: 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:Rent on iTunes, Amazon, VOD

Release date: May 24Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Jackson Dunn, David DenmanDirector: 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

Release date: October 25Cast: Phil Brooks, Sarah Brooks, Trieste Kelly DunnDirector: Travis StevensWhy 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: VOD

Release date: July 4Cast: Martha Higareda, Richard Cabral, Barbara CramptonDirector: 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

Release date: September 13Cast: David Call, Joshua Leonard, Alex BreauxDirector: 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

Release date: October 15Cast: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen,Hanna Mangan LawrenceDirector: 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: VOD

Release date: October 18Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Kelly Reilly, Lili TaylorDirector: 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

Release date: September 6Cast: Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O'Connell, Hayley GriffithDirector: 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

Release date: March 1Cast: Sofia Boutella, Lea Vlamos,Souheila YacoubDirector: Gaspar No (Enter the Void)Why it's good: Gaspar No 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 No 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

Release date: May 31Cast: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette LewisDirector: 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

Release date: May 3Cast:Israel Broussard,Aurora Perrineau,Samantha MathisDirector: 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

Release date: July 12Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Ross AndersonDirector: 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

Release date: July 19Cast: Luana Velis,Jan Bluthardt,Johannes BeneckeDirector: Tilman SingerWhy 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

Release Date: April 5Cast: Caitlin Gerard,Julia Goldani Telles,Ashley ZukermanDirector: Emma TammiWhy 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

Release Date: October 8Cast: Emily Tyra,Munro Chambers, Christopher GrayDirector: 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 Google Play, Vudu, VOD

Release date: August 21Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowellDirector: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: Coming soon to VOD

Release date: October 11Cast:Lupita Nyong'o, Alexander England, Josh GadDirector: Abe ForsytheWhy it's good: Just when you think the zombie comedy is played out, we get not onlythe 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

Release date: June 25Cast: Nathan Jones, John Jarratt, Bill MoseleyDirector: 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

Release date: May 31Cast: Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby BrownDirector: 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

Release Date: September 27Cast: Dora Madison, Tru Collins, Jeremy GardnerDirector: 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

Release date: April 19Cast:Aleksandra Cwen,Claudia Martini,Tanja PetrovskyDirector: Lukas FiegelfeldWhy 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

Release date: April 5Cast: Christopher Rygh, Cora KaufmanDirector: 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

Release date: February 26Cast:Sena Kerslake,James Quinn Markey, Simone KirbyDirector: 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

Release date: February 13Cast: Jessica Rothe, Phi Vu, Israel BroussardDirector: 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

Release Date: October 4Cast:Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Patrick WilsonDirector: 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

Release date: January 1Cast: 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

Release date: May 26Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven WeberDirector: 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 I have a sneaking suspicion that this movie will become a trending topic for at least one night. It's that insane.Where to watch it: Netflix

Release date: August 9Cast:Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel RushDirector: 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:In theaters

Release date: February 9Cast: Keith David, Tony Todd, Loretta DevineDirector: Xavier BurginWhy 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 Noireskimps 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

Release date: September 6Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill HaderDirector: 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:In theaters

Release Date: April 5Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Andr BenjaminDirector: 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:Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD.

Release date: January 31Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni ColletteDirector: 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 Buzzsawis 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

Release date:September 24Cast: Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi ShuhamaDirector: Shin'ichiro UedaWhy it's good: Originally released in Japan in 2017, low-budget zombie filmOne Cut of the Deadwill 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

Release date: July 2Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Raynor, William Jackson HarperDirector: 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:Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, VOD.

Release date: March 22Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth MossDirector: 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 "doppelgngers," 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: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and VOD

Release date: October 11Cast:Kang-ho Song,Yeo-jeong Jo,So-dam ParkDirector: 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

Release date:August 21 (NYC), August 23 (LA), with national rollout and VOD to followCast: Paola Lara, Juan Ramon Lopez, Ianis GuerreroDirector: Issa LopezWhy 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

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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.

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