If you’ve been keeping up on our 2018 year-end coverage, then you already know it’s been another great year in horror. But as 2018 is now over, it’s time to look ahead to the new year.
We officially can’t wait for 2019 – the release calendar looks ridiculously stacked. There’s an insane amount of horror on the horizon, from highly anticipated reboots, sophomore efforts by breakout voices in horror, festival darlings, and so, so much more. As this decade is winding down, it’s clear horror intends to end it with a bang.
Here’s what we’re most looking forward to:
Escape Room – January 4
The first major theatrical release of the year is the latest by director Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan, Insidious: The Last Key). Six strangers are lured to a mysterious room, and are forced to rely on their wits and each other to solve a series of traps in a game of life or death. Escape Room stars Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Logan Miller, Taylor Russell, and Adam Robitel.
Glass – January 18
Two years after M. Night Shyamalan surprised audiences with the tease of Unbreakable’s David Dunn (Bruce Willis) at the end of Split, he brings the unwitting superhero back in a major way by pitting him against not just former foe Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), but Split’s Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) as well. Anya Taylor-Joy’s Casey Cooke returns to the fold, too. More Crumb and Dunn sounds great, and it’ll be interesting to see how these characters collide. It’s a safe bet that Shyamalan has more surprises in store.
The Final Wish – January 24
Co-written by Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination) based on his story, The Final Wish stars Lin Shaye, Tony Todd, Spencer Locke, and Melissa Bolona. Shaye and Todd would be enough to pique our interest, but the plot follows a son returning home to help his grief-stricken mother after the death of his father and finds a mysterious object while going through his dad’s things. That object grants wishes, albeit in the nastiest way possible. Be careful what you wish for.
Jacob’s Ladder – (TBD)
This reboot is currently slated for February 1 release, but it’s been so quiet that I wouldn’t be surprised if it changes. Jacob’s Ladder is supposed to “honor the spirit and concept (of the original), while telling a different story.” The original followed a Vietnam vet returning from war and struggling to maintain his sanity as he’s plagued by hallucinations and surreal flashbacks. David M. Rosenthal directs the re-imagining, which stars Michael Ealy (Underworld: Awakening), Guy Burnet (“Ray Donovan”), Karla Souza (How to Get Away with Murder) and Nicole Beharie (“Sleepy Hollow”).
Piercing – February 1
Nicolas Pesce’s sophomore feature is a very different beast than his debut The Eyes of My Mother, and draws heavy influence from gialli films. Based on a novel by Ryu Murakami, it follows Reed (Christopher Abbot), a family man who decides to channel his frustrations by checking into a hotel and plotting to murder a prostitute. But when call girl Jackie (Mia Wasikowska) arrives, Reed realizes he may be in over his head. Stylish as it is twisted, and definitely violent, this is another film that makes Pesce a director to watch.
The Prodigy – February 8
A mother grows increasingly concerned about her son’s disturbing behavior and begins to believe something supernatural may be responsible. Taylor Schilling stars as mom Sarah, and It’s Jackson Robert Scott plays her son Miles. But the biggest reason The Prodigy is a horror film we can’t wait to watch? It’s directed by Nicholas McCarthy who brought us gems like The Pact and At the Devil’s Door.
St. Agatha – February 8
The latest by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Repo! The Genetic Opera) is a period horror film set in the 1950s, and follows a pregnant unwed woman seeking shelter at an isolated convent. Unfortunately, the strict nuns are a lot more sinister than they initially appear, and Bousman revives the nunsploitation genre with nerve-fraying tension and primal rage.
Happy Death Day 2U – February 14
This sequel to 2017’s surprise hit Happy Death Day sees poor Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) getting sucked back into the vicious time loop that has her dying on repeat in order to solve who’s behind the baby-faced mask. In other words, much more fun and more Rothe letting loose as Tree, both a huge plus. Happy Death Day 2U is the perfect Valentine’s Day treat.
Climax – March 1
On paper, this plot doesn’t exactly sound like horror – a group of dancers gather together in an empty school building to rehearse and cut loose. But someone has spiked their sangria with LSD, and their night descends into a hallucinatory nightmare. I should also mention that this is written and directed by Gaspar Noe (Irreversible, Enter the Void), so it doesn’t get much more horrific than Climax. Brutal, mesmerizing, and disturbing.
The Hole in the Ground – March 1 (January 31 DirecTV)
Acquired by A24 ahead of its Sundance premiere, The Hole in the Ground will be available on January 31 for DirecTV subscribers. The rest of us will have to wait until March. This Irish horror film stars Seána Kerslake as a mother attempting to build a new life for her and her son in a rural home at the edge of a forest that happens to have a massive sinkhole. When her son disappears into the forest one night only to reappear unharmed soon after, she begins to suspect that whatever returned isn’t her son.
Us – March 22
Arguably the most anticipated film of the first quarter, Jordan Peele’s sophomore effort promises to bring the horror. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker, Us follows a family’s vacation gone wrong when uninvited visitors arrive. What begins as a seeming home invasion film turns into something more with Peele’s The Tethered – terrifying doppelgangers of the family. This one looks intense, and new monster mythology potential is always a plus.
Pet Sematary – April 5
One of Stephen King’s scariest novels gets a new adaptation, this time by directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes). The Creed family will discover that sometimes dead is better when they move to a rural home along a dangerously busy road and tragedy strikes. Kölsch and Widmyer are serious King fans, and we can expect them to bring something new and different to the story than the 1989 adaptation. Pet Sematary stars John Lithgow, Jason Clarke, and Amy Seimetz.
Hellboy – April 12
Actor David Harbour (Stranger Things) bears the Right Hand of Doom this time, for the reboot adaptation of Mike Mignola’s beloved comic series. Directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Dog Soldiers), expect a bloodier take on the comic character that promises to more closely align with its comic roots. Hellboy also stars Milla Jovovich, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, and Ian McShane.
The Curse of La Llorona – April 19
This is the feature film debut by Michael Chaves, who has since been tapped to helm the next entry in The Conjuring series. It’s about time we got a major horror movie about the creepy folktale of The Weeping Woman, a ghost of a woman who lost her children and weeps while in search of them. Linda Cardellini stars as a social worker and single mother who catches the attention of La Llorona when she investigates a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment.
BrightBurn – May 24
What if Superman crashed on Earth as a baby, but wasn’t such an upstanding superhero? What if he was evil, instead? That’s the concept explored in this horror film produced by James Gunn, and co-written by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn. The film stars Elizabeth Banks, a woman so desperate for a child that she quickly assumes the role of mother when one crash lands from another planet in her backyard. She soon discovers that this alien child might not be the friendly kind.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters – May 31
Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Gidorah, all in one stunning film, as evidenced by the trailer. Do we really need anything more to be sold? Oh yeah, it’s also co-written and directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Trick ‘r Treat) and boasts a cast with Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, and so many more.
Child’s Play – June 21
At first glance, it seems the only real update in this remake is that Chucky is now Buddi, a high-tech doll for the modern era that has voice recognition, English language comprehension, and a different origin story than serial killer Charles Lee Ray. Aubrey Plaza stars as single mother Karen Barclay, who gifts the doll to her son Andy for his birthday. And if it turns out that this isn’t much more than a modern update, we still win- Don Mancini is working on a Child’s Play TV series with Chucky.
Grudge – June 21
Mark June 21 as a day for horror reimaginings, as the Takashi Shimizu horror movie about a cursed house with vengeful ghosts dooming any who enter to a violent end, is getting a new iteration. Directed by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother, Piercing), this iteration promises to be very different than the franchise we’re used to. Moreover, the cast is impressive; Grudge stars Andrea Riseborough (Mandy), William Sadler, Demian Bichir, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, Betty Gilpin, and John Cho. This looks to be the dark horse of June 21 releases.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged – August 16
It wouldn’t be summer without a shark horror movie, and director Johannes Roberts returns for the sequel to sleeper hit 47 Meters Down. This time the plot follows five divers exploring ruins of an underwater city, and quickly discover they’re not alone in the underwater caves. If Roberts can land another terrifying scare like the flare scene in the first film, this sequel will be golden. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged stars Nia Long and John Corbett.
Annabelle 3 – June 28
Currently untitled, the latest entry in the Annabelle spinoff series brings the Warrens into the fold, as the creepy doll wreaks havoc from her display case in the Warrens’ artifact room and awakens many other evil spirits resting there. The Haunting of Hill House’s Mckenna Grace stars as Judy Warren, and Madison Iseman as Judy’s babysitter Mary Ellen. Look for Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga to reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren in a smaller capacity, as well. Gary Dauberman, who penned the previous two Annabelle films, will be making his directorial debut.
The New Mutants – August 2
This film has gotten bumped back so many times that it’s plausible to happen again. Following a group of young mutants discovering their powers while held at a secret facility against their will, initial trailers indicated this would be a straight-up horror take on the superhero story. But the actual film didn’t really have much in the way of horror at all, so it was bumped for reshoots to add the horror. If it succeeds, The New Mutants could be just as exciting as the initial trailer suggested. Guess we’ll find out. Eventually.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – August 9
Based on Alvin Schwartz’s internationally best-selling book series, the movie follows a group of young teens solving a string of murders in their town. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, who has been working to get this movie made for a while now, Andre Ovredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) directs from a script by Daniel Hageman, Kevin Hageman and del Toro. Between Ovredal and del Toro, we’re sold, but if they can even partially capture the essence of illustrator Stephen Gammell’s creepy artwork, we’re in for a major treat.
It: Chapter Two – September 6
The highly anticipated conclusion to 2017’s It is finally here! Set 27 years after the events of the first film, most of the Loser’s Club have grown up and moved out of Derry. But the return of It has them returning to fulfill their promise to finish It off once and for all. The young cast of the Loser’s Club returns in flashback form, while the adult Loser’s Club is played by Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Jay Ryan, Bill Hader, Isaih Mustafa, James Ransone, and Andy Bean.
Zombieland 2 – October 11
Ten years after the first film, we finally get a sequel. The core cast returns, along with original director Ruben Fleischer. This time, Wichita, Little Rock, Tallahassee, and Columbus have to contend with growing pains within their makeshift family, new survivors, and evolving zombies. The real question is – can they top the Bill Murray cameo?
Are You Afraid of the Dark? – TBD
The beloved Nickelodeon 90’s anthology show that featured a group of teens gathering around the campfire to tell each other scary stories is getting a feature film adaptation, but plot details are scarce as of now other than it’ll be a completely original story. Gary Dauberman (Annabelle) penned an earlier script, and BenDavid Grabinski wrote the most recent draft. D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) was only recently tapped to direct, so the Paramount targeted release date of October 11 can potentially change. Either way, we’re in.
Doctor Sleep – November 8
Director Mike Flanagan takes on the works of Stephen King once more, and this time it’s for the sequel to The Shining; Doctor Sleep. A now adult Danny Torrence (Ewan McGregor) meets a young girl with very powerful Shining abilities unlike anyone he’s ever met. It’s the very thing that makes her a target from the dangerous True Knot, a vampiric group that preys on children like her to remain immortal. Dan must overcome his personal demons to protect her. Look, this had us at Flanagan, who’s proved uncanny at developing literary horror masterpieces. But we also really can’t wait to delve into the world of The Shining once again. That the release date was bumped up from January 2020 to the holiday season this year is also a great sign.
In the Tall Grass – Late 2019
Based on the novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, In the Tall Grass follows a brother and sister driving through rural Kansas on a road trip. When they stop to investigate cries for help, they find themselves lost in a field of, you guessed it, tall grass. Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice), and based on King and Hill’s story, you can expect things to get weird. The film stars Patrick Wilson and Rachel Wilson.
These films currently have no release date but are expected to arrive in 2019:
3 From Hell
This highly anticipated follow up to The Devil’s Rejects is going to be a very different experience, while still reuniting fans with the surviving members of the Firefly clan. Do we really need to know anything else? Take my money now, please.
Body at Brighton Rock
Written and directed by Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound), this survival thriller follows an inexperienced park ranger as she’s stuck guarding a dead body overnight on a remote mountain trail until authorities can arrive. It causes her to confront her deepest, darkest fears.
Written and directed by Larry Fessenden, Depraved looks to be a new, twisted take on the Frankenstein story. In it, a field surgeon suffering from PTSD makes a man out of body parts and brings him to life, but this is Fessenden at the helm, so we know there’s much more to it than meets the eye.
To be released on Netflix, Ciaran Foy (Citadel, Sinister 2) directs this supernatural story about a young boy battling an auto-immune disorder while stuck in a house that might be haunted. Eli stars Kelly Reilly, Lili Taylor, and Sadie Sink.
Robert Eggers follow up to The Witch is another period piece, this time set in 1890 Nova Scotia. It’s about an aging lighthouse keeper named Old, and stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. That’s really all we have to go on, other than the actors reported that their time on set was one of the most grueling experiences. So, you can bet we’re very curious.
What begins as a summer road trip movie for a young woman and her boyfriend turns into an absolute nightmare as the couple falls prey to a Pagan cult in Sweden. Oh yeah, and it’s Ari Aster’s immediate follow up to Hereditary. So, we want Midsommar in our eye holes immediately, please.
A remake of David Cronenberg’s original 1977, with Sylvia Soska and Jen Soska at the helm, Rabid sees central character Rose (Laura Vandervoort) aspiring to become a fashion designer until a gruesome accident leaves her so horribly disfigured that she turns to an experimental, untested treatment. As a result, it alters her personality from shy to extroverted, but it also comes with some horrific side effects.
What are you looking forward to in 2019?