Upcoming Horror (and Fringe Films) in 2019: The First Quarter
Oh, the New Year. A time to try and reinvent yourself, set new and bigger goals, to leave certain things behind. Also, the time to look forward to a slew of new movies. For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to break down 2019 quarterly and look at some of the most anticipated, exciting genre films hitting this year. Not just horror, mind you, but some of the fringe genre work as well. Here is our look at January through March, from demonic evil to the kind of evil that literally lives at home. Let us know what you’re excited about after checking out the slate below.
2018 was a landmark year for horror, despite numerous declarations against that idea, that saw huge success across the big and small screen. Where The Haunting of Hill House, Channel Zero and The Terror proved that horror has a quality home on television, a number of films continued to prove that horror is chugging along at an excellent pace. It seems that 2019 is going to continue that trend. Sure, it’s not going to be easy to follow up a year where we saw Hereditary, Upgrade, A Quiet Place, Halloween, Mandy...oh boy, this list really does go on and on, doesn’t it? With that being said, let’s take a look at this coming year.
The first theatrical release of 2019, Adam Robitel’s Escape Room was a surprise hit that looks primed and ready to launch a new franchise. Equal parts Saw and Cell with beautiful set design and cleverly designed kills, we’re hoping we haven’t see the last of the game themed horror film.
Dread Central Presents really made a name for themselves last year and they’re kicking off 2019 in similar fashion. Kelton Jones Dry Blood is a descent into madness that is one of the most intriguing and thought provoking horror movies to hit in a while and just more proof that Dread is doing great things for the genre.
Blumhouse has proven themselves a juggernaut for the genre and Glass is going to keep that stone rolling well into the new year. Split made a ridiculous amount of cash and this culmination of years of world building from M. Night Shyamalan is going to be a blockbuster kick off. With Bruce Willis back in full capacity, as well Samuel L. Jackson returning as the monstrously villainous Glass, it’s going to be a wild and action packed menace of a flick.
THE FINAL WISH
A little bit The Monkey’s Paw and a little bit Wishmaster, but with more Tony Todd and Lin Shaye. The Final Wish is about Aaron, who finds a strange item of power in his dad’s belongings, and his grief stricken family finds their lives turned upside down in far more than just an emotional capacity. Timothy Woodward Jr’s return to horror after a few years doing gangster and western film and television, the film seems to be in good hands with the cast and Jeffrey Reddick, screenwriter of Final Destination handling all the gruesome details.
We would be remiss if we left some of these international films off the list. Belzebuth is a Mexican horror movie about demonology and possession, starring Saw’s very own Tobin Bell. Full of terrifying childlike laughter and floating crucifixes, Belzebuth looks like a promising film in the vein of Deliver Us From Evil.
Indie horror picked up by IFC Midnight, the Zack Weiner written, Daniel Robbins directed film is a extremely dark satire of the world of college frats. Receiving early critical buzz, the brutal psychological and torture horror is as dark as humor gets, and just as violent.
Drawing comparisons to The Blair Witch Project, Wretch is the story of a drug trip gone bad. When a group of teens heads out to the woods to use hallucinogens, the night becomes a fragmented memory. As their personal lives start spiralling, they’re forced to try and piece together that night in the woods, but start turning on themselves and may even discover something much more malevolent.
EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE
Not quite full tilt horror but also probably nothing so actually terrifying. The psuedo-biopic on Ted Bundy, one of the most prolific and notorious serial killers in American history, Joe Berlinger directed and the movie takes place from the perspective of Bundy’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. Kloepfer is being portrayed by Lily Collins while the heart-throb Zac Efron is tackling the role of Bundy. Premiering at Sundance in January, we’re very interested in the true crime period piece and will keep you updated on a wide release.
Netflix dropped this visceral trailer on us earlier this month and horror fans rejoiced. It was a bombastic and enticing look at the new Dan Gilroy film. While we saw horror-ish trends in Nightcrawler, his reteaming effort with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo is jump into the deep end of horror. Spinning the high art world in a psychotic, savage flurry, it’s become one of our most anticipated films of the year.
I could try and write about this but Australian superman Aaron Dries has already perfectly described it: “PIERCING (2018) adapted and directed by Nicolas Pesce (THE EYES OF MY MOTHER), based on one of my favourite books by Ryu Murakami (AUDITION, TOKYO DECADENCE, KARAOKE TERROR, IN THE MISO SOUP). Now this is my kind of movie. Extremely funny, weirdly sweet, just plain weird, disturbing, and poppy. A psychosexual horror-spin on WAR OF THE ROSES with lots of repression and miscommunication to boot. Kind of like if Roger Avery directed PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE with a 1970s score by Goblin. Screening here in Australia for two nights only, this movie really made my day.”
Actress turned writer/director Mitzi Peirone is helming Braid, which looks like an absolutely fantastical head trip of a movie. Spinning home invasion and heist films on their head by adding in a wild world of dangerous imagination, Braid looks like a stunning, psychosexual debut from a promising young talent.
Dread Central Presents spent 2018 proving that they’re an eclectic and widely versed boutique label. With a wide range of horror films, from camp holiday horror Slay Belles to Kane Hodder doc To Hell and Back, they’ve become a must watch distributor. Now, they’re putting out their first original. The historical horror film The Golem is a religious and bloody supernatural tale of Jewish folklore that has all too prescient themes. Directed by the Paz Brothers, who have tackled similar territory effectively with JeruZalem, The Golem is guaranteed to help cement Dread as genre staples.
THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS
We have seen about a dozen or so incarnations of the famous haunting of Amityville at this point, with the most well known still being the original from 1979 and it’s 2005 remake. The Amityville Murders is taking a different approach. Instead of looking at the hauntings that came from the DeFeo family murders, it looks at the DeFeo’s themselves. The brutal killing of Ronnie DeFeo Jr are literally stuff of legend at this point and this entry looks to bring the Amityville franchise back to it’s horrific roots.
LORDS OF CHAOS
Not exactly horror but god damn does Lords of Chaos look...well..metal as fuck. Taking place in Oslo in the 80’s, it follows the beginnings of black metal band “Mayhem.” As the band grows bigger and bigger, the shock and awe aspect starts riding a dangerous line between reality and show. Starring a brilliant lineup including Rory Kulkin, Sky Ferreria, and Jack Kilmer, it’s a stacked cast and crew that looks to be one of the most entertaining sleeper hits of the year.
You know what? I’m not going to lie. Outside of one INSANELY effective jump scare in the trailer, The Prodigy just didn’t seem like my deal. Then I saw Nicholas McCarthy was attached to direct and now I absolutely can’t wait. While the cast list is fun and I’m excited to see Taylor Schilling outside of her dramatic and comedic roles, as well as Jackson Robert Scott in another horror film, it’s the fact that McCarthy directed The Pact and At the Devil’s Door that is sucking me into this movies into its atmosphere. If you haven’t seen those, do so immediately, and then you’ll be all aboard the hype train.
Darren Lynn Bousman is nothing if not exciting. Bouncing all over the spectrum of the horror world, Bousman has proven himself time and time again. Never afraid to take chances, the man who helmed a string of Saw films as well as one of (if not the only) horror opera Repo, Bousman is looking to head back a few decades and resurrect the nunsploitation with St. Agatha. When Mary seeks refuge in a convent, she unveils some long hidden secrets and suddenly finds the life of her and her unborn child in danger.
HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U
Christopher Landon and Blumhouse help reinvigorate the slasher genre with this brilliant horror comedy back in 2017 and it was such a smash with the fans and at the box office, they immediately greenlit a sequel. Now our protagonist Tree returns and instead of exploring a similar plot with different characters, the team has doubled down and is expanding the mythology explored in the original. Bigger, better, and more murderous, Happy Death Day 2U is a near surefire success and we’re elated.
Wow. I mean, I just, I don’t know what to say. Jordan Peele came out swinging with his debut Get Out, which has become a landmark horror film, an actual gamechanger. So with Peele announcing his follow-up film, another horror movie under the Blumhouse banner, it’s easy to become incredibly excited. Peele himself has said that it’s purposely in the vein of some original Amblin films, likening it to Poltergeist, but mostly just in the sense of a family in danger. Us sees the Wilson come face to face with the most horrifying version of themselves in a movie that Peele is insisting is a monster movie. Sign us up, we’ll be there day one.
Rupert Wyatt has proven he knows his way around a science fiction film. With Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he successfully retooled and rebooted one of the most traditioned science fiction series of all time and he looks to continue to explore some of those themes in Captive State. When an extraterrestrial presence conquers the world and enslaves humanity under the guise of peaceful unity, In it, Wyatt examines a neighborhood in Chicago, where John Goodman plays a police officer tasked with creating a unification against the alien malevolence. Oppression, a government blatantly lying, looks like Wyatt is playing with some prescient themes. Find the trailer because Captive State is intriguing as hell.
We’ll see if Wounds actually does drop in March, as a trailer hasn’t even hit the web yet, but wowie zowie this one is going to be a doozy. The name Babak Anvari is definitely not a household name and for some horror fans, the blip might not even ding on the radar. Anvari, however, directed one of 2016’s most fascinating sleeper hits, Under the Shadow. Now Anvari is adapting the Nathan Ballingrud novella The Visible Filth, bringing to life the story of a bartender named Will who finds a phone left behind and the contents of that phone. Slowly, dangerously, the secrets of the phone start to eek into the personal life of Will, and things become supernaturally charged all too fast. Starring Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson and Zazie Beats, we can only keep our fingers crossed that Wounds hits in March.
It’s been buzzing around fests for a year now and just building hype while doing so. For good reason. Luz is being touted as one of the best debuts in years, as Tilman Singer is taking the possession genre and giving it new legs. Relying on it’s slick presentation and minimalist approach, Luz is the story of a cab driver who finds herself in a police station while being stalked by a demonic entity. It’s being touted as a captivating must-see and we’ve been patiently waiting for it to finds its way to wide distribution and now that wait is almost over.