Horror came into 2019 full throttle. With new horror stories popping up in theaters, on Shudder, Hulu, and more, there were so many original terrifying stories to choose from. But, there were also some great adaptions that joined in on the scares. For our top horror movies of 2019 list, we looked across the genre and platforms to come up with what a few of our contributors thought were the best of the best this year.
From killer clowns, creature features, Scandanavian cults, to doppelgangers and more, below is our list of the top horror movies of 2019 based on our contributors’ fiendish opinions. Now, we have only included horror films that were either released theatrically or were given substantial release this year on a streaming platform after a festival circuit. That being said, we have left off some titles we saw this year that don’t hit wide audiences until 2020. With that ghouls and gremlins, enjoy!
15. The Head Hunter
Director: Jordan Downey
Writers: Kevin Stewart, Jordan Downey
Stars: Christopher Rygh, Cora Kaufman
A medieval warrior’s gruesome collection of heads is missing only one – the monster that killed his daughter years ago.
14. Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse
Director: Lukas Feigelfeld
Writer: Lukas Feigelfeld
Stars: Aleksandra Cwen, Celina Peter, Claudia Martin
Paranoia & Superstition in 15th Century Europe.
13. The Lighthouse
Director: Robert Eggers
Writers: Max Eggers, Robert Eggers
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman
Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
Director: David Yarovesky
Writers: Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn
Stars: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn
What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?
11. IT: Chapter Two
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writers: Stephen King (based on the novel by: “IT”), Gary Dauberman (screenplay by)
Stars: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader
Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.
Director: J.D. Dillard
Writers: J.D. Dillard, Alex Hyner, Alex Theurer
Stars: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen, Hanna Mangan Lawrence
Jenn has washed ashore a small tropical island and it doesn’t take her long to realize she’s completely alone. She must spend her days not only surviving the elements but must also fend off the malevolent force that comes out each night.
Director: Gigi Saul Guerrero
Writers: Efrén Hernández (teleplay/story by), James Benson (teleplay/story by) Gigi Saul Guerrero (teleplay by),
Stars: Martha Higareda, Richard Cabral, Barbara Crampton
This thriller follows a young Mexican woman in pursuit of the American Dream, who crosses illegally into the United States, only to find herself in an American nightmare.
Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen
Stars: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark
A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.
Director: Ari Aster
Writer: Ari Aster
Stars: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren
A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown’s fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
Director: André Øvredal
Writers: Dan Hageman (screenplay by), Kevin Hageman (screenplay by), Guillermo del Toro (screen story by), Patrick Melton (screen story by), Marcus Dunstan (screen story by), Alvin Schwartz (Based on the book series by)
Stars: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush
On Halloween 1968, reclusive Stella and her two friends meet a mysterious drifter, Ramón, and uncover a sinister notebook of stories.
5. Doctor Sleep
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Stephen King (based on the novel by), Mike Flanagan (screenplay)
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran
Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.
Director: Abe Forsythe
Writer: Abe Forsythe
Stars: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad
A washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kids show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies.
2. Ready Or Not
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Writers: Guy Busick, Ryan Murphy
Stars: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien
A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Stars: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.
This rounds out our list of top horror movies of 2019. What do you think? Did this list that pulled across genres this year leave you in agreement? Or do you have some of your own that we missed?
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.