2019 - Some new classics in horror appear
Okay, I have to be honest ... I haven't seen a lot of the horror movies that were offered in 2019 and of those I did watch, many were just terrible. It was a weird year, and I simply missed a bunch. You won't see Ready or Not - I have it just haven't sat down to watch it yet, or Brightburn(I'm sure I would love this), Pet Semetary Remake, or the Child's Play remake, or the Hellboy reboot(which I did see - it was fine).
You for sure won't find It Chapter 2 because that movie is straight garbage - more proof King couldn't get the adult part of that story right. The Dead Don't Die isn't going to make an appearance because you just need to see the trailer to see the only parts worth watching. Just a waste of film & time. Little Monsters is garbage, and I can't believe they tried to remake Jacob's Ladder ...
Well enough negative, I do have some that I want to share and I will note if I haven't seen them but they made the list because of their impact ...
So I had a tough time deciding on my #1. I could have gone either way, but in the end, I enjoyed the experience of Color Out of Space a little bit more than #2. Based on an HP Lovecraft story that many felt was impossible to translate to film, Richard Stanley did just that. You may remember him as the failed director of the 1996 bomb, The Island of Dr. Moreau, where he was removed from the film and then disappeared from the limelight.
Nicholas Cage brings his unending energy to the role of the father and has good chemistry with Joely Richardson & the children. The movie does a great job of building up the suspense of the unknown while producing the necessary colors & special effects to pull you into all the terrible things happening to the family and the surrounding wildlife. You can see it on amc+ & Shudder.
Blurb - A secluded farm is struck by a strange meteorite which has apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world.
If I was being artsy-fartsy, I'd pick The Lighthouse as my #1 movie. It's beautiful, well-acted, and an amazing story that probably will take viewers multiple viewings to appreciate or even understand. I love writer/director Robert Eggers's films and the techniques he embraces to give us films that send you to the time & place of the story, but they aren't always easy to digest on the first viewing.
That said, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are captivating in their performances. This movie was the reason I had confidence in Pattinson doing Batman. The film is well edited, and the cinematography is breathtaking. It's a must-watch for fans of the cinema. If you like your horror slow burning, and not spelled out - this movie is for you. It's another rent/buy to stream.
Blurb - Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
Alexandre Aja takes his horror chops and gives us one of the best creature features in the last 2 decades with Crawl(although he did direct Piranha 3D in 2010). I could have put this movie at #1 and there are a few years it would have been without question. Great acting, great location, and super aggressive gators give a very edge-of-your-seat viewing pleasure.
Funny side note, this film was Quentin Tarantino's favorite film of 2019. It's just a well-put-together thriller. You have to rent/buy to stream this one, but it is worth every penny.
Blurb - 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.
So I love The Shining by Kubrick, so I was apprehensive when I sat down to watch the sequel Doctor Sleep. I assumed we would be getting a movie heavily influenced by what King wanted and not what Kubrick gave us. Director Mike Flanagan delivered, but he had to convince King to back off. He told him people were more familiar with the classic film than the mini-series, and a sequel needed to be compatible with the first film. Thank God.
Rebecca Ferguson is mesmerizing as Rose the Hat, and I think there's a law that says you have to love Ewan McGregor no matter what. He does a decent job as a grown-up Danny. You can stream with TNT & TBS apps and I bet it will pop back on to HBOMax at some point.
Blurb - Years following the events of The Shining (1980), 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.
The director of Insidious: The Last Key and The Taking of Deborah Logan steps out of the world of the supernatural and gives us a more human-designed horror with Escape Room. While I may have wanted a bit more gore, the film overall is a fun take on an escape room designer gone mad. The actors, for the most part, are fine and have just enough chemistry to make it work. I haven't seen the sequel to see the end game, but this part is a fun popcorn movie. You can stream it with Starz.
Blurb - Six strangers find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms and must use their wits to survive.
So the kid who plays Georgie in the It remakes is The Prodigy. He's the reason to watch this film. Kid is simply captivating in this role. I'd watch this 100 times before thinking of watching It Part 2(such a waste of a movie). I saw it on Prime but it's not rent/buy to stream. I think the kid's performance is worth it - and the movie itself isn't bad.
Blurb - A mother concerned about her young son's disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.
Christopher Landon returns for the sequel to Happy Death Day with Happy Death Day 2U. This movie continues with the idea of Tree and other characters reliving the same day over and over again. He does a good job of mixing the horror/gore with the funny in this series and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these films. You can stream it with FXNow.
Blurb - Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.
Jordon Peele continues to create thoughtful and super creepy horror with Us. It continued his dominance at the box office as a horror director. Another film on my to-be-watched list. It's a rent/buy to stream.
Blurb - A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.
Another one on my to-watch list but haven't found the time is Midsommar. Something we haven't seen in a while is a movie getting an X or an NC-17 rating but the original cut of this film did. 30 minutes had to be removed to get the R-rating but after its release, they returned the footage to the Director's cut. I'm a big fan of the stars in this film so I know I will sit down one day to check it out.
I think one of the best notes about this movie is when they showed it in Sweden, the audience laughed and thought it to be a terrific black-comedy. You need Showtime to stream it now, but it used to be on Amazon Prime for a while so it might come back.
Blurb - A couple travels to Northern Europe to visit a rural hometown's fabled Swedish 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.
I'm behind in the Conjuring franchise, but they continue the stories with Annabelle Come Home. Although it is the 3rd movie in the Annabelle series, this movie picks up directly after the 1st Annabelle. They ramped up the scary with the doll, the original is a Raggedy-Ann Doll, and continue with the idea of a haunted/possessed toy. Find it on HBOMax.
Blurb - While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.