Welcome to the second installment of The Schlocketeer’s Most Anticipated Horror Films of 2019! Today’s entry in this massive tome up interesting upcoming tales of terrors involves a wide assortment of talent. You like sequels? We’ve got some! Reboots? We’ve got those too! Do you like Stephen King and Henry James? We’ve got you covered! We also have heavy metal horror, monsters, superhero horror, ghosts, revenge, psychological horror, and more! Not to mention the latest works from the creators of The Babadook, Stake Land, Creep, The Human Centipede, Under the Shadow, Zombeavers, and The Descent!
Let’s dive in…
ANNABELLE 3 (dir. Gary Dauberman)
James Wan’s demon-filled franchise returns with another annual installment, this time once more centering around the devilish doll Annabelle. What’s she up to now? Unleashing a room full of cursed objects upon the Warren’s daughter, her best friend, and a babysitter while Ed & Lorraine are (presumably) out of town on assignment.
Wan has described this one as “The Conjuring meets A Night at the Museum“. With a pitch like that, you instantly know whether you are in or not. Series screenwriter Gary Dauberman makes his directorial debut with this outing, which is sure to be ridiculous. This franchise has had its ups and downs, but I generally like what it is selling and I love what I’m hearing here.
BRIGHTBURN (dir. David Yarovesky)
A James Gunn-scripted and produced superhero horror movie? Color me intrigued. BrighBurn was shrouded in mystery for months, but the initial trailer set the ‘net ablaze with excitement when it finally dropped. What if little Superman became a murdering psycho on the warpath in Smallville, instead of its secret savior? That’s one hell of a pitch that is filled with promise and I’m excited to see exactly if it pays off.
CORPORATE ANIMALS (dir. Patrick Brice)
Creep and Creep 2 filmmaker Patrick Brice has set Peachfuzz aside for the moment and now brings us a survival horror comedy about the workplace dynamic. Demi Moore stars as a vicious CEO who takes her staff on a team-building retreat that culminates in them being trapped underground. Can they band together to survive? Who knows, but I’m down to find out. Ed Helms also stars.
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT (dir. Joe Begos)
The man behind Almost Human and The Mind’s Eye returns this year with tale set in “a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles.” What exactly does he have up his sleeve? I have no idea, but Begos is appointment cinema for me. Almost Human was a nice throwback to low-fi body horror/sci-fi and The Mind’s Eye might just be a better Scanners film than any entry in the actual Scanners franchise. Wherever Begos takes me, I will follow, and you should too.
THE GOLEM (dir. Doran & Yoav Paz)
There really aren’t enough golem movies out there. A popular fiend in the silent era, we’ve had scant few entries in this oft-forgotten subgenre since and that’s a shame. Enter the Paz Brothers! Dread Central Presents is rolling out this latest effort from the JeruZalem filmmakers in February and I’m excited to see what they’ve conjured up. The film is a period piece and its hook centers around a Jewish woman desperately conjuring the titular creature to save her villages from invaders. Golems have a tendency to go above and beyond what they are called upon to do, so this doesn’t bode well for all involved.
HELLBOY (dir. Neil Marshall)
Mike Mignola’s stone-handed, monster-slaying hero finally returns to the big screen this year. That alone is cause for joy, so the fact that he is being lead back into theaters by the director of Dog Soldiers and The Descent only makes it better. This project is already a controversial one for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is not connected to the Guillermo Del Toro adaptations, a wonky first trailer, and Marshall himself implying that the film was taken away from him. Still, the source material is excellent and it has a great cast, so I remain hopeful that we have a good movie headed our way.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON (dir. Jim Mickle)
After spending a few years shepherding a (sadly short-lived) TV series adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard novels, Jim Mickle has returned to feature filmmaking. In the Shadow of the Moon sees him playing around in thriller territory once more, with a cast that includes Michael C. Hall, Boyd Holbrook, and Bokeem Woodbine. As is the running theme with today’s listing, details are scarce, but I trust the man who has already given us Stake Land, We Are What We Are, and Cold in July. Netflix is behind this particular project and have given no release date thus far. Given that it shot over the summer last year, hopefully its arrival comes sooner rather than later.
LORDS OF CHAOS (dir. Jonas Akerlund)
Metal and horror are two tastes that can often taste great together. The Devil’s Candy and Mandy are two movies that have proved that in spades recently and they won’t be the last. Longtime music video director Jonas Akerlund (Polar) is the latest to throw his hat in the ring, arriving soon with festival favorite Lords of Chaos. The film stars Rory Culkin, Jack Kilmer, and Valter Skarsgard, with a fictional take on a series of murders that happened around Oslo involving black metal bands. The film opens next month, courtesy of Fox.
THE NIGHTINGALE (dir. Jennifer Kent)
Five years after the release of The Babadook, Jennifer Kent returns. Not with a Hollywood blockbuster effort, but instead with a period piece tale of vengeance. The Nightingale centers around an Irish convict named Clare (Aisling Franciosi) who is deadset on hunting down and killing the a British officer (Sam Claflin) responsible for “a terrible act of violence” committed against her family. Did I mention that she is chasing him through the wilderness of Tasmania? If this movie is even half as intense as The Babadook, it’s already a must-see.
PET SEMATARY (dir. Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmeyer)
Stephen King’s classic story of death and resurrection gets a fresh coat of paint. It was inevitable that we would receive a wave of new King adaptations in the wake of It’s success in 2017. This is the first big one out of the gate and hails from the filmmaking duo behind indie cult fave Starry Eyes. That it comes packed with a talented cast that includes Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, and Amy Seimetz makes it even more intriguing. While I am a fan of Mary Lambert’s 1989 take on the material, there is room for improvement and I am curious to see what this assortment of talent does with the story.
THE TURNING (dir. Floria Sigismondi)
Speaking of fresh coats of paint, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw is also getting a spiffy new adaptation this year. This latest take on material previously covered beautifully in Jack Clayton’s The Innocents comes courtesy of Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment. Much like Pet Sematary, this ghostly tale comes packaged with a good cast (Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince) and a script by a pair that know the genre well (Conjuring scribes Carey & Chad Hayes). There’s always the chance that will get a hollow dud of a movie here, as we did with the Spielberg-produced The Haunting (1999), but I’m generally an optimist when it comes to the movies.
WOUNDS (dir. Babak Anvari)
Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow is yet another foreign horror favorite of many a genre fan out there. I did not fall under its spell as deeply as most, but there was no denying the filmmaker’s talent and mastery of the genre. Wounds sees her exploring the psychological horror subgenre this time round and I cannot wait to see how she plays within that sandbox. The cast is holds the likes of Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, and Zazie Beetz, which means we’re bound to be getting killer turns from all three. Talk about a stacked deck!
And Five To Grow On…
Last year, director Johannes Roberts turned in a solid sequel in the form of The Strangers: Prey at Night. This year he returns with a follow-up to one of his own films. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. will offer up another shark-infested tale, this time with John Corbett and Nia Long as the bait. On the more absurdist side of the genre, lies Zombeavers director Jordan Rubin. Yesterday I spoke of the new Critters project that he has arriving this year. Well, he also has another feature arriving soon: The Drone. For anyone who has ever wish a film existed where a pervy (you read that right) killer drone was on the loss in a strange horror comedy, consider said wish granted.
Speaking of weird, Tom Six has a new flick due in 2019. Details are scarce when it comes to The Onania Club, but have seen Six’s Human Centipede trilogy, it’s sure to be a memorable affair. As for the final two of your “five to grow on”, what would a new year of frights be without some festival faves? Both Rudolf Buitendach’s Hex and Daniel Robbins’ Pledge both qualify, having scored raves as they made the rounds back in the fall, so be on the lookout!
We still have a few more parts left to go, so check back next week for the next installment!