Michelle Swope’s Top 10 Horror Movies of 2019
2019 has been another great year for horror movies. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies I loved this year. That’s why my original Top Ten list had over thirty movies on it. The revised list still had twenty-three movies on it, so to say it has been difficult for me to narrow my list down to ten movies would be an understatement.
Ultimately, I chose the ten horror movies I haven’t stopped thinking about; the ones that touched me in some way; the ones that made me laugh; the ones that made me cry; the ones that scared me and the ones that had the most amazing visual and practical effects.
Without a doubt, Starfish is my favorite horror movie of the year and the rest of the list is not in any particular order. I should note that there is one movie on my list that I saw early this year that played the festival circuit, but it isn’t being released until early next year. I’ve even included where you can rent or buy each movie, in case there are any of these you’d like to check out.
So, without any further ado, here are my Top Ten Horror Movies of 2019.
Director – A.T. White
Filmmaker and musician A.T. White wrote, directed, and scored Starfish, his first feature film, which stars Virginia Gardner as Aubrey, who is mourning the death of her friend Grace. Starfish is a visually stunning, Lovecraftian journey into grief, monsters, mixtapes, and one girl’s desperate attempt to save the world as she knows it. Available on Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Hulu.
Director – Chelsea Stardust
Written by Grady Hendrix and directed by Chelsea Stardust, Satanic Panic is an uproarious horror comedy starring Hayley Griffith as a pizza delivery girl who is just trying to deliver a pizza and ends up being chased by a satanic cult who wants her to be their virgin sacrifice. The film also stars Rebecca Romijn, Ruby Modine, Jeff Daniel Phillips, AJ Bowen, and Jordan Ladd and boasts some insane practical effects and a killer soundtrack. Available on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
Director – Jordan Peele
Us tells the terrifying, mind-blowing story of Adelaide, played by Lupita Nyong’o in an Oscar-worthy performance, who goes on a beach vacation with her family when they are attacked by their doppelgängers who want to kill them. The film features some clever twists and brilliant social commentary and also stars Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex. Available on HBO Go, Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
Daniel Isn’t Real
Director – Adam Egypt Mortimer
Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger are outstanding as Luke and his imaginary friend Daniel in Daniel Isn’t Real, a chilling, thought-provoking story that believably deals with mental illness. Showcasing some trippy practical effects, the film follows Luke as he realizes Daniel is real and might be something far worse than he could have ever imagined. Available on Vudu and Amazon Prime.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Director – Issa López
Tigers Are Not Afraid tells the tragic, haunting story of a young girl named Estrella, played by Paola Lara in an extraordinary performance, who joins a gang of orphaned children after her mother disappears. Magical creatures, ghosts, and terrifying visions illuminate this exquisite film that is guaranteed to rip your heart right out of your chest. Available on Shudder, Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
Director – Larry Fessenden
In a heartbreaking performance, Alex Breaux plays Adam, or the monster, in this thrilling modern take on the classic Frankenstein story, Depraved, directed by indie icon Larry Fessenden. David Call plays Henry, a dispirited field surgeon suffering from PTSD who creates Adam in a Brooklyn Loft and is then faced with the ethical ramifications of someone discovering what he’s done, while Adam attempts to understand why he was created and why he has uncontrollable urges to hurt people. Available on Vudu and Google Play.
3 From Hell
Director – Rob Zombie
In the spectacular follow-up to The Devil’s Rejects (2005), 3 From Hell, Rob Zombie resurrects Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), and Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) to wreak more bloody havoc. After Otis escapes from prison and enlists the help of his half-brother Foxy (Richard Brake), the pair torment the Warden (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and his family until he releases Baby from prison. Then the trio heads down to Mexico to get wild but end up in a Robert Rodriguez-esque battle with a Mexican gang wearing lucha libre masks and surrounded by fire. Available on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
Girl On The Third Floor
Director – Travis Stevens
CM Punk gives one hell of an impressive performance in Girl on the Third Floor, as a man fixing up an old house so he and his pregnant wife can start a nice, quiet life there when their baby is born, but unfortunately the house is anything but quiet, because it’s haunted. This is not your typical ghost story; it’s drippy, gooey, angry, mesmerizing, and very, very scary. Available on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
Director – Joe Begos
Written and directed by Joe Begos, Bliss is the dizzying, color drenched, psychedelic story of an artist named Dezzy, played by Dora Madison in a stellar performance, who can’t find any creative inspiration. When she tries the drug Bliss, she begins having blackouts and creates a massive painting leading to a blood-soaked nightmare finale. This movie should be played loud. Available on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
Directors – Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella
Originally titled Something Else, After Midnight is a sublime love story about Hank and Abby, played by Jeremy Gardner and Brea Grant in phenomenal performances, with a monstrous twist. This film is hilarious, it’s heartbreaking, and it features a fantastic monster and an amazing cast that includes Justin Benson and Henry Zebrowski. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll scream when the monster shows up. In theaters and on VOD February 14, 2020.