A list of upcoming horror movies doesn't normally look like this. Sure, there's always a couple of big sequels that scare fans have to predictably manage their expectations for but, largely, good horror films used to be few and far between. Look ahead to the rest of 2019 though and it's clear that the genre landscape has changed significantly. This is a thriving, smart genre and the upcoming horror movie release schedule is, quite frankly, a terrifying delight. Every month has something new. Be it a psychological supernatural Westworld, or the return of a terrifying doll on the same day as the release of Toy Story 4.
When it comes to what's on the way, that's kind of the point of the list below but some highlights for the impatient out there include a The Shining sequel from the director behind The Haunting of Hill House, the second chapter of IT, and even a Zombieland sequel aptly named Double Tap. So, in release date order then, here are the most exciting upcoming horror movies of 2019 and beyond.
Release date: April 4, 2019 (UK)/April 5, 2019 (US)
We must have prayed to all the right gods to get two Stephen King adaptations in one year. The grim Pet Sematary is one of the horror maestro's seminal texts and given that the 1989 movie is still ingrained in the minds of a certain generation - oooh, that bit with the Achilles tendon - this new version has big scary shoes to fill. From the directors of Starry Eyes and the Scream TV series, Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmeyer, this will once again tell the story of a family leaving the big city behind and moving to the country to start a new life. They just happen to have started that new life within walking distance of a burial ground that resurrects the dead. It is a King book, remember?
Official images mean that we’ve already caught a glimpse of the family cat, Church, after he’s been to meet his maker and still decided to come back for more Dreamies. There’s something distinctly unnerving about just this one undead cat picture and you know so much worse is waiting in the wings. The Crown (and everything else’s) John Lithgow has been cast as the family neighbour Jud Crandall, while Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz star as Louis and Rachel Creed. Hopefully this can follow in It’s footsteps and deliver another terrifying King story. The source material is still painfully relevant. After all, how far would any of us be willing to go to see someone we love again? Maybe don’t answer that…
Read more: The 20 best Stephen King movies you need to see (but can't unsee)
Release date: April 5, 2019
Supernatural female led and directed Western horror with hints of The Babadook and The Witch? Where’s the dotted line to sign my soul over? The Wind, directed by Emma Tammi, follows a woman who is left to look after the house while her god-fearing husband heads out to work. Isolated isn’t the word here. Lizzy, played by Insidious: The Last Key’s Caitlin Gerard, is out in the wilderness alone and starts to experience strange activities as she exists alone in the frontier. Even when ‘neighbours’ move in reasonably nearby, as you can see from the trailer things clearly don’t get any better.
As with the best genre pieces, there’s a distinct societal commentary here. “I read the script — set in the 1890s — and it couldn't feel more relatable,” director Tammi told the Toronto International Film Festival when it premiered last year. “I don't know if it's because there's something universal about this one woman's experience that it just resonates throughout all time and context, but it felt as relevant now as ever. Also, this idea of the environment closing in on you and becoming an unsustainable place to survive, also feels... weirdly relatable right now.”
The Curse of La Llorona
Release date: April 19, 2019
Ready for a bedtime story? Well, once upon a time, a ghost of a woman who lost her children caused misery wherever she went because she kept trying to steal other people’s offspring. The end. I’ll turn the light out, shall I? A particularly creepy slice of Mexican folklore is the inspiration for this James Wan-produced slice of horror. From director Michael Chaves, clearly warming up his horror muscles before starting work on the Conjuring 3, The Curse of La Llorona follows a young social worker as she and her children are hunted by the so-called Weeping Woman.
An extended sequence of prolonged child terror in the trailer hints at exactly the horrors to come here and while there’s some staple Wan-style jump scares, what lurks behind them is certainly creepy enough to haunt your nightmares. Dislocated gaping jaw anyone? A chunk of the movie was shown at San Diego Comic Con 2018 and played well to the horror crowd so, you never know, we might even be crying out for a sequel.
Release date: May 3, 2019
That’s a nice house you’ve got there. It would be a shame if its psychotic ex-owner was still trying to live in it with you. Well, this is exactly what happens to a pair of loved-up newlyweds played by Michael Ealy and Meagan Good when they buy their seemingly dream house in Napa Valley. Space! Views! Dennis Quaid standing in the shadows under a tree…! The trailer is a little too spoilery so if you don’t want to know much more, just assume that no, he doesn’t stay outside, and there’s a potentially much darker backstory to the history of the not-so-happy home.
Home invasion isn’t exactly a new genre but there’s something distinctly creepy here as Quaid’s character Charlie starts off doing innocent things like mowing the lawn. Everyone can understand having an attachment to a home but also moving into a new one so it’s a relatable premise, even if you’ve never experienced the more The Shining elements that seem to crop up later. Heeeeere’s Charlie…
Release date: May 24, 2019
What if Superman wasn’t Superman? What if little Clark Kent landed on earth not to use his powers for good but for a darker purpose, and whatever his adopted parents did to stop him, he was naturally drawn to much more grim pursuits? Well, say hello to Brightburn. Dubbed a ‘superhero horror’, which can be bundled in nicely with 2019’s The New Mutants, Brightburn is produced by Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn and looks deliciously dark. Elizabeth Banks and The Office’s David Denman star as the problem child’s new parents and clearly can’t do anything to control the evidently more violent pursuits of their ultra-powerful murderous offspring. This is when Supernanny just won’t quite cut it.
The Brightburn trailer absolutely revels in this upside down Superman concept with the young teenager seen scrawling endless repeated shapes before a glimpse of him in full flight and murdering a waitress after breaking through a metal door with his laser eyes. We’ve spent so long with superheroes just overflowing with morals and faraway looks in their eyes as they wrestle do-gooding demons so it’s about time things got really nasty. Not even waiting until super pipsqueak is fully grown makes this even better. One to watch out for.
Read more: The 25 best superhero movies worthy of a true believer
Release date: June 21, 2019
Fancy an alternative to Toy Story 4? Yep, ironically, the doll-packed reboot of the infamous Child’s Play franchise is out on the same day as Pixar’s sequel. Just don’t expect any sentient sporks or fuzzy feelings here. Controversially, despite original Child’s Play writer Don Mancini directing the recent Cult of Chucky and Curse of Chucky movies, he has had nothing to do with this new entry from MGM. Instead, Norwegian director Lars Klevberg is in control as a new modernised version of Chucky hits shelves.
As seen in the trailer, while the lead characters will remain the same - with Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza as Karen Barclay, mother of Andy - Chucky’s origins story has been updated to fit 2019. Instead of a serial killer popping himself into a Good Guy doll to save himself from death, this ‘Buddi’ doll is apparently reprogrammed by a factory worker to have no limitations. It definitely makes sense 30 years on to have a more modern toy, and hopefully this new origins story can take Chucky firmly back into horror territory after some seriously questionable sequels. And don’t worry, Don Mancini is still heading up a Chucky TV series so it’s not all bad news.
Release date: June 21, 2019
And if neither Toy Story 4 or Child’s Play is floating your paper boat then perhaps you feel like watching another Ju-On: The Grudge. Also released on June 21, this will be the, wait for it, twelfth Grudge movie since the release of the Japanese original back in 2002. Hey, maybe it’ll be nice to hear that awful inward groaning noise again. The brilliant news here is that Insidious legend Lin Shaye is on board as well as Glow’s Betty Gilpin and The Exorcist’s John Cho.
Rather than a reboot of any of the original movies from Takashi Shimizu this new version will tell a slightly different tale. Director Nicolas Pesce, known for The Eyes of my Mother, will be telling a fresh story but still holding onto some of the mythology of the originals. “We’re not approaching this as a remake of the Sarah Michelle Gellar film or a remake of the Ju-On film,” new writer Jeff Buhler told Bloody Disgusting. “This is pushing the mythology forward while keeping the concepts and spirit of those movies, yet finding a new way to tell a story within that world, which is exciting.” All joking aside, if this new house is anything like the old one, you can absolutely go first. No, I insist.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged
Release date: June 28, 2019
I know, chums, I can hear you screaming that it should be 48 Meters Down all the way from the safety of this underwater cage. The original title to this sharky follow up was in fact going to be just that but something has clearly changed along the way as director Johannes Roberts takes us back down where it’s wetter with a whole new set of Happy Meals on legs. Starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt, the original made waves of cash but now that they’re lunch, it’s time for some more very pretty people to get eaten by Jaws wannabes.
While it’s not quite as much fun as The Shallows, 47 Meters Down is still a suitably tense underwater horrorfest as enormous teeth meet perilously soft human flesh. More of the same for Uncaged will be absolutely ideal and Roberts has proven he can crank up tension to unbearable levels with the recent Strangers: Prey at Night. This time the fin-filled action moves to Brazil as five backpackers who are diving down to a ruined underwater city ‘quickly learn they are not alone in the submerged caves.’ Hello, sharp teeth, limited oxygen, and a hefty dollop of claustrophobia. Yay?
Release date: July 3, 2019
Would this even be an upcoming horror movie list if there wasn’t at least one entry into the Conjuring universe? Sure, there have been some hit and miss additions to James Wan’s horror equivalent of those guys in suits saving the world from another guy with some gems, but this is still a collection of scares to get excited about. The sixth Conjuring Universe addition is the follow-up to the far too scary for its own good Annabelle: Creation, and finally lets us see the glassy-eyed monstrosity arrive in the home of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
And yes, that means that both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return to the series as the creepy toy sets its glazed sights on their young daughter. While this isn’t The Conjuring 3, Wan has suggested that it definitely has that haunted air about it. “It finally comes to the Warren’s home so by the very nature of it actually being in the home and the story takes place in the Warren’s home, it feels more like a Conjuring film in that respect,” he told Bloody Disgusting late last year. Wan isn’t on director duties here - he’s been pretty busy paddling about with Aquaman - but Gary Dauberman, writer of a stack of the previous Conjuring movies and co-writer on the It movie, is making his directorial debut. Break a leg, Gary. Preferably Annabelle’s, not ours.
The New Mutants
Release date: August 2, 2019
It’s been moved around the release calendar like an X-Men themed chess piece but The New Mutants is finally slated for an August 2019 release date. It’s been disappointing to watch it further and further delayed as this blend of superheroics and horror looks far too intriguing to have to wait for. Starring a whole new - yes, hence the title - set of teenagers, each with their own mysterious powers, the trailers we’ve seen so far have promised a far darker twist than any X-Men movie that’s come before.
It turns out that it’s definitely not all sweetness and light having abilities that people want to harness you for like a AA Battery, and there’s a clear horror heart beating here. Starring Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, The Witch’s Anya Taylor Joy, and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton, the original trailers look like an escape movie as the mutants attempt to flee a secret testing facility but it’s unknown how much will change before release. Adamantium claws crossed that the horror hasn’t been dialled down.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Release date: August 9, 2019
It’s always very exciting when Guillermo del Toro actually gets to finally make something he really wants to instead of yet another potentially magnificent screenplay sitting in a layer of tentacled development hell. Well, not only is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark based on a series of '80s books of the same name from Alvin Schwartz that fuelled the nightmares of multiple generations of children, it’s definitely coming out! Praise the Lovecraftian gods! While del Toro has written the script here, directing duties are in the safely terrifying hands of Andre Ovredal, the man responsible for the enjoyably creepy The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and Norwegian found-footage delight Trollhunter.
The books themselves are almost mythically terrifying and were accompanied by horrific illustrations that have now been replaced with slightly less disturbing imagery to try and prevent mental scarring. Following a group of teenagers in the 1960s, as they try and solve a series of macabre murders taking place in their small town, this will weave a number of the terrifying stories together. Helpfully, four trailers are available with teasers of each scary tale. Whether it's the body horror of the Red Spot or the Pale Lady, that still haunts your nightmares, this is the perfect* way to get as many of the grim stories in there as possible.