Our Picks For Best Horror Movies of 2019
2019 was an incredibly good year for horror! Let’s dive in to each WSTD host’s picks!
10. Bezlebuth – Directed by Emilio Portes
Bezlebuth is a wild ride from the very opening scene. It’s fearless, ferocious, and hits all of the needed notes in a demonic/paranormal investigation movie.
9. Ready or Not – Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
I have to admit … I went into Ready or Not with very low expectations, expecting some big Hollywood affair with poor acting and a stale plot. Nope! It’s a fresh take on Richard Connell’s 1924 short story, “The Most Dangerous Game,” and I could not have enjoyed it more. Samara Weaving is my current favorite genre actress. If you enjoyed Ready or Not, hit up her filmography with Mayhem (by Joe Lynch) and then follow that up by the Netflix original film The Babysitter. Her comedic timing is impeccable, and she’s an absolute joy to watch.
8. Harpoon – Directed by Rob Grant
Three friends go out on a boat and all Hell breaks loose when secrets surface. Seriously. That’s all I’m telling you, because spoiling it would be doing both you, the viewer, and the film, a grave injustice. Director/Writer Rob Grant is an absolute master of his craft. The film has constant twists and turns but the screenplay was so masterfully written that there are zero holes. It’s gory, suspenseful, unpredictable and beautifully shot. I would damn-near call it a perfect movie. Check out our interview with Rob Grant here
7. Starfish- Directed by A.T. White
Have you ever watched a film and come out of it feeling like you just had a shit ton of EMDR therapy? You feel like you’re floating in a dreamlike state … sad, elated, and confused. That’s what watching Starfish is like…and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. My only regret with this film is that I could only watch it for the first time … well, once. The film starts with the lead, Aubrey (played by Virginia Gardner), attending the wake and funeral of her former best friend. As the semi-autobiographical film plays out, it turns into an exposition on grief, loss, trauma, guilt and more, set against an apocalyptic setting. You see, the world is also ending. It’s relentlessly sad and effective and moved me in a way no other film this year did.
A.T. White, if you read this: thank you.
6. Us – Directed by Jordan Peele
Us marks Jordan Peele’s second feature film. I was late to the game with Get Out, but luckily didn’t sleep on this one. Lupita Nyong’o is absolutely stunning. The film is incredibly multi-layered in its messaging, and socio-political themes abound. Do not miss it.
5. Bliss – Directed by Joe Begos
Hallucinatory. Bloody. Visceral. Joe Begos, one of my current favorite directors, knocks this one out of the park. It was my most anticipated film of 2019, and it did not disappoint. It’s also backed by one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, which reminds me. I need to go pick up the vinyl.
4. Satanic Panic – Directed by Chelsea Stardust
A twenty-something pizza delivery girl (Hayley Griffith) in desperate need of funds makes a delivery to a Satanic cult, headed by Rebecca Romijn. Batshittery ensues. Trust me when I say that you will predict absolutely NOTHING in this movie. It is the freshest, most hilariously unique film that I have seen in years, therefore Satanic Panic is my favorite horror comedy of all time. From a breakout performance by Ruby Modine, to Rebecca Romijn’s seductive portrayal of a cult leader, to drilldos (you’ll learn more about this) and a Jerry O’Connell cameo … this film is insane. It’s a film for all hardcore horror fans. Watch it. Love it. (Bonus points for Chelsea Wolfe, my favorite artist, being in the soundtrack!)
3. Parasite – Directed by Bong Joon Ho
There’s a reason why Parasite has already won more than 30 awards this year, and is up for best the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. There’s a reason why it received an eight-minute standing ovation and the Palme d’Or at Cannes. It will make you gasp, moan, laugh and sob. Avoid spoilers at all cost, and go in totally blind. You’re welcome. If you’re not familiar, Bong Joon Ho also co-wrote and directed both Okja and Snowpiercer. He has quite the resume.
2. Climax – Directed by Gaspar Noé
I once read a review where the writer called Climax, “a Step Up sequel set in the deepest circles of Hell.” This is the most accurate statement I’ve ever read. It’s the early 90s. A dance troupe celebrates an opening performance by having a party in an abandoned school. The sangria that they are all pounding is laced with uber-potent LSD. Chaos ensues as the cast turns to psychedelic sex and violence. I have always been a Gaspar Noé fan, from the very first moment I saw Irréversible as a freshman in college. My love for him was cemented with Enter the Void, but then questioned with Love. Climax is a modern masterpiece, and perhaps my favorite film by him to date.
1. Midsommar – Directed by Ari Aster
Oh, man. Midsommar. I was late (yet again) to the game and totally missed Ari Aster’s Hereditary. I ended up seeing Midsommar first and was completely blown away. The film has been reviewed, dissected and discussed absolutely death (especially by this podcast), so I won’t get into the plot synopsis here. I will say that this film made me feel utterly elated and triumphant in the closing credits. The set, acting, pacing, suspense, gore, cinematography … all of it is sincere perfection. Say what you will with the Wicker Man comparisons, or that Aster is a hack who steals ideas (looking at you, Hereditary and Paranormal Activity)…In conclusion, Midsommar is 2019’s perfect film.