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Best horror movies of 2019

  • Best horror movies of 2019

    2019 was a banner year for horror fans. Reboots like “Pet Sematary” and “Child’s Play” put a fresh spin on old favorites. New series installments like “Annabelle Comes Home” added even more heft to already impressive franchises. While its ticket sales were dwarfed by the likes of “Joker” and “Avengers: Endgame,” “It Chapter 2” delivered box office gold. From supernatural thrillers and tales of predatory satanic cults to fun monster movies and the outrageously campy, there was something for everyone in 2019—assuming that everyone loves a good scare.

    In order to identify the 30 best horror movies of the year, Stacker compiled IMDb data from November 2019 on all the year’s horror films and ranked them according to their user ratings, which run on a scale from one to 10. Ties went to the movie with the most votes. In order to make the list, all films had to be listed as "horror" on at least two major databases, including, but not limited to IMDb, Metacritic, Wikipedia, Letterboxd, and Rotten Tomatoes. Films were required to have been released in the U.S. theatrically or on streaming services between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2019, and they were also required to have a minimum of 2,000 votes on IMDb. Bollywood productions were not considered.

    At Stacker, we recognize that genre is meant to help describe and communicate the tone and style of a film, not to serve as a limiting factor on what films can and cannot be. There are no hard and fast lines that define horror, and we think leaning into more open interpretations of what fits into certain genres is best practice for getting a pool of films that represent all possible expressions of a particular genre. Every film on the list has been considered according to the cinematic history and development of horror.

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  • #30. Velvet Buzzsaw

    - Director: Dan Gilroy
    - IMDb user rating: 5.7
    - Votes: 45,372
    - Metascore: 61
    - Runtime: 113 min

    No one could ever accuse “Velvet Buzzsaw” of being formulaic. The genre-bending satire/horror/thriller/comedy does a skillful job of lampooning the strange and pretentious culture of the high-end art world while maintaining an eerie sense of impending doom throughout. Jake Gyllenhaal turns in a quirky and intensely passionate performance, as does the man whose persona defines those adjectives, none other than John Malkovich.

  • #29. Eli

    - Director: Ciaran Foy
    - IMDb user rating: 5.8
    - Votes: 17,056
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 98 min

    Even some of the movie’s most vocal detractors lauded “Eli” for its willingness to take bold risks, but chutzpah is not this disturbing tale’s only saving grace. The trapped-in-a-torturous-asylum theme eventually gives way to cult ritual horror, all of which is complemented by several late-movie swerves that—unlike so many otherwise promising horror movies—carry you all the way to the closing credits.

  • #28. Pet Sematary

    - Directors: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
    - IMDb user rating: 5.8
    - Votes: 61,778
    - Metascore: 57
    - Runtime: 101 min

    The 2019 “Pet Sematary” reboot could have lived and died and lived again in the shadow of the 1989 original, but John Lithgow did well with the impossible task of filling the enormous shoes of Fred Gwynne’s Jud Crandall—and Jason Clarke shines as Dr. Creed. The movie does justice to its source material, which happens to be the seminal work of Stephen King, the undisputed horror master of his generation.

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  • #27. The Addams Family

    - Directors: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
    - IMDb user rating: 5.9
    - Votes: 6,904
    - Metascore: 46
    - Runtime: 86 min

    Another 2019 reboot that honors a classic is “The Addams Family,” an animated addition to the long-enduring franchise. While it probably skews a bit too kid-friendly for old-school fans, it’s got the kookiness to serve as a tip of the cap to the original while introducing a new generation of fans to Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz), Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll), and the rest.

  • #26. The Prodigy

    - Director: Nicholas McCarthy
    - IMDb user rating: 5.9
    - Votes: 16,673
    - Metascore: 45
    - Runtime: 92 min

    “The Prodigy” injected a welcome dose of fun into the normally drab first quarter of the year, provided your idea of fun is a demon-child thriller driven by better-than-average adolescent acting. It was disturbing enough to satisfy fans of the bad-seed genre, but intriguing enough to break the mold and not come off as feeling too familiar.

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  • #25. Child's Play

    - Director: Lars Klevberg
    - IMDb user rating: 5.9
    - Votes: 28,515
    - Metascore: 48
    - Runtime: 90 min

    It could be said that ’80s camp horror peaked in 1988 when the world first met Chucky, and if you’re going to revisit “Child’s Play,” it had better be good—and the 2019 remake was certainly that. Heaping doses of over-the-top violence hold true to the theme of the original, but this time, your new best friend is updated for the digital age as Chucky infiltrates a connected home system.

  • #24. Annabelle Comes Home

    - Director: Gary Dauberman
    - IMDb user rating: 5.9
    - Votes: 40,149
    - Metascore: 53
    - Runtime: 106 min

    Fans of the “Conjuring” series won’t be disappointed by “Annabelle Comes Home,” but the demon-doll-from-hell flick can also serve as a solid standalone film to those not in the know. A tense psychological thriller, “Annabelle Comes Home” earns a rightful place in what is arguably the greatest mainstream horror franchise of the 21st century.

  • #23. The Russian Bride

    - Director: Michael S. Ojeda
    - IMDb user rating: 6.0
    - Votes: 2,490
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 101 min

    “The Russian Bride” is a female revenge thriller and cautionary tale that doesn’t disappoint. Disturbing and anxiety-provoking, it brings next-level gore, a must-see ending, and a protagonist audiences want to root for in the form of a woman forced to save herself and her daughter after auctioning off her love to the wrong billionaire.

  • #22. The 16th Episode

    - Director: Jerome Cohen-Olivar
    - IMDb user rating: 6.1
    - Votes: 3,226
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 93 min

    “The 16th Episode” is built from the familiar boilerplate horror theme of travelers stumbling unwittingly into their own demise, and it also retreads the now well-worn found-footage format. In doing so, however, it spices things up with a twist for the digital age—internet stars reap the consequences of their obsessive quest for more viewers. So, it’s kind of like a social statement on the pitfalls of an over-connected society—only with satanic cult ritual sacrifice and a lot of blood.

  • #21. Clickbait

    - Directors: Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein
    - IMDb user rating: 6.1
    - Votes: 3,724
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 80 min

    Running close to even with “The 16th Episode” is “Clickbait,” which also takes a literal and figurative stab at horror based on the narcissism of internet fame culture. The film’s directors, however, made their statement through satire—and they had the good sense to know that at 80 minutes, even movies that are only decent can punch above their weight.

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