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The 12 Best Horror Films of 2019

December 31, 2019

2019 has been a fantastic year for horror as movies like Crawl, Ready or Not, Us, Climax, Perfection and Doctor Sleep have blown away expectations and given the world some excellent horror films. Since, the list I put together with MFF contributor Zachary Beckler was so popular last year, we teamed up again to form a list of 12 horror movies that we consider to be the best (if you disagree with anything on the list….it’s Zach’s fault).

Make sure to check out the 2018, 2019, and 2010-2019 horror podcast episodes we recorded (you will love them)!


12. The Perfection

The Perfection is a fun horror movie that goes for broke with its gore and twists that are simultaneously unpredictable and predictable (trust me). Director/writer Richard Shepard (GirlsThe Matador – watch it now, it’s fun) recruited Allison Williams (Get Out), whom he directed in HBO’s Girls, and together they went for broke, and made a film that is getting lots of buzz for making people vomit. What I like most about The Perfection is how you never really care about where it’s going, because the journey is so bonkers. Writers Nicole Snyder and Eric C. Charmelo (both have written episodes for Supernatural and Ringer), should be appaluded for devsing this weird story, and juggling twists-and-turns featuring femme fatales, sex, vomit, flashbacks and horrible bus rides.

11. Bliss

Bliss is a gnarly film about a painter who gets involved in some truly bloody shenanigans. Once you watch Bliss, you will never be able to forget Bliss. Why? It’s filled to the brim with excellent gore, memorable visuals, and fantastic cinematography that showcases the excellent gore. Did I mention how gnarly it is?

10. The Dead Don’t Die

I love The Dead Don’t Die. It’s weird, very funny and features the greatest pronunciation of the word “ghouls” ever. It’s a shame that audiences and critics weren’t able to get on board with director Jim Jarmusch’s eclectic zombie movie – that is in no way a zombie movie. Watch it, embrace the weird, and appreciate Tilda Swinton with a samurai sword.

9. Us

Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out is a wonderfully original horror film that features some of the best performances of the year and made a ton of money at the box office ($225 million worldwide). If you are looking for a beautiful looking film that features villains who eat rabbits and use scissors as weapons, you will love Us. Also, It’s a big reason why 2019 is one of the best horror years in recent memory.

We’d love to Lupita receive some acting nominations.

8. Ready or Not

Ready or Not is an incredibly fun film to watch, and I can’t think of the last time I smiled so much during a horror film that features body explosions, decapitations and crossbow death. Samara Weaving (The Babysitter) is the best, and it makes me happy that this film was critically adored, and somewhat successful at the box office. If you are looking for laughs and blood, you need to watch Ready or Not.

Best 2019 wedding dress.

7. Crawl

Crawl is the best angry alligator/crocodile film since Rogue, and I love how Florida alligators have finally become cinematic villains. On a recent MFF Facebook poll (follow our page!), the alligators were voted the best villains of 2019. The people who voted were right, the alligators are badass.

6. In Fabric

In Fabric is a beautifully weird horror film that tells the story of consumerism, washing machine repair and a killer dress. Director Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy) has created an almost dream-like experience that features visuals you will never forget (seriously, it gets weird). If you are looking for a truly different and occasionally hilarious horror film, you need to watch In Fabric.

5. Midsommar

Zach Beckler (who helped put this list together) summed up the movie perfectly on Letterboxd (follow him).

A glorious, epic horror film dealing in the same kind of eerie inexplicability that makes something like The Shining a continually giving gift.

There are things about this narrative that hit so true and personally that I hesitate to delve into its ending, lest I break my own heart again. It’s not the immediate shock of Hereditary (though there are some), but a slow awakening realization. It’s as surprising as a haunted house film: we know what is happening, just not why it’s happening to THESE characters. 

In the end, it would always lead to this, with or without the cult; the horror is merely the amplifier.

You don’t want to know.

4. The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is the funniest movie of 2019, is that weird? I love how director Robert Eggers took the “misery is hilarious” approach and put Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson through a lot of misery. You need to watch this movie. Also, never drink turpentine.

3. One Cut of the Dead

One Cut of the Dead put a massive smile on my face, and I can’t think of another movie that made me happier. If you are looking for a “zombie” movie that tells the story of how people made a zombie movie, you need to watch One Cut of the Dead.

2. Doctor Sleep

It hurt my soul that Doctor Sleep didn’t do well at the box office. It’s a fantastic film that does an excellent (and very difficult) job of combining Stephen King’s follow-up to The Shining with Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic take on The Shining, which Stephen King hated (long story). Director Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game, Oculus, Hush, The Haunting of Hill House) made an epic film that is too good to ignore, and I’m certain it will gain a large and loyal following. Also, Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) is the best villain of 2019.

Rose the Hat = Best 2019 Villain

1. Climax

Climax is a glorious descent into madness and I love every second of it. Both Zach and I put it at #1, and I’ll once again refer to his Letterbox review (seriously follow him).

Great dancing. Bad trip.

Bodies in community destroyed by minds in disunity. The harmony established in the astonishing opening dance number devolves piece by piece as individuals segregate themselves from the group (in two-shot discussions, or singular framing that follows characters moving in and out of hellscapes). After a signature Noe credit sequence 45 min in, the rest of the film is essentially an after-credits scene that may be the worst trip ever committed to film, constructed as an hour-long unbroken shot. The horrors on display may not be the most graphic in his filmography, but they are the most potent, even on repeat viewings.

Climax establishes and shows the disintegration of a culture in seemingly real time. No one on screen is sharing the same perception of reality, lost in the abyss of their own personal hell. The revelatory final shot brings into focus Noe’s intent, as a fade to white illuminates the audience. There is salve, but no salvation.

Always be wary of LSD-laced Sangria.

What 2019 horror movies do you love?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2019 9:22 pm

    Excellent list! I haven’t got to see Midsommar yet but it’s in the queue, same with crawl, the dead don’t die and bliss. I’m glad to see the lighthouse on here. As far as “Us” goes, I liked it but the lost potential kind of turned me off on it. And lastly, The Perfection. WOW. That was like an acid trip without dropping acid. That was a movie about nothing but had a lot of something. And what the something is I can’t even tell you. It “just is” and has to be watched.

    • January 1, 2020 11:02 am

      Thanks! The Perfection is so good. I love random horror films that come out of nowhere and crush it.

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