2019 horror movies: Are you ready to scream?

The new year comes with a fantastic selection of horror.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
6 min read

Little Monsters is an Australian zombie movie starring Lupita Nyong'o.


2019 just kicked off, but a full closet of terrifying monsters already awaits.

Instead of looking ahead to zombies, haunted houses and serial killers, we'll get horror movies with refreshing, out-of-the-box twists. From the Mexican urban legend La Llorona to chilling children's book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, many films in this year's lineup have plots that escape the traditional horror movie frameworks (you know, a family moves to a new house and realizes it's haunted). Horror movie fans like me are hungry for more novelty in our scary stories. And for that, my friends, I believe 2019 won't disappoint. 

Are you ready to scream? 



Jordan Peele's new film, Us. Writer and director Jordan Peele follows horror hit Get Out with the chilling Us, starring Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss and Lupita Nyong'o.


This is another horror feast written and directed by Jordan Peele, the mastermind behind Get Out. Starring Yahya Abdul-MateenLupita Nyong'o and Elisabeth Mossthe film follows a family of four looking to enjoy summer with friends at their beach house. But their vacation turns into a nightmare when another family of four -- that looks exactly like them -- attacks them. 

The trailer had my heart pumping, and I'm excited to find out what the story is actually about. This film will show on opening night at the South by Southwest film festival (SXSW) on March 8, and then opens March 15 in the US and UK and March 28 in Australia.

Little Monsters


Little Monsters is an Australian zombie movie starring Lupita Nyong'o.


Lupita Nyong'o isn't known as a horror film actress, but she's going to appear in two scary movies this year. In this Australian zombie-comedy film, a musician, a kindergarten teacher and a kids' show host have to protect the children from zombies. A lot of horror fans are very familiar with zombie movies, and I'm looking forward to seeing if this one can put a fresh twist on this classic horror genre. This film debuts at the Sundance Film Festival in January. 

The Prodigy


A mother is concerned her young son maybe a prodigy of horror. 


Who doesn't love a movie with a creepy childTaylor Schilling, who plays Piper Chapman on Orange is the New Black, stars in this chilling film about a mother raising a young son who starts to show signs of demonic possession. The film's out on Feb. 8 in the US only. 

Light From Light

This film is going along with a classic horror setup -- haunted house. Shelia is a single mom and a part-time paranormal investigator who's asked to investigate a haunting at a widower's farmhouse in East Tennessee. One thing is for sure -- expect scary pop-ups. This movie hits later in January at the Sundance Film Festival

The Curse of La Llorona


The Curse of La Llorona will come out on April 19, 2019. 

Warner Bros.

Based on the Mexican folklore of The Weeping Woman, this film is directed by Michael Chaves and co-produced by James Wan, who's known for famous horror films like Saw, The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, along with Gary Dauberman and Emile Gladstone. If you haven't heard of the urban legend of La Llorona, this is how it goes: The ghost of a mother who lost her children wanders along the river crying and looking for them. It's said that La Llorona kidnaps lost children at night and drowns them, and if you hear her cry, you better run the other way. 

In this film, set in 1970s Los Angeles, a social worker with two young kids ignores the warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment. She and her children are stalked by La Llorona and desperately try to survive the nightmare. There haven't been many movies based on La Llorona, so for people who grow up hearing her chilling tales, this film is a must-see. It will be in theaters on April 19 in the US and April 18 in Australia. 

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile


Zac Efron plays Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile serial killer Ted Bundy.

Brian Douglas

Infamous serial killer Ted Bundy assaulted and murdered over 30 women and girls in the '70s, according to Crime Museum. He was known to charm women into his car and then abduct them to fulfill his perverted fantasies. 

This thriller-biography about him is told from the perspective of his disbelieving longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. Zac Efron, the High School Musical star who often plays frat boy types, will play Bundy. It might seem strange to imagine Efron as a killer, but Disney Channel star Ross Lynch had some success portraying serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer when Dahmer was in high school in the 2017 film My Friend Dahmer

I personally love watching a pop star tackling a dark character. The film will debut at the Sundance Film Festival later in January. 

Happy Death Day 2U


Groundhog Day meets Blumhouse horror, again, in Happy Death Day 2U.

Michele K. Short

This is a sequel to Happy Death Day, in which college student Tree Gelbman dies over and over again on her birthday until she finds her real killer. In the sequel, Gelbman is trapped in the loop again, except this time, she's stuck with all her friends and she has to keep dying to save them. Happy Death Day 2U comes out on Valentine's Day worldwide, in case you're not in the lovey-dovey mood.


The story follows 16-year-old Mandy as she discovers a disturbing video from a night she doesn't remember and tries to find out what happened. The film is written and directed by Pippa Bianco, and it will debut at the Sundance Film Festival in late January. 

The New Mutants


Marvel's X-Men go horror for the spooky adventures of the teenage New Mutants. 


This Marvel X-Men film is directed by Josh Boone, who previously brought us The Fault in Our Stars and Stuck in Love. It's surprising to see Boone directing a horror sci-fi film like this, but that makes it more exciting. The story goes like this -- five teenage mutants are held at a secret facility against their will. They will discover something terrifying at the facility while trying to escape their own dark pasts.

One cast member who caught my eye is Anya Taylor-Joy, star of Split, The Witch and the upcoming Glass. I was impressed with her performance in Split as Casey Cooke, and I'm excited to see if she'll deliver another stellar performance. You can watch this one when it comes out and Aug. 1 in Australia and Aug. 2 in the US and UK. 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Did you read Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when you were a kid? Remember stories like The Thing, Bloody Fingers and The Babysitter? Your childhood nightmares are about to hit the big screen on Aug. 9 in the US only. With Guillermo del Toro on the production team, this film tells the tale of a group of teenagers who are going to solve the mystery surrounding sudden deaths in their small town. Del Toro has brought us Hellboy, The Shape of Water and Pan's Labryinth, and it will be cool to see what kind of twists he and his team put in this classic children's book series. 

It: Chapter Two


The smash hit Steven King adaptation sends in the clowns for a sequel, It: Chapter 2. 

New Line Cinema

Pennywise is coming back. This sequel is set 27 years after the brave Losers Club defeated the clown. Its members have grown up and moved away from the small town, but a terrifying phone call is going to bring them back to face Pennywise. 

The grown-up version of the club has an impressive lineup, starring James McAvoy as Bill, Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Bill Hader as Richie, Jay Ryan as Ben, James Ransone as Eddie, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike and Andy Bean as Stan. The handsome Bill Skarsgard, who portrayed the horrifying Pennywise in Chapter One, will continue to terrify the town in Chapter Two. Overall, it's a star cast to look forward to. Can they survive this time?  

The movie will come out Sept. 5 in Australia and Sept. 6 in the US and UK. 

2019 movies to geek out over

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2019 Movie Trailers: See every movie trailer we have for 2019's biggest films.