Ev­ery must-see hor­ror film in 2019: ‘Us’ to ‘It’

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Brian Truitt

Think it’s a hor­ror show in the real world? Just wait till you get a load of 2019’s dark­est cine­matic of­fer­ings. Last year was a ban­ner year for fright-fests: Jamie Lee Cur­tis and masked ma­niac Michael Myers brought the “Hal­loween” fran­chise back in a big way, “The Con­jur­ing” spinoff “The Nun” and “A Quiet Place” scared up se­ri­ous box-of­fice re­turns, and crit­i­cally ac­claimed freak­outs “Hered­i­tary” and “Sus­piria” found their way into the awards-sea­son con­ver­sa­tion. Thank­fully, no one has to wait un­til Hal­loween any­more to get creeped out, with hor­ror in­fest­ing al­most ev­ery month of the year. Here’s what fans can look for­ward to, from bold re­turns to more chap­ters from a true master:

Hide your eyes, Jordan Peele’s back

With his ac­claimed break­through “Get Out,” Peele came on like Hitch­cock 2.0, tack­ling racism in a mod­ern so­cial-thriller set­ting. But in his new film “Us” (in the­aters March 22), star­ring Lupita Ny­ong’o, the film­maker is just try­ing to scare the stuff­ing out of every­body with the tale of an African-Amer­i­can fam­ily faced with their evil dop­pel­gangers. From the high-pro­file trailer that landed on Christ­mas Day to lots of weird in-movie mythol­ogy, this one’s on ev­ery hor­ror fiend’s must­see list. (It’ll also act as a high­pro­file hype ma­chine for Peele’s new “Twi­light Zone” stream­ing se­ries that pre­mieres later this year on CBS All Ac­cess.)

Stephen King’s leg­end still looms large

It’s not just about the new voices of hor­ror – the master is still here and as rel­e­vant as ever, no mat­ter what medium. “It: Chap­ter Two” (Sept. 6), a se­quel to 2017’s hit adap­ta­tion of King’s novel, re­vis­its the orig­i­nal main char­ac­ters

as adults (in­clud­ing Jes­sica Chas­tain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader) once more deal­ing with the malevolent danc­ing clown Pen­ny­wise (Bill Skars­gard). Also on tap: a redo of “Pet Se­matary” (April 5), fea­tur­ing a host of un­dead critters and John Lith­gow as an odd­ball neigh­bor.

Say hello to some old faces and se­quels

Retro devil doll Chucky gets a re­boot in the new “Child’s Play” (June 21) with Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry. And speak­ing of toys you don’t want any­where near you, “The Con­jur­ing” vil­lain Annabelle gets an­other solo ve­hi­cle with “Annabelle 3” (July 3), which re­unites the pos­sessed girl doll with the ghost-bust­ing War­rens (Pa­trick Wil­son and Vera Farmiga). The baby-mask killer of “Happy Death Day,” a com­edy/hor­ror take on “Ground­hog Day,” strikes again in the time-loopy se­quel “Happy Death Day 2 U” (Feb. 14). “Grudge” (June

21) is the sec­ond redo of the pop­u­lar

2000s Ja­panese haunted-house flick. As for some A-list re­turns, Jesse Eisen­berg, Woody Har­rel­son and Emma Stone take on the un­dead in the hor­ror com­edy “Zom­bieland 2” (Oct. 11), while that in­fa­mous creepy, kooky clan moves into an­i­ma­tion with “The Ad­dams Fam­ily” (Oct. 18), star­ring Os­car Isaac as Gomez Ad­dams and Char­l­ize Theron as his beloved wife, Mor­ti­cia.

Pres­tige hor­ror isn’t go­ing any­where

The genre has taken great strides in re­cent years, be­com­ing more thought­ful, com­plex and straight-up artsy with its scare tac­tics. There’s more to come: Fol­low­ing up his de­but “Hered­i­tary” (which snagged two Crit­ics’ Choice Awards nom­i­na­tions), writer/di­rec­tor Ari Aster of­fers up “Mid­som­mar” (Aug. 9), about a cou­ple trav­el­ing to Swe­den for a fes­ti­val and run­ning afoul of a pa­gan cult. This month’s Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val un­leashes “The Hole in the Ground” (on DirecTV Jan. 31, in the­aters March 1), a su­per­nat­u­ral thriller about a mom fret­ting about her son af­ter he falls down a sink­hole and emerges a very dif­fer­ent boy. And for those who dug the vibe of 2018’s “Sus­piria,” Gas­par Noe’s “Cli­max” (March 1) fol­lows the hellish, psy­che­delic bac­cha­na­lia re­sult­ing from a dance troupe down­ing cups of LSD-laced san­gria.

And look out for freaky-deaky fare from fa­mil­iar names

“Con­jur­ing” guru James Wan is pro­duc­ing “The Curse of La Llorona” (April 19), a 1970s-set chiller that bor­rows its haunt­ing an­tag­o­nist from Mex­i­can folk­lore. Film­maker Guillermo del Toro re­turns to the genre as a writer/pro­ducer for “Scary Sto­ries to Tell in the Dark” (Aug. 9), an adap­ta­tion of the kids’ book cen­tered on young teens in­ves­ti­gat­ing a rash of mys­te­ri­ous deaths. And “Guardians of the Gal­axy” film­maker James Gunn pro­duces the in­trigu­ing “Bright-burn” (May 24), a hor­ror take on the Su­per­man leg­end in which an alien baby boy with powers lands on Earth, is raised by lov­ing par­ents but acts out in sin­is­ter fash­ion.

SVEN BOECKER/ORION PICTURES

Devil doll Chucky gets an up­grade in the new re­boot of “Child's Play.”

KERRY HAYE

Un­dead critters haunt the liv­ing in a re­make of Stephen King’s “Pet Se­matary.”

CLAUDETTE BARIUS

Lupita Ny­ong’o stars as a mom whose fam­ily faces off with their evil dop­pel­gangers in Jordan Peele’s hor­ror film “Us.”

BROOKE PALMER

Pen­ny­wise (Bill Skars­gard) re­turns in the se­quel to “It.”

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