How many of these have you seen already? These are the 10 best movies of 2019 (so far), according to USA TODAY film critic Brian Truitt.
All the early Oscar bait, indie darlings and critically-acclaimed flicks show up on “best-of-so-far” lists, but how about the moviesÂ that really stickÂ with you â€“ as in visiting your nightmares every so often, doling out heebie-jeebies and just freaking you out in general?
Plenty of cool horror films have haunted cineplexes this year, with “Us” as another crafty bit of terror from “Get Out” fear-meister Jordan Peele and the return of killer doll Chucky in a “Child’s Play” reboot. Heck, playthings are having an awesome year if you throw in “Annabelle Comes Home,” the third spinoff featuring the porcelain creeper from “The Conjuring” franchise.
We’re dedicated to keeping you on the edge of your seat, so here are the best scare-fests of 2019 so far, ranked:
High-tech doll Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill in full creep-out mode) isÂ a best friend to the endÂ for tween Andy (Gabriel Bateman) â€“Â which leads to some violent outcomes and Chucky hijacking a bevy of personal tech devices in this savvy remake of the 1988 cult classic.
While the 1989Â adaptation of the Stephen King novel was forgettable, this sinister redo has some bite with the story of a family who just can’t let things go: first with the family cat and then a human youngster, both of whom come back in a supernaturally not great way. Campier than you’d expect but with all the dread you want and need.
Third time’s the charm with the devil doll, which is housed by paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) in this 1970s-set tale. When mom and dad are on assignment, Annabelle gets loose and rounds up a demonic posseÂ toÂ attackÂ young Judy WarrenÂ (Mckenna Grace) and her babysitters.
Former cello prodigy Charlotte (Allison Williams) seeks out current stringÂ string superstar Elizabeth (Logan Browning), and they go on a road trip that veers scarily off course in the musically tinged thriller, which is chock full of disturbing images and storytelling surprises.
Isolated on the American prairie, Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard) is a 19th-century frontierswoman who feels a sinister force all around her, though her husband (Ashley Zukerman) doesn’t believe her. ItÂ grows worseÂ when a newlywed couple arrives and Lizzy’s home on the range becomes ground zero for darkness.
In the 1980s, teenage musician Euronymous (Rory Culkin) starts a band devoted to “true Norwegian black metal.” Instead of just hailing Satan, the dude goes to extreme lengths to prove his metal-ness, and finds an outcastÂ acolyte (Emory Cohen) even more committed to the cause.
The first “Death Day” was a slasher take on “Groundhog Day,” and the horror-comedy sequel uses “Back to the Future II” as its primary inspiration in sending fed-up college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) through yet another time loop where she has to avoid being killed by a baby-masked murderer.
An international best-of-the-best dance troupe (featuring stars Sofia Boutella and a bunch of real-life artists)Â works hard and plays harder. They spendÂ one crazy night letting loose withÂ cool moves but also unleashing violent tendencies â€“Â all thanks to some LSD-laced sangria â€“Â in the psychological thriller.
If you liked the occult period weirdness of “The Witch,” you’ll dig its European cousin “Hagazussa.” Albrun (Aleksandra Cwen) is a young, 15th-century goat herder and single mom who’s shunned as an outsider.Â Revenge and supernatural goings-on are both afoot in the witchy, unnerving German tale.Â
Netflix’s satirical gore-fest centers on aÂ gallery owner (Rene Russo), her ambitious assistant (Zawe Ashton), an eccentric critic (Jake Gyllenhaal) and other oddballs in the highfalutinÂ L.A. art scene who become enamored with the found masterworks of a random dead man with a very strange backstory.
The slow-burn horror film finds Matt (A.J. Bowen) visitingÂ estranged brother Steve (Scott Poythress) for anÂ impromptu Christmas family reunion. Things takeÂ a turn for the worse when Matt finds out his unhinged sibling’sÂ lockedÂ a stranger (with a sinister, faceless voice courtesy of “This Is Us” star Chris Sullivan) in the basement whom he believesÂ is Satan.
SarahÂ (Seana Kerslake) is a young Irish mother who’s moved with her son ChrisÂ (James Quinn Markey) to a rural home right next to a gigantic sinkhole. That’s the first sign that something’s about to go very wrong â€“ the second is when an elderly neighbor tells SarahÂ that’s not her kid and sheÂ seriouslyÂ starts to wonder about that, too.
The fascinating documentary explores the complicated relationship between horror and black audiences, as seen through the lens of several luminaries in the genre, including 1990s “Candyman” star Tony Todd, “Blacula” director William Crain and filmmaker Jordan Peele, the latter whose breakthrough “Get Out” gets lots of love in the social-issuesÂ discussion.
Young couple Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) have their not-that-great relationship tested when they bear witness to cult craziness while attending a Swedish summer solstice festival. What will really stick with you, though, is how universally relatableÂ writer/director Ari Aster’sÂ messed-up breakup filmÂ is.
Yes, “Us” is also one of the very best flicks of 2019, but don’t sleep on the inherent fears mined and villains conjured (i.e., us) in Peele’sÂ thought-provoking follow-upÂ to “Get Out.” A family is beset one night by their murderousÂ doppelgÃ¤ngers, givingÂ Lupita Nyong’o a killer chance to shineÂ in dual roles.Â
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