Welcome back to Horror News Network’s Best Horror Movies of 2019, a series where our staff writers declare their top three picks of the year and use the data to compile an ultimate top ten list of 2019. Be on the lookout for a new “Top 3” list from an HNN writer every day in early January, and stay tuned for our ultimate list at the end of the series!
Nick’s Top Three Picks of 2019
Ari Aster’s follow up to the gut wrenching Hereditary proved to be another uncomfortable and devastating film, and effectively avoided “the sophomore slump” that plagues young filmmakers. Shifting his sights to folklore and pagan ritual, Aster brought horror into the sun with gruesome sights as well as the slow burn (get it?) of a burgeoning trip into madness.
Florence Pugh stood out as Dani, the tortured sister and child, whose chance trip to Sweden allowed her to express a wide range of extreme emotions in a believable fashion. It is no wonder that Pugh has been landing high profile jobs ever since, such as the upcoming Black Widow film from Marvel Studios. Whether you experienced the theatrical version or the extended cut for even more than your heart could handle, Midsommar is not a film that you will soon forget (and you can check out John Evans’ extensive review right here).
#2: The Lighthouse
Ari Aster wasn’t the only young director to stake a claim with his sophomore effort this year, as The Witch’s Robert Eggers also proved that he was no one hit wonder and a director to watch for years to come. The Lighthouse is a movie that should be a hard sell to any modern audience with its odd dialect and jargon-filled conversations about the glories of manning a light house, let alone that it contains two principle actors and was filmed in black and white.
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson (who fans should no longer worrying about donning the famous cowl of The Dark Knight) create an odd, hilarious, and dysfunctional relationship that drives the trippy film until its mind-blowing climax, equal parts The Shinning and Cthulhu wrapped up with a messy seaweed bow. If you need any more convincing, please refer to John Evans briny review of the Lighthouse right here.
Newcomer Tillman Singer’s Luz is an impressive first film that many compare to the early work of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci. Singer’s study of the old masters, combined with Singer’s very own minimalistic approach (partially artistic choice and partially based on budgetary constraints) results in an atypical possession film that serves as a breath of fresh air for fans of supernatural horror.
The German-language film plays like a film student’s final project (primarily because it is one), yet it outshines many other releases this year from more accomplished directors and filmmakers. Seeing what Singer can do with little resources is sure to put him on any studio’s short list to direct future horror films. Let’s just hope that he can deliver a similar atmospheric nightmare ala his debut (and you can read my complete review of Luz right here as well).