Unfortunately, the horror genre is losing its power day by day. It is possible to say that there has been a decline since 2013. Especially, horror themes have now given way to breakage films, where drama or action takes precedence over scares. Although 2019 hosted some enjoyable films that are worth discussing, it’s not possible to directly classify some of them as “horror.” This is because they are predominantly action-oriented or carry more of a thriller theme. There are two films this year that I can call pure horror: Annabelle Comes Home and The Devil’s Doorway, but unfortunately, they are weak in terms of quality as well. Therefore, this year, I created my list from mixed genres, as many film websites did. And no, I didn’t include Us on my list.
Robert Eggers’ film The Lighthouse, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, is one of the technically most successful works of the year. While it may not excel in the scare factor, it is highly successful in creating tension and suspense. The performances of the actors have an impact on this, of course. Although I didn’t particularly like his first film The Witch, The Lighthouse, like The Witch, is a film based on absurdity but manages to deliver tension and keep the excitement alive until the end, making it quite successful.
Ready or Not
Ready or Not is the best example of the films I mentioned earlier. Despite appearing under the horror theme, Ready or Not is primarily an action-packed film and one of the most enjoyable works of the year, thanks to Samara Weaving’s magnificent performance. Samara’s blood-soaked hide-and-seek story, set in a twisted cult where everyone tries to kill her, manages to both startle you and mostly entertain you.
I can easily say that it is by far the best horror film of the year. The film tells the story of a painter who tries to finish her painting within the promised time at the gallery, ventures into the nightlife to find inspiration, and undergoes a transformation after meeting the wrong people. It is a visual feast. Joe Begos successfully creates a neon Taxi Driver-esque story in the nights of Los Angeles, offering an LSD-infused madness that maintains its suspense until the very end. If you think what I’ve written is absurd, I recommend watching the film. You will understand me.
Full Review: Bliss – Film Review
Escape Room is a less bloody version of Ready or Not. Although it should not even be considered part of the “horror” category, as it portrays a group of people voluntarily entering an escape room for money and struggling to survive, it still tops many lists. Well, if they include it, I thought I would too and added it to my list. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s one of the most enjoyable works of the year. It is cleverly written, features successful performances, and keeps you entertained until the very end.
IT Chapter 2
Years later, Pennywise returns in a much bloodier and merciless manner in its second film, which was released this year. Compared to the first film, the second installment feels more like a fun roller coaster ride than pure horror. The film transitions from scaring to entertaining at a certain point. While it may not be as scary as the television adaptation, the second film brings back the creativity and stands as one of the most successful examples of the horror genre this year.
After Bliss, Eli is one of the most creative and surprising stories in terms of its subject matter. In the film, we witness a young child’s treatment process, and we can’t distinguish who is the devil and who is the angel. The film successfully maintains its mystery until the very end. With talented actors like Kelly Reilly, Lili Taylor, and Sadie Sink, Eli is one of the worth-watching horror examples of the year.
In the Tall Grass
The last film on the list comes from Stephen King. In the Tall Grass, a beautiful example of psychological horror, presents a confusing story that intertwines time and space. With Patrick Wilson and Rachel Wilson also in the cast, the film is one of the worthy horror examples of the year.