The Best Horror Films of 2019 So Far and How to Watch Them This Halloween

Though much of 2019's horror movies have disappointed some, with critics and viewers alike complaining about unscary sequels and retched reboots, the year has managed to pack in a few genuine scares over the last 10 months. From Nordic nastiness to all-star zombie comedies, streaming services offer some fine horror choices to watch over Halloween this year. Here are 10 of the best.

Climax

What is it: Those prone to seasickness, look away now. Climax, the latest film from enfant terrible director Gaspar Noé spins, rolls and lurches, leaving some viewers as sick as the characters. A French dance troupe who drink a drug-spiked punch that leads them to lose their minds and embark on an odyssey of violence, mutilation and incest.

What the critics said: "Noé has made what might be his most accessible and, yes, tender film to date, teasing the idea of heavenly bliss — before heading straight to hell."⁠—Hau Chu, Washington Post

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Where to watch: Streaming on Amazon Prime Video now

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Kaya Scodelario in "Crawl". Paramount

Crawl

What is it: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the (crocodile-infested) water, Crawl comes out. Kaya Scodelario plays a former competition swimmer who, driving to see if her father is OK in a hurricane, finds herself trapped in his house with some killer crocs in this wildly entertaining B-movie.

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What the critics said: "Crawl is, exactly and unapologetically, what it is: a high-tension claustrophobic thriller that keeps raising its own creature-feature stakes."⁠—Anton Bitel, Little White Lies

Where to watch: Available to buy on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and the Apple Store

The Dead Don't Die

What is it: Though hated by some critics, this all-star cast (Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez) movie is a supremely fun zombie comedy hangout, featuring Tilda Swinton in a scene-stealing turn as a mortician-turned-samurai ready to attack as the undead take over a small American town.

What the critics said: "It's a film that lazily whistles past the graveyard as it brings that graveyard back to ravenous life."⁠—Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

Where to watch: Available to rent and buy on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and the Apple Store

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The Babyface killer in "Happy Death Day 2U" Universal

Happy Death Day 2U

What is it: A fun slasher film take on Groundhog Day (Groundhog Slay, if you will), this sequel to 2017's Happy Death Day adds a second time-travel twist by having Tree Glebman (Jessica Rothe) relive a different version of the same day again as a second killer goes on a rampage.

What the critics said: "This film is basically just ridiculous nonsense. I had a ton of fun."⁠—Amy Nicholson, FilmWeek

Where to watch: Available to buy on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and the Apple Store

Little Monsters

What is it: A manchild has to team up with a ukelele-playing Lupita Nyong'o as a school field trip to a farm gets overrun by zombies in this effective Australian comedy also starring Josh Gad as a foul-mouthed kids presenter.

What the critics said: "Little Monsters' biggest charm is in the surprising humor it imbues into every moment, carefully weaving between pop culture commentary, light satire, and emotional heft."⁠—Rosie Knight, IGN

Where to watch: In cinemas October 8 and on Hulu October 11

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Florence Pugh in "Midsommar" A24

Midsommar

What is it: Ari Aster's follow-up to Hereditary is a dense piece of Nordic nastiness that sees Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor head to a rural Scandinavian commune for a few days of violence, suicide and eating pubes in pies.

What the critics said: "This is a conceptual, highly visceral experience, from the graphic gore — which the camera lingers on long enough to be unsettling but without ever feeling exploitative — to the creepy tone, which relies on seeming innocuous even as something ominous lurks beneath the surface."⁠—Matthew Rozsa, Salon

Where to watch: Available to buy on YouTube, Google Play and the Apple Store

Ready or Not

What is it: Hide-and-seek never felt so horrifying than in this recent release that sees Samara Weaving play a bride hunted by her groom's family as part of a strange wedding tradition.

What the critics said: "Here's another horror about grotesque family rituals — sillier and less substantial than Get Out and Midsommar, but rollicking fun."⁠—Ed Potton, The Times

Where to watch: In cinemas now

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One of the many threats that face the cast of "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" Lionsgate

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

What is it: The children's book series that frightened 1980s and '90s kids everywhere gets a big budget makeover produced by Guillermo del Toro, which sees a group of teens terrified after the gruesome stories they read in a book start to come true.

What the critics said: "If there ever was a case of a film adaptation improving on the original source material, this is it."⁠—Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader

Where to watch: In cinemas now

Us

What is it: Following the smash hit of Get Out, Jordan Peele widens his scope for second film Us, which sees a family and their friends (including Lupita Nyong'o in the first of her two horror roles this year) terrorised by their 'shadow selves'.

What the critics said: "With Us, Peele confirms what a master of slow-building tension he is, but he also reminds us he can be pretty funny too."⁠—Jason Di Rosso, ABC News Australia

Where to watch: Available to rent and buy on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and the Apple Store

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Zawe Ashton in "Velvet Buzzsaw" Netflix

Velvet Buzzsaw

What is it: One of Netflix's stranger offerings, Velvet Buzzsaw assembles a starry cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, Toni Collette and John Malkovich) for a film that may be the first ever horror film to feature semi-sentient sculptures, paintings and tattoos as its killers.

What the critics said: "Its ideas are silly, but Jake Gyllenhaal delivers them with such goofy passion that who cares?"⁠—Inkoo Kang, Slate

Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix now

The Best Horror Films of 2019 So Far and How to Watch Them This Halloween | Culture