The 20 best horror movies of 2019

20. 'Child's Play'
The original Chucky franchise is still churning out well-received sequels under the guidance of creator Don Mancini, but that didn't prevent rights holders MGM from hitting the reboot button, with Mark Hamill lending his memorable voice to the killer doll. The smart technology themes are timely and interesting, but it's Hamill who is the star here for sure. (Credit: Vertigo Releasing) (Eric Milner)
19. 'Little Monsters'
Lupita Nyong'o makes the first of two appearances on this list for her role as a chirpy kindergarten teacher protecting her class of kiddies when zombies attack a petting zoo. Josh Gad also stars as a foul-mouthed children's entertainer, spouting words you do not expect to hear coming out of Olaf's mouth. (Credit: Altitude) (Yahoo Movies UK)
18. 'Brightburn'
Pitched by the Gunn family - James is a producer and Brian and Mark are the writers - as the origin story of Superman given a horror twist, Brightburn is a scary and sinister superhero tale. It's anchored by the terrific Jackson A. Dunn as the blank-faced kid dealing with extraordinary powers, as well as a shocking revelation about his past. (Credit: Sony) (Yahoo Movies UK)
17. 'Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich'
The 12th film in a franchise that has been running for 30 years, The Littlest Reich casts puppeteer Andre Toulon as a Nazi war criminal with an array of nasty little creations. Dragged Across Concrete director S. Craig Zahler is on script duties and tells the story with a devilish sense of humour. (Credit: Exploitation Films) (Yahoo Movies UK)
16. 'It: Chapter Two'
One of the most highly anticipated horror movies of the last few years, Andy Muschietti directs the second half of Stephen King's doorstop novel with epic scale. Bill Skarsgård remains terrifying as Pennywise the Dancing Clown and the new ensemble is a feat of casting, with Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain the standout new additions. (Credit: Warner Bros) (Yahoo Movies UK)
15. 'Zombieland: Double Tap'
After fans waited a decade, the entire cast of Zombieland reunited for this sequel, which returns to the group of survivors living in the abandoned White House. Needless to say, their newfound bliss doesn't last long with new, more powerful, members of the undead on the prowl. (Credit: Sony) (Yahoo Movies UK)
14. 'The Perfection'
Netflix delivered an incredibly odd psychological horror with The Perfection, in which Get Out star Allison Williams is terrifying all over again as a cellist at the centre of a wildly unravelling narrative. The twists come thick and fast, with a final image that is among the strangest things committed to cinema all year. Take a bow. (Credit: Netflix) (Yahoo Movies UK)
13. 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark'
Adapted from a series of horror tales for kids which are hugely popular in the United States, the new film from The Autopsy of Jane Doe director André Øvredal is a quasi-anthology featuring numerous different beasties pursuing a group of teens who steal a book from a haunted house. With endless sequel potential, this one may run and run. Øvredal has certainly said he's up for it. (Credit: eOne) (Yahoo Movies UK)
12. 'Happy Death Day 2U'
How do you follow up a surprise horror hit? In the case of Happy Death Day 2U, the answer is to make something completely different. Christopher Landon's sequel maintains the time loop conceit of the first movie, but also allows the narrative to pinball off into other directions and indeed genres. It's as much a sci-fi comedy as it is a slasher, but it's certainly loads of fun. (Credit: Universal) (Yahoo Movies UK)
11. 'Pet Sematary'
It might not be the most ballyhooed of the year's Stephen King adaptations, but this reimagining of one of the horror maestro's darkest novels is a bleak, morbid treat. Jason Clarke excels in the lead role, with ample support provided by a cat so creepy even the internet would struggle to find him cute. (Credit: Paramount) (Yahoo Movies UK)
10. 'The Prodigy'
Yes, it's another creepy kid movie, but The Prodigy is so deliciously nasty that it's hard not to love it. The film begins with a match cut from the bullet-riddled body of a serial killer to the innocent cries of a newborn baby. It only gets madder and more macabre from there, as the child grows up to be something even Supernanny would struggle to handle. (Credit: Vertigo Releasing) (Rafy)
9. 'Us'
Jordan Peele broke into the world of horror in a big way with one of the best movies of the entire decade in Get Out. His doppelganger-themed follow-up, Us, is even more packed with ideas and sees Lupita Nyong'o give a double performance of extraordinary depth that might well trouble the awards ceremonies. Maybe they'll nominate her twice. (Credit: Universal) (Yahoo Movies UK)
8. 'Doctor Sleep'
Following The Shining is no easy task, particularly as Stephen King can't stand it, but Mike Flanagan pulls it off with Doctor Sleep. Ewan McGregor plays an older Danny Torrance, trying to rescue a young girl from the clutches of soul-sucking villain Rose the Hat, who we promise is scarier than she sounds. It's the year's best King adaptation, and even the author himself is happy. (Credit: Warner Bros) (Yahoo Movies UK)
7. 'Escape Room'
Adam Robitel is best known as the guy behind nobody's favourite Insidious movie, but he delivered something really smart and interesting this year with Escape Room. At its core, it's just a cast of people thrust into a series of deadly games, but those games are inventive and the film takes time to provide real stakes and back-stories for pretty much everyone. A sequel is on the way in 2020 after a very strong $156m (£119m) worldwide gross. (Credit: Sony) (Yahoo Movies UK)
6. 'Crawl'
The formula for Alexandre Aja's latest is simple. Kaya Scodelario in a flooded crawl space, with alligators. What follows is a tense and thrilling fight for survival that Quentin Tarantino has crowned his movie of the year. It has the feel of an old school midnight movie, dealing in over-cranked gore and enjoyably ripe dialogue. (Credit: Paramount) (Yahoo Movies UK)
5. 'Ma'
A camp classic in the making, this Blumhouse horror features Octavia Spencer embracing her wild side. She plays the titular woman, who invites a group of teens over to her house where they can party and drink to their hearts' content, as long as they don't go upstairs. Naturally, they do and all hell breaks loose. Spencer is brilliant, the plot is absurd and there are moments that turned into Twitter meme royalty almost immediately. (Credit: Universal) (Yahoo Movies UK)
4. 'Ready or Not'
The idea that rich people are awful sits at the core of many horror tales, and it's certainly true of wedding night survival tale Ready or Not. Samara Weaving has to play the world's highest stakes game of hide and seek in order to avoid her murderous in-laws. She makes for a compelling protagonist, described by Weaving as a "final woman" rather than a "final girl". It's a crowd-pleasing odyssey of violence, culminating in one of the year's most shocking final reels. (Credit: Fox) (Yahoo Movies UK)
3. 'In Fabric'
Peter Strickland is one of Britain's most exciting voices in uncategorisable genre cinema, and In Fabric is arguably his crowning achievement to date. The story traces the various owners of a dress which seems to have supernatural powers. It's part giallo homage, part kitchen sink drama and all weird. One of the year's most pleasant surprises. (Credit: Curzon) (Yahoo Movies UK)
2. 'Rabid'
For a horror filmmaker, it doesn't get much tougher than remaking a David Cronenberg film. The Soska Sisters, however, have managed something truly special with Rabid, in which Cronenberg's stripped-down 1977 story becomes a full-throated examination of body image and the fashion industry. It's a bloody, terrifying tale with serious subtext lurking underneath its facial scars. (Credit: 101 Films) (Yahoo Movies UK)
1. 'Midsommar'
Ari Aster burst on the scene last year with Hereditary and has wasted no time in delivering another epic slice of supernatural spookiness. Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor lead a cast of American college students invited to attend and observe a traditional Scandinavian celebration, which it's fair to say is a little different to the average Western festivities. Pugh said the shoot was so traumatic it gave her PTSD, and Aster released an even more gruelling extended cut later in the year. Both versions are mesmerising and masterful. (Credit: EFD) (Yahoo Movies UK)

Cinema’s creepiest genre has yielded its fair share of riches in 2019, from the box office dynamite of Stephen King’s killer clown through to the gore-soaked determination of Samara Weaving’s bride in Ready or Not.

This year has yielded ghost stories, animal attacks and even a possessed dress, in one of the most varied, diverse horror periods in many years.

Here are the best scary offerings from 2019, based on UK release dates.

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