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Ryan C. Bradley’s Top Five of 2019

Horror boomed again in 2019. The genre has been booming over the last five years, undergoing a transformation from Bush-era-nightmare-fueled torture p*rn into more allegorical territory. 

This year also helped underscore the rise of the bad boyfriend in horror films, who I predict will be one of the bigger horror tropes in the next decade. 


Much of the criticism of Midsommar, Ari Aster’s sophomore feature, centered around the film being boring. I’m not sure what movie the haters watched, but if Midsommar is hard to watch because it’s so intentionally painful. Aster, as he did in Hereditary, demonstrates a talent for melding realistic grief with otherworldly horror. And of course he loves trauma, whether it be emotional or to the head. 

Related: Ari Aster’s Midsommar is Next Level Horror [Blu-ray Review]



Bong-Joon Ho’s Parasite is hard to classify, and harder not to spoil. Whatever it is, this film is easy to love. In it, a poor family lies their way into the employ of a rich family. From there, the plot takes some wild twists. 


Us was my most anticipated film of 2019 and it lived up to my excitement. It’s not as good as director-writer Jordan Peele’s first, spectacular, Get Out, but Peele again demonstrates his Hitchcockian ability to manipulate his audience into feeling exactly what he wants them to feel when he wants them to feel it. He also does incredible work with symbolism, something that horror has shied away from in favor of brutality in recent years. It’s nice to see it coming back. 

Related: Jordan Peele Does it Again with Us [Review]

USOne Cut of the Dead

Like Parasite, One Cut of the Dead takes some surprising twists that would be easy to spoil. Like I said in my review earlier this year, it’s a movie that absolutely lives up to the hype. It’s streaming on Shudder now, so stop reading me and start watching it. 

Related: One Cut of the Dead Exceeds the Hype [Review]

One Cut of the Dead Knives and Skin

Knives and Skin feels like Twin Peaks and Assassination Nation had a baby. In a small town full of quirky characters, a young woman has gone missing. Director and writer Jennifer Reeder shows us the way one person going missing can ripple through a community. 

Related: Knives and Skin Riffs on, Improves Twin Peaks [Review]

Honorable Mentions

Black Christmas, Bliss, Ready or Not, Dragged Across Cement, Escape Room

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Written by Ryan C. Bradley
Ryan C. Bradley (he/him) has published work in The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, Dark Moon Digest, Daikaijuzine, and other venues. His first book, Saint's Blood, is available from St. Rooster Books now! You can learn more about him at: ryancbradleyblog.wordpress.com.
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