2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with heavyweights such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For his part, Chris Dudley spent a lot of time touring with Underoath in support of the band's latest album, Erase Me. With all the downtime on the road, the keyboardist had time to catch up on horror movies, so we asked him to share his favorites of the year. "I can't rank these in any real order because it changes completely every day," he says. See his picks below.
Normally, an announcement about a sequel to The Shining would be met with a long, loud groan from this guy. I can't stand cash-in sequels and The Shining is one of my favorite movies of all time. However, when I saw that Mike Flannigan was at the helm, I had hope that this could be something next level, and next level it was. I'm a huge fan of his previous work — with additional viewings of Oculus and Haunting of Hill House — and everything I loved about those films was brought in and elevated for Doctor Sleep. The characters were engaging, the film took its time, there were visuals that were simply arresting, and the tightrope walk of paying homage — tastefully — to the source material while also introducing an entire film's worth of characters you need to care about was honestly a sight to behold. I don't think this film could have been done any better.
This film is absolutely ominous. A slow-burn folk-horror tale that has put director Lukas Feigelfeld on my radar the same way Hereditary put Ari Aster on it. Pure cold atmosphere from front to back and it pays off big time. Also, huge bonus points for an incredibly effective score by MMMD.
Before I even left the theater after viewing Hereditary on opening night in 2018, I knew that whatever director Ari Aster did after it would 100 percent put me in a seat opening weekend. This didn't disappoint in the slightest. The performances — especially Florence Pugh's — are amazing, the atmosphere is like no other film I've seen, and Ari Aster's unsettling control of the entire experience made this a film that I don't think I'll ever get out of my head.
This is by far the hardest watch of this list, but maybe the most important. This film focuses on a group of orphaned, homeless children caught in the horrors of the Mexican cartel wars and it doesn't pull any punches. Equally chilling, touching and heartbreaking, director Issa López creates a distressingly true-to-life look at the lives of these children with a horror thread throughout that is saying more than what's on the surface.
Even if it doesn't hit me as hard as Get Out did, I can't deny that Jordan Peele is one of the best working horror directors and that this is one of the best horror films of the year. Us is way more ambitious and has way bigger ideas than Get Out, and I'd say it succeeds on many of them and I've found that I like this one more with re-watches and that's always a good sign.