Arts and CultureReviews

2019’s Best Indie Horror Films

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

by Jonas Barnes

This year was full of blockbusters, franchise milestones, and what will be the end of a decades long saga with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but I’m not here to talk about those.

I’m a cinema fan across the board, but I’m specifically an indie cinema fan above all. I’ve been lucky enough to have built a relationship with the badass people over at IFC Midnight, home to some of the best indie sci-fi and horror films around.

So without further ado, I present to you my favorite indie horror films of 2019.



This is a movie that screams “indie” through and through. It is a retelling of the “Frankenstein” story that ends up making big pharma the real villain. Filmed entirely in Brooklyn on a shoestring budget, the movie makes incredible use of the location to create atmosphere. Oh, and it’s also a bat shit insane take on the story as well, so it breathes new life into an old classic. Kudos to director and creator Larry Fessenden for pulling off an incredible feat here.

The Wind

If slow, atmospheric horror is your thing then I cannot recommend The Wind enough. Director Emma Tammi has created a world full of isolation, dread, beauty and total fear of the unknown in a film that kind of caught me by surprise. Slow and brooding isn’t a style I usually enjoy, but this one made my skin crawl with tension. It was a beautiful, unnerving, well-crafted use of a minimalist setting with fantastic acting all around.

I Trapped The Devil


Oh man, this fucking movie made my bones chill. It’s a story based around a man who has another man chained in his basement, whom he believes is the devil. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. What you end up seeing is a story of either a man’s mind completely unraveling into madness or of a man who has truly trapped the devil. And you’re on the edge of your seat until the absolute very end. I cannot recommend this one enough.



What filmmakers pulled off with an indie film budget in Freaks is nothing short of amazing. In this world, people with certain abilities are looked at as freaks who must be stopped. For one man and his daughter, survival is the only option, and he’ll stop at nothing to protect her. The effects in this part sci-fi, part horror film are right up there with a Hollywood blockbuster and the acting is off the charts. This was the biggest surprise of 2019 for me. Emile Hirsch & Bruce Dern are great as always, but the real treat is young actress Lexy Kolker.

The Nightingale


It’s not often that a movie is hard for me to finish due to what’s being shown on screen but The Nightingale did it. The first 40 minutes of this revenge drama/thriller from Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) is very difficult to witness. The horrors that our main character is faced with would make even the coldest horror fan wince…mostly because it’s real. These were real horrors that real women had to really live through in one way or another for years and years. I’ve been vague on purpose because this film is one that you need to watch and truly experience on your own without bias. It’s an incredible film from one of the most talented filmmakers I’ve ever seen and it is my pick for best indie film of 2019 by a mile. Please see this extremely important film and experience every feeling it gives you because you will have many.

There you have it, my friends! 2019 was full of incredible films and this is truly a small sampling of some of the best ones. Seek out more indie cinema, support small studios, frequent small cinema houses, and allow yourself to escape into more movies. Enjoy the shit out of your big blockbusters (I know I do) but at the end of the day, don’t forget to give the indies a solid chance. You may just be surprised.

Previous post

S.F.'s Saddest Closures of 2019

Next post

Canvass for Bernie Sanders This Weekend in the Mission

Guest Writer

Guest Writer

We write for busboys, poets, social workers, students, artists, musicians, magicians, mathematicians, maniacs, yodelers and everyone else out there who wants to enjoy life not as a rich person, but as a real person. Namely, we write for you.

We’re currently looking to expand our author pool. If you’re snarky, know what’s happening in your town, and good at making your fingers type out funny words, then you might be just the person we’re looking for. Email with some writing samples if you're interested. Cheers