In 2019, the movie industry was booming and prospering beyond recent years. There were so many good releases — truly iconic releases — that caused me to head to the movie theater at least once or twice a month, which is well above average for me. I’m breaking down my top ten favorite movies released in 2019 below, and who knows, maybe I’ll binge them all in the weeks to come.
It is officially spooky season, and with that in mind, I have decided to rate my top three horror films based on my own personal checklist. I highly recommend each film because they are all incredibly well directed and have everything you need for a terrifying night in.
This first one is definitely one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. The reason I find it so terrifying is because of the different horrific aspects it was able to layout through the entire film. It didn’t just focus on jump scares. It didn’t use that cringy horror music that easily shows you something scary is about to happen. It genuinely brought in different aspects that make horror movies worthy of watching and combined them with seemingly no effort at all.
The movie I’m talking about is called “Hereditary” that was released in June of 2018. The film tells a tale of an abnormal family that just recently lost their grandmother. The family falls apart after the death and the tension is quite thick. The grandmother was a bit on the spooky side, even having books about death and all things gory and spooky. The granddaughter was much like the grandmother, eerie and all around weird which caused her to isolate herself from the family and come off as shy. Later on, the girl ends up dying because of an incident her big brother had while driving. She died a pretty horrific death. Her head was chopped off which caused me to shift uncomfortably in my seat.
Tension grows higher between the mother of the family and the son because of the whole incident that ended her youngest child’s life. The husband tried to keep the peace, but was unsuccessful in every attempt he made. She continued to grieve but eventually found a way to contact her daughter, wanting to feel her presence if at all possible. This causes paranormal stuff to happen throughout the majority of the film. Towards the end, the mother becomes possessed by her dead daughter, kills her husband and her son. The dead daughter then takes over her brother’s body as a host body, and that’s how it ends. It creeped me out immensely. This is definitely a must watch.
The second film that really messed me up and caused me to sleep with the lights on for a couple days would have to be “The Possession of Hannah Grace”. I was a bit hesitant to watch this movie in the first place when it came out in 2018 just because of the simple fact that movies dealing with possession freak me out almost as much as horror movies with incredible jump scares. I find the whole aspect of possession terrifying. I happened to be a huge “Pretty Little Liars’’ fan so I couldn’t help but to watch to support the actress Shay Mitchell. The film centers around Shay’s character, Megan who ends up getting a new job at the hospital as an overnight morgue worker. She works the shift all alone around dead bodies. I could not imagine having that job. Megan ends up taking in a dead body on one of her first nights on the new job. The body is in terrible shape, and you can barely make out that the deceased is a girl. The girl is Hannah Grace who the movie opens up on. It shows Hannah having an exorcism done to her, but it clearly fails and kills her and the priest. The scene where that takes place genuinely scared me to death.
The movie continues with the corpse causing certain things to happen, basically starting to haunt the morgue portion of the hospital which in turn makes Megan realize what’s going on. The jump scares are pretty phenomenal and the acting is incredible as well. Here’s another movie to add to your watch list.
The final movie that I urge any horror film fan to watch is “Mother” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. This film was released in 2017 and I knew I had to watch it because of my love for Jennifer Lawrence. I think she is an incredible actress and I highly doubt that the role could have been filled and portrayed as perfectly as it was had there been a different actress portraying the character Veronica. The film is the most unique film that I have watched in quite some time. It has the possibility to be interpreted in different ways, and to be quite honest, I was a bit confused the first time I watched it. I did a bit of research on the film and it turns out that I’m not the only one that was confused with how the film ended. There are various videos online with different perspectives on the ending and several explanations. The complexity of the film was definitely talked about for a while after the film was released.
The film revolves around a married couple who live in a beautiful Victorian home in the middle of nowhere. It starts off seemingly peaceful. The woman is spending all of her free time renovating and decorating their new home, while taking care of her husband and being the best wife she can be. The husband is a widely known author and is currently working on a book of his when a knock can be heard from the door. Curious as to who it could be, the couple opens it up to find a man that they have never met before. The husband offers him a place to stay in their home after hearing of this stranger’s misfortune. His family shows up, becoming guests as well and causing the couple’s serene isolation to disappear. It is an insane film that causes your brain to wonder what actually happens. What part of the film is a fantasy and what part of it is reality. Watch and interpret.
Fall has officially begun. Even though the ninety degree weather seemingly doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. Though the weather is not cooperating, I still find myself getting excited for the spooky season which is now just around the corner. One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is watch movies to get me even more into the spirit, and I’ve already started the movie marathon for Halloween. Here are my top must-watch movies for October:
First, we have my all time favorite, Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus came out in July of 1993, which I find to be a bit strange considering Halloween is in October, but I am not going to complain. Hocus Pocus is a story about three witches who are brought back to life when Max, a teenager who is willing to do anything to impress the girl he’s in love with, lights the candle in the witch’s old house. Max, along with his crush named Allison and his little sister Dani, goes on a wild goose chase trying to trap the witches and banish them once and for all. Luckily, on their journey to get rid of the horrible hags, they run into a boy that was turned into a cat by the witches and are able to gain a bit of insight on how to carry out their plan. Overall, it sounds like a pretty wacky film, and it is, but it’s my favorite movie when the fall season comes around.
Another favorite Halloween film of mine is Halloweentown. This film hit the screen in 1998, and I’ve watched it at least fifty times. The first film was so popular that they continued on the franchise creating three more. The first installment of this successful film chain follows the Cromwell family. The family consists of a mom and her three children Marnie, Dylan and Sophie. The mother has left her secrets and her past life in her hometown, and never planned to tell her children that they were part witch. The grandma had other plans. On Halloween, the grandma comes to visit to try to coax Gwen, the mom, to let the children know about their powers and change their upbringing to include that lifestyle. After an argument, Grandma Cromwell heads back to Halloweentown alone, or so she thought. Marnie and Dylan sneak out and follow her, determined to figure out the truth. The rest of the film is about all three of the children ending up in the magical, mystical Halloweentown trying to help their grandmother fight an unknown evil while Gwen urges them to head home instead. The movies following this one includes even more magic and appreciation for the spooky holiday.
The final movie that has become a staple in my spooky-movie marathon is Monster House. I know, I know…it’s a cartoon movie that is not scary whatsoever, but quite frankly, none of these movies are scary. Who cares? They are classic in my eyes. Monster House is a cartoon movie that came to be in 2006, so it’s fairly newer than the previous two. This movie is about two neighbors, DJ and Chowder, and a girl scout named Jenny who have been frightened by the old man living in an incredibly spooky house in their neighborhood. The man is seen as cranky and uptight for several reasons, one of the biggest one being that nobody is allowed on his property at all. After the old man freaks out about the boys messing around on his property, he gets sent to the hospital, leaving the boys there alone to create even more of a mess. While trying to save Jenny, the boys find out that the house is filled with some dark presence, which later ends up being revealed that it was the old man’s late wife. The film is innocent enough for kids of all ages to watch it, and adults seem to find it interesting as well.
Those are just a few of my favorite movies to watch around this time of year. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch and appreciate each of them a couple of times a piece before I have to kick into Christmas mode. If you haven’t seen any of these movies, I highly recommend them.
Actually Susan, no I haven’t been to the movies in a while. Thanks for reminding me that I never actually leave my house.
You have to admit, you honestly can’t remember the last time you went out for the evening to see a movie. Maybe it was because the last time you saw a movie the kid behind you kept his feet firmly planted in your back, or because the woman next to you insisted on peeing and getting refreshments for the entire duration of the two-and-a-half hour movie. There’s always Netflix, well when they add new things, which is almost never.
So what’s next? Sure, there are tons of streaming sites to choose from but not everyone has those options. But, there’s the next best thing. The nearest Redbox. For the low price of $1.50 a day, $2.00 for Blu-Ray, you can rent a new release movie or perhaps something else and return it the next day to any available Redbox kiosk.
But the biggest conundrum is what to rent. A horror movie? Comedy? Romance? Action? So many possibilities. Here are a few options to consider currently at Redbox.
The story of a devoted father named Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) who teams up with one-armed brother Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) and sister Mellie Logan (Riley Keough) to steal money from the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the biggest race of the year. With the help of incarcerated demolitions expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), they work to pull off the heist after a mix-up throws a dent in the plans.
Redbox and Chill Rating: 5 out of 5
I saw this movie in theaters, and would have seen it again because I loved it that much. It was funny, endearing, the characters were lovable and fleshed out. Also Daniel Craig is hilarious outside of his James Bond persona playing a jailed country bomber. If you’re looking for something light-hearted and not too hard to follow, this is the one for you.
Tom Cruise plays Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who ends up being recruited by the CIA to provide recon in Central America during the communist threat. In the process, the infamous Medellin drug Cartel is created and the Reagan White House nearly comes crashing down amid the lies and deception.
Redbox and Chill Rating: 5 out of 5
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of Tom Cruise. He’s just a weird guy and all that has left a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to his movies. That being said, I saw this with my boyfriend, and loved it. It kept me on the edge of my seat and made me want to do more research into what actually happened and how much President Reagan was involved. This movie is full of action and has a solid story. It’s a little more hard-core than Logan Lucky, pretty violent and you need to pay attention to the story to follow it.
Stephen King’s classic novel heads to the big screen in this adaptation starring Bill Skarsgard as the notorious Pennywise the Dancing Clown who terrorizes seven outcasts in the small town of Derry, Maine over the course of a summer. Together they must overcome their fears and work to destroy him.
Redbox and Chill Rating: 5 out of 5
I promise I’m giving you my honest ratings on these movies. I’m a huge horror movie fan, so when I saw advertisements for the new It, I knew I would be first in line to see it. No one can replace Tim Curry in my heart as Pennywise, but Bill Skarsgard does a fine job of trying. He is frightening and convincing as the murderous clown, and the kids work well together as a group. The movie is full of jump-scares as well as regular scares, and the opening sequence is well-done and every bit as memorable as the original. It is intense, and obviously horror so this is a movie made for a cold, stormy evening at home.
So there you have it, a few options for a night in. Jacksonville has several Redbox locations. Dollar General on Nisbet St has one, the Walgreen’s has two kiosks, Winn Dixie has one and Wal-Mart has two indoor kiosks. If you need specific directions, check the Redbox site.
Magic and witchcraft might not be on everyone’s mind now that Halloween is over, but Tuesday night, students could see real magic happen at Longleaf Studios. People weren’t casting spells or riding around on broomsticks. Instead, they were bringing the creative film process to life—and it was enchanting.
The JSU Film Club shot their first film of the semester from the comfort of Jacksonville.
The project was a first person film where audiences could witness firsthand what it’s like to do the job of a director in a studio on a film set. It showed the process of creating a film from the chaotic and fun perspective of the director.
Although the process became somewhat repetitive after running the same shot twelve times, it was necessary for absolute artistic perfection. There are many factors that contributed to ensuring this project went as smoothly as possible.
Megan Wise, a sophomore at JSU and the resident the wardrobe and makeup artist for this particular shoot, took an actress with beauty pageant potential and transformed her into Freddy Krueger’s stunt-double.
“You get your hands dirty, but it really is fun,” Wise said while putting the finishing touches on a makeup masterpiece. “Especially come Halloween time, I think people enjoy being turned into a monster or another person for a night.”
Brenton Cunningham, a senior here at JSU, was an actor in the short film portraying a producer giving his approval on the filming process. As a film student, he has seen the fruits and labors behind most of positions of the film crew.
“It’s like the circus and the army had a baby. There’s a lot of organization, but at the same time, there’s a lot of being on your own and doing your own thing,” Cunningham remarked.
Both Wise and Cunningham have participated in the film courses offered here at JSU.
Artist-in-residence Jeffrey Nichols is the instructor of all things film at JSU.
In regards to Jacksonville, Nichols said that the university “needed this type of entertainment, this type of value. Students are hungry for it in the area. Louisiana, Atlanta, North Carolina, South Carolina—they have their fruits. Now, I’m here to plant fruit and I want to see it prosper. I want to see people grow.”
One student who has grown under the guidance of Nichols is Alex McFry, the director of this promotional video. McFry, along with the club’s president, Aaron Bryant, and several others are some of the founding members of this group.
“I left leaving accomplished and refreshed. I want everybody to get a taste of that feeling when they work on our projects,” McFry said to others who might be on the fence about getting involved.
In regards to the creative ideas behind this project, McFry says, “I wanted to show audiences what it was like to be a part of the film club. Essentially, that’s what this promo does. It shows you how the Film Club operates when it’s in ‘project mode.’”
The magic that the JSU Film Club creates might not be so literal, but it is worth being a part of. For more information about the JSU Film Club, contact Aaron Bryant at and follow all the group’s events on Facebook.