October 31, 2019

Which Cameras Were Used to Shoot Horror Films In 2019?

A plethora of great horror films have been released this year, but which cameras did filmmakers shoot them with?

2019 has seen some very exciting titles grace not only the big screen but VOD platforms, as well. (And we've still got a couple of months left to go in the year.)

Ari Aster's unsettling folk horror film, Midsommar, and Andy Muschietti's big-budget It: Chapter Two have had audiences flocking to theaters to experience the creatures, carnage, and general creepiness. Here are the tools and cameras they used to make them. 

Keep in mind, also, that some films on the list were released as early as 2017 in their native countries, but this list reflects the date they were released in the United States. 

Midsommar

Aster's follow-up to his breakout film Hereditary has solidified him as one of the best directors working today in the horror genre. Made for $8 million (some publications report it as high as $10 million), Midsommar has gone on to make over $41 million worldwide at the box office, which is really saying something for a very weird, very unsettling movie that takes place in a drugged-up pagan commune. 

Director: Ari Aster

Cinematographer: Pawel Pogorzelski

Synopsis: "A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown's fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult."

Cameras Used: Panavision Millennium DXL2

Lenses Used: Panavision Primo and Primo Artiste Lenses

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Any time Guillermo del Toro's attached to a project, the hair on the back of your neck is poised to stand on end. This time, del Toro teams up with director André Øvredal, who excited TIFF audiences in 2016 with his terrifying English language debut The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Director: André Øvredal

Cinematographer: Roman Osin

Synopsis: "On Halloween 1968, reclusive Stella and her two friends meet a mysterious drifter, Ramón, and uncover a sinister notebook of stories."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini and Alexa SXT

Lenses Used: Zeiss Master Anamorphic Lenses

It: Chapter Two

Even die-hard fans of the 2017 remake of Stephen King's terrifying tale of a kid-murdering clown can admit that the second iteration of It played a little like a deflating red balloon, at least compared to the first film. However, Chapter Two brought in over $451 million at the international box office, making it the highest-grossing horror film of the year.

Director: Andy Muschietti

Cinematographer: Checco Varese

Synopsis: "Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini, Alexa SXT, and Alexa XT

Lenses Used: Leitz SUMMILUX-C and MiniHawk Anamorphic lenses

Us

Like Ari Aster, Jordan Peele's sophomore effort has revealed him to be one of the most exciting modern horror film directors. Dropping the first trailer for Us on Christmas Day in 2018 gave fans a delightfully horrifying gift to unwrap. Since the uneven but effective film came out seven months ago, it has earned over $255 million worldwide.

Director: Jordan Peele

Cinematographer: Mike Gioulakis

Synopsis: "A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini and Alexa SXT

Lenses Used: Zeiss Master Prime Lenses

The Lighthouse

2019 has become the year of the sophomore horror all-stars. Director Robert Eggers released his second feature film, The Lighthouse, after receiving heaps of praise for his period supernatural horror film The Witch. That feature debut cemented Eggers as a horror film heavyweight and A24 as a powerhouse studio and distributor for grounded and outside-the-box horror. 

Director: Robert Eggers

Cinematographer: Jarin Blaschke

Synopsis: "The hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s."

Cameras Used: Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2

Lenses Used: Bausch & Lomb Baltar Lenses

Tigers Are Not Afraid

Tigers Are Not Afraid was originally released in Mexico in 2017, but AMC's horror film streaming platform, Shudder, announced in July that it would bring Issa López's "horror fairytale" to North American theaters that following August. And with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97%, it's a film that you shouldn't miss.

Director: Issa López

Cinematographer: Juan Jose Saravia

Synopsis: "A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war."

Cameras Used: Sony CineAlta F55

Lenses Used: Unknown

Parasite

Korean director Bong Joon Ho is scary-talented. After receiving considerable acclaim for his recent  films Okja and Snowpiercer, Bong took home the Palme d'Or for Parasite, a story that tackles class warfare with stylish finesse. In fact, Bong and production designer Lee Ha Jun built one of the most impressive sets of the year, the Park Family house, from the ground up.

Director: Bong Joon Ho 

Cinematographer: Kyung-pyo Hong

Synopsis: "All unemployed, Ki-taek's family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa 65

Lenses Used: Hasselblad Prime Dna Lenses

Little Monsters

Zombieland: Double Tap isn't the only zombie horror comedy of 2019. Little Monsters premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and was quickly acquired by Neon and is now streaming on Hulu. Also, can we just talk about how Lupita Nyong'o is quickly becoming a horror megastar? She's in two films on this list!

Director: Abe Forsythe

Cinematographer: Lachlan Milne

Synopsis: "A washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kids show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini.

Lenses Used: Unknown.

Ready or Not

Horror comedies popped up all over the place this year and Ready or Not was one of the genre's best offerings, receiving 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Cinematographer: Brett Jutkiewicz

Synopsis: "A bride's wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini

Lenses Used: Cooke 5/i Prime Lenses

Ma

Seeing Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer as a horror villain was no doubt surprising for most movi-goers, but that was kind of the point.

In this interview with CinemaBlend, director Tate Taylor said the idea for the film came from Spencer telling him that she was sick of being offered the same roles and wanting to be a lead. So, he decided to reach out to her:

"The first thing I did is, I called Octavia, and I said, 'Would you want to be in a horror movie?' She's like, 'Am I the black person who gets killed first?' I go, 'No, you get to kill the people.' She goes, 'Yes.' She goes, 'F**k yes, I don't need to read it, I trust you!'"

Director: Tate Taylor

Cinematographer: Christina Voros

Synopsis: "A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn't get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini

Lenses Used: Unknown

Velvet Buzzsaw

Dan Gilroy'sVelvet Buzzsaw caught the attention of moviegoers primarily due to its beautifully playful imagery and crazy horror plot set in the art scene. And of course it did, because it's lensed by legendary DP and frequent Paul Thomas Anderson collaborator Robert Elswit. And although it wasn't as well-received as Gilroy's feature directorial debut, Nightcrawler, it did provide a fun and satirical (though, at times, confusing) look at how literally cutthroat and bloody the art world can be.

Director: Dan Gilroy

Cinematographer: Robert Elswit

Synopsis: "A satire set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce."

Cameras Used: Panavision Millennium DXL

Lenses Used: Panavision Super Speed Z-Series MKII and Zeiss Standard Speed Lenses

Pet Sematary

Yet another Stephen King adaptation for 2019, Pet Sematary is a more faithful-ish adaptation than the 1989 version of the story -- with an attempt at a twist ending. (It also has a new evil cat that is just as terrifying as the original). It didn't fare well among critics or audiences, but watching John Lithgow get his Achilles tendon sliced isn't the worst jump scare ever. 

Director: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

Cinematographer: Laurie Rose

Synopsis: "Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini and Alexa SXT Plus

Lenses Used: Hawk V-Lite Lenses

Brightburn

A genre mash of horror and superhero movies, Brightburn is what happens when a filmmaker takes the epic story of Superman and asks, "What if Clark Kent had been a power-hungry sociopath whose motto was 'take over the world?'"

Director: David Yarovesky

Cinematographer: Michael Dallatorre

Synopsis: "What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?"

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini and Alexa XT Plus

Lenses Used: Panavision T-Series Lenses

Child's Play

This Child's Play remake fell significantly short of the quality of the original film. But its attempt to modernize the idea of a killer doll deserves some credit. Here, Chucky is no longer the not-very-cute talking doll, but an Alexa-esque AI toy -- if Alexa turned into a homicidal animatronic plaything.

Director: Lars Klevberg

Cinematographer: Brendan Uegama

Synopsis: "A mother gives her 13-year-old son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini

Lenses Used: Leica Summilux-C and Angenieux Optimo Lenses

Happy Death Day 2U

The sequel to Blumhouse's hit Happy Death DayHappy Death Day 2U was not as a big a success with audiences as its first film was -- but it did make $64 million off an $8 million budget. 

Director: Christopher Landon

Cinematographer: Toby Oliver

Synopsis: "Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini and thr Phantom Flex4K.

Lenses Used: Angenieux Optimo zoom lenses, Cooke S4 prime lenses, Zeiss Ultra Prime Lenses.

The Dead Don't Die

Jim Jarmusch is cinematic royalty, so news that he was embarking on a zombie horror flick sent Film Twitter into full-on meltdown mode. It's funny, it's weird (again, Jarmusch), it stars Bill Murray, but the film made only $14 million worldwide at the box office.

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Cinematographer: Frederick Elmes

Synopsis: "The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa LF.

Lenses Used: Arri Prime DNA, Angenieux Optimo, and EZ Lenses.

Hagazussa: A Heathen's Curse

This is one of those curious films that was lauded by critics but panned by audiences. 

Hagazussa: A Heathen's Curse received 95% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but only 44% from moviegoers. But this film is 100% arthouse, so it's inherently not going to be everybody's cup o' tea. If you're an arthouse horror nerd (like many of us reading this), then you might want to give this a watch.

Director:  Lukas Feigelfeld

Cinematographer: Mariel Baqueiro

Synopsis: "Paranoia & Superstition in 15th Century Europe."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa*

Lenses Used: Unknown

*Official details about the cameras used on this film are unavailable, but some reports support the given information.

Climax

Another cinematic legend, Gaspar Noé, takes a run at an A24 horror film. And it's got Noé's fingerprints all over it. It's highly stylized, "hypnotic, hallucinatory, and ultimately hair-raising." How would one describe this horrific fever dream? Let Rolling Stone's David Fear explain it: "It's a dance party set in an upper-circle tier of hell."

Director: Gaspar Noé

Cinematographer: Benoît Debie

Synopsis: "French dancers gather in a remote, empty school building to rehearse on a wintry night. The all-night celebration morphs into a hallucinatory nightmare when they learn their sangria is laced with LSD."

Cameras Used: ARRI Alexa Mini.

Lenses Used: Zeiss Master Prime Lens.

Bliss

Bliss is the only movie on the list that utilizes 16mm film. This visual and stylistic callback to the good ol' days of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Evil Dead makes it a must-see. 

Director: Joe Begos

Cinematographer: Mike Testin

Synopsis: "A brilliant painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece, spiraling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles."

Camera: ARRI SR3 16mm camera and Aaton A-minima.

Lenses: Angenieux zooms and zeiss super speeds.     

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2 Comments

New title: “Which horror movies of 2019 didn’t use Arri.”

November 1, 2019 at 6:25PM, Edited November 1, 6:25PM

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haha exactly!

November 3, 2019 at 3:23AM

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Rayhanur kabir
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