The Best Upcoming Horror Movies To Look Forward To In 2020 (And Beyond)
While horror has produced big hits every year for decades, there's little question that we're in the middle of a particularly strong era for the genre. Horror is no longer the underground, disreputable cousin to more acceptable mainstream cinema--it IS mainstream cinema. And it's not just one subgenre of horror that's popular either--the last couple of years have delivered scary movies of every type, from zombies and ghosts to masked killers and scary clowns.
2019 continued the current resurgence of Stephen King adaptations; It: Chapter 2 was another box office monster while Pet Semetary got a new adaptation. And though Doctor Sleep was a commercial disappointment, it was still a very worthy adaptation of King's Shining sequel novel. There were new movies in current franchises such as Conjuring and Happy Death Day, the fun Child's play remake, the crocodile horror of Crawl, and Rob Zombie's Devils Rejects sequel 3 From Hell. And most excitingly for fans looking to the future of the genre, impressive second films from three of its most exciting rising talents--Jordan Peele (Us), Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse), and Ari Aster (Midsommar).
2020 looked to set to continue the tread of great horror. But of course, a lot has changed since the start of the year. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused major disruption across Hollywood, with films getting postponed and delayed on what feels like a daily basis. As a result, many of the horror movies that were scheduled for the next few months won't appear until later in 2020, while some won't arrive until 2021. In addition, you can expect to see some skip theaters altogether and head straight to streaming.
Nevertheless, there's no shortage of horror to get excited about over the next couple of years. There's plenty of franchise entries, including new Halloween, Purge, and Saw films, and the much-anticipated sequel to A Quiet Place. There's the inevitable reboots, including Candyman and Scream, and also plenty of intriguing new horror on the way too, including new movies from Edgar Wright and Zack Snyder, and the latest spooky production from Guillermo Del Toro. So here's our guide to the most anticipated horror movies coming later in 2020 and beyond...
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Release date: September 4
Mindbending movies such as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind established Charlie Kaufman as one of most inventive screenwriters working. I'm Thinking of Ending Things sees him venture into psychological horror territory, and he's handled directing duties as well. It's a Netflix production based on the novel by Iain Reed, about a woman who travels with her boyfriend to visit his parents--with harrowing results. The movie stars Jessie Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Colette, and David Twelis. Plemons said that he'd "never read anything like" the script before, so consider us excited.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen
Release date: September 10
Netflix's horror comedy The Babysitter was released in 2017, and the follow-up arrives this month. The movie stars Judah Lewis as teenager Cole, who thwarted his babysitter Bee's evil Satanic cult in the first film. He's still haunted by that night, and the only person who believes him is his next door neighbor and best pal Melanie. When the pair head out to the coast for a party, they find themselves having to fight the wisecracking cultists once more, who have returned from the dead. McG returns as director, and from the first trailer, this sequel looks very similar to the first in terms of very broad laughs and over-the-top violence.
Release date: September 18
The very talented Janelle Monáe will make her horror acting debut with this ambitious new chiller that combines contemporary scares with a racially-charged drama set during the Civil War. It's written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, who are better known as commercial and music video making duo Bush + Renz, and also stars Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) and Jena Malone (The Neon Demon). It was originally set for a theatrical release back in June, but will now hit digital platforms later this month.
Release date: October 16
As well as directing the hit movies Get Out and Us, Jordan Peele has kept busy by writing and producing a slate of other genre TV shows and movies. He's co-written this new version of the terrifying '90s horror classic Candyman, which is based on the story by Clive Barker. It's described as a "spiritual sequel," and he recent first trailer suggests that we'll be seeing the return of Toby Todd in the title role. The cast also includes Aquaman's Yahya Abdul Mateen II, and it's directed by rising director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, Top Boy).
Release date: October 30
A number of high profile recent horror movies, including Lights Out and The Babadook, started life as acclaimed short films, and Come Play is the latest. It focuses on lonely autistic boy Oliver who has a seemingly imaginary friend named Larry. Except Larry is very real--he's a monster that manifests itself through phone and mobile devices, and has claimed Oliver and his family as his next victims. Come Play hits theaters at the end of October, and although Halloween is likely to be very different this year, the movie will hopefully provide some much needed scares.
The Empty Man
Release date: December 4
The Empty Man is an acclaimed supernatural graphic novel, and it's been turned into an upcoming movie. The story focuses on a pandemic that causes rage, hallucinations, dementia, and death, and has become the obsession of various cults. James Badge Dale (Hold the Dark) plays an ex-cop who is haunted by the death of his wife and son, and the cast also includes Stephen Root (Barry) and Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why). With both this movie and the new adaptation of The Stand arriving in December, it's set to be a timely month of pandemic horror.
PG: Psycho Goreman
Release date: late 2020
Steven Kostanski is a member of the Canadian horror production company Vestron-6, and he previously directed the acclaimed cosmic horror The Void. His latest movie is PG: Psycho Goreman, which is set for a theatrical release later this year before hitting Shudder in early 2021. It's a homage to both '80s kids movies like Explorers and The Goonies and splattery horror of the same era, and tells the story of two kids who befriend a huge, terrifying creature named PG. They get to play baseball with him, but unfortunately, he's also partial to tearing people's heads off. Check out the outrageous gory trailer.
Release date: February 9, 2021
Guillermo Del Toro's next movie as director, Nightmare Alley, isn't expected until 2021, but as a producer, his name continues to be attached a variety of films. Hot on the heels of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, we have Antlers. It's a spooky tale of a young boy and something scary that lives in the woods that's been picking of the locals. Antlers stars Keri Russell (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) and Jesse Plemons (El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story) and is directed by Scott Cooper.
Last Night in Soho
Release date: April 23 2021
The zombie comedy classic Shaun of the Dead proved that director Edgar Wright is a huge horror fan, and with Last Night in Soho, he'll get the chance to show if he can make scary as well as funny. It's a '60s set London-based psychological horror that reportedly takes influence from British classics such as Don't Look Now and Peeping Tom, and stars Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), Anya Taylor-Joy (The WItch), and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) alongside veteran British stars Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp.
A Quiet Place: Part II
Release date: April 23, 2021
With A Quiet Place, The Office and Jack Ryan star John Krasinski proved that he wasn't just a talented actor--he also had serious chops as a filmmaker too. The movie was a tense, terrifying, and extremely moving experience that transcended its gimmicky set-up (make a sound and a monster will get you), and it grossed more than $340 million worldwide. Krasinski will also direct the sequel, which stars Emily Blunt once more, alongside Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou. Krasinski previously hinted that the sequel will expand the setting of the movie, stating "[It] isn't just a character to remake or a group of characters or a story. It's actually a world, which is a whole different, very unique experience."
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Release date: May 21, 2021
There was much surprise when it was announced that comedian Chris Rock would be co-writing and starring in the next Saw movie, but it seems that he's a big horror fan and successfully pitched a new story idea to producers Lionsgate. Rock plays a cop in the movie, while Samuel L Jackson is his father and Max Minghella (The Social Network) plays his partner. A couple of familiar faces are back too--namely Jigsaw's Hannah Anderson and Saw IV's Alison Luther--and the director is Darren Lynn Bousman, who previously helmed Saw 2, 3, and 4. Check out the first Spiral trailer here.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Release date: June 4, 2021
The Conjuring universe is now the most successful horror franchises ever made, and the third main movie in the series arrives this year. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, who, as the movie's title suggests, take on an unusual case of demonic possession. Wilson has stated that the film will have "a much different feel” to previous movies. It's produced by series creator James Wan once more, and directed by Michael Chaves, who previously helmed 2019's The Curse of La Llorona.
The Forever Purge
Release date: July 9, 2021
In just seven years, the Purge series has produced four movies and two seasons of a spin-off TV show, and a fifth film is on the way. Creator James DeMonaco previously stated that this would be the last one, but given 2018's prequel The First Purge was the most successful one so far, it's hard to believe producers Blumhouse will stop here. But either way, The Forever Purge will pick up where 2016's Election Year left off, with director Everardo Gout (Luke Cage, Banshee) making his feature debut.
Release date: October 15, 2021
The huge success of 2018's Halloween reboot/sequel proved there's still life in the long-running slasher franchise. Director David Gordon Green has shot the next two movies back-to-back, and the first will be with us in October. Original star Jamie Lee Curtis is back to fight her masked nemesis Michael Myers on the streets of Haddonfield once more, and series co-creator John Carpenter will provide another iconic score. The third movie, the almost-certainly inaccurately titled Halloween Ends, is due in 2022.
Release date: January 14, 2022
Wes Craven's post-modern slasher Scream was one of most successful and influential horror movies of the 1990s, and its legacy looms large over the genre. It was followed by three sequels and an anthology TV show, and inevitably a reboot that is on the way. The fifth Scream movie will be directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who helmed last year's acclaimed horror-comedy Ready or Not. It's not known if the next Scream film will be a sequel or complete remake--or indeed, a continuation of any of the TV series. But Ready or Not proved that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett know how to combine humor and horror to impressive effect, so their involvement could breathe new life into the franchise.
Paranormal Activity 7
Release date: March 4, 2022
Blumhouse Productions is one of modern horror's most successful companies, and it was 2007's Paranormal Activity that helped kickstart its run of modestly budgeted but highly profitable genre movies. The sixth movie was released in 2015, and producer Jason Blum recently confirmed that Paranormal Activity 7 was in the works. Blum also stated that Christopher Landon, who wrote four of the previous Paranormal Activity movies as well as directing the two Happy Death Day films, is working on this one. It's currently slated for a March 2021 release.
Release date: TBD
James Wan is one of the most successful directors working today, but while his biggest hits have been franchise blockbusters Aquaman and Fast 7, his roots lie in horror. He co-created the Saw, Insidious, and Conjuring series and returns to the genre with this new scary film. Despite rumors that it's an adaptation of Wan's 2011 graphic novel Malignant Man, the director has confirmed that it is in fact an entirely new story. Of course, we don't actually know what it's about, but it's definitely one to keep a watch out for.
Army of the Dead
Release date: TBD
Zack Snyder kicked off his directing career with the James Gunn-written remake of Dawn of the Dead, and he returns to the genre with another zombie movie. It was first announced way back in 2008 but sat unmade for a decade until Netflix picked it up this year. Dave Bautista heads the cast, and in October, Synder gave us a hint about what to expect, describing it as a "heist movie in a zombie-infested Las Vegas." Since it's a Netflix movie, the release date has not been announced yet, but it sounds awesome.
Run Sweetheart Run
Release date: TBD
This urban chiller was set to hit theaters in May, but it will now head straight to streaming, with a Prime Video release expected later this year. It's a tale of a date-from-hell, as a single mom (Ella Balinska) ends up being pursued across LA by a psychotic suitor, played by Game of Thrones's Pilou Asbæk. It looks like another slick, tense, and entertaining movie from Blumhouse productions.
Release date: TBD
First-time British filmmaker Rose Glass made something of a festival splash last year with this unsettling horror, and it hits theaters in May. The plot focuses on a nurse who becomes infatuated with one of her dying patients and starts to believe that she might be possessed. The movie stars Morfydd Clark, who appeared in last year's horror hit Crawl, and reportedly blends psychological scares and disturbing body horror.
Release date: TBD
Director Aneesh Chaganty's 2018 thriller Searching was one of the most gripping and inventive thrillers of recent years, and expectations are high for his next movie. Run is a paranoid chiller in which a wheelchair-using teenager begins to suspect that her overprotective mother is keeping some scary secrets. American Horror Story regular Sarah Paulson plays the mom, while newcomer Kiera Allen plays the daughter, and from the recent first trailer, it looks extremely unnerving.
Final Destination 6
Release date: TBD
It's been nine years since the last entry in the highly entertaining Final Destination series, 2011's Final Destination 5. There's a new movie in the works, though. Series creator Jeffrey Reddick and producer Craig Perry are involved once more, and Reddick recently confirmed that the film will be a continuation of the series rather than a remake. In addition, Perry stated that the movie might focus on first responders--who will, presumably, end up being chased by death like virtually every other character in the series.
Don't Breathe 2
Release date: TBD
Fede Alvarez's highly suspenseful Don't Breathe was one of 2016's big surprise hits, making $157 million at the worldwide box office from a modest production budget of $10 million. The movie didn't necessarily leave the door open for a second entry, but that has rarely (ok, never) stopped Hollywood, and the sequel is on the way. Rodo Sayagues, who co-wrote the first movie, is directing this time, and Stephen Lang will be back as the sinister Blind Man. Filming was supposed to commence this month, but with production on pretty much everything currently postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, it will presumably not start for some time.
Release date: TBD
Roald Dahl's spooky children's classic has been adapted once before, back in 1990, with Angelica Huston in unforgettably scary form as the Grand High Witch. Anne Hathaway takes on the role in this new version, and the cast also includes Octavia Spencer (Ma) and Stanley Tucci (Transformers: The Last Knight). It's directed by blockbuster veteran Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, The Polar Express), and although the location has been moved from the English coast to Alabama in the 1960s, with Guillermo Del Toro among the producers, it's a good bet that Dahl's mix of charming fantasy and macabre chills will remain intact.
This upcoming supernatural movie was picked up by Blumhouse after a successful festival run last year. It's a Jewish-themed chiller, in which a man accepts the position as a "shomer," who must sit and watch over the body of a deceased community leader for the night. Of course, this vigil is taking place in a spooky and old house, and soon scary things start to happen. Religious horror movies have always delivered some of the genre's biggest scares, and this looks like no exception. A release date hasn't been announced yet, but you can check out the trailer here.
The Cleansing Hour
Theaters might be closed and most studio horror movies delayed, but Shudder is keeping the streaming horror coming. The Cleansing Hour takes the possession movie into the digital age--the title refers to a live-streamed web series, in which an internet "priest" performs staged exorcisms to audiences across the world. But of course, the makers eventually encounter a case of real demonic possession for which they are ill-prepared.
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