The Biggest Horror To Look Forward To In 2020
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).
There's no shortage of horror to get excited about in 2020. 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 The Grudge, new versions of classic stories such as The Invisible Man and Hansel and Gretel, and could this finally be the year we get to see the long-delayed horror-themed X-Men movie The New Mutants?
But there's 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 with 2020 almost here, here's our guide to the most anticipated horror movies to be released over the next 12 months...
Release date: January 3
The Grudge--originally known as Ju-On--was one of the key movies in the wave of Japanese horror of the 2000s. There have been no fewer than 12 Japanese movies and three American remakes to date, and in January, a new Grudge reboot arrives. The film focuses on new characters, but like previous movies, the plot centers on a deadly curse that can be passed from person-to-person like a virus. It stars John Cho (Star Trek), Andrea Riseborough (Mandy), Demián Bichir (The Nun), and Betty Gilpin (GLOW), and is directed by Nicolas Pesce, who previously helmed the acclaimed horror movie The Eyes of My Mother.
Release date: January 10
The aquatic chiller has been sitting on the shelf a while--it was shot back in 2017--but arrives in January. Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, and Iron Fist's Jessica Henwick are part of a research team who get trapped deep underwater when an earthquake releases an ancient creature. This sort of underwater monster movie was briefly popular back in the '80s and '90s, with movies such as Deep Rising, Sphere, and, Leviathan, and a new one is very welcome.
Release date: January 24
This adaptation of Henry James's classic novel The Turn of the Screw was originally scheduled for release way back in February 2019 and will finally be with us 11 months later. It'll also one of two The Turn of the Screw adaptations due in 2020--Mike Flanagan's Netflix chiller The Haunting of Bly Manor being the other--but this one has plenty of calibre both in front of and behind the camera. The cast is headed by Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark fate) and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It), and there's also a role for director Edgar Wright. The Turning is directed by acclaimed music video maker Floria Sigismondi, and it is something of a passion project for producer Steven Spielberg, who reportedly wanted to be involved with a scary movie again.
Gretel & Hansel
Release date: January 31
This new adaptation of German folklore tale Hansel and Gretel is directed by Oz Perkins, who not only made two of the best recent indie horror movies (The Blacksmith's Daughter and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House) but is also the son of Psycho actor Anthony Perkins. The classic tale of siblings who encounter a witch while lost in a spooky forest features rising star Sophia Lillis, who played the young Beverly in the It movies, while the witch is played by Alice Krige, who is best known for her role as the Borg Queen in Star Trek. Perkins has proved himself a master at a serious spooky atmosphere, so this one to watch for.
Release date: February 7
Bengian directing duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's 2016 debut Goodnight Mommy combined chilly arthouse drama with seriously nasty horror, and their follow-up looks set to do much the same. Like that earlier film, The Lodge puts its characters through a terrifying experience in an isolated location; in this case, it's a mom and her two new stepkids in a remote winter cabin. Rave festival reviews and an acclaimed lead performance from Riley Keough make this one of the most anticipated horror movies of the first few months of the year.
Release date: February 14
Fantasy Island was a popular TV show that ran from 1977 until 1984, about an island where people could come to live out their strangest and darkest desires for a price. It's hardly the most-remembered of vintage TV series, but it's getting a scary makeover from horror specialists Blumhouse Pictures (Us, The Purge) in 2020. The basic set-up remains the same, but this time, instead of finding some sort of moral redemption, the unlucky guests must try to escape from the island when their fantasies turn to nightmares.
The Invisible Man
Release date: February 28
The Invisible Man is the first of Universal's new attempt to kickstart a series of movies based on its classic monster properties, following the failed Dark Universe. It's directed by Saw co-creator Leigh Whannel and produced by Blumhouse Pictures. It puts a dark twist on this classic story and stars Elizabeth Moss as a woman who escapes from her abusive husband, only to find herself tormented by him when he finds a way to turn himself invisible. Check out the scary trailer here.
A Quiet Place: Part II
Release date: March 20
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."
The New Mutants
Release date: April 3
Let's face it, none of us have any idea if this horror-themed X-Men spin-off will actually be released in April. The New Mutants has become notorious for the fact that it has been endlessly delayed; it was first set to hit theaters in early 2018 but has been continuously pushed back amidst rumors of behind-the-scenes troubles and much to the exasperation of its stars. With the film now owned by Disney, and following the commercial failure of this year's final main X-Men movie Dark Phoenix, there's been speculation that the studio might simply dump it to streaming or not release it at all. But this is all guesswork, and as of right now, it has an April release slot. We'll know soon enough (or maybe we won't).
Release date: April 17
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.
Release date: May 15
There was much surprise back in May 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. While very few details have been revealed so far, we know that Rock plays a cop in the movie, while Samuel L Jackson is his father and Max Minghella (The Social Network) plays his partner. On-set images have revealed the return of some familiar faces--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. The movie was shot under the title The Organ Donor, but the official title is yet to be announced.
Release date: June 12
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 while there has been a bit of confusion about who will play the vengeful ghostly former slave of the title, it had been recently reported that it will in fact be original star Tony Todd. The cast also includes Aquaman's Yahya Abdul Mateen II, and it's directed by rising director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, Top Boy).
The Purge 5
Release date: July 10
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 as-yet-untitled Purge 5 will pick up where 2016's Election Year left off, with director Everardo Gout (Luke Cage, Banshee) making his feature debut.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Release date: September 11
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.
Last Night in Soho
Release date: September 25
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.
Release date: October 16
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 2021.
Release date: October 16
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.
Army of the Dead
Release date: TBA
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.