New horror movies are something to be celebrated once again. Gone are the sad remakes and boring spatter by numbers of years gone and in their place are bold, provocative new scary movies to question our societal norms and shine sometimes unpleasant spotlights on modern day culture. The horror movie landscape in 2020 is dramatically different from years gone. We're now comfortably in a world where movies like Halloween and A Quiet Place make serious Hollywood dollar and studios like Jason Blum's Blumhouse focus solely on delivering the ultimate in scares to cinemas and streaming services. With so many ways to watch horror, there's never been a better time to be a scare fan.
The year has really only just begun but we've already had Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse and The Lodge to kick off the year in style. Thankfully that's just the beginning. The intriguing Antebellum with Janelle Monáe is on the way, Saw 9 is shaping up better than it has any right to be with Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, and we have a new A24 movie in the shape of Saint Maud. It's going to be a good, if terrifying year. Here, with release dates for your calendar are the new horror movies of 2020 and beyond.
Brahms: The Boy 2
Release date: February 28, 2020
Just when you thought you were done with scary dolls, it’s time for Brahms: The Boy 2 and even more porcelain-faced nightmares. I’ll try and keep this spoiler free for the original movie, but the trailer above makes it looks like The Boy 2 was made by someone who didn't sit through the whole first movie. Let's not judge too early though. Rather than The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohen being haunted by Brahms, this time Katie Holmes arrives at the same ultra-creepy mansion with her husband and young son Jude. Jude, who, as you can see from the trailer above has already been taking out some rage on his teddy bears before he even meets Brahms, digs up the porcelain doll from the garden and decides to be BFFs. Great.
Release date: March 13, 2020
Deleted from this list last year when Blumhouse and Universal pulled it from release after two mass shootings and heavy criticism from US President Donald Trump, The Hunt is back. Stamped a ‘satirical social thriller’ the movie apparently follows a group of regular joes who are being hunted by the liberal elite for sport. We say apparently as the new trailer above is intent on drawing happy question marks all over the place while showing people standing on grenades, waking up in fields with Hunger Games-style cornucopias of weaponry, and cauterising wounds with blowtorches.
The tone is firmly in cheek here too as Blumhouse and Universal happily poke the bear with mentions of "identifying as white" and a sprinkling of the word “problematic,” all while Hilary Swank’s rich liberal says “It wasn’t real. We were joking.” Subtle isn't the word here. Now being touted as the movie everyone’s talking about but no-one has seen, The Hunt is clearly hell bent on taking last year’s controversy as free marketing. Whether it will live up to its own hype is another thing entirely.
A Quiet Place Part II
Release date: March 20, 2020
Hey, it’s ok. Just because John Krasinksi didn’t call his silent sequel A Quieter Place, doesn’t mean it’s going to be any less terrifying than the original. Part II of the utter tensionfest follows directly on from the first film as Evelyn and her three children attempt to stay alive in a world of the most sensitive-eared monsters of all time. If you haven’t seen the original, we’ll gently sidestep any spoilers (in bare feet of course) but we’ll be seeing even more of this silent apocalypse than we did in the original. And thankfully there will be some fresh faces too. As you can see in the trailer above, Djimon Hounsou and Cillian Murphy have joined the cast and will be pressing their fingers to their lips and trying to make as little noise as possible. Plus, that March release date is nice and soon but not far enough that you can’t catch up. Managed to grow your fingernails have you? That’s nice. They’ll be gone soon.
Release date: March 27 (US)/ May 1 (UK) 2020
You might only need to see one frame of the above trailer to know that Saint Maud is the right horror film for you this year. The A24 logo is now synonymous with movies that drill their way into your nightmares. The Witch. Hereditary. Midsommar. A24 don’t seem to pick up films that you can take home to meet your parents. And it doesn’t look like Maud is particularly family friendly either.
A devout hospice nurse played by Morfydd Clark, Maud becomes obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient Amanda (Jennifer Ehle). Watch the trailer above and you’ll see that the directorial debut of Rose Glass doesn’t look like it will be holding any punches as it swirls into a disturbing religious nightmare. Just mind your feet when it comes to those trainers…
The New Mutants
Release date: April 3, 2020
X-Men's darker side has been moved around like a super-powered chess piece. We thought August 2019 was finally going to be our chance to see Dark Mutants, but nope. With only a few months to go, April 3rd 2020 was suddenly the new dangling horror carrot. We're not sure if we have the emotional capacity to watch it travel further into the future so let's just pretend it might never come out to save any more heartache. If it does, though, here are the details to be aware of. The New Mutants stars a whole new - yes, hence the title - set of teenagers, each with their own mysterious powers, and the trailers we’ve seen so far have promised a far darker twist than any X-Men movie that’s come before.
It turns out that it’s definitely not all sweetness and light having abilities that people want to harness you for like a AA Battery, and there’s a clear horror heart beating here. Starring Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, The Witch’s Anya Taylor Joy, and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton, the original trailers look like an escape movie as the mutants attempt to flee a secret testing facility but it’s unknown how much will change before release. Adamantium claws crossed that the horror hasn’t been dialled down.
Release date: April 17, 2020
No matter how many times you see it, watching Guillermo del Toro’s name flash up ominously at the start of a trailer is always gently reassuring. Not in an ‘it’s all going to be ok’ kind of way but more like the knowledge that what you are about to watch will be dark, scary, and probably hurt emotionally. This time, del Toro is in a producer role on a nightmarish family drama revolving around a young boy holding onto a deadly secret. Going by the trailer above, it’s that he’s being forced to catch animals to feed his father who might just be an actual monster.
Antlers is based on a short story by Channel Zero writer and creator Nick Antosca who is also on screenplay duties here. This means it definitely won’t pull any punches when it comes to scares. Wild Heart director Scott Cooper is at the helm too, making this an exciting monstrous addition to your 2020 horror calendar. Just maybe don’t take a hot dog into the cinema. Nachos all the way for this one…
Release date: April 24, 2020
Definitely one of the most intriguing horror movies of 2020 from the producers behind Get Out and Us, Antebellum stars Janelle Monáe as an author who finds herself in a terrifying new reality and must solve what the synopsis calls a “mind-bending mystery.” While the synopsis is, of course, definitely biased, the trailer is teasery in the extreme with shots of Monáe trapped in slavery during the pre-Civil War era of the title, as well as living in the 21st century and haunted by creepy children. Directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, it looks like Antebellum could be another brilliant addition to the modern social horror genre spearheaded by Jordan Peele. Plus, more of the omni-talented Monáe, who is no stranger to movies since her performances in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, can only be a very good thing.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Release date: May 15, 2020
If you were going to make a list of the actors you’d imagine starring in the *counts on bloodied fingers* ninth Saw movie, Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson wouldn’t exactly be the first to spring to mind. And yet here we are. It turns out that the multi-talented Rock loves the gory series and he has been the driving force behind this 2020 reboot. “Chris conceived this idea and it will be completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise,” Lionsgate’s chairman, Joe Drake said last year. Yep, Saw is classic horror now. Do you feel old yet?
Director of Saws 2, 3, and 4 respectively, Darren Lynn Bousman is returning to the franchise to steer us through this fresh sea of gore as someone presses 'new game' on Jigsaw's console. As you can see in the new stylish trailer above, we only get a glimpse at a one of the traps we'll soon be wincing at but there's plenty of menacing titular spirals to indicate Jigsaw's return as he specifically targets police. And, while that music will definitely get your heart rate up as you remember exactly what it means for the limbs of victims, the trailer happily finds time to let us know what happens when Samuel L. Jackson takes on Jigsaw. Spoiler: it rhymes with motherclucker.
Release date: June 12, 2020
You know the rules: say the name five times in a mirror and a Jordan Peele produced version of the almost mythical horror Candyman will appear in front of you. Woohoo! It’s not even started shooting yet but this ‘spiritual successor’ - horror loves that word right now - to the 1982 original tour de force of a slasher will be directed by Nia DaCosta and out in 2020. This is another perfect horror project for Get Out director Jordan Peele.
“The original was a landmark film for black representation in the horror genre,” he says in a statement revealing the news. “Alongside Night of the Living Dead, Candyman was a major inspiration for me as filmmaker — and to have a bold new talent like Nia at the helm of this project is truly exciting. We are honored to bring the next chapter in the Candyman canon to life and eager to provide new audiences with an entry point to Clive Barker’s legend.” We don’t know much more as yet but we should probably beeware.
Release date: August 14, 2020
James Wan is a busy man. Somehow, despite his foray into the superheroics of Aquaman and executive producer credits on an intimidating number of horror movies, he’s managed to find time to shoot a new one of his own. We have absolutely no Malignant plot details as yet – we’re willing to bet on at least one doll that may or may not be called Billy – but Wan shared the sneaky production shot above on his personal Instagram. He said that the movie is on the ‘home stretch’ of production which means we’ll probably see a trailer in early 2020.
What we do know, other than those Exorcist-style brain scans above, is that Malignant was written by Wan and his fiance Ingrid Bisu and will star Annabelle’s Annabelle Wallis (not confusing at all) and Supernatural’s Jake Abel. Wan fans might be aware that he has a comic book of the same name, but the director has already posted on Facebook that this movie has nothing to do with that series. “Umm, just a little clarification. The film I’m in the midst of shooting right now, Malignant, isn’t based off my comic book Malignant Man,” he said. “It’s definitely not a superhero film. Malignant is an original thriller NOT based off any existing IP.” Phew. Not that we're against those but.... horror.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Release date: September 11, 2020
We've know about the The Conjuring 3 for a while but we now have an official name for the next entry in the haunted Wan-created universe. The Devil Made Me Do It will be released in cinemas in September and, as confirmed by Bloody Disgusting, the next outing for Ed and Lorraine Warren will revolve around a man on trial for murder who says he is innocent as he was possessed by a demon at the time. Yeah, that’s what happened when all of the chocolate bars mysteriously disappeared from the fridge. Honestly...
The previous two Conjuring movies have been based on actual cases from the notes of the paranormal hunting couple, but it’s not clear if any of this has any grounding in actual fact. Whether it’s as realistic as The Nun or not though, it’s still exciting to see Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return for the official third entry in the series. While James Wan is on producer duties, Michael Chaves is taking the helm this time around. Chaves is no stranger to horror. He was responsible for The Curse of La Llorona about a folklore monster who wants to steal your children. Given that movie's tepid horror, let’s hope Chaves is just getting warmed up.
Release date: October 16, 2020
The Shape is back. Because of course he is. After the massive box office success of the return of Michael Myers and ultimate scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis in 2018’s Halloween, it was only a matter of time before we got a boiler-suit clad follow up. And Halloween Kills isn’t the only sequel on the way. Halloween Ends will finish the new trilogy on October 21, 2021. At least it’s not just Marvel making you wish your life away with a series of release dates, eh?
We don’t know much about either movie, only this announcement from Universal that lets us know that the story of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, conveniently for us, ‘isn’t over.’ It’s by no means a stone cold horror classic but the new Halloween is a solid return for the franchise with some great scares and a brilliant turn from Jamie Lee Curtis. More of the same means disturbing (trick or) treats arriving for Horror Christmas two years in a row. Yum.
Wrong Turn: The Foundation
Release date: TBC 2020
It’s been a positively wince-inducing length of time since the original Eliza Dushku-starring Wrong Turn all the way back in 2003. It’s probably best for everyone to gloss over the specifics of whether you saw it in the cinema or were still in utero, but regardless, at the time, it was a pleasantly nasty surprise. Despite the franchise seemingly being more dead than its infamous cannibals’ favourite roadkill after six progressively worse sequels, Wrong Turn: The Foundation has been confirmed as the seventh entry in the series for 2020.
Normally at this point in any franchise, it’s tempting to push the giant red ‘reboot’ button but original movie writer Alan B. McElroy is back with a whole new group of villains known as, unsurprisingly, The Foundation. Going by the poster above, it doesn’t look like they’re city bankers. As reported by Bloody Disgusting, a group of exceptionally unfortunate friends head out to get some fresh air on the Appalachian Trail. The ‘community’ they find in the woods there aren’t particularly friendly. Here’s hoping we’re heading back to the unpleasant highs of the original.
Random Acts of Violence
Release date: TBC 2020
You might know him as the voice of none other than Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon but Jay Baruchel, it turns out, is a man of many talents. It’s important to stress though that Random Acts of Violence, his second directorial gig, is about as far from Dreamworks as you could possibly get. In this world, Toothless really wouldn’t be so toothless. He might be actually be made of teeth. Starring Jesse Williams and Jordana Brester, Random Acts of Violence is a crunchy slasher movie with quite the juicy premise. While on a road trip with his friends, a comic book writer discovers that a real-life killer might be taking inspiration from his work for a string of exceptionally gory murders.
In an interview with Variety, Baruchel said he wanted to make “a good horror flick with some good scares”, adding he's very aware of the grim content at work. “We had some pretty strong opinions about the trivialization of violence against women. This is not to say that you can’t show said thing, but you can’t show said thing in a trivial way where people are high-fiving each other,” he explained. “We realized something: None of us could name a single character in any of the 'Jason' movies other than Jason. There’s the guy with red hair, the guy with freckles, or the super horny one or whatever, but I couldn’t name any of the characters. I couldn’t really describe anything about them. It tells me that none of them are the hero, that Jason’s the hero [and] what it boils down to is various sadism. I had questions, and I was interested in the totality, the effect of that and the responsibility of that.”
Army of the Dead
Release date: TBC 2020
We all have our, well, thoughts on Zack Snyder’s recent DC slate, but that doesn’t mean we should worry about him heading up the long-awaited Army of the Dead. This is the man who brought us the crunchily violent Dawn of the Dead remake all the way back in 2004 after all. In production for over a decade in various forms before finally being taken on by Netflix with a generous $70-$90 million budget, Snyder’s Army of the Dead is a zombie heist movie set in Las Vegas. Yes, you read that right. Amid the casinos and brain munching, a man decides to gather a team of mercenaries for an ultimate Ocean’s Eleven-style crimefest. Oh, and Dave Bautista is in it.
"I love to honour canon and the works of art," Snyder told THR earlier this year about his work. "But this is the opportunity to find a purely joyful way to express myself through a genre. It will be the most kick-ass, self-aware — but not in a wink-to-the-camera way — balls-to-the-wall zombie freakshow that anyone has ever seen. No one's ever let me completely loose [like this]." Should we be afraid? Let’s be tentatively afraid...
The LaLaurie Mansion Series
Release date: TBC 2021
Whether it’s a good thing or not, we now live in a world where entire franchises are announced before even the first movie has been released. The writers of the first two The Conjuring movies, Chad and Carey Hayes, have teamed up again and revealed an entire series of horror movies revolving around the infamous LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans. Once home to none other than Nic Cage, who allegedly only lasted one night of horrific screams and bumps in the night, this grim abode is said to be one of the most haunted locations in the world. The good news is that if you’ve done your horror homework and watched American Horror Story Coven, you’ll already know its most villainous resident.
Played by Kathy Bates in AHS, Madame LaLaurie was both a New Orleans socialite and horrific 19th century serial killer, responsible for the torture, mutilation and murder of a number of black slaves. Her secret was only revealed when a fire broke out at her mansion and firefighters discovered some of her barely alive victims in diabolical states.
Not content with just one movie, the Hayes brothers are going to tell multiple stories of the mansion throughout history, from its horrific beginnings, all the way to modern day. Plus, they’re considering writing some of it from inside the house. “We love writing films in which we get to tell true stories – incorporating moments that people can look up and discover did in fact happen,” they announced in a press release. “With the LaLaurie House we get to do exactly that… there is a wealth of documentation of a very dark and frightening past of true events. Not to mention that after spending some time there, what we personally experienced was truly unnerving. We haven’t been this excited about a project since The Conjuring!”