Don’t be afraid: We’ll spare you of the, “2020 is a horror movie,” jokes. But, we will warn you—this might be our last year of scary movies before we’re left to reckon with a non-coincidental uprise in global pandemic-themed thrillers and quarantined hauntings.
Regardless of the atrocities of our outside world, horror movies have ironically served as an escape for many viewers throughout the years. From the 80s slasher era to the genre-bending 2010s, their supernatural, extreme, and sometimes campy approach offers us both a portal into a world unknown, as well as a lens into what makes us tick. With a new decade approaching, so, too, do we enter a new era of exploring what fear means to us. (Save for the obvious universal agoraphobia that the 2020 has rung in.)
Here are the best horror films of 2020 so far, as well as those creeping just around the corner…
Otherwise known as the worst Zoom-bomb ever, Host tells the story of one group of friends’ online séance gone wrong when they unintentionally summon a sinister spirit.
This Irish horror comedy stars former SNL cast member Will Forte along with Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward, and Claudia O’Doherty. Higgins stars as a driving instructor with reluctant supernatural powers, who is tasked with saving a young girl from being possessed.
Dave Franco’s directorial debut delves into a modern-day AirBnB horror story starring Alison Brie and Dan Stevens as a couple who grows increasingly suspicious that that their host is spying on them.
Sarah Paulson stars as an overbearing mother who has kept her daughter utterly isolated from the outside world. However, soon her daughter catches onto to the dangers kept inside their own home.
Even though it didn’t end up being the secret Cloverfield sequel fans were hoping for, Underwater—which stars Kristen Stewart as a mechanical engineer working aboard a deep sea mining ship—ended up being a solid horror-thriller for the winter months. Plus, it turns out Underwater’s big bad monster ended up being from a different universe of existing IP altogether.
Horse Girl is one of those creepy-dreamy-horror-sci-fi movies where the less you know about it going into the film, the better. We’ll tell you that it stars Alison Brie as a social outcast whose dreams start bugging her out and spinning her life out of control. Now, go watch it. And when you’re done, we’re here to help you with that WTF-level ending.
The Invisible Man
Jason Blum-backed horror films are usually hit (Happy Death Day, Get Out) or miss (Ma, Truth or Dare), and good money is on The Invisible Man to be in the former’s camp. Elisabeth Moss stars in a film adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic, which already looks like a compelling and brutal portrait of the trauma left on victims of abusive relationships.
Woah! Hold on there. If you’re not in the middle bubble of the body-horror and horror-thriller Venn diagram, do not press play on that video. Swallow stars Haley Bennett as Hunter, who likes to eat things she really shouldn’t be eating. Marbles, push-pins, syringes… Lord. Haley Bennett nails her performance—this won’t be the last time you’ll see her—as a housewife hellbent on changing things at home.
This one’s a doozy. The Hunt—which is a satirical political thriller about elitists who hunt humans for sport—was supposed to be released in September 2019. The release date was postponed after several mass shootings in the late summer, and a ranting tweet from President Trump, who called The Hunt the product of “Liberal Hollywood.” Now, we’re getting The Hunt this March. TBD on whether or not the movie ends up being as newsworthy as its real-life backlash.
The Green Knight (May 29)
You thought we were going to finish this list without an A24 scream-fest, didn’t you? The studio behind Hereditary and Midsommar will release The Green Knight later this year. The film follows King Arthur’s nephew, played by Dev Patel, who goes on a terrifying journey to face off against the legendary Green Knight.
A Quiet Place Part II (September 4)
A Quiet Place was one of the biggest breakout films of the 2010s horror-film renaissance—which is saying a lot when you can stand out among the Babadooks of the world. This year, director John Krasinski is returning to helm its sequel, which will follow the Abbott family as they try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by sound-sensitive monsters.
Candyman (September 25)
Jordan Peele + horror is already a virtual guarantee of best-of-the-year quality at this point. If you need more selling on the movie, here it is: Peele co-wrote a sequel to one of the genre’s classics (Candyman is pulling a Halloween and ignoring the not-as-good ’90s sequels). The original follows a grad student as she discovers the Candyman, an urban legend who turns out to be a real, terrifying figure who begins stalking her.
Halloween Kills (October 16)
Usually when horror-genre icons like Jason Vorhees or Freddy Krueger return for one! more! money-grabbing outing, we’re usually left wishing they had stayed in the grave, or wherever spooky big-bads go when they’re defeated. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case for 2018’s Halloween, which saw Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her role as Laurie for a rematch against Michael Myers. Now, the two will have another go at it in Halloween Kills—which producer Jason Blum is hyping as “the 2018 movie on speed.”
Antlers (TBD 2020)
Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons leading a horror movie? And Guillermo Del Toro credited as a producer? That’s enough to make it worth our money, whether we see this one in theaters, or through video on-demand—the film has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Antebellum (TBD 2020)
If any movie on this list has a shot at being the next Get Out-level breakout, Antebellum is it. The first trailer—which shows Janelle Monáe as an author trapped in a nightmarish reality set in the past—already promises an eerie mystery reminiscent of Peele’s breakout 2017 hit. Plus: Monáe crossing over into the horror-film world? Sign us up.
Spiral (TBD 2020)
We’ve had nine (nine!) Saw movies since the franchise’s first outing in 2004. That’s like, four too many, at least. If anyone’s going to make number ten worth seeing, it’s Chris Rock—who’s launching a quasi-reboot as the executive producer and star of Spiral, which has been described as from “the book of Saw.” Let the games begin! (Or something like that.)
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