New horror movies used to just come out around Halloween. Apologetic sequels... Glossy remakes of scuzzy 70s B-movies that completely defeated the purpose of the original comments on society... But no more. Horror has been, fittingly, reborn in a mess of sinew and bone. The good news is that October has rolled around again with some excellent scares - oh hello, Netflix and Chills - but the fun doesn't stop on the 1st of November. The new horror movies train keeps on chugging into 2020. Now that Hollywood knows how bankable good horror can be, we've got more jump scares than a James Wan movie on the way.
While 2020 has Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse shining tantalisingly just out of reach, there's still plenty to enjoy before the end of 2019. We'll be putting the laughter into slaughter in this month's Zombieland Double Tap, returning to the infamous Overlook Hotel in Mike Flanagan's Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, and even experiencing the festive joys of a Black Christmas remake. There's probably a Santa's slay joke in there but let's not make it just yet. In release date order, here are the most exciting new horror movies of 2019 and beyond.
Zombieland: Double Tap
Release date: October 11, 2019
Yep, a whole decade after its original Twinkie-hunting release, Zombieland is getting a sequel. And of course it counts as horror movie. There are brains to eat, after all. Thankfully this isn’t just a quick cash grab as the full original writing and directing team are back for Zombieland: Double Tap. Ruben Fleischer, also responsible for Venom, is back at the helm with Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese on script duties. Wernick and Reese have worked on both Deadpool and Deadpool 2 since the original so expect a seriously sharp script after the pair have honed their craft with Wade Wilson’s silver tongue.
Anyway…. the full cast is returning too. Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin are all back for the zombie apocalypse. Plotwise, according to the official announcement, Zombieland 2 will "once again put the focus on comic mayhem, taking the quartet from the White House to the American heartland as they face off against new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors.” We’ll have to wait and see if this includes a rumoured love interest for the dough-hungry Tallahassee, and a return for Bill Murray. They didn’t Double Tap him after all...
Read more: The 25 best zombie movies that will turn you veggie
Girl on the Third Floor
Release date: October 25
Were you even aware that you needed a haunted house movie starring CM Punk? Nope, didn’t think so, but here we are. Girl on the Third Floor stars ex-wrestler and MMA fighter Philip Jack Brooks as a man who arrives to renovate a mansion with a not so pleasant past. As you can see in the trailer above, he heads in to do it up before his wife and baby arrive but things quickly start to go a bit 'oh dear, there's blood spurting from the sink' and 'oh, maybe you didn't need your eyes anyway.'
There are definite hints of The Shining as a man is pitted against the will of a house that clearly doesn't just want him to play happy families. The titular Girl on the Third Floor must want new friends but probably not in the way we'd like to settle down with and watch Netflix. In an interview with Nightmare on Film Street, first time director Travis Stephens revealed that the house that they shot the movie in was already haunted and he built the movie around a tragedy that had occurred there. He left what he calls 'an offering' to make peace with the ghosts.
"At the beginning of on the ground pre-production, the very first night in there, I went across the street to the house and I was like, ‘yeah, I’m going to be in here, I’m going to own this’, and walked in and immediately just felt this sense of dread," he explained. "I was trying to walk into the kitchen and backed myself up against that big picture window in the living room like, ‘wow, this is really intense’. And so there was a moment where I was like, ‘Oh, this might have been really foolish,’ like, how are we supposed to perform in this space If this is what we’re dealing with? And so the offering, it did seem to make a difference."
Release date: October 25, 2019
It only seems fair that Netflix reclaims its own meme for the Halloween Netflix and Chills season. You can see the trailer above for the whole schedule in its screaming glory, but Rattlesnake specifically will be slithering onto the streaming service a week before the scare-packed big day. 1922 director Zak Hilditch is at the helm here and if you’ve already experienced his grim Stephen King adaptation - also a Netflix Original - then you might just be ready for the venom to come. Katrina, played by Carmen Ejogo, is a young single mother driving across the country with her young daughter to start a new life. So far, so wholesome, but this wouldn’t be a horror movie if she didn’t get a flat tyre and her daughter have an unfortunate encounter with the titular rattlesnake.
What’s interesting here though is that this isn’t a silly B movie about a giant murderous rattlesnake picking off idiotic twenty-somethings. It’s what happens after the bite where the true horror unfolds. A mysterious stranger saves Katrina’s daughter’s life but then asks for a favour in return. Spoiler: It’s not nice. Going by the tone of 1922 - there’s your horror homework - Rattlesnake has the potential to be a lethal dose of psychological horror.
Release date: October 31 (UK), November 8 (US), 2019
If anyone can make a sequel to The Shining in 2019, it’s director Mike Flanagan. As if Hushand Gerald’s Game weren't enough, Flanagan cemented himself as a true horror maestro last year with Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. Doctor Sleep is based on the book by Stephen King and, as you can see above, Ewan MGregor is filling the shoes of a grown up Danny Torrance, who is still clearly dealing with his hotel-based childhood trauma. If you want some carpet and blood corridor-induced chills, might I direct you immediately to the Doctor Sleep trailer which thankfully doesn't show too much of what's to come but does feature shots like the above, crossing the almost 40 years between movies.
As is very clear from the Kubrick references in the trailer, Flanagan definitely isn’t ignoring the fact that he’s making the follow-up to one of the most beloved horror movies of all time. “I think you do have to acknowledge that,” he told Bloody Disgusting last year. “There is no version of the world where I am trying not to acknowledge one of the greatest films ever made. There’s no upside in shying away from that reality. At the same time, this is not The Shining. It’s its own story and in a very specific way. If you’ve read the book, you know exactly why it’s so different but it’s quite a tightrope that we’re walking I think.”
Brahms: The Boy 2
Release date: December 6, 2019
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 idea of a sequel is definitely interesting given how the first one ends. 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 family. In the trailer shown exclusively at CinemaCon, son Jude finds the buried doll in the garden - as seen in the image from Bloody Disgusting above - and decides to be ‘friends.’ Cue some seriously strange goings on.
“I love dolls, so I had a conflict because I had so many growing up,” Holmes said at the reveal, reported by EW. “I never thought of a doll being creepy, and now I have to rethink everything. This was pretty terrifying to make when we were working with the doll, it was a lot. I was scared.” Holmes clearly doesn’t watch nearly enough horror films. We’ve been having an (Anna)bell of a time over here...
Release date: December 13, 2019
If Gremlins has taught us anything, other than not feeding Mogwai after midnight, it’s that there’s nothing quite like some festive horror. This second remake of Black Christmas, then, is coming to make you appreciate the fact that your stocking doesn’t have an actual leg in it. Excitingly, Blumhouse’s eggnog drenched slasher remake is being directed by Sophia Takal and stars Green Room’s Imogen Poots and Saw and Stranger Things 3’s Cary Elwes.
Bob Clark’s original 1974 sorority house slasher is a force to be reckoned with and is definitely required watching if you haven’t already had the pleasure. The call is coming from inside the house… Judging by the trailer, it’s seems these 21st century women are probably going to take on this serial killer rather differently.
Release date: TBC 2019
Everybody who has seen The Woman raise your hand. There’s no need to look so guilty about it. Yes, I see you at the back. As horror movies go, 2011’s The Woman was a brilliantly challenging slice of violence and misogyny that made you want to go for a shower afterwards and perhaps bury your face in some kittens. Well the good news is that Pollyanna McIntosh, the actress who played the feral woman kept captive by a dysfunctional family, has decided that you’ve had enough feline time and written and directed a sequel. The sequel will see us catching up to the Woman herself and the titular Darlin’ 10 years after the original. As you can see in the above chunk of poster (courtesy of EW), it's not exactly going to be a feel good flick.
If you’re a The Walking Dead fan you’ll recognise McIntosh as Heapsters' leader Jadis and she’s brought a few of the cast on board for Darlin’. Sabrina Gennarino who plays Tamiel is here, as well as Thomas Francis Murphy. McIntosh explained to Entertainment Weekly: "In Darlin’, Sabrina is wholly human as a sex worker who had her child taken into care when she was young and is now finding comfort in her friendships amongst the homeless community. Thomas Francis Murphy plays a brilliant cameo as a regal cardinal covering up the secrets of his church — it was a joy to realize I’d cast my right and left on TWD as that British party favourite ‘tarts and vicars’!” Prepare for serious darkness.