New horror movies are currently in limbo with the current state of global affairs, but that doesn't mean all is lost when it comes to new things to watch. And don't worry about wanting to settle down to a horror movie when the world feels stressful. It's actually a great place to forget reality and lose yourself to something a little more comfortingly fake. Sharing that with others feels particularly good too, so apps like Netflix Party make a big difference, even if you might need a cushion. So far we know that A Quiet Place Part 2, Antebellum, Antlers, and The New Mutants have been delayed, and we don't know when they'll finally release.
The good news is that there are plenty of movies below that will be on VOD services – The Cleansing Hour coming to Shudder is a particularly fun highlight – and some of the above delays might end up going the way of The Hunt and The Invisible Man and release early on home platforms. We've still got a stack of releases scheduled from August and Candyman is hanging on to that June slot but that is, of course, subject to change. Where possible for your calendar then, we've put in the dates we know for now. Here are the most exciting new horror movies of 2020 and beyond.
Release date: April 24th
Monster movies come in many forms. Some take their guidance from Godzilla; starting small before stomping over as many cities as possible. Others...well, they’re more insidious. Sea Fever is one of those monster movies. Think of a more subtle The Thing set at sea and you’ll get the idea as university student Siobhán boards a fishing boat as part of her coursework. When the vessel, crewed by an excellent Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen, appears to hit something in the water, the crew are suddenly faced with a nasty new foe.
To say too much is to spoil the fun but after an early screening at FrightFest in Glasgow in February, it’s fair to say that Sea Fever is a tense cruise fraught with nightmares. Brilliant performances and palpable tension mean this is one that you should definitely pop on your streaming watchlist. Even better is that it’s coming straight to digital.
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.
Release date: Unknown
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 doesn’t seem to pick up films that you can take home to meet your parents. And after an early screening, we can tell you that Maud isn't particularly family-friendly either.
A devout hospice nurse played brilliantly 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 hold any punches as it swirls into a disturbing religious nightmare. With exceptional performances and a genuinely disturbing atmosphere and feel, Saint Maud is, quite frankly, a revelation.
A Quiet Place Part II
Release date: TBC 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.
The New Mutants
Release date: TBC 2020 (delayed)
X-Men's darker side has been moved around like a super-powered chess piece and it's only gone and happened again, although this time for more sobering reasons. We thought April was finally going to be our chance to see Dark Mutants, but we're just going to have to wait a little longer. If you have somehow let the seemingly cursed movie pass you by, 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: TBC 2020 (delayed)
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: TBC 2020 (delayed)
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: TBC 2020 (delayed)
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.
The Cleansing Hour
Release date: TBC 2020
Another FrightFest preview, The Cleansing Hour is a perfectly schlocky possession movie for the 21st century. Father Max is a bad exorcist. Not in the way that he spikes his holy water with vodka or messes up his rosary but more that he isn’t an exorcist at all. He just pretends to be one while streaming his dispelling of demons to his thousands of fans on the internet. Does he have merch, you ask. You bet he does. If you don’t know where this goes then you’ve definitely not watched enough cheesy horror.
The Cleansing Hour is coming to Shudder this year and while it sounds corny, the movie actually takes a brilliant turn into suitably scary demonic action. Yes, it’s about a crew of producers compelling the power of Christ, but it also manages to be thoroughly entertaining with some gruesomely fun performances. Perfect streaming fodder.
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!”