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The most anticipated new horror movies of 2021 and beyond

Last Night in Soho
(Image credit: Universal)

There's an abundance of new horror movies coming our way over the next few months, and we can't wait. After the lack of new releases in 2020, we've missed being scared out of our wits in the darkness of a theater. Plenty of old horror favorites are making their way back to the big screen, for one thing – Michael Myers is back in Halloween Kills, and Nia DaCosta is putting her own spin on the terrifying Candyman. There's even another Scream movie coming our way next year.

Plus, there are new offerings coming from directors like M. Night Shyamalan and Edgar Wright to keep us on the edge of our seats, as well as a must-see retro release from indie newcomer Prano Bailey-Bond. And that's just the start of it, too – it's a great time to be a horror fan. So, without further ado (and at your own peril), scroll on to find out everything there is to know about the new horror movies coming out in 2021 and beyond. 

Read more: Best Horror movies | Best Netflix horror movies | Movie release dates | Upcoming movies | New TV shows

Old

Release date: July 23, 2021

Monsters, demons, and things that go bump in the night are scary but, as horror movies so often trip over themselves to tell us, real life is usually the truly terrifying thing. And few things are more horrifying than good old-fashioned aging. Were those lines there yesterday, eh? M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie dives into these primal fears as two families make their way to a hidden beach for some idyllic holiday adventures. Only as they settle down for some rays do they find out that time seems to be speeding up for some of them...

"It's based on this graphic novel that I was given from [sic] my daughters," Shyamalan told EW.com. "I read it, and the premise was so powerful, of these people that went to this beach and their experience that happens on that day in the beach… I thought it was very frightening and emotional, and the ideas just started coming, and I tracked down the owner, and the person that wrote it. It was just a beautiful thing, and kind of touching, that it came from my daughters, this story about getting older very, very quick." If you want to read before you watch, the graphic novel is called Sandcastle by writer Pierre Oscar Lévy and artist Frederik Peeters.  

Don't Breathe 2

Release date: August 13, 2021

The original Don't Breathe wasn't always an easy watch with its combination of nerve-shredding tension and the questionable morals of Stephen Lang's Norman Nordstrom taking swift revenge on those foolish enough to think they could enter a blind man's home and rob him. Now, Don't Breathe 2, still written by original director Fede Alvarez but now directed by co-writer Rodo Sayagues, sees the return of Lang's anti-hero in far more of a heroic role. As is clear in the spoilery trailer above, Nordstrom seems to have settled down and is in charge of a young girl. It's only when something happens to her that he must step back into his violent murder shoes. Think even crunchier John Wick and you're on the right lines. 

Censor

Release date: August 20, 2021

The horror genre has endured plenty of moral panics. Few are as well known in the UK as the so-called ‘Video Nasty’ era as tabloid panic over VHS movies in the 1980s resulted in outright bans and overt censorship. It’s here where Prano Bailey Bond’s first feature film comes in as a woman called Enid Baines relishes her work as a strict film censor. She thinks she has everything worked out but death and violence come to her regardless. How could this happen when it’s the movies that cause violence….? 

Bailey Bond’s gory delve into 1980s Britain was driven by her passion for the era and the movies that came out at the time. “I’m obsessed with the video-nasty era, both because I love a lot of the films from that period and because the UK’s reaction to them was so extreme,” she told Cineuropa. “I find the whole thing totally fascinating. The job of a film censor is so unique, too: they have to examine movies with both a subjective and an objective viewpoint at once, and to think of them working during this climate of hysteria around horror films, being the moral line of judgement, only makes the job more complex and interesting.” 

The Night House 

The Night House New Horror Movie

(Image credit: Disney Searchlight)

Release date: August 20, 2021 

It’s always good news when a well-received horror movie from Sundance quickly makes its way into general circulation instead of just disappearing into limbo like so many. David Bruckner’s The Night House, a critical darling from last year’s festival, is sitting at 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and will hopefully stay in this July release date slot. Rebecca Hall stars as Beth, a widow who discovers that her recently deceased husband may not have been who she thought he was. In searching through his belongings, she finds all kinds of dark secrets she really could have done without discovering. And that’s when the noises in the house begin… Yes, we’ve heard things that go bump in the night before but given Bruckner’s impressively scary directing CV with ‘trip to the woods gone wrong’ The Ritual and both the Southbound and V/H/S anthologies, this looks like something to be very excited about.   

Demonic 

Release date: August 27, 2021 

It’s been six years since we’ve had a fresh movie from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp but Demonic looks like he’s back with a truly unsettling bang. The official synopsis says that this is the story of a young woman who unleashes terrifying demons when “supernatural forces at the root of a decades old rift between mother and daughter are revealed.” But this is no regular haunted house flick. Blomkamp is mixing in his love of sci-fi by bringing in a technology that allows people to interact with their own demons while comatose. Hence all those wires in the trailer above.  

And this is another lockdown horror movie. The pandemic meant that all of Blomkamp’s bigger projects were shut down so he decided to make something small and scary in 2020. "Living out here in this slightly more rural area I was thinking we should self-finance something so that we could make something cool,” he told EW.com. “For a long time, I've been really interested in films like Paranormal Activity, and lower budget stuff that is pretty terrifying, and so we just started working on this concept. It grew and it got bigger than films like Paranormal Activity but it was cut from the same cloth really. So that's what it is. We made use out of a lot of the locations out here and just shot it through the summer."

Candyman

Release date: August 27, 2021

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. We're just going to have to wait a little longer for him to appear thanks to the pandemic.  This 'spiritual sequel' to the 1992 original tour de force of a slasher is directed by Nia DaCosta and it'll be time to bee afraid, bee very afraid. As you'll see in the trailer above - complete with an inspired music choice - things are a little different this time around as Candyman lurks in reflections, but Yahya Abdul Mateen II is Anthony McCoy, the baby used as a lure back in the original movie. He's all grown up and back in the now gentrified Chicago neighbourhood where it all began. 

And the new version won't be shying away from the race elements so important in the original movie. “The original was a landmark film for black representation in the horror genre,” said Jordan Peele in a statement. “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 honoured 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.”

Nia DaCosta, director of the Tessa Thompson starring Little Woods released last year and co-writer as well as director here, has a passion for the genre. "I always loved horror when I was younger, I just loved all creepy films," she says in an interview with Vulture. "Candyman was one of those movies that scared the shit out of me. I remember it aligning so well with me being in middle school, although it came out a few years before I was in middle school. In the bathroom, people would either say “Bloody Mary” or “Candyman.” Today, I understand that it’s special because it has a black antagonist in a very white space, which is problematic, but at the time I was like, “Oh cool, we have black dudes, it’s terrifying. Virginia Madsen, and what, bees? Honey? What’s happening?” It was very much of that." 

Resident Evil 

Resident Evil Tweet

(Image credit: Sony )

Release date: September 9, 2021 

What’s that you say? A new Resident Evil movie coming after a global pandemic? Well, quite, but let’s not let that put us off. Firstly, there’s no Milla Jovovich or Paul WS. Anderson in sight - stop cheering, it’s rude...  This is a full reboot that’s erring closer to the iconic zombie game series’ survival horror origins. Directed by 47 Meters Down and Strangers: Prey at Night director Johanne Roberts, Sony’s reimagining has just finished filming amidst Covid restrictions and is slated for release in September. 

Reassuringly, the team looks like it’s at pains to let fans know that the movie is very much taking its inspiration from the survival horror of the game. Special effects team AAFX Studio revealed an image on Instagram of a Resi zombie that looks far more like the infected shufflers of the original. “It’s gonna be super scary. It’s super, super scary,” Roberts told Screenrant last year. “And it’s just getting back to the roots of the game. I think, at the moment, I’m not really allowed to say much more than that. But it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

Malignant

Malignant James Wan Instagram

(Image credit: James Wan )

Release date: September 10, 2021 (HBO Max & cinemas)

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. Wan has been pretty secretive about the movie and only posted the above sword image with the release date on his Instagram

Plot wise, there's not much to go on but a quick glimpse of the movie was featured in an HBO Max 2021 trailer. The brief clip saw Annabelle Wallis waking up in bed with a smashed wall behind her and a creature that's definitely not human rising up in the background. We also know it will have a solid R rating. As reported by Collider, Malignant has "Strong horror violence and gruesome images." We wouldn't want to think Wan has lost his touch... 

Malignant was written by Wan and his fiance Ingrid Bisu and will star Supernatural’s Jake Abel as well as Annabelle Wallis. 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.

Halloween Kills

(Image credit: Universal)

Release date: October 15, 2021

The Shape is back. Because of course he is. And unfortunately we're going to have a wait an extra year to see him, thanks to the current global situation. The good news is that given how brilliant the most recent Jamie Lee Curtis movie was, we can only expect more good things. Now, a year after initially planned, the third in the trilogy, Halloween Ends will finish things on October 14, 2022. At least it’s not just Marvel that can make you wish your life away with a series of release dates, eh? 

But an extra 365 day delay doesn't mean we can't talk about it. Halloween Kills looks like the ultimate reunion party for Halloween cast members over the years. Kyle Richards is back in her role as Lindsey Wallace, the little girl being babysat by Laurie in the original movie, Charles Cyphers returns as Sheriff Leigh Brackett,  and even Nancy Stephens is set to reprise her role as Nurse Marion Chambers who was last seen in H20 but also featured in the first two original movies. Oh, and a certain residence is making a return too. When asked if the Myers house would be in. the movie, Blumhouse confirmed on Twitter that we'll be going back to where it all began. Let's just hope that Laurie Strode has plenty more ammunition. 

Last Night in Soho 

Last Night in Soho

(Image credit: Universal)

Release date: October 22, 2021 

What’s that you say? Just a new horror movie from Edgar Wright? Yep, Mr Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz himself is releasing a new slice of scary and this time it stars The Queen’s Gambit’s Anya Taylor Joy (who is happily cropping up everywhere these days) and ex-Doctor Who Matt Smith. Following a passionate young wannabe fashion designer played by Thomasin McKenzie who can somehow travel back in time to the 1960s, Last Night in Soho is erring more on the psychological side of horror. This brightly coloured trip through time looks like it goes very much awry. It had been meant to release earlier in the year so hopefully it keeps this new Halloween release. 

Antlers

Release date: October 29, 2021

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 slightly delayed 2021 horror calendar. Just maybe don’t take a hot dog into the cinema. Nachos all the way for this one…       

Shepherd 

Release date: November 5, 2021 

Call this very Scottish writer biased but there just aren’t enough new horror movies set in the terrifying wilds of bonnie Scotland. You really don’t need to go to space for no one to hear you scream…  Director Russell Owen clearly understands though and shot supernatural atmosphere-fest, Shepherd, on the Isle of Mull on Scotland’s west coast. “Shot in one of the most beautiful, remote and less filmed parts of Britain, using specifically designed location and studio sets, we created a 360 degree, immersive environment to really build a true authenticity in a heightened, nightmarish tale,” he told Deadline. “Shepherd allows its audience to decide for themselves the motivations behind (and the fate of) its protagonist by not giving its true foundations away.” 

If that sounds vague, it’s meant to be and the trailer above doesn’t give too much away either. At its core, this is the story of a man who is isolated on an island after the suspicious death of his wife. But he finds more than just his own demons as he spends more time there. Shepherd stars Tom Hughes and the brilliant Kate Dickie whose turn in The Witch is seared into many a consciousness. This sounds perfect for a cold winter’s night. Bring on November.  

Scream 5

Scream

(Image credit: Miramax/Dimension)

Release date: January 14, 2022

Would you like to play a game, Sidney? For the 5th time....? Yes, Ghostface fans rejoice, Scream 5 is official happening and modern Scream Queen Neve Campbell is returning as the long-suffering Sidney Prescott. Not only that but it's going to be a 2022 Woodsboro reunion as both Courtney Cox and David Arquette are returning as Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley. Even more exciting is that this is coming from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett whose recent gory wedding party caper Ready or Not is just the right combination of horror and humour. 

As reported by Bloody Disgusting, Neve Campbell sounds thrilled to be back. “After spending time speaking with Radio Silence, they have shown such love, respect and admiration for Wes Craven and all that he’s created in the Scream franchise. I am beyond excited to step back into the role of Sidney Prescott and return to Woodsboro.” Now we just need to wait. Does anyone know any good horror films? Or where to buy a voice changer....? 

Evil Dead Rise 

New horror movies Evil Dead Rise

(Image credit: Lee Cronin )

Release date: TBC 2022 

Just when you thought another classic horror series couldn’t resurrect with a jump scare hand through grave soil, along comes Evil Dead Rise. Excitingly, this isn’t a sequel to Fede Alvarez’ terrifying reboot back in 2013 but actually a follow up to the first three classic movies, with original Deadite creator and director Sam Raimi on executive producer duties. Bruce Campbell isn’t returning as Ash but he is involved as an exec producer, and he and Raimi personally selected filmmaker Lee Cronin as the director of this new slice of the splattery franchise. 

Cronin debuted with the atmospheric The Hole in the Ground in 2019 and started proudly shooting Evil Dead Rise in New Zealand in June. That’s his shot from Twitter above. “The Evil Dead movies filled my brain with terror and awe when I first saw them at 9 years old,” Cronin told Variety. “I am excited and humbled to be resurrecting the most iconic of evil forces for both the fans and a whole new generation.” No pressure, Lee, it better be groovy…        

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

(Image credit: Vortex)

Release date: TBC 2022 

Just when you thought there weren’t enough horror heavy hitters returning, Leatherface joins Candyman and Michael Myers for a gory old school reunion. It might be called just Texas Chainsaw Massacre but this is actually a sequel to the original 1974 classic. And before you dismiss anything that isn’t Tobe Hooper’s original, Fede Alvarez is on production duties who you might remember as the director of the brilliant brutal revisit of The Evil Dead back in 2013. So this could easily be something very special. 

Speaking to the Bloody Disgusting podcast, Alvarez revealed “It is a direct sequel, and it is the same character. It is old man Leatherface. Everything is classic, old school gags. A lot of the approach that we had with Evil Dead – never VFX, to do everything on camera. It’s a very old school approach to filmmaking. Vintage lenses… it’s very similar to the original film.” It’s also been revealed that while original final girl actress Marilyn Burns sadly passed in 2014, her character, Sally Hardesty will return to take on this older Leatherface. Revenge is so sweet....   And probably deadly. 

The LaLaurie Mansion Series 

Release date: TBC 2022

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 horrific 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!”   

Louise Blain
GR+ news lead Louise can often be found watching horror, drinking coffee and beating you at The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth.