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12 Best Horror Movies of 2020
The 1990s and 2000s were… ahem… a dark time for the horror genre. See: Leprechaun, Leprechaun 2, Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun: In the Hood, and—almost done here—Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood. I rest my case, ladies and leprechauns. The 1990s and 2000s were stuffed with extreme camp, sequels, remakes, and mostly unoriginal horror movie-making, aside from the occasional gem, like the Scream franchise or Let the Right One In.
Thankfully, the 2010s were much kinder to us thanks to an influx of new voices and studios who remind us why horror is the perfect genre for our increasingly terrifying reality. In the last decade alone, A24 gave us all-timer contenders like Hereditary and The Witch, Jason Blum brought original premises to life in Happy Death Day and The Purge, and Jordan Peele revolutionized the genre with Get Out and Us.
Now that the 2010s have upped the ante, you can expect the 2020s to keep delivering on the scares—with new movies from the minds of Blum, Peele, and more. Here are the best of the year so far, and what we’re looking forward to closer to Halloween and beyond.
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.)