With 2020 right around the corner, it’s finally time to take a look at what the new year has in store for us in terms of horror cinema. The most anticipated horror movies is a yearly tradition on this website, as I’ve done one every year since 2016.
As you know, with these articles I try to get you guys pumped about some upcoming horror movies you might not have heard of until this point. This kind of lists take a lot of time and effort to make, as I have to do in-depth research to avoid being repetitive and unoriginal: if you want an article that tells you when and where The Conjuring 3 and A Quiet Place 2 are coming out, this is not the article for you.
2019 has been a fantastic year for horror – my list of the best horror films of 2019 will be out in February, I still have a bunch of promising titles to catch up on – but 2020 looks equally promising! So, without further ado, let’s check these anticipated upcoming horror movies of 2020, listed in alphabetical order.
Continue reading and find out 35 upcoming horror movies below…
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ABRUPTIO (USA, Ewan Marlowe) – With a cast that includes Jordan Peele, Robert Englund and the late Sid Heig, this movie will be performed by life-like puppets! The story: Les Hackel (James Marsters) is a guy down on his luck who wakes to find an explosive device has been implanted in his neck. He must carry out heinous crimes in order to stay alive while trying to identify the mastermind manipulating the now twisted and strange world around him. Release date: at some point in 2020.
ADORATION (Belgium, Fabrice Du Welz) – Every fan of Calvaire (The Ordeal, 2004) and Alleluja (2014) should be as excited as I am for this coming-of-age story from the same director of those two wonderful films. The story: 12-year-old Paul lives an isolated existence with his mother, who works at a private psychiatric hospital in the woods near their house. One day, Paul meets a young teen named Gloria, a mysterious new patient with whom he quickly becomes infatuated. As the two of them become friends, Gloria convinces Paul to help her escape, but when they embark on a dangerous journey together, his devotion is put to the test as Gloria’s dangerous unpredictability gradually comes to surface. Digital release: May/June 2020
AMULET (UK, Romola Garai) – This is the first movie from Romola Garai, prolific British actress who tries the leap behind the camera. The story: the movie follows an ex-soldier, living homeless in London, who is offered a place to stay at a decaying house inhabited by a young woman and her dying mother. As he starts to fall for the young lady, he cannot ignore his suspicion that something sinister is going on. I really don’t know what to expect from this picture, but I’m curious to see what Garai will bring to the table, what kind of horror she’s going to rely on. Release date: at some point in 2020.
ANTLERS (USA, Scott Cooper) – The director of Out of the Furnace (2013) and Hostiles (2017) will try his hands on horror movies for the first time, under the supervision of Guillermo Del Toro. The story: a small-town Oregon teacher and her brother, the local sheriff, become entwined with a young student harbouring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences. Cooper is a talented director and the trailers for this film look great. I can’t wait to watch it! Theatrical release (USA): 17 April 2020
BABY YAGA: TERROR OF THE DARK FOREST (Russia, Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy) – Already out in Russia, this is the second horror film from the director of The Bride (2017, available on Netflix). Despite the cheesy-sounding title, this film promises to be intense, surreal and touching. The story: a family with a new-born moves to the outskirts of a big city, where they hire a nanny to take care of the baby. The older son, however, notices something is wrong with the nanny, who seems to perform strange rituals during the night… Digital release: April 2020
BLISTER (UK, Gareth Evans) – The plot is kept under wraps and the release date is still unknown (even though it’ll probably come out at the end of next year). Why am I excited about Blister, then? Well, it’s directed by the guy who made the best action film of all time (The Raid: Redemption, 2012) and who’s already tried his hands, quite successfully, at the horror genre with Apostle (2018). Yet, Blister is supposed to be an action-horror flick… what more do you want to get excited? Release date: end of 2020 (?)
CANDYMAN (USA, Nia DaCosta) – This “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 adaptation from Clive Barker’s novel is very promising due to the talent behind the camera: Nia DaCosta has proven herself with the drama Crossing the Line (2018) and Jordan Peele has taken care of the script. We can expect a modern update of this classic tale with more social commentary and , perhaps, some comedy thrown in the mix. Theatrical release: 12 June 2020
COME TO DADDY (Canada, Ant Timpson) – Starring a moustache-toying-villain-looking Elija Wood, this film hit a bunch of festivals in 2019 and was generally well-received. The story: a man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father. The movie sounds and looks weird and captivating, with Elija’s performance looking very promising. Theatrical release: 21 February 2020
THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME (UK, Antonio Campos) – With Antonio Campos (After School 2008, Simon Killer 2012) behind the camera, this is guaranteed to be a great watch. The story: in the 1960s after World War II in Southern Ohio, bizarre, compelling and mentally disturbed people suffer from the war’s psychological damages. Digital release: Netflix, at some point in 2020.
EYE FOR AN EYE (Spain, Paco Plaza) – It’s impossible for me not to get excited for a film directed by the guy who brought us [REC] 1 and 2, and Veronica. The story: a drug dealer looking for rest and a nurse looking for revenge cross roads, causing bloody mayhem. We can expect great visuals and fantastic character development from this dark horror-thriller. Digital release: at some point in 2020.
FEAR STREET TRILOGY (USA, Leigh Janiak) – This trilogy of movies, all coming out next year, is the adaptation of R. L. Stine’s beloved series of novels. The story: a murder mystery shakes up the town of Shadyside, Ohio. It’s a very original experiment to have a long film split in three parts, so I’m really looking forward to these 3 horror films. Theatrical release: June 2020 (Fear Street), July 2020 (Fear Street 2), August 2020 (Fear Street 3).
FREAK SHIFT (UK, Ben Wheatley) – The director of Kill List (2011) brings us an action-horror film that sounds like a lot of gory fun! The story: a band of misfits hunt down and kill underground, nocturnal monsters. What to expect from this movie? Obviously, a lot of practical effects, kills and gory sequences! Release date: at some point in 2020.
GRETEL & HANSEL (USA, Oz Perkins) – Two years after The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2017), one of my favourite filmmakers working today in horror is finally giving us a new nightmare. The story: long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil. This film is guaranteed to have amazing character development, outstanding visuals and multi-layered meanings. My only complaint is the PG-13 rating, which makes me a bit less excited about this picture… still, with Oz Perkins at the helm this is hardly going to be a disappointment. Theatrical release: 31 January 2020
HIS HOUSE (UK, Remi Weekes) – This is a debut feature that, however, was picked up by the Sundance Film Festival, which makes me interested in it. The story: a refugee couple that makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface. My guess is that this film will be highly allegorical and metaphorical, with subtexts of immigration and racism. It sounds good to me, as long as the presentation is on par with the profound topic the movie may asses. Release date (Sundance Film Festival): January 2020
ILL: FINAL CONTAGIUM (International, Lucio Rojas, Domiziano Cristopharo, Lorenzo Zanoni, Kai Bogatzki) – This horror anthology that combines body horror and zombie sub-genres has one of the most interesting premises ever. The story: an experimental virus created by a mad scientist in Chile is spread throughout the world by contaminated money. We follow the effects of the deadly infection through different countries: in Italy, a thief steals some contaminated notes from an immigrant, becoming deadly ill; in Kosovo, a transsexual endures extreme surgeries after being infected; in Germany a father is desperate to save his contaminated son. What are we going to get? Based on the directors, this film will probably be extremely gory and disturbing, but also artfully presented and thematically rich. Digital release: first half of 2020.
ILS ETAIENT DIX (France, Pascal Laugier) – This is a French horror mini-series directed by the filmmaker responsible for two of my favourite movies of recent years: Martyrs (2008) and Incident in a Ghostland (2018). The plot is kept under wraps and, so far, there’s a release date only for French television. Still, Laugier is one of my favourite directors and I can’t wait to watch this show! Television release (M6 channel in France): end of 2020.
IMPETIGORE (Indonesia, Joko Anwar) – The director of critically acclaimed Satan’s Slaves (2017) and Gundala (2018), tackles the horror genre once again. At this point, I’m excited by everything Anwar makes, because his latest movies were incredible. The story: Maya with her best friend, Dini, tries to survive in a city without a family. When she realises that she might inherit a property from her rich family, Maya returns to the village with Dini, unaware there’s danger waiting for her. Release date (Sundance Film Festival): January 2020
KANDISHA (France, Alexandre Bustillo/Julien Maury) – Finally Bustillo and Maury are back to make French horror films, after the disappointment of their more recent American movies. These are the guys responsible for Inside (2007), one of the best examples of The New French Extremity. This time, however, they’ll delve more into the supernatural. The story: during the summer break, best friends Amélie, Bintou and Morjana hang together with the neighbourhood teenagers. At night, they have fun sharing goosebumps stories and urban legends, but when Amélie is assaulted by her ex, she remembers the story of Kandisha, a powerful and vengeful demon. Afraid, upset, she summons the demon, causing the beginning of a killing spree. Theatrical release: September 2020.
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (UK, Edgar Wright) – 16 years after Shaun of the Dead, which I obviously adore, Edgar Wright goes back to horror, with a movie that promises to be terrifying rather than entertaining. The story: starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith, the film follows a young girl, passionate in fashion design, who’s mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol. 1960s London is not what it seems, though, and time seems to fall apart with shady consequences. This film sounds very ambitious and, knowing Mr Wright, it will be a masterful example of filmmaking with, hopefully, tons of scary and unsettling parts. Theatrical release: 18 September 2020.
THE LAST VOYAGE OF DEMETER (USA, André Øvredal) – The Danish director behind such beloved horror movies like Trollhunter (2010), The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2017) and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) will return to the genre with a vampire flick that sounds quite promising. The story: the ill-fated crew aboard the merchant ship Demeter carried Dracula’s coffin from Transylvania to England only to arrive at port with no survivors aboard. Release date: at some point in 2020.
MALIGNANT (USA, James Wan) – The beloved James Wan, probably the most famous current director in mainstream horror, is back with an original project: something we haven’t seen him doing since Saw (2004)! Although I anticipate this film to be more conventional and cliched than most movies on this list, I still can’t wait to see if Wan is still able to make a great horror movie… hoping it won’t spawn dozens of unnecessary sequels! Theatrical release: 14 August 2020.
MAY THE DEVIL TAKE YOU: CHAPTER TWO (Indonesia, Timo Tjahjanto) – The prolific director behind great movies like The Night Comes for Us and May the Devil Take You (both 2018) is making a sequel to his demon-centred, Evil Dead-inspired film May the Devil Take You. The film will be a direct continuation of the 2018 picture, which means it’s going to feature the same marvellous camera-work and creative violence. Digital release (Netflix): May 2020.
MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON (Iran/USA, Ana Lily Amirpour) – The director of critically acclaimed horror picture A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is behind this fantasy-horror tale that’s probably going to be quite arthouse and thematically rich. The story: a girl with unusual powers escapes from a mental asylum and tries to make it on her own in New Orleans. Release date: 2020 (?)
THE NIGHT HOUSE (UK, David Bruckner) – If you loved The Ritual (2018) like I did, you should add this upcoming Bruckner’s horror film on your watchlist. The story: a widow begins to uncover her recently deceased husband’s disturbing secrets. After such an impressive directorial debut, it’s fair to have high expectations for The Night House. Theatrical release: 1 October 2020.
THE NOWHERE INN (USA, Bill Benz) – Bill Benz, critically acclaimed director and creator of TV shows, will debut on the silver screen with this fascinating combination of horror, mockumentary and musical. The story: St. Vincent sets out to make a documentary about her music, but when she hires a close friend to direct, notions of reality, identity, and authenticity grow increasingly distorted and bizarre. Will we get a glossy and very unconventional horror film in its presentation? Release date (Sundance Film Festival): January 2020
THE OTHER LAMB (Poland/USA, Malgorzata Szumowska) – After premiering at TIFF in 2019, The Other Lamb was picked up by IFC Midnight for a 2020 digital release. Directed by the immensely talented Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska, this movie is supposed to be a multi-layered psychological horror film about trust and identity. The story: A girl who was born into an all-female cult led by a man in their compound begins to question his teachings and her own reality. Digital release: 2020.
THE PALE DOOR (USA, Aaron Koontz) – Although I’m not too fond of the director, this film caught my attention due to the fact that it’s supposed to be a horror-western, something I’m always fascinated by. The story: after a train robbery goes bad, two brothers leading a gang of cowboys must survive the night in a ghost town inhabited by a coven of witches. Theatrical release: February 1st, 2020.
PENINSULA (South Korea, Sang-ho Yeon) – This is a sequel to Train to Busan, directed by the same filmmaker. Do I need to say anything else? This is, no doubt, one of the horror films I have the highest expectations for. Theatrical release: August 2020.
PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND (Japan/USA, Sion Sono) – My second favourite filmmaker working today, Mr Sion Sono, will attempt his first American horror film, which stars Nicholas Cage (!) and Imogen Poots. Prisoners of the Ghostland promises to be an intense, disturbing ride filled with offensive and distasteful content. Basically, it’s your usual Sion Sono film. The story: a notorious criminal must break an evil curse in order to rescue an abducted girl who has mysteriously disappeared. Release date: late 2020.
RELIC (Australia, Natalie Erika James) – An all-female cast and crew, led by the second unit director of Upgrade (2018), for a psychological horror film that sounds very similar to The Babadook (2014). The story: daughter, mother and grandmother are haunted by a manifestation of dementia that consumes their family’s home. The quality of the movie will, obviously, depend a lot on its presentation, but the story and its implications sound like everything I want to see in a modern horror movie! Release date (Sundance Film Festival): January 2020
RUN (USA, ANEESH CHAGANTY) – The story: a home-schooled teenager begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her. This film comes from the director behind the excellent cyber-thriller Searching (2018), so it will probably be very tense and polished-looking. Theatrical release: 24 January 2020
TERRIFIER 2 (USA, Damien Leone) – Same director as the first movie (Damian Leone), some actor as Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) and Scream Queen Felissa Rose as the lead star of this highly anticipated picture. Can you really not put this movie on a “most anticipated of the year” list? I think so too… Release date: at some point in 2020
THE TURNING (USA, Floria Sigismondi) – The extremely talented Floria Sigismondi, an Italian director who worked on tons of different projects, will bring us this adaptation of Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw. Starring Finn Wolfhard (It 2017 and Stranger Things), this film promises to be intense, atmospheric and very well-shot. The story: a young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents. Her intentions soon appear to be rather shady, though. Theatrical release: 24 January 2020.
THE WOMAN WHO KEEPS A MURDERER (Japan, Hideo Nakata) – This is the new horror film from the director of 1998 Ringu, a modern classic for fans of supernatural horror. The story: when Kyoko was a child her stepfather sexually abused her, so she took refuge in a world of fantasy and multiple personalities. Kyoko has three flat-mates now, one of whom is interested in her, which causes Kyoko’s mental instability to kick in once again… Digital release: summer 2020.
WRONG TURN: THE FOUNDATION (USA, Mike P. Nelson/Alan McElroy) – As a huge fan of the original Wrong Turn movies (yes, even the bad ones), I don’t think this remake/prequel is really necessary. However, the same directors as the original are on board, so I hope this new film will be as fun, gory, creative and unapologetic as the other early 00s slasher flicks in the franchise! Release date: at some point in 2020.
CONCLUSION – There you have it. A list of 35 upcoming horror movies, all of which sound extremely intriguing to me. Even if some of them don’t tickle your curiosity, there should be at least a few titles that you might not have heard of before, but you’re now looking forward to. I can’t assure you they’ll all be good, but I’m positive some of them will rank among the best horror films of 2020 according to many fans and reviewers. Which movies from this list are you anticipating the most? What’s your most anticipated horror film of 2020? Let me know in the comments and have a great 2020, full of spooks, guts and gore!
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