2020 was a bummer of a year, to say the least...
...Hell, it was straight up awful. Between the pandemic and all it has cost us this year, 2020 has been a time of unfathomable casualties in more ways than one. Some of those casualties were the horror films we were most looking forward to, with many being pulled from theaters and left in limbo.
Below is our annual list of 20 horror films that we're looking forward to in 2021, but you're going to find much of it is what we were excited about at the end of 2019. Even now, many of these release dates have the potential to change, with an uncertain future during this pandemic. Because of that, I stuck mostly to films that are either confirmed for 2021 or are in post-production and very likely to turn your screens red this year.
Check out the list below, and remember, these are just what I'm excited about, so if you don't see one of yours here, reply below and let me know!
A Quiet Place II
Written/Directed by: John Krasinski
Release Date: April 23rd, 2021
Picking up shortly after the first film, the Abbott family is forced to venture into the unknown and discover that the creatures which have taken over the world are not the only threat still roaming the world...
Why we're excited: I'll admit I wasn't originally sold on a sequel to A Quiet Place, but I believe Krasinski when he says he would only return if there was a good story to tell, and based off of that action-packed trailer, it looks like there's good reason to believe that. Plus, Cillian Murphy appears to play the all too human villain, and I'm all about that.
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Written by: Henry Chaisson, Nick Antosca, Scott Cooper (Based on Antosca's short story "The Quiet Boy")
Release Date: N/A
A teacher and her sheriff brother learn that a strange student may be harboring a dangerous creature known as the Wendigo at his home.
Why we're excited: What is there not to be excited about? Produced by Guillermo del Toro. Based on a Nick Antosca story, who created one of the eeriest shows ever in "Channel Zero". It involves the Wendigo, a creature we don't see nearly enough of in horror. And the trailer makes it look like a knockout creature feature that's going to scare the pants off of us. I need this in my eyeballs, like, yesterday.
Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Written by: Nia DaCosta, Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld
Release Date: August 27th, 2021
Described as a "spiritual sequel" to the 1992 original, this film returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began.
Why we're excited: Nia DaCosta, Jordan Peele, and Tony Todd. Candyman is a great story and the 1992 film is one of my favorites, but they were told through white voices. And there's a frustration in watching Candyman go after those who have been discriminated against just like he was, rather than going after those that persecuted him in the first place. Nia and Jordan bring much needed black voices to a story begging to be told from the point of view of the black community. Not to mention, how many black female directors can you name that have gotten to make an entry in a horror franchise? Exactly. More diversity in horror is always a reason to be excited.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Directed by: Michael Chaves
Written by: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Release Date: June 4th, 2021
The latest chapter in 'The Conjuring' saga, this sequel recounts a case of terror and murder that chilled even Ed and Lorraine Warren, and wound up as the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect claimed demonic possession as a defense.
Why we're excited: Love them or hate them, the Conjuring films and their spinoffs have provided tons of chills for the better part of a decade, and they're guaranteed to be a scream. The story this is based on is a fascinating one that should give the franchise the opportunity to take a different route steeped in more psychological horror, and with James Wan stepping away for this entry, there's a certain curiosity to see what new voices can do with the series.
Don't Breathe 2
Directed by: Rodo Sayagues
Written by: Rodo Sayagues and Fede Alvarez
Release Date: August 13th, 2021
The Blind Man aka Stephen Lang returns to bring terror to more unsuspecting victims.
Why we're excited: Stephen Lang. Stephen Lang. Oh, and Stephen Lang. Lang has always been exceptional at playing intimidating characters, but with Don't Breathe, he delivered his most terrifying role to date as a buff blind man more capable of kicking ass than most who would face him. I don't know that Don't Breathe needs a sequel, but the filmmakers are promising a terrifying tale with a great premise, and that's a ride through the dark I'm ready to take.
Godzilla vs. Kong
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Written by: Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein
Release Date: May 21st, 2021
The next chapter in Warner Bros' Monsterverse, this film pits two of the greatest icons in cinematic history against each other, with Godzilla taking on Kong...a battle humanity may not survive.
Why we're excited: I mean, how could I not be? If you grew up loving monsters, you probably have a deep affection for either Godzilla, Kong, or both, and the idea of once again seeing them battling it out? Hell yes. Nothing can top the goofy joy of watching Kong float in on yellow balloons in the original 1963 King Kong vs. Godzilla, but with Adam Wingard behind the camera, I expect this version to take a more horrific approach, and that's something worth squealing over.
The Green Knight
Written/Directed by: David Lowery
Release Date: July 30th, 2021
An epic and dark fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Why we're excited: In the 70s/80s, we were gifted with a number of fantasy horror films, one of my favorites being 1981's Clash of the Titans. Yet we hardly ever get them now, despite the very root of horror being found in these types of stories, dating all the way back to adventure horror tales like Beowulf. Well, here comes The Green Knight, a film which looks visually stunning, with that unique A24 vibe that assures us that however the film turns out, it will be an unexpected experience to remember.
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Written by: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Scott Teems
Release Date: October 15th, 2021
Michael Myers once again proves to be flame retardant and continues his hunt for Laurie Strode and her family.
Why we're excited: Aside from the obvious answer of more Michael Myers and Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode, all throughout 2020, producer Jason Blum has been tossing flanks of bloody meat to fans, promising that Halloween Kills is a big, bloody movie that is going to please fans. Set to release in October, right around when things will (hopefully) be back to normal in the U.S., Halloween Kills could become an event where droves of horror fans return to theaters for the first time, and I can't wait to be right there in line with them.
Last Night in Soho
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Release Date: April 23rd, 2021
A young wannabe fashion designer is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer. But 1960s London is not what it seems, and time begins to fall apart.
Why we're excited: Edgar Wright has been walking the line of horror for his entire career, and Last Night in Soho appears to be his first straight up horror film. Knowing Wright's work, we can expect a kickass soundtrack mixed with visual candy all over the screen. Throw in a cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith and what sounds like a timey-wimey time-travel premise, and you'd better believe I'm anxiously awaiting to unfold the mystery of whatever Wright has concocted here.
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Akela Cooper
Release Date: N/A
At this time there are no plot details, but we do know the film is Giallo-inspired.
Why we're excited: For those who don't know, James Wan is a big fan of Giallo movies. In fact, if you look through Saw, you can spot the different homages, such as the mysterious villain wearing black gloves. So, to think that Wan is finally making his own Giallo movie...oh my god. Yes. Wan is a beyond talented director, and I've been waiting for him to step away from ghosts and tackle another kind of horror for years. I couldn't ask for something more exciting than a James Wan Giallo film.
Directed by: Simon McQuoid
Written by: Greg Russo and Dave Callaham
Release Date: April 16th, 2021
A new adaptation of the classic, bloody as hell, fighting videogame series which follows an evil dimension trying to take over Earth through battling Earth's greatest warriors.
Why we're excited: I will die on the hill that 1995's Mortal Kombat is the best videogame adaptation ever made, because of how perfectly it captures the fun yet violent tone of the games. It's fair to think that this new film has every chance of doing that, but with even more gore. Fans have been waiting for over two decades for another official Mortal Kombat movie after the disastrous 1997 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. To think we're almost there has me screaming "Mortal Kombat" every morning.
Written/Directed by: Steven Kostanski
Release Date: January 22nd, 2021
A somewhat psychotic little girl uncovers a gem that controls one of the most powerful and vicious creatures in the universe and uses him to do her bidding, aka, be her friend, with deadly consequences.
Why we're excited: While I can't reveal anything yet, let's just say I have seen Psycho Goreman, and the film is destined to become an outrageous and gory as hell midnight cult film for decades to come. All will know and worship the name "Psycho Goreman" soon.
The Queen of Black Magic
Directed by: Kimo Stamboel
Written by: Joko Anwar
Release Date: January 28th, 2021
Orphans are hunted through black magic by a woman born of their sins.
Why we're excited: If you missed Anwar's Impetigore this year, you missed a terrifying treat. Anwar is a unique voice in the genre with a penchant for developing atmospheric horror that gets deep under your skin, and while Anwar is not behind the camera on this one, my heart gets pumping a little faster for anything he's attached to. Having seen a trailer, The Queen of Black Magic appears to deliver on all of the horrific weirdness I've come to expect from Anwar. Plus, more Indonesian horror is always a good thing.
Directed by: Neil Marshall
Written by: Neil Marshall, Edward Evers-Swindell and Charlotte Kirk
Release Date: February 5th, 2021
A woman haunted by the recent suicide of her husband is falsely accused of being a witch by her Landlord after she shuts the jerk down.
Why we're excited: Neil Marshall, the man behind Dog Soldiers and The Descent, hasn't made a straight up horror feature since 2008's Doomsday, and based on the trailer, he's returning with something that looks primed to send chills through audiences. I'm not sure how into actual witchcraft the film will delve, but Marshall is no stranger to grotesque creatures and gore, and The Reckoning looks like it's no exception, while also touching on important issues of toxic masculinity and abuse.
Written/Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Release Date: N/A
There are no plot details as of yet, but this new adaptation of the popular videogame series in which the seedy Umbrella Corporation unleashes a horde of zombies and other creatures on the world appears to aiming for a closer retelling of the original story than Paul W.S. Anderson's 2002 film.
Why we're excited: Because we can never have enough Resident Evil. For better or worse, Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil films plunged deep into the action pool, and Roberts seems primed to pull the franchise out and cement it back into its dark, eerie roots. I'm not entirely sold on Roberts' ability to create sympathetic characters, but if you've seen 47 Meters Down, then you know he is a master at building nail-biting suspense, something which the Resident Evil franchise desperately needs an injection of.
Written/Directed by: Rose Glass
Release Date: N/A
A deeply religious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.
Why we're excited: At this point I have the equivalent of blue balls in my eyes from being teased so often throughout 2020 about a release of Saint Maud, only to have it stripped from its release date. Again. And again. And again. Yet the film looks so provocative, so deeply unsettling, that it hasn't left my mind. 2021 should finally see its release, but when that happens, no one can predict. Until then, all we can do is pray we finally get to lay our eyes on it soon.
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger
Release Date: May 21st, 2021
A sadistic mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in this latest chapter in the 'Saw' saga.
Why we're excited: Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock. Both men are legends, and the idea of seeing them on screen together in a horror film has me salivating. Yet another Saw film doesn't have me quite as excited, but there is still a lot of potential with this franchise and the cult that has developed around Jigsaw in the film's universe, so I'm willing to see where this goes. More than anything though, I'm just hoping 2021 gives us a "Let's end this motherfucking game with these motherfucking Jigsaw killers" moment from Jackson.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Directed by: David Blue Garcia
Written by: Chris Thomas Devlin
Release Date: N/A
There are no plot details yet, other than that this is another direct sequel to Tobe Hooper's 1974 original.
Why we're excited: To say The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series has struggled with sequels would be an understatement. I wouldn't hold it against anyone who says the franchise hasn't had a great sequel since part 2 (not including the remake). But I'm looking forward to this latest attempt for two reasons: a new take on the story, and Alice Krige. We don't yet know exactly what role Krige will be playing, but the actress is phenomenal at playing sinister (see Sleepwalkers and Gretel and Hansel), and there's every reason to believe she could play the patriarch of the Sawyer family, which sets this sequel up to be a disturbing journey that will once again remind us, the Saw is family.
Written/Directed by: Keith Thomas
Release Date: February 26th, 2021
A man struggling with his faith is convinced to perform a Vigil and watch over a deceased member of his former Jewish community, but finds himself in the hands of a malevolent entity.
Why we're excited: I got an early look at The Vigil during its UK release, and I can tell you, it's likely going to be one of the scariest films of 2021. In his feature debut, Thomas has delivered a poignant, terrifying film that explores faith, community and discrimination against values in ways that I believe are going to strike a meaningful chord in 2021.
Directed by: Kevin Lewis
Written by: G.O. Parsons
Release Date: N/A
A drifter takes a janitorial job at the now condemned Wally's Wonderland, where he suddenly finds himself in a fight for his life against wave after wave of demonic animatronics.
Why we're excited: Nic. Cage. The man has been on a role lately with taking on stranger roles in the genre, such as Mandy or Color Out of Space, and to think we're going to see him fighting against a horde of killer Chuck E. Cheese knockoffs? Everything about that sounds amazing, and I have no doubt the great Nic Cage renaissance is going to continue on its glorious path with Wally's Wonderland.
By Matt Konopka