Welcome to the first day of 2020, horror fans! Personally, I found 2019 to be an excellent year for the genre, and while it's hard to imagine 2020 topping it in terms of groundbreaking releases, with every year comes new hope and excitement for the films we love most, and there's a lot to look forward to in 2020...
...As is always the case in early January, there's still a ton of mystery as to what we'll actually see in 2020. What we're all most excited for now will look totally different as the year unfolds and horror films we never knew were coming are announced.
Still, looking at the docket for 2020, horror fans have a lot to be excited about. For the purposes of this list, I didn't include anything that is either a rumor at this point or without a release date, and instead focused on what we know is for sure coming our way, barring anything unexpected. Which, as we know, is bound to happen.
With that, here is my personal list of ten horror films to be excited for in 2020, with a few honorable mentions.
Release Date: January 10th in theaters.
I cannot properly express how excited I am for a new aquatic horror film. Ever since discovering the likes of Leviathan and DeepStar Six as a kid (both released in 1989), the sub-genre has been a favorite of mine, as it's the perfect setting for a good, claustrophobic creature feature, with the occasional sprinkling of cringe-worthy body horror mixed in.
Despite that, this one didn't quite crack my top ten, as the apparent loads of digital creatures and an often telling January release don't inspire much confidence that it will end up being great, no matter how badly I'm salivating for it. Still, not all early January releases are "bad", as we've seen plenty buck that trend in recent years (Split, anyone?), and the addition of a highly underrated Kirsten Stewart in a monster-fighting role leaves me with hope that Underwater will be the return to aquatic horror we've been waiting for.
Color Out of Space
Release Date: January 24th in theaters, with a VOD release planned for a later date.
Not much really needs to be said this one. This Lovecraft adaptation based on his story of the same name features body horror, loads of psychedelic color, and Nicolas Cage, and should be enough to have any horror fan giddy with anticipation. Not to mention, the film also sees a return to the genre for director Richard Stanley, who delivered the post-apocalyptic fan-favorite, Hardware.
Spectrevision is releasing the film, and over the years, fans have been able to count on the studio for delivering unique, visually appealing genre fare that never fails to stand out.
10. The New Mutants
Release Date: April 3rd, format unknown.
Ah, what a long, frustrating ride through development Hell The New Mutants has had. Josh Boone's film, based on the Marvel comics about five young mutants just discovering their very dangerous abilities, was originally set to release a couple years ago, but through regime changes and rumored disagreements between the studio and the filmmakers, has been collecting dust on a shelf in some dark vault for what feels like a millennia.
When the first trailer initially dropped a long while back, I was stunned. Finally, a superhero film for me, brimming with horror and favorite stars such as Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams? We still don't know what to expect from The New Mutants, but a new trailer is supposed to release on January 6th, so we'll have a better idea of what to expect from the film then, which Boone has recently said is wowing audiences at test screenings.
09. Halloween Kills
Release Date: October 16th in theaters.
Okay, a lot of you are going to be upset with me that Halloween Kills isn't higher on my list. Here's the thing: I wasn't that impressed with Halloween (2018). But I believe in second chances, and as a diehard fan of the Halloween franchise, I'm willing to give another chance to Blumhouse's interpretation of the battle between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode.
Plus, I don't know how anyone hears that title and doesn't at least crack a slight grin. Freddy and Jason may be stuck in horror limbo, but Michael is back and stalking theaters, and that's something to thrilled about as a horror fan right now.
08. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Release Date: September 11th, in theaters.
If you're growing tired of the constant barrage of "haunting" films we've experienced over the last decade, I get it. I'm right there with you. But that's not going to stop me from being curious about a sequel to arguably the best ghostly series to release over that time, The Conjuring. The caveat here is that master of horror James Wan will not be returning to the director's chair, instead handing over the reigns to Michael Chaves (The Nun). And no, I don't feel great about that.
Plot details are scarce at the moment, but we know beloved stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson will be returning in their roles as Lorraine and Ed Warren, respectively, and I'll continue to look forward to each entry in this universe until those two are no longer a part of it.
07. Untitled Saw Sequel
Release Date: May 15th, in theaters.
Let's be honest, there hasn't been a truly great Saw film since creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell first unleashed the horrific original on us in 2004. But this new "reimagining" from director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2-4) has something the sequels didn't: stars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. Are you kidding me? Sign me up right now to watch those two in a violent, seedy horror film together!
The horror community was caught completely off-guard when it was announced that a new Saw film would be coming, based on a story by Chris Rock and with both Rock and Jackson attached. This is another we still don't have plot details on, but the addition of those two makes this one an exciting project to keep an eye on that can hopefully get the series back on track and return it to it's status as a franchise to look forward to every other year.
06. The Lodge
Release Date: February 7th, in theaters.
Okay, so I'm cheating on this one here. I already had the pleasure of laying my eyes on The Lodge during Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, so while it may not be one I'm "looking forward to" in 2020, it's a film that you should absolutely make sure to catch when it shocks theaters in February.
From the filmmakers behind the hit terror, Goodnight Mommy, The Lodge is an atmospheric, winter-set horror film following a step-mother and two kids who want nothing to do with her after they become trapped at a cabin in the middle of a blizzard. What unfolds is something that is highly claustrophobic, tense, and utterly devastating. If you liked Goodnight Mommy, that was just an appetizer to the chilling, tension-filled horror that is The Lodge.
05. Last Night in Soho
Release Date: September 25th, in theaters.
I feel like Last Night in Soho is flying under the radar of some fans, but it really shouldn't be. That's because this is the first pure-horror film from prolific filmmaker, Edgar Wright. The man has dabbled in horror throughout his career, from his original series, Spaced, which often referenced the genre, to his Cornetto trilogy, which includes 2004's hit horror comedy, Shaun of the Dead.
I'm still not sure what to make of what little we know of the plot for Last Night in Soho, which involves Anya Taylor-Joy as a passionate fashion designer who finds herself in 1960's London, but I don't care. Coming from Wright, this is a horror film that is guaranteed to be a highly stylish, well-directed flick with a great soundtrack, and I need it in my eyeballs already.
04. The Invisible Man
Release Date: February 28th, in theaters.
I've mentioned Leigh Whannell a couple times throughout this list. The guy has been behind numerous popular horror franchises along with Wan, and has recently shown his growth as a director to watch with his latest flick, Upgrade, an action-packed sci-fi horror film that packs one hell of a punch in the final minutes. That's just one of many reasons I'm looking forward to his next trip behind the camera, The Invisible Man.
Like we all knew it would, Universal's "Dark Universe" imploded like a dying star, but with Blumhouse stepping in to take a different approach to Universal's classic monsters, it seems like our favorite creatures may be in good hands now. Whannell's The Invisible Man forfeits the mega-budgets and million-dollar names and has replaced them with an exceptionally talented cast and a return to the horror roots of these characters. We haven't had a great Invisible Man film for a long time (unless you're a fan of Hollow Man), and this new approach, which pits Elisabeth Moss against an abusive, supposedly dead husband through a feminist lens has the potential to not only be one of the eeriest horror films of the year, but one of the most important, as well.
Release Date: April 17th, in theaters.
I. Love. Monster. Movies! I've been saying over the last few months that 2020 could see the beginning of a return to creature features in theaters throughout the decade, and of those already coming our way, Antlers has me more excited than any. The talent behind the project reads like a who's who list of popular horror names, with Guillermo del Toro producing and Nick Antosca, the mind behind Hannibal and Channel Zero, providing the script.
The story involves Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons as a brother/sister duo who become entwined with a kid (Jeremy T. Thomas) harboring a dark secret, a secret which just happens to be a damn Wendigo living in his house! The trailer and images we've seen for Antlers give the impression that our heroes will be dealing with one hellish creature, and look, we don't have nearly enough films tapping into the Wendigo myth. This one's been on my radar since the day it was announced, and I'm thrilled we'll finally be able to experience it in just a few months.
02. Candyman (Remake)
Release Date: June 12th, in theaters.
I know, I know, another remake, yawn, right? Wrong. I'm not as opposed to remakes as most, since every remake is a chance to tell a beloved story in a new and interesting way, and some of my favorite horror films are remakes themselves, such as Carpenter's The Thing and Cronenberg's The Fly. So, what makes this "spiritual sequel" to 1992's classic Candyman so appealing?
For one, it's being produced by Jordan Peele, a man who has already proven himself a master of the genre. Nia Dacosta is directing, a talented filmmaker who also happens to be a woman of color, and I will always throw down for more minority voices in horror. Plus, the film is said to take place in the same neighborhood as the original, which has now been "gentrified", meaning instead of Candyman picking on a minority community, he will have a chance to get some much needed vengeance on the ancestors of the white people who made him the monster he is, which sounds so much more satisfying to me. Tony Todd won't be reprising his role as the titular villain (that honor appears to have gone to Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), but he will be returning as a mysterious character we still know nothing about. This is another one of those that I expect to not only be a horrific experience, but a refreshing story from perspectives not represented enough in the genre, and I seriously can't wait.
Release Date: August 14th, in theaters.
And here we are finally at #1 on my list. Like Whannell, I've mentioned James Wan a few times already on this list, and for good reason. For over a decade, the man has been the most well-known voice in the genre, and he's finally leaving ghosts and psychics to return to his roots with the giallo-inspired Malignant. Plot details are being kept under wraps, but we know the film is NOT based on Wan's comic, Malignant Man.
Can you imagine though? A modern giallo film from a master filmmaker with an actual budget? Hell yes. If you look into Wan, you'll find he's always had a deep love of giallo films, and even inserted elements of them into Saw, such as a killer wearing black gloves and a heightened sense of color. Maybe it's the boring pick, but as a huge fan of giallo fare and someone who's been wanting to see Wan break away from the supernatural and dabble in something else, I couldn't be more excited for the director to flex his horror muscles once again and potentially deliver a new classic that could spark a whole new franchise. Time will tell.
With so much to look forward to, we all have different expectations for 2020, so let us know below, which horror films are you looking forward to?
By Matt Konopka
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