I don't know about you, but if there's anything that can help me escape the grim reality of the world around us, it's a good horror movie. There's something about covering your eyes, jumping out of your seat, or praying the scenes don't come into your dreams that make a horror flick so fun. All right, "fun" is a loose term here, but you get the gist. And while 2020 may be halfway over, the selection of horror flicks this year is already nightmare-worthy. A man who transforms into an antlered creature? Ghost hands choking people? A girl in pigtails and a pale yellow dress? The sequel to A Quiet Place? Color us terrified.
Some of these films were set to scare theater audiences earlier in the year, but either pushed back their release date or went straight to video on demand to satisfy at-home audiences. While it may be a while until you settle into a movie theater seat again with some over-buttered popcorn in hand, there's still plenty of movies to dream about seeing. So to honor this year of horror (and we aren't just talking about the 2020 election), here are 19 totally eerie films coming out this year.
Release date: September 25, 2020
Starring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo
What it's about: The movie, advertised as the "spiritual sequel" to the 1992 film of the same name, returns to the Chicago neighborhood where the legend of the anonymous murderer who kills with his hooked hand began. You're going to want to avoid all kinds of mirrors after watching this.
'Black Water Abyss'
Release date: August 7, 2020
Starring: Jessica McNamee, Luke Mitchell, Amali Golden, Anthony J. Sharpe
What it's about: A group of friends in Northern Australia goes cave diving only to find a vicious crocodile at the bottom. Crikey! Not all horror movies are created equal, but sometimes those that are more...let's just say "adventurous" with their plot...are even more fun to watch.
Release date: July 24, 2020
Starring: Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Jeremy Allen White, Sheila Vand
What it's about: Dave Franco makes his directional debut with this creepy, goosebump-inducing film about two couples who take a weekend getaway to the coast. Not long after settling into the place, the foursome grows suspicious that someone is spying on them and have to get out before it's too late.
Release date: July 3, 2020
Starring: Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote, Jeremy Stanford
What it's about: A mom and daughter tag-team head to their grandmother's house to find their elderly missing family member. When they arrive, they realize her dementia has progressed rapidly, and when she returns as if nothing happened, they start to suspect something else is going on.
Release date: Originally May 29, 2020, now TBD
Starring: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris
What it's about: In this retelling of the Arthurian legend, Sir Gawain (Patel), King Arthur's nephew, embarks on an epic journey to face the Green Knight, a beast, and the ultimate test of men. Naturally, many other medieval things get in the middle of this quest ranging from ghosts to giants. (It was supposed to be the summer of Dev Patel, and we were ROBBED!)
Release date: Originally July 10, 2020, now March 5, 2021
Starring: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, Paul Rudd
What it's about: All right, so maybe this isn't one of the more terrifying films on this list, but the little kid in us is secretly terrified. Set in the same world as the original '80s movies, a single mom and her two children move into an old family home and discover a part of their grandfather's past that he left behind.
Release date: Originally May 15, 2020, now May 21, 2021
Starring: Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, Samuel L. Jackson
What it's about: Calling all SAW fans: Spiral is the start of a new chapter of the famous horror series. Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks (Rock) and his partner (Minghella) begin investigating a series of murders that all share an eerie spiral symbol. As they get deeper and deeper into solving the case, they realize the murderer has a thing for cops, and they could be next.
Release date: Originally May 8, 2020, now TBD
Starring: Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen
What it's about: Paulson plays a mom, Diane, who is the sole caretaker of her homeschooled daughter Chloe (Allen.) When Chloe starts to realize her mother isn't the person she thought she was, she'll have to figure out how to escape from her mothers' tight grasp.
Release date: Originally April 24, 2020, now August 21, 2020
Starring: Janelle Monáe, Kiersey Clemons, Eric Lange
What it's about: The producer of Get Out and Us returns with another psychological horror-thriller, and it seems to follow the same creepy, socially telling vein. This one takes place in the Civil War era and follows Veronica Henley (Janelle Monáe) as she seems to be stuck in some time warp between the past and the present. The trailer also features a little girl in a pale yellow dress, which can never be a good sign.
Release date: Originally April 17, 2020, now TBD
Starring: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Scott Haze, Graham Greene
What it's about: Guillermo del Toro does it again. Set in a small town in Oregon, the premise follows a teacher, Julia Meadows (Keri Russell), and her sheriff brother, Paul (Jesse Plemons), as they become entwined with a young student who harbors a dangerous secret at home. Although we don’t know the full extent of his crappy home situation, what we do know is that it involves a lot of blood and a creature with, you guessed it, antlers.
'A Quiet Place Part II'
Release date: Originally March 20, 2020, now September 4, 2020
Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds
What it's about: A Quiet Place’s highly awaited sequel gives us our first look at just how this nightmarish world came about (and how good Emily Blunt is at driving backwards). The badass Abbotts are back as they traverse the apocalyptic world in deadly silence. Although John Krazinski isn’t in this one for obvious reasons (R.I.P. Lee), he’ll still be directing it behind the camera.
'Disappearance at Clifton Hill'
Release date: February 28, 2020
Starring: Tuppence Middleton, Hannah Gross, Marie-Josée Croze, Eric Johnson
What it's about: A woman returns to her hometown of Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls after being away for many years. During her time there, she can't seem to escape the thought of a "one-eyed" boy she saw in the woods when she was younger. She quickly realizes some things are better left alone.
'The Invisible Man'
Release date: February 28, 2020
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer
What it's about: Think your past relationship was bad? At least your ex isn’t an invisible psycho hell-bent on destroying your life. Elisabeth Moss can do no wrong in this whirlwind of a movie based off of H.G. Wells’ sci-fi thriller, The Invisible Man. Premise: Her character, Cecilia, is trapped in an abusive, controlling relationship with a brilliant scientist who suddenly commits suicide and leaves her with everything he owns. But a series of eerie coincidences starts to have Cecilia believing that the suicide is a hoax, and her sanity deteriorates as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by an invisible mad scientist.
'Brahms: The Boy II'
Release date: February 21, 2020
Starring: Katie Holmes, Christopher Convery, Owain Yeoman
What it's about: There’s just something about dolls that are super creepy. Well, brace yourselves for this lovely porcelain face to return to screens this year–Brahms is back to terrorize another family. It turned out that Brahms wasn’t even a supernatural entity in the first Boy film–it was just a harbored sociopath living inside the walls–so it’s not entirely clear whether or not this guy is the real deal. Is the doll alive? Is the human Brahms still controlling doll Brahms from behind the walls? Or did the human Brahms die and attach his spirit to the doll? Either way, that freaky face alone ought to be a scary ride.
Release date: February 14, 2020
Starring: Lucy Hale, Michael Peña, Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang
What it's about: Have you ever wished for all your deepest fantasies to come true? You might rethink that after watching this flick, wherein an island literally takes your biggest dream and turns it into reality. But don’t mistake this for a fantasy–it is a horror movie after all, so you just know something (or everything) is going to go wrong.
Release date: February 7, 2020
Starring: Jaeden Martell, Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Armitage
What it's about: The trailer for this one leaves a lot of room for imagination, but this is one of those movies where the less you know about it, the better. It does break down the core premise: All we know for sure is that it has to do with some pretty tense domestic problems between a woman and her stepkids, but the chilling atmosphere alone is enough to have you hooked. If you don’t believe us, just watch the trailer.
'Gretel & Hansel'
Release date: January 31, 2020
Starring: Sophia Lillis, Alice Krige, Jessica De Gouw, Charles Babalola, Sammy Leakey
What it's about: Let’s be honest: the majority of fairy tales we were told as children are actually terrifying. Take Hansel and Gretel, the story about a cannibal witch who likes to cook children alive (I mean...come on). Oz Perkins’ reimagination of the German fairy tale fully embraces this “all fairy tales are horror stories” theory by turning the story on its head and heightening the supernatural elements of witchcraft.
'Color Out Of Space'
Release date: January 24, 2020
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Madeleine Arthur, Joely Richardson, Q'orianka Kilcher
What it's about: Probably the most colorful horror movie you’ve ever seen, this sci-fi thriller features Nathan Gardner (Nicholas Cage) and his family who is living in their home when a meteorite lands in their backyard. They suddenly find themselves having to fight mutant extraterrestrial organisms that take over their minds and bodies. Talk about a rural nightmare.
Release date: January 24, 2020
Starring: Finn Wolfhard, Mackenzie Davis, Brooklynn Prince
What it's about: The gist of this story is that a new nanny comes to a mysterious estate and takes care of two creepy, ghost-following kids. Sounds like a classic, right? That’s because it is: the tale is a modern adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, the 1898 novella by Henry James.
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Bianca Rodriguez is the Commerce Editor/Writer at Hearst Magazines Digital Media, where she covers fashion, beauty, home, and more. She likes long walks through shopping malls, a good book, and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.
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