This is part of our 2020 Preview. Follow along as we explore all the things that have us mildly hopeful in the new year.
Every year is a good year for horror fans as movies good and great always grace the screen. Are there stinkers? Sure, lots of them, but they can’t detract from the films that chill, thrill, and delight us with their darkness. 2019 delivered all manner of horror greatness (here’s my look at 19 of the best), and the future seems bright and bloody well into 2020 as well.
A few of us horror lovers here at FSR — Kieran Fisher, Brad Gullickson, Anna Swanson, Jacob Trussell, and myself — have looked into our grue-covered crystal ball to pick out the 25 horror movies of 2020 that we’re most looking forward to. There are plenty to be excited about that didn’t make the list including festival favorites like Boyz in the Wood and The Siren, sequels like Insidious: The Dark Realm and The Collected, and new horror movies from Zack Snyder, Richard Stanley, Robert Zemeckis, and more. But enough about what didn’t make the cut… keep reading for a look at our 25 most anticipated horror movies of 2020!
25. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
James Wan‘s Conjuring Universe may not be to everyone’s tastes, and few would argue that some of the spin-offs have dipped in quality, but there’s no denying the impact the films have had on the horror genre. They’ve all been big money earners, and the effort to create a shared horror universe is flat-out awesome. The concern here is that Wan has stepped away as director for part three — he has two other directorial efforts hitting screens this year — and handed the reins to Michael Chaves. He’s a nice guy, but last year’s The Curse of La Llorona was something of an iffy debut and a low-point for the franchise. Still, the first two entries are rock solid horror films so hopefully Wan maintained enough of a hand here to keep that trend going. (Rob Hunter)
Opens September 11th, 2020.
24. The Night House
David Bruckner has been a presence in the horror genre for years, and his short-form work in films like V/H/S (2012) and Southbound (2015) marked him as a director to watch. His debut feature, The Ritual (2017), saw that early promise pay off with a solidly creepy tale of cults, creatures, and paranoia, and now he’s back with a sophomore effort that looks every bit as good. The great Rebecca Hall plays a widow who discovers dark truths about her dead husband, and that’s more than enough to get my ass in a theater seat. Barry‘s Sarah Goldberg co-stars, and that’s another big plus. (Rob Hunter)
Premieres at Sundance on January 24th, 2020.
23. Fantasy Island
My gut tells me not to get too excited about this one as it’s a Blumhouse production from the director and writers of 2018’s godawful Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, but come on — they turned the popular TV show from the 70s into a horror anthology starring Michael Peña as our mysterious host Mr. Rourke. How do I not get giddy about that?! The supporting players include Maggie Q, Michael Rooker, Lucy Hale, Kim Coates, and more, and we can never have too many horror anthologies. I’m also a fan of adapting existing properties in unexpected ways, and while the original TV show occasionally dipped into darkness a full-on horror movie sounds like good fun. Here’s hoping the concept gets the execution it deserves. (Rob Hunter)
Opens February 14th, 2020.
22. Shut In
Generic title aside — seriously, it’s like the third film called this in the past three years — I’m all about tight, self-contained horror/thrillers that see people pushed to the limits to survive. This one focuses on a woman and her two children held captive by a deranged ex, and it’s directed by Jason Bateman. He’s not exactly the first name you think of for the genre, but his comedy has always held a mean streak and he’s shown himself to be a solid filmmaker (Bad Words, 2013; The Family Fang, 2015) as well. He’s also starring in HBO’s new Stephen King adaptation of The Outsider this month, so maybe he’s decided to fully embrace the darkness. I’m in. (Rob Hunter)
21. The Banishing
Christopher Smith is one of the most consistent and underappreciated directors working in the genre, so any movie that he oversees deserves a spot on every horror fan’s radar. The Banishing tells the 1930’s-set story of the most haunted house in England and the reverend and his family forced to contend with its horrifying secrets. On paper, this sounds like another generic supernatural spookfest, but Smith’s a filmmaker who is more than capable of turning familiar concepts into movies that stand out from the pack. (Kieran Fisher)
20. Castle Freak
Cinestate recently acquired the rights to some Full Moon movies to release under its Fangoria imprint, with Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich having kicked off the reboots with middling results. Castle Freak, which is one of Full Moon’s best movies, is the latest property to be given a redo, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The original Lovecraft adaptation is a gem, with Gothic horror decor, gore, and some awesome practical creature FX in abundance. However, if the reboot has the same sensibilities, it should make for a fun monster movie. Special effects artist Tate Steinsiek helms the new version, and his approach to horror is very much of the old school variety. He’s a true fan of the genre and will do the original film proud, while bringing some fresh ideas to the table. (Kieran Fisher)
19. Venom 2
Look, you’re either on board with this movie or you aren’t. However, there’s a subset of fandom out there that understands the appeal of Sony’s fascinating experiment to explore the Spider-Man villain-verse, and for them, this movie is going to be one of the best events of 2020. The first movie is a glorious mess that’s filled with bromance, body horror and Tom Hardy chewing more scenery than Godzilla rampaging through Japan. Hopefully the new movie is more of the same, only with some gore this time around. That said, with Andy Serkis at the helm, who knows what the sequel has in store for moviegoers. (Kieran Fisher)
Opens October 2nd, 2020.
18. Come to Daddy
Watching Elijah Wood go from Hollywood blockbuster megastar to pursuer of strange genre projects has been a joy to watch. He’s a genuine fan of horror, and he’s used his stardom to promote the genre, whether that’s starring in oddities or producing them with his SpectreVision company. Come to Daddy is already being hailed as a must-see movie. In the film, Wood plays a man who visits an isolated cabin to reconnect with his estranged father, and things get wacky from there. The film also marks the feature-length directorial debut of Ant Timpson, who’s produced some dark comedy gems in the form of Deathgasm, Turbo Kid, and The Greasy Strangler. (Kieran Fisher)
Opens February 7th, 2020.
17. Godzilla vs Kong
A title bout! No need to say anymore. I don’t care who’s making this movie or what actors they’ve scrounged up to populate the rubble below the titans. Godzilla vs. Kong. Ali vs. Frazier. Freddy vs. Jason. Alien vs. Predator. Batman v Superman. Hmm. Stories don’t matter, just the punching. All that being said, if director Adam Wingard can scrounge together enough style and substance along the ringside, then we might have ourselves a seriously delicious rumble in the jungle. (Brad Gullickson)
Opens November 20th, 2020.
Joe Begos is a mean dude. The director delights in the meat. He’s hungry to punish his protagonists as gleefully as his antagonists threaten. Begos is only as cruel to his heroes so that they can inevitably flip the chainsaw script on the baddies and rise triumphantly in their final moments before shuffling off the mortal coil. VFW has all the trappings of John Carpenter siege film, but it was shot even quicker and gnarlier than the maestro and for just as cheap. The film hums to the beat of Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape from New York, but barely has the time to tip its hat or offer a wink. Stephen Lang, William Sadler, Fred Williamson, George Wendt, David Patrick Kelly, and Martin Kove vs. a horde of faceless speed freaks? Damn, you’re sold right there. You don’t need me. (Brad Gullickson)
Opens February 14th, 2020.