Researchers deep beneath the ocean’s surface come face to face with something monstrous… sold! Aquatic horror is my jam, from creature features like Leviathan (1989) to more epic tales like The Abyss (1989), and while it’s unclear as to which way this one leans I’m all aboard regardless. It helps that Kristen Stewart stars, and while she may seem well outside her wheelhouse that’s actually what makes it exciting. She’s a terrific performer, and when she’s having a good time — something she appears to be doing in this hopeful genre blast — that translates to fun for the rest of us too. Plus underwater monster shenanigans! (Rob Hunter)
Opens January 10th, 2020.
What is Antebellum about? Who the fuck knows and thank god for that! The trailer was a surprise to pretty much everyone and refreshingly revealed very little. The gist seems to be that Janelle Monáe — long overdue for a leading role of this magnitude — plays a woman trapped in some sort of maybe-time-travel-maybe-something-else situation that takes place in the American south before the civil war but also (a version of) the present day? I don’t even want to speculate beyond that because it seems likely that, if this film’s release and marketing are handled well, we’ll all be treated to a surprise when the film comes out in April. With a cast that includes Kiersey Clemons, Gabourey Sidibe, and Jack Huston, there’s a lot to look forward to here and we can only hope the film sees the genius of the first trailer come to fruition. (Anna Swanson)
Opens April 24th, 2020.
If you are a horror fan and haven’t familiarized yourself with Nick Antosca‘s Channel Zero finish this article and then immediately log off the internet, fire up Shudder, and bask in three seasons of some of the absolute best television horror ever. Not in the last few years, or last decade. Ever. It’s that good. Which is exactly why you should be hyped for Antlers, an adaptation of Antosca’s short story “The Quiet Boy.” And all of that isn’t even mentioning the fact that it’s probably a wendigo story (a monster sorely lacking in big budget visions) being produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons. This is the dream team you want for every big studio horror film. Cherry on top? Hard R-rating, baby! (Jacob Trussell)
Opens April 17th, 2020.
12. False Positive
Jordan Peele made it fashionable for comedians – sketch, improv, stand-up, what have you – to turn to horror when they make that major step from television to film. Ilana Glazer gave us five seasons of doped up mad cap antics on Broad City and seeing her… peel off into the horror realm feels so logical I can’t believe I never saw it before. False Positive, about a couple (Glazer, Justin Theroux) who visit a fertility clinic run by the presumably evil Pierce Brosnan, looks to potentially be a Rosemary’s Baby riff with a touch of “ripped from the headlines” melodrama (just google Cecil Jacobson and start screaming “are you fucking kidding me!?”). If Glazer for some reason isn’t enough for you, did I mention that it’ll be directed by The Heart, She Holler‘s John Lee? This movie is going to be weird, creepy, and if it’s anything like Glazer or Lee’s other work, super duper divisive. We expect nothing less from A24 by now, yeah? (Jacob Trussell)
11. The Reckoning
Any movie that has Neil Marshall attached as the director makes it essential viewing in my book. But when said movie is a period horror film about the Witch Hunts, you know it’s going to be good. Marshall hasn’t made a low-key horror film since The Descent, so in many ways The Reckoning seems like a return to his roots, especially considering that it stars his old collaborator Sean Pertwee in a prominent role. The director has also shown that he’s capable of making exciting genre fare set in the past, as evidenced by the underrated historical actioner Centurion. Given that this is a Marshall movie, we can expect The Reckoning to take some unexpected turns, and it’s probably going to mark the latest gem from a filmmaker who’s incapable of making bad flicks. (Kieran Fisher)
10. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
A woman wanting out of a broken relationship discovers getting from A to Z isn’t always a straight line, and while that already sounds potentially compelling things grow more exciting in the details. Toni Collette stars as the woman in question, Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley co-star, and it’s the long-awaited return to live-action for writer/director Charlie Kaufman whose last such effort was 2008’s Synecdoche, New York. It’s based on a novel by Iain Reid, but that’s not necessarily a clue as to the narrative as Kaufman has a history of making stories his own, so instead we’ll take comfort in knowing it’s described as a horror/thriller and will be gracing our eyeballs sometime this year from Netflix. (Rob Hunter)
The original Candyman is a creepy, unsettling stab at social-minded horror with an unforgettable formidable foe in the form of Tony Todd that fumbles its execution thanks to a misguided/clueless point of view. However, under the guidance of Jordan Peele‘s Monkeypaw Productions and director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods), there is serious potential for an equally vicious yet properly astute bite of political commentary. Hopefully, the truly guilty can fall under the hook of our tragic “villain” this go around. (Brad Gullickson)
Opens June 12th, 2020.
8. The Invisible Man
Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t Say it. Don’t say i-THE DARK UNIVERSE IS BACK, BABY! Dammit! No!! It. Is. Not. The Dark Universe is as dead as The Mummy. Thankfully. Now Leigh Whannell can get to the business of repositioning at least one classic Universal Monster as the utterly terrifying creation that he is. Nearly 90 years since his original appearance on the silver screen, we’ve forgotten the harrowing creep factor of The Invisible Man. Mister Upgrade is now here to offer a reminder. Screw your Dark Universe and your PG-13 franchise. Meet the monsters. They’re called that for a reason, and they drip with blood… which is a good thing cuz it makes the hollow man easier to find when he’s stalking you through your parlor. (Brad Gullickson)
Opens February 28th, 2020.
7. The Organ Donor
Here’s the pitch: Chris Rock and Darren Lynn Bousman team up to reinvigorate one of the most popular horror franchises of the last two decades with a brand new Saw film from the unlikely mind of the famed comedian. I say unlikely because, for real. Who saw this coming? I don’t even think Rock thought he’d ever see himself creating and starring in a Saw film. In a franchise that has gone cold, this type of out-of-left-field thinking seems just right to revive Jigsaw for a ninth installment. Will we see the rise of a new central villain now that Tobin Bell’s icon has been snuffed out? Will that person be Samuel L. Jackson who will be starring alongside Rock? Who knows, but we’re here for it. (Jacob Trussell)
Opens May 15th, 2020.
James Wan has an Insidious sequel hitting screens this year, and as mentioned above we’ll also be getting a new Conjuring entry with him as a producer, but the most exciting of his projects in 2020 is this original tale. There are no big names attached as stars, the story hasn’t yet been revealed outside of being co-written by Ingrid Bisu (The Nun, 2018), and we haven’t even seen a proper photo yet. But we have heard that it’s apparently Wan’s take on a giallo — and that has us giddy as hell. (Rob Hunter)
Opens August 14th, 2020.
5. Prisoners of the Ghostland
Sometimes an actor and director pairing is enough to sell a movie. Prisoners of the Ghostland is one such movie, as it will feature Nicolas Cage at the front and center, with Japanese maverick Sion Sono behind the camera. At best, the film will become a cult classic for generations to come. At worst, it’ll be a misfire that doesn’t lack in original ideas and passion, even if they don’t come together. Sono is never generic, and when he’s at his best he’s unparalleled. Cinema needs more filmmakers like him. Furthermore, original auteurs of this ilk tend to bring out the best in Cage, and given that Sono’s movies tend to be insane, this could bring about some of the most maniacal “Cage Rage” to date. (Kieran Fisher)
4. Saint Maud
After making waves at last year’s fall festival circuit, Saint Maud’s March wide release can’t come soon enough. First reactions have praised it as a weird and horrific chronicle of madness and devotion as the film follows Maud (Morfydd Clark), a nurse who has found god but who still has more to discover when she begins to work for a sick dancer (Jennifer Ehle). The film is the feature debut from director Rose Glass and in addition to it being nice to have a woman behind the camera, it’s also nice to have a fresh perspective brought into the horror conversation and to see new talent emerge. All hail. (Anna Swanson)
Opens March 27th, 2020.
3. The Lodge
I first saw The Lodge at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and it remained my favorite horror film of the year throughout the year… until its release date was pushed to 2020. The film is the follow-up from the filmmaking duo behind 2014’s Goodnight Mommy, and while it’s another slow burn involving a woman and two kids it’s also entirely its own thing. Dread, terror, paranoia, and the terrifying smother of a cold winter landscape collide for one hell of a tale that builds to one of my favorite horror endings in years. It’s glorious, and I’m excited to see others fall under its spell. (Rob Hunter)
Opens February 7th, 2020.
2. Last Night in Soho
Edgar Wright has shown a strong affinity for the horror genre ever since his days working in television, and his “Cornetto Trilogy” contains more than its fair share of effective scares and harrowing moments that complement the laughs. Watching the director’s oeuvre, it’s clear that he’s been itching to make some more straight-laced fright fare for a while now. Last Night in Soho will mark his first foray into psychological horror, without the presence of comedy to dilute the darkness. This is exciting for a couple of reasons; first of all, it’s always great to see talented filmmakers try something new and expand their artistic wings. Secondly, the film stars The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy, who’s an exciting performer with a tendency to pick projects that are original. The movie is also set in London during the Swingin’ Sixties, and that’s never a bad thing. (Kieran Fisher)
Opens September 25th, 2020.
1. The Vast of Night
Sometimes the best horror movies come from the simplest ideas, and for proof, look no further than The Vast of Night. This radio-play inspired sci-fi film follows two teenagers in the 50s who discover a mysterious frequency coming over the airwaves and set out to investigate. The film was a stand out at 2019’s TIFF for its stellar performances, inspired camerawork, and its loving homage to Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds broadcast. The Vast of Night has heart and humor to spare, all packed into one of the tightest scripts in recent memory — it’s not an exaggeration to say there isn’t a line out of place or a wasted second. This is a film that’ll invigorate genre fans and thrill any audience with its wacky brilliance. Put simply, this is good radio. (Anna Swanson)