There’s no denying 2019 was a terrific year for horror movies, having showcased the likes of Us, Midsommar and Doctor Sleep. And there are plenty of spooky delights to look forward to in 2020, including The Lighthouse, which has now crashed into Cineworld cinemas.
The new film from writer-director Robert Eggers following his critically acclaimed The Witch, The Lighthouse looks to be just as terrifying and unusual. Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers struggling to maintain their sanity when a storm isolates them from the mainland, it’s gained unanimous praise since debuting at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
Reviewers have lauded the movie for its unsettling atmosphere and the intensely physical performances from the leads. The Lighthouse is unequivocally a must-see for horror fans this month, but there are plenty more unmissable scares scheduled this year, too…
1. A Quiet Place: Part II
Who could have predicted that a virtually silent monster movie would be one of the biggest hits of 2018? Co-written and directed by, and also starring, John Krasinski, A Quiet Place was a suspenseful and imaginative chiller that took the world by storm. And lucky us, a sequel is set to hit Cineworld on the 20th of March.
While the plot of A Quiet Place: Part II is currently unknown, the trailer gives us some hints, picking up with Emily Blunt’s persecuted mother, and her children, played by Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds. (Krasinski’s character is, of course, absent, following the events of the first movie.) They’re joined by series newcomers Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou.
If it can maintain the tense atmosphere and emotionally-driven family dynamic of the first film, then we’re confident Part II will be just as impressive.
Out of the Furnace and Black Mass director Scott Cooper enters an altogether more eerie realm in this spooky chiller. Antlers is produced by The Shape of Water's Guillermo del Toro, and recounts the terrifying myth of the Wendigo – a malevolent spirit whose legend persists in the forested areas of the USA, where it was once feared by Native American tribes.
When an isolated young boy appears to make a pact with the monster, it brings down terror on his local Oregon community. The Rise of Skywalker's Keri Russell and The Irishman's Jesse Plemons both star in the movie, due for release on the 17th of April.
3. Halloween Kills
Some 40 years after his big screen debut, slasher icon Michael Myers returned in gloriously gory fashion in 2018’s Halloween, revitalising the long-running horror franchise. A retconned sequel to John Carpenter’s original 1978 film, this entry saw the masked killer wreak havoc in his old stomping ground where a traumatised and prepared Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been waiting for vengeance.
The 2018 Halloween reboot broke multiple box office records on its release, and we can look forward to Myers resurfacing this October in Halloween Kills, once again featuring Curtis. And if that’s not enough, we can also look forward to Halloween Ends in 2021, which was shot back to back with its predecessor.
4. Last Night in Soho
After blowing audiences and critics away with Baby Driver in 2017, writer-director Edgar Wright is returning to horror for the first time since Shaun of the Dead. The movie is the spectacular-looking Last Night in Soho, which is expected to hit screens on the 18th of September.
The film boasts an impressive cast including Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy and Jojo Rabbit’s Thomasin McKenzie, with Wright citing the likes of horror classics Don’t Look Now and Repulsion as inspirations. Taking place in 1960s Soho, this mind-bending psychological thriller is sure to offer something tantalising for genre fans.
Given Wright’s distinctively energetic style and his unabashed adoration for horror, this is one film we can’t wait to see.
5. Gretel & Hansel
We all know the story of the siblings who find themselves in a witch’s oven after getting lost in the woods. But you’ve never seen the fairy tale quite like this before… This twisted re-imagining of the German folktale stars IT’s Sophia Lillis as Gretel and newcomer Sammy Leakey as her far-younger brother.
With a teaser trailer showcasing some genuinely creepy imagery and an official synopsis describing the siblings “stumbling on a nexus of terrifying evil”, this project has caught our attention. We can’t wait to see what else Gretel & Hansel has in store when it arrives this year.
6. The Conjuring 3
The ‘Conjuring Universe’ has established a terrifying world of spooks ever since The Conjuring proved a box office hit back in 2013. Now, after a series of spin-offs, including the recent Annabelle: Creation, we can look forward to the third Conjuring movie itself.
Also known as The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, this threequel will see Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as paranormal investigators the Warrens. Going by the film’s synopsis, it looks like this film will be loosely based on the real-life case of Arne Cheynne Johnson, who claimed the devil made him murder someone.
Although James Wan has stepped down as director in favour of The Curse of La Llorona’s Michael Chaves, we can still expect plenty of demonic horror when this arrives on the 11th of September.
7. The Grudge
If you’re a fan of J-horror, then you won’t want to miss The Grudge. Released on the 24th of January, it's a brand new American reboot of Japanese horror classic Ju-On, itself responsible for two earlier English-language remakes in 2004 and 2006.
This latest offering involves Evil Dead horror icon Sam Raimi, who produces, and the input of director Nicholas Pesce. The latter gained some degree of notoriety for offbeat psychological horrors The Eyes of My Mother and Piercing, both of which put the audience through the wringer. Fingers crossed this will be creepier than the Sarah Michelle Gellar versions of The Grudge that we were subject to before…
8. Saint Maud
A24 lending their name to a project is always a sign of something special – they’re the indie film distributor responsible for the likes of acclaimed horror hits The Witch and Hereditary. And we can see their latest horror offering, Saint Maud, when it arrives on the 1st of May.
The feature debut of writer-director Rose Glass (who also has directed several creepy short films), Saint Maud centres on a devout hospice nurse (Moryfdd Clark) who becomes dangerously obsessed with one of her patients (Jennifer Ehle). It’s already been praised by critics for its shocking content and sympathetic characters, so maybe this is the moment where we hail the arrival of a new horror master a la Hereditary’s Ari Aster.
The Witch meets Get Out and 12 Years a Slave with this creepy-looking, timeline-splicing tale. Interweaving the legacy of slavery with the story of writer Veronica Hanley (Moonlight's Janelle Monae), the movie is, at present, very mysterious, yet a seriously creepy trailer has primed us for another spooky yarn. In fact, Get Out's Sean McKittrick produces so we can surely expect greatness.
Antebellum is released on the 24th of April.