The most anticipated new horror movies of 2019 and beyond

Louise Blain
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New horror movies are finally something to get truly excited over again. After some depressing scenes in the late noughties – with endless remakes and poor sequels – we are once again living in a golden age of horror. Well, more red than gold, but let's not think too hard about that one. Given that horror is now guaranteed to get audiences in cinemas, Hollywood is happily bankrolling slews of new horror movies. Sure, they're not all the next Hereditary or A Quiet Place, but there's nothing quite like the fun of a three-star scarefest. 

2019 is fast drawing to a close and there's only one last scary stop on this ghost train before we plunge into 2020. The good news is that it's Sophia Takal's Black Christmas and the tagline is "Slay Belles." Don't worry though, if you're not a fan of terrible puns, there are plenty of fresh scares on the way in the new year. Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse finally hits UK cinemas with its black and white brand of madness, and there are some seriously heavy horror hitters on the way later in 2020. Michael Myers is back for another Halloween, Chris Rock is trying his hand at a Saw movie (!), and we have a sneaky surprise coming from James Wan. Get your calendar ready. Here are the most exciting new horror movies on the way in 2020. 

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Doctor Sleep 

Release date: November 8 (US), 2019, in UK cinemas now

If anyone can make a sequel to The Shining in 2019, it’s director Mike Flanagan. As if Hushand Gerald’s Game weren't enough, Flanagan cemented himself as a true horror maestro last year with Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. Doctor Sleep is based on the book by Stephen King and, as you can see above, Ewan MGregor is filling the shoes of a grown up Danny Torrance, who is still clearly dealing with his hotel-based childhood trauma. If you want some carpet and blood corridor-induced chills, might I direct you immediately to the Doctor Sleep trailer which thankfully doesn't show too much of what's to come but does feature shots like the above, crossing the almost 40 years between movies.  

As is very clear from the Kubrick references in the trailer, Flanagan definitely isn’t ignoring the fact that he’s making the follow-up to one of the most beloved horror movies of all time. “I think you do have to acknowledge that,” he told Bloody Disgusting last year. “There is no version of the world where I am trying not to acknowledge one of the greatest films ever made. There’s no upside in shying away from that reality. At the same time, this is not The Shining. It’s its own story and in a very specific way. If you’ve read the book, you know exactly why it’s so different but it’s quite a tightrope that we’re walking I think.”

Black Christmas

Release date: December 13, 2019 

If Gremlins has taught us anything, other than not feeding Mogwai after midnight, it’s that there’s nothing quite like some festive horror. This second remake of Black Christmas, then, is coming to make you appreciate the fact that your stocking doesn’t have an actual leg in it. Excitingly, Blumhouse’s eggnog drenched slasher remake is being directed by Sophia Takal and stars Green Room’s Imogen Poots and Saw and Stranger Things 3’s Cary Elwes. 

Bob Clark’s original 1974 sorority house slasher is a force to be reckoned with and is definitely required watching if you haven’t already had the pleasure. The call is coming from inside the house…  Judging by the trailer, it’s seems these 21st century women are probably going to take on this serial killer rather differently.   

Upcoming horror movies 2020

 The Grudge 

Release date: January 3 (US)/ January 31 (UK), 2020 

Just when you thought you'd escaped that horrible inward groaning noise and the rage curse that just keeps killing, The Grudge returns once again with Glow’s Betty Gilpin, The Exorcist’s John Cho and horror legend Lin Shaye. Rather than a reboot of any of the original movies from Takashi Shimizu - they've been remade quite enough - this new version will thankfully tell a slightly different tale. Of course there's still a house, as you'll see in the trailer above and a curse, but there are fresh new characters to face this supernatural behemoth.  

Director Nicolas Pesce, known for The Eyes of my Mother, will still be holding onto some of the mythology of the originals. “We’re not approaching this as a remake of the Sarah Michelle Gellar film or a remake of the Ju-On film,” new writer Jeff Buhler told Bloody Disgusting. “This is pushing the mythology forward while keeping the concepts and spirit of those movies, yet finding a new way to tell a story within that world, which is exciting.”  Exciting and hopefully terrifying. It's been too long since we've been afraid to turn out the light without thinking of what's lurking in the cupboards.  

The Lighthouse

Release date: January 17, 2020

How do you follow the delicious The Witch? With Batman to-be Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe going mad in a lighthouse in black and white, of course. Director Robert Eggers has moved from evil goats to monochromatic grizzled men in hats with apparent ease. With Total Film deeming it “the best thing to come out of Cannes 2019” and saying it “does for lighthouses what The Shining did for 5 star hotels”  in its Lighthouse review, this is clearly a ghost story like no other. 

It’s probably best not to dissect the plot for spoiler purposes, but the film constantly revolves around just the two men, alone at their post, drinking and talking, while a potential otherworldy threat lurks just out of sight. Just like The Witch, Eggers has focussed on a period script, forcing you to sit up and listen to every single word as the madness unfolds. How illuminating

Brahms: The Boy 2 

An image from new horror movie Brahms: The Boy 2

Release date: February 28, 2020 

Just when you thought you were done with scary dolls, it’s time for Brahms: The Boy 2 and even more porcelain faced nightmares. I’ll try and keep this spoiler free for the original movie but the idea of a sequel is definitely interesting given how the first one ends. Rather than The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohen being haunted by Brahms, this time Katie Holmes arrives at the same ultra creepy mansion with her family. In the trailer shown exclusively at CinemaCon, son Jude finds the buried doll in the garden - as seen in the image from Bloody Disgusting above - and decides to be ‘friends.’ Cue some seriously strange goings on.

“I love dolls, so I had a conflict because I had so many growing up,” Holmes said at the reveal, reported by EW. “I never thought of a doll being creepy, and now I have to rethink everything. This was pretty terrifying to make when we were working with the doll, it was a lot. I was scared.” Holmes clearly doesn’t watch nearly enough horror films. We’ve been having an (Anna)bell of a time over here...

The New Mutants

 Release date: April 3, 2020

X-Men's darker side has been moved around like a super-powered chess piece. We thought August 2019 was finally going to be our chance to see Dark Mutants, but nope. With only a few months to go, April 3rd 2020 was suddenly the new dangling horror carrot. We're not sure if we have the emotional capacity to watch it travel further into the future so let's just pretend it might never come out to save any more heartache. If it does, though, here are the details to be aware of. The New Mutants stars a whole new - yes, hence the title - set of teenagers, each with their own mysterious powers, and the trailers we’ve seen so far have promised a far darker twist than any X-Men movie that’s come before. 

It turns out that it’s definitely not all sweetness and light having abilities that people want to harness you for like a AA Battery, and there’s a clear horror heart beating here. Starring Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, The Witch’s Anya Taylor Joy, and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton, the original trailers look like an escape movie as the mutants attempt to flee a secret testing facility but it’s unknown how much will change before release. Adamantium claws crossed that the horror hasn’t been dialled down. 

Antlers

Release date: April 17, 2020 

No matter how many times you see it, watching Guillermo del Toro’s name flash up ominously at the start of a trailer is always gently reassuring. Not in an ‘it’s all going to be ok’ kind of way but more like the knowledge that what you are about to watch will be dark, scary, and probably hurt emotionally. This time, del Toro is in a producer role on a nightmarish family drama revolving around a young boy holding onto a deadly secret. Going by the trailer above, it’s that he’s being forced to catch animals to feed his father who might just be an actual monster. 

Antlers is based on a short story by Channel Zero writer and creator Nick Antosca who is also on screenplay duties here. This means it definitely won’t pull any punches when it comes to scares. Wild Heart director Scott Cooper is at the helm too, making this an exciting monstrous addition to your 2020 horror calendar. Just maybe don’t take a hot dog into the cinema. Nachos all the way for this one…       

Saw 9

Release date: May 15, 2020

If you were going to make a list of the actors you’d imagine starring in the *counts on bloodied fingers* ninth Saw movie, Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson wouldn’t exactly be the first to spring to mind. And yet here we are. It turns out that the multi-talented Rock loves the gory series and he’s the driving force behind a new 2020 reboot. “Chris conceived this idea and it will be completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise,” Lionsgate’s chairman, Joe Drake, announced earlier this year. Yep, Saw is classic horror now. Do you feel old yet?

As reported by Bloody Disgusting, Saw 9 (not the official title) will star Rock as a police detective investigating yet another series of horrifically gory crimes. The operation is clearly going to be a family affair as Samuel L. Jackson is in the role of Rock’s father. Director of Saws 2, 3, and 4 Darren Lynn Bousman is returning to the franchise to steer us through this fresh sea of gore and shared the above image on Instagram to celebrate the start of production. Yes, it’s OK to feel tentatively excited. This is a safe horror space where no one judges your intimate knowledge of who was dismembered by each trap over 8 movies. 

Candyman

An image from new horror movie Candyman

Release date: June 12, 2020

You know the rules: say the name five times in a mirror and a Jordan Peele produced version of the almost mythical horror Candyman will appear in front of you. Woohoo! It’s not even started shooting yet but this ‘spiritual successor’ - horror loves that word right now - to the 1982 original tour de force of a slasher will be directed by Nia DaCosta and out in 2020. This is another perfect horror project for Get Out director Jordan Peele. 

“The original was a landmark film for black representation in the horror genre,” he says in a statement revealing the news. “Alongside Night of the Living Dead, Candyman was a major inspiration for me as filmmaker — and to have a bold new talent like Nia at the helm of this project is truly exciting. We are honored to bring the next chapter in the Candyman canon to life and eager to provide new audiences with an entry point to Clive Barker’s legend.” We don’t know much more as yet but we should probably beeware

Malignant

Release date: August 14, 2020

James Wan is a busy man. Somehow, despite his foray into the superheroics of Aquaman and executive producer credits on an intimidating number of horror movies, he’s managed to find time to shoot a new one of his own. We have absolutely no Malignant plot details as yet – we’re willing to bet on at least one doll that may or may not be called Billy – but Wan shared the sneaky production shot above on his personal Instagram. He said that the movie is on the ‘home stretch’ of production which means we’ll probably see a trailer in early 2020.  

What we do know, other than those Exorcist-style brain scans above, is that Malignant was written by Wan and his fiance Ingrid Bisu and will star Annabelle’s Annabelle Wallis (not confusing at all) and Supernatural’s Jake Abel. Wan fans might be aware that he has a comic book of the same name, but the director has already posted on Facebook that this movie has nothing to do with that series. “Umm, just a little clarification. The film I’m in the midst of shooting right now, Malignant, isn’t based off my comic book Malignant Man,” he said. “It’s definitely not a superhero film. Malignant is an original thriller NOT based off any existing IP.” Phew. Not that we're against those but.... horror.

The Conjuring 3

An image from new horror movie The Conjuring 3

Release date: September, 2020

OK, so it’s a while off but it’s important to prepare yourself for these things. The Conjuring 3 will be released in cinemas in September 2020. As confirmed by Bloody Disgusting, the next outing for Ed and Lorraine Warren - well, after this year’s Annabelle Comes Home - will revolve around a man on trial for murder who says he is innocent as he was possessed by a demon at the time. Yeah, that’s what happened when all of the chocolate bars mysteriously disappeared from the fridge. Honestly...

The previous two Conjuring movies have been based on actual cases from the notes of the paranormal hunting couple, but it’s not clear if any of this has any grounding in actual fact. Whether it’s as realistic as The Nun or not though, it’s still exciting to see Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return for the official third entry in the series. While James Wan is on producer duties, Michael Chaves is taking the helm this time around. Chaves is thankfully no stranger to horror either. He’s responsible for the creepy The Curse of La Llorona about a folklore monster who wants to steal your children. Let’s hope Chaves is just getting warmed up. 

Halloween Kills

Release date: October 16, 2020

The Shape is back. Because of course he is. After the massive box office success of the return of Michael Myers and ultimate scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis in 2018’s Halloween, it was only a matter of time before we got a boiler-suit clad follow up. And Halloween Kills isn’t the only sequel on the way. Halloween Ends will finish the new trilogy on October 21, 2021. At least it’s not just Marvel making you wish your life away with a series of release dates, eh? 

We don’t know much about either movie, only this announcement from Universal that lets us know that the story of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, conveniently for us, ‘isn’t over.’ It’s by no means a stone cold horror classic but the new Halloween is a solid return for the franchise with some great scares and a brilliant turn from Jamie Lee Curtis. More of the same means disturbing (trick or) treats arriving for Horror Christmas two years in a row. Yum. 

Wrong Turn: The Foundation 

Release date: TBC 2020 

It’s been a positively wince-inducing length of time since the original Eliza Dushku-starring Wrong Turn all the way back in 2003. It’s probably best for everyone to gloss over the specifics of whether you saw it in the cinema or were still in utero, but regardless, at the time, it was a pleasantly nasty surprise. Despite the franchise seemingly being more dead than its infamous cannibals’ favourite roadkill after six progressively worse sequels, Wrong Turn: The Foundation has been confirmed as the seventh entry in the series for 2020. 

Normally at this point in any franchise, it’s tempting to push the giant red ‘reboot’ button but original movie writer Alan B. McElroy is back with a whole new group of villains known as, unsurprisingly, The Foundation. Going by the poster above, it doesn’t look like they’re city bankers. As reported by Bloody Disgusting, a group of exceptionally unfortunate friends head out to get some fresh air on the Appalachian Trail. The ‘community’ they find in the woods there aren’t particularly friendly. Here’s hoping we’re heading back to the unpleasant highs of the original.  

Random Acts of Violence

Release date: TBC 2020 

You might know him as the voice of none other than Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon but Jay Baruchel, it turns out, is a man of many talents. It’s important to stress though that Random Acts of Violence, his second directorial gig, is about as far from Dreamworks as you could possibly get. In this world, Toothless really wouldn’t be so toothless. He might be actually be made of teeth. Starring Jesse Williams and Jordana Brester, Random Acts of Violence is a crunchy slasher movie with quite the juicy premise. While on a road trip with his friends, a comic book writer discovers that a real-life killer might be taking inspiration from his work for a string of exceptionally gory murders.

In an interview with Variety, Baruchel said he wanted to make “a good horror flick with some good scares”, adding he's very aware of the grim content at work. “We had some pretty strong opinions about the trivialization of violence against women. This is not to say that you can’t show said thing, but you can’t show said thing in a trivial way where people are high-fiving each other,” he explained. “We realized something: None of us could name a single character in any of the 'Jason' movies other than Jason. There’s the guy with red hair, the guy with freckles, or the super horny one or whatever, but I couldn’t name any of the characters. I couldn’t really describe anything about them. It tells me that none of them are the hero, that Jason’s the hero [and] what it boils down to is various sadism. I had questions, and I was interested in the totality, the effect of that and the responsibility of that.”

Army of the Dead

Release date: TBC 2020 

We all have our, well, thoughts on Zack Snyder’s recent DC slate, but that doesn’t mean we should worry about him heading up the long-awaited Army of the Dead. This is the man who brought us the crunchily violent Dawn of the Dead remake all the way back in 2004 after all. In production for over a decade in various forms before finally being taken on by Netflix with a generous $70-$90 million budget, Snyder’s Army of the Dead is a zombie heist movie set in Las Vegas. Yes, you read that right. Amid the casinos and brain munching, a man decides to gather a team of mercenaries for an ultimate Ocean’s Eleven-style crimefest. Oh, and Dave Bautista is in it.

"I love to honour canon and the works of art," Snyder told THR earlier this year about his work. "But this is the opportunity to find a purely joyful way to express myself through a genre. It will be the most kick-ass, self-aware — but not in a wink-to-the-camera way — balls-to-the-wall zombie freakshow that anyone has ever seen. No one's ever let me completely loose [like this]." Should we be afraid? Let’s be tentatively afraid... 

The LaLaurie Mansion Series 

Release date: TBC 2021

Whether it’s a good thing or not, we now live in a world where entire franchises are announced before even the first movie has been released. The writers of the first two The Conjuring movies, Chad and Carey Hayes, have teamed up again and revealed an entire series of horror movies revolving around the infamous LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans. Once home to none other than Nic Cage, who allegedly only lasted one night of horrific screams and bumps in the night, this grim abode is said to be one of the most haunted locations in the world. The good news is that if you’ve done your horror homework and watched American Horror Story Coven, you’ll already know its most villainous resident. 

Played by Kathy Bates in AHS, Madame LaLaurie was both a New Orleans socialite and horrific 19th century serial killer, responsible for the torture, mutilation and murder of a number of black slaves. Her secret was only revealed when a fire broke out at her mansion and firefighters discovered some of her barely alive victims in diabolical states. 

Not content with just one movie, the Hayes brothers are going to tell multiple stories of the mansion throughout history, from its horrific beginnings, all the way to modern day. Plus, they’re considering writing some of it from inside the house. “We love writing films in which we get to tell true stories – incorporating moments that people can look up and discover did in fact happen,” they announced in a press release. “With the LaLaurie House we get to do exactly that… there is a wealth of documentation of a very dark and frightening past of true events. Not to mention that after spending some time there, what we personally experienced was truly unnerving. We haven’t been this excited about a project since The Conjuring!”