The Best Horror Movies of 2020 (and The Best horror Movies New Releases 2021)
Article by Bonnie Cramp
2020 has been a horror movie in its own right and maybe one day, 2020 will make one of the best horror movies of all time. This year, despite all the confusion and everything that’s been happening, movies have still been released and some have even capitalised on the global pandemic caused by Covid-19. There have been loads of horror movies to choose from so far in 2020 and new horror movies coming out all the time, but which are the best horror movies of 2020 so far? Grab your popcorn and a nice big pillow to hide behind, and lets dive into the best horror movies of 2020!
In this article we have narrowed down our selection to,
The Top 10 Horror Movies of 2020 (this included several Best Horror Movies new releases 2021)
10. Horse Girl
Release date: 7th February 2020 (UK)
Cast: Alison Brie, Molly Shannon,
Directed by: Jeff Baena
The plot: Sarah (Alison Brie), a socially awkward craft shop worker, with quickly dwindling mental health. There is history of mental illness in her family and her dreams begin to become a reality. Mundane (or seemingly so) details of her life, blend with her growing certainty that she’s a double of her grandmother, as well as a time traveller, come together for a slow change into a new normal for Sarah in this new Netflix movie, and her progressive fear of her own mind.
What makes it great: Impressive in its feat of telling the story of a rapid decline in mental health, from the perspective of a person who can’t see what is happening to them. It’s mysterious, it’s psychological and it addresses mental breakdown. You start of watching a fun, quirky comedy, which quickly turns into something more poignant and sinister, but that feeling of the quirky comedy never leaves you. It’s interesting, it’s different and its one of the best horror movies of 2020 so far.
Release date: 7th February 2020 (UK)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr.
Directed by: William Eubank
The plot: Norah (Kristen Stewart) is working at an underwater research site, miles below the surface. There’s no hesitation, it’s right into the action – the hull of the rig cracks. A handful of people survive out of the hundreds; their only hope of survival is to walk along the ocean floor. Soon, they are fighting for their lives against attack from deadly underwater creatures. A true living nightmare.
What makes it great: In classic B movie style, this film gets where it’s going fast; no hesitation, straight into the action. If you aren’t a fan of long, drawn out openings, then this is definitely one of the best horror movies to watch in 2020 for you. Kristen Stewart sells Norah’s plight in the horrifying nature of the situation. Tension and extreme close-ups propel you through the movie, one jump scare to the next – definitely one of the best horror movies of 2020.
8. The Scent (The best horror movies new releases of 2021)
Release date: 6th December 2020 (UK)
Cast: Aidan Whytock, Jet Jandreau, Rick S Carr, Ned Doherty
Directed by: Lawrence Jacomelli
The plot: (Not released yet but definitely The Scent will be one of The best horror movies new releases of 2020). An apocalyptic event, brought about by climate change, has destroyed Planet Earth. This unrecognizable new world is burnt to the ground and covered by an ash cloud leaving it in virtual darkness and brings with it a sickness that wipes out almost all the species on the planet except for a few groups of human survivors. Whilst this lifeless dystopia is no longer hospitable to humans, it’s the perfect environment for a primitive alien life form that has begun colonisation. With little sensory capability apart from that of smell they hunt in the darkness, the only food source left…HUMANS.
The central story is of a father and his autistic son who try and mend their broken relationship and stay alive against all the odds. Along with a few other survivors they are forced to wear ramshackle isolation suits made out of spare parts and car airbags in order to contain their scent and avoid detection by the alien creatures that hunt them. But in this bleak new world of fear and loneliness without no sign of hope or future, they must ask the question, “Who is the real monster?”
What makes it great: This is the most zeitgeist horror movie you will see in 2020 and thats what makes it our pick for best horror movies new releases of 2020. With all of the world having spent months and months in lockdown and experiencing long periods of isolation the theme at the centre of this edge of your seat hide and seek monster movie makes the content emotionally compelling as well as terrifying. If you care for the characters then you will be more shocked by the horror and that’s the basis for this visually impressive indie horror movie that is a hidden gem and easily one of the best horror movies of 2020.
New horror movies coming out – The Scent.
Release date: 16th March 2020 (UK)
Cast: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, David Rasche
Directed by: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
The plot: The domestic life of a housewife – horrified. Life begins in a troubled home for Hunter (Haley Bennet), but perhaps life is on the up as she’s just married into the perfect well of family. However, it soon becomes clear that to be accepted into the family, she must obey. Isolated, it all starts to unravel as she starts swallowing objects, a marble is the first. She feels in control and the habit progresses, until she discovers she is pregnant, and the feeling of power is lost. Losing all authority over her own body, she snaps. A high scorer on Rotten Tomatoes and for good reason!
What makes it great: Outer stillness and inner turmoil, the serene face disguising the hysteria within. Repression plagues Haley Bennett’s Hunter – she has no strength or control and this lack of power is a strong theme throughout. One of the things that makes this one of the best horror movies of 2020 is how palpable the ‘bottled up’ feeling is. There is no release for her, there is no release for you. Commentary on feminine perfection is evident, as is its relation to self-destructive behaviour.
- La Llorona
Cast: Maria Mercedes Coroy, Margarita Kénefic, Sabrina de la Hoz, Julio Diaz
Directed by: Jayro Bustamante
The plot: A modern take on the classic horror story of a crying woman who has killed her children. General Enrique Monteverde (Julio Diaz) awakes to the sound of a woman’s cries. He’s expecting it to be his wife, but it isn’t, and he goes in search of the source of the noise, pausing to pick up a gun on the way. His search results in the near shooting of his wife. He’s convinced the sounds were real. Protestors, prejudices, politics and a new employee come together to lead us into a haunted mansion – there’s no escape.
What makes it great: Imagery and tension take the places of the usual jump scares and surprises, but we make no complaints – this is a truly great horror film and easily one of the best horror films of 2020. Harshly critical of the treatment of indigenous people and how those in power see them in relation to themselves and pointedly showing what can happen if you commit crimes which you think will go unpunished. There’s plenty to think about in this movie and it’s so much more than simply a horror film. Yet another reason for it to be on this list of the top 10 horror movies of 2020!
- The Platform
Release date: 20th March 2020
Cast: Ivan Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor
Directed by: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
The plot: “The Hole”, hundreds of storeys high, it is a prison where two people are placed on each floor. A platform descends through the middle once a day and this is the only chance for food. At the top, the prisoners have access to a veritable feast of wonderful dishes. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But this is all the food for all the prisoners, and by the time it makes it to the bottom, there’s nothing left. If each prisoner took a small ration, everyone could eat, but that doesn’t happen. To make matters worse, the prisoners change floors on a monthly basis, so one day you could be eating your fill, the next day, starving to death.
What makes it great: One of the best films on Netflix of 2020, the message is clear: if those who ‘have’, didn’t take more than they needed, then those who ‘don’t have’, wouldn’t have to go without. It twists and turns despite the obvious challenges of its setting, constantly shedding new light on and reflecting society. It’s grisly, it’s surprising and it turns into a complete blood bath at the end. It’s a daring composition, with a completely different energy now – a gruesome reflection of the world and this is what makes it one of the best new Netflix movies and best horror films of 2020.
- The Invisible Man
Release date: 28th February 2020
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
The plot: The abusive man remains unseen, but the fear he spreads is tangible. A toxic relationship and silences traumas, charged by a psychological terror, magnify the pain of Cecilia Kass (Elizabeth Moss). Excruciatingly so. Its anxiety inducing and its uncomfortable, with a focus on the isolation of the main character. It’s truly absorbing, and where others question the sanity of Cecilia, you do not, you are no way in two minds about the man and his knife. A healthy inheritance is taken away from her, her chance at freedom diminished, she can’t prove anything to anyone.
What makes it great: Creepy scenes galore, giving us exactly what we need from Elisabeth Moss’s female character (as she did in The Handmaid’s Tale) – intricacy, vulnerability, but never-ending strength. The previously protected monstrosities of the world are protected no longer, and this film could fall into the trap of cheapening or misusing such a movement, but it doesn’t. It strives to the end, the pain unmistakable and it’s without a doubt, deserving of a place in the top 10 horror movies of 2020.
Release date: 30th July 2020 (UK)
Cast: Haley Bishop, Radina Dandrova, Edward Linard, Jemma Moore
Directed by: Rob Savage
The plot: During the COVID pandemic, six friends have a video chat séance over Zoom. Only one of them takes this in any way seriously, and it is only a matter of minutes before the rest of them descend into laughter. Strange, terrifying phenomena are experienced by the group – a demonic spirit has been summoned. Death and destruction ensue. The Zoom call expires.
What makes it great: It’s short, it’s punchy, it’s purposeful and it manages to not be overbearing in terms of its relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a feat in its own right. It’s deserving of its score on Rotten Tomatoes. If you were thinking about hitting up that new Netflix series, how about giving this a try instead?
- Extra Ordinary
Release date: 26th March 2020 (USA)
Cast: Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward, Will Forte, Claudi O’Doherty
Directed by: Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman
The plot: Hinging on the idea that the smallest and quietest of towns are the weirdest, and the ‘normal’ people are the ones most likely to be secret Satanic nutters. Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins) is all too aware of this. She can see ghosts, of course she can, but they’re mostly uninteresting. She doesn’t want to use this talent she has. Desperate to make fame again, one-hit-wonder Christian, makes a deal with the devil. Soon, Rose’s skills are needed in a race against time.
What makes it great: (If you are hunting for New horror movies coming out make sure this one doesn’t slip by.) Extra Ordinary is bloody, silly and it is funny. Maeve Higgins as Rose is the key to unlocking this movie. She comprehends her character’s quirks perfectly and you can’t help but love her – an exceptional performance. It’s wacky, weird and an all-round enjoyable movie, easily one of the best Netflix movies of 2020.
- Colour Out of Space
Release date: 24th January 2020 (USA)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong
Directed by: Richard Stanley
The plot: The Gardener family, recently leaving the busy city for quitter type of life, near a lake, in the woods. That concept alone propels this movie into the best horror movies of 2020 – it’s an absolutely classic! The family aren’t crazed, but it soon becomes clear that living in such isolation isn’t good for them. Increasing levels of weirdness hit a high, when a meteorite crashes in front of their home and strange things begin to happen. TV’s, phones and computers are distorted, the dad flies into rages, the mum chops off the tops of her fingers and the youngest son develops a friendship with someone inside a well. The other two kids realise what is happening, but what can they do?
What makes it great: This is no everyday movie, and it was never going to be. The mix of the weird, the wonderful, Nicolas Cage and the downright mad, comes together to create what is sure to be a cult hit. Based on a book which is incredibly hard to capture in film, this is an absolute feat by the director. What would previously have been left up to your own imagination on a page, is transformed and give life on screen and this feat alone makes it one of the movies to watch of 2020, not to mention one of the best horror movies of 2020.
If 2020 hasn’t been enough of a horror already, then sink your teeth into this list of the best horror movies of 2020! From intense psychological statements, to the weird and the wonderful, there is something here for every type or horror fan. Keep checking this post for updates on the best horror movies new releases of 2021 and new horror movies coming out in 2021.
After a man-made apocalypse decimates the world, a reclusive man is reunited with his estranged son, but when their hideout is invaded by a ravenous creature that hunts by scent, the pair, along with a small group of survivors, must risk everything by trekking to a potential haven miles away with limited supplies and makeshift suits that hide their scent from the creatures that now roam the ash covered wasteland…But will they be able to work together to survive, or will the violent cycle of humanity be their undoing?