Exactly what constitutes a horror movie will vary depending on who you ask, since it bleeds (sometimes literally) into other genres. There are the staples like slashers and supernatural horror films, but more and more terror has worked its way into Westerns, thrillers and even superhero movies. Still, there should be something to scratch the itch for every fan of the frightening this year, with new offerings from horror auteurs like David Cronenberg, Jordan Peele, Sam Raimi, and Henry Selick, centered on everything from aliens to demons to vampires, oh my!
From the latest Stephen King adaptations to massive blockbusters with some seriously spooky vibes, scroll down for a few titles to watch out for… if you dare, that is.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Wait… a Marvel horror movie? With Doctor Strange? Benedict Cumberbatch's superhero sorcerer returns in what's been dubbed "the scariest Marvel movie" by its director, Sam Raimi. He should know since he made his career with the outrageous cult classic The Evil Dead and its multiple spin-offs. And while Raimi famously also directed the beloved Spider-Man trilogy with Tobey Maguire, he reportedly injects Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with plenty of his classic spooky style.
Watch It: On Disney+ streaming now
First adapted for the screen 38 years ago, Stephen King's classic tale of a young girl with dangerous pyrotechnic gifts returns to the screen in this reimagining from director Keith Thomas (The Vigil). Ryan Kiera Armstrong stars as Charlie McGee, whose father (Zac Efron) keeps them on the run with dangerous covert government forces eager to harness her powers for very bad things. In an extra perk for horror fans, the score will be provided by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies.
Watch It: On Peacock streaming now
A24, the studio behind this year's surprise hit horror flick X, now offers up more scares in the form of Men, from writer-director Alex Garland (Ex Machina and Annihilation). Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter) stars as a woman recovering from a recent tragedy by taking a holiday in a small English village. However, the town is entirely populated by only men — all of whom seem to have a secret that threatens her life.
Watch It: In theaters on May 20
Crimes of the Future
Director David Cronenberg's long-awaited return to the director's chair is also a revival of the body horror genre that he birthed with films like Scanners, Videodrome, and The Fly. Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart star in a saga about performance art and the metamorphosis of human organs. "At this critical junction in human history, one wonders — can the human body evolve to solve problems we have created?" Cronenberg says of the film.
Watch It: In theaters on June 2
The Black Phone
Bestselling horror writer Joe Hill's spooky story arrives by way of Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, with Ethan Hawke cast as a serial killer called The Grabber, whose latest victim has a telepathic link to the killer's previous victims. The movie premiered during last year's Fantastic Fest and marked a return to horror films for Hawke (The Purge) and for Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister).
Watch It: In theaters on June 24
The Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Get Out and Us switches gears for the next great American UFO story. A stacked cast including Keke Palmer, Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya, and Steven Yeun are among the residents of a small California town dealing with a threat from above. Nope is being hailed as a "new pop nightmare," which we’re sure will keep us talking for quite a while.
Watch It: In theaters on July 22
Following 2020's The Night House, Rebecca Hall is returning to the genre, playing a single mother who finds her life upended by the unwelcome arrival of a man (Oscar nominee Tim Roth) from her past — a man she worked very hard to escape. Resurrection, from writer-director Andrew Semans, premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and was hailed as "one of the more intrinsically frightening evocations of a traumatized mind" and "stone-cold bonkers horror."
Watch It: In theaters on July 29 and on-demand on August 5
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Light as a feather, stiff as a board has nothing on "Bodies Bodies Bodies," the party game at the center of A24's upcoming slasher. Set at a mansion during a hurricane, the film follows a group of privileged Gen Zers whose binge drinking and general debauchery leads to one helluva deadly game night. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders and Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova, plus Pete Davidson and Lee Pace, and hails from Dutch actress-turned-filmmaker Halina Reijn.
Watch It: In theaters on August 5
Hailing from Blumhouse and producer Jason Blum, They/Them (pronounced "They Slash Them," get it?) follows a group of LGBTQIA+ teens sent away to a week-long conversion therapy camp run by Kevin Bacon's Owen Whistler. If that weren't bad enough, a masked axe murderer is on the loose. The flick marks the directorial debut of John Logan, the three-time Oscar-nominated writer of Gladiator, The Aviator and Hugo.
Watch It: On Peacock streaming August 5
Family weddings are their own kind of horror, but in The Invitation, it's of the gothic variety. After her mother dies, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) takes a DNA test and discovers a long-lost cousin, who invites her to a lavish wedding in the English countryside to meet the rest of the family she never knew. Unfortunately for Evie, it's an occult wedding involving human sacrifice and she's the bride. Jessica M. Thompson directs from a script she co-wrote with Blair Butler.
Watch It: In theaters on August 26
Home share horror has become a subgenre of its own in recent years, with films like The Rental and You Should Have Left. Writer-director Zach Cregger's Barbarian is the latest addition, about a young woman (Georgina Campbell) who discover her rental home has been double booked when a strange man (Bill Skarsgård) is already staying there. When she decides to stay the night, she makes some unsettling discoveries that were not mentioned in the house listing.
Watch It: In theaters on August 31
Upon the release of his hit grindhouse horror flick, X, director Ti West revealed that he secretly shot a prequel, Pearl, which premiered at this year's Venice Film Festival. Set decades before X, Mia Goth reprises her role as Pearl, a murderous young woman who will do anything to become a star.
Watch It: In theaters on September 16
Don't Worry Darling
Following 2019's buddy comedy Booksmart, director Olivia Wilde returns with something completely different. Don't Worry Darling is set the seemingly idyllic suburbia of the 1950s, where Oscar nominee Florence Pugh (Little Women) and Harry Styles are a married couple living in an experimental community. Not everything is as it appears, as Pugh's character soon discovers. Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll and KiKi Layne also star.
Watch It: In theaters on September 23
My Best Friend's Exorcism
This is the classic story of high school besties who go to friend's lake house, explore an abandoned building where a girl died in a satanic sacrifice, one of the girls gets possessed by a demon and the other has to banish said demon back to Hell. The '80s-set horror flick is based on Grady Hendrix's best-selling novel and stars Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Amiah Miller and Christopher Lowell. Damon Thomas directs, with Christopher Landon (Freaky and Happy Death Day) producing.
Watch It: On Amazon Prime Video streaming September 30
Finally, a horror movie that will make us afraid of smiles. Writer-director Parker Finn's movie is like The Ring but with pearly whites: When an unseen presence smiles upon its victims, their faces twist into a malevolent grin before they die a gruesome death. When Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon, daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick) encounters the smile, she has one week to find answers or meet the same fate.
Watch It: In theaters on September 30
Mr. Harrigan's Phone
Based on the novella by Stephen King, Mr. Harrigan's Phone tells the story of a teenager, Craig (It and Knives Out's Jaeden Martell), who befriend an elderly man, Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland). When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig continues to message him for advice — a sweet gesture that turns supernatural when Mr. Harrigan starts responding. The film is from writer-director John Lee Hancock.
Watch It: On Netflix streaming October 5
You thought you could escape Pinhead? More than 30 years after director Clive Barker brought Hellraiser to the big screen, director David Bruckner (The Ritual and The Night House) is rebooting the scary story with a new adaption of Barker's original novella, The Hellbound Heart. This time Jamie Clayton stars as Pinhead, the leader of the extradimensional, sadistic Cenobites summoned by a mystical puzzle box.
Watch It: On Hulu streaming October 7
The unkillable Michael Myers returned in 2018's Halloween, the first installment in a blood-spattered new trilogy. Following last year’s Halloween Kills, the final showdown between the iconic masked slasher and the ultimate final girl, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), arrives just in time for… well, exactly the holiday you'd expect. Director David Gordon Green once again directs, with Kyle Richards' Lindsay Wallace and Andi Matichak's Allyson also returning to take on Michael Myers one last time.
Watch It: In theaters on October 14
The horrors of home video continue with this newest addition to the V/S/S found footage franchise. The anthology movie is set in — you guessed it — the year 1999 and comprises five segments from directors Flying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Johannes Roberts, and Joseph and Vanessa Winter.
Watch It: On Shudder streaming October 20
Prey For The Devil
From Daniel Stamm, director of 2010's The Last Exorcism, and screenwriter Robert Zappia (Halloween H20: 20 Years Later) comes Prey For the Devil, which sees the Catholic Church reopening exorcism schools in response to a global rise in demonic possessions. Sister Ann (Jacqueline Byers) becomes the first nun to enroll, due to the fact that the devil himself has spent a lifetime tormenting her.
Watch It: In theaters on October 28
Wendell & Wild
From Henry Selick, the visionary stop-motion director behind The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Coraline (2009), arrives a spooky new story of a teen who must face her demons — literally. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele reunite to voice said demons, Wendell and Wild, alongside Angela Bassett, James Hong, and Ving Rhames.
Watch: On Netflix streaming October 28
Foodies are having quite the year, between Hulu's cannibal black comedy, Fresh, and the upcoming The Menu. Whether or not what's on said menu is also people remains to be seen, but Anya Taylor-Joy will make some unappetizing discoveries when she travels to an elite island with her boyfriend (Nicholas Holt) for an exclusive dining experience from a sinister-seeming chef (Ralph Fiennes). John Leguizamo, Judith Light and Hong Chau also star in the horror flick from director Mark Mylod.
Watch It: In theaters on November 18
Bones and All
Adapted from Camille DeAngelis' novel of the same name, Bones and All is a cannibal love story between Maren (Taylor Russell), a young woman learning to survive on the outskirts of society, and Lee (Timothée Chalamet). When it at the Venice Film Festival, Luca Guadagnino won the Silver Lion Award for Best Director and Russell won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress.
Watch It: In theaters on November 23
A Senegalese immigrant (Anna Diop) who takes a job as a caretaker for an affluent family in New York, only to find herself increasingly unsettled working in the home of a well-to-do white woman (Michelle Monaghan). The feature debut of writer-director Nikyatu Jusu, Nanny won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize when it premiered during this year's Sundance Film Festival — the first horror film to do so.
Watch It: In theaters on November 23 and on Amazon Prime Video streaming December 16
Violent Night leaves no debate whether it's a Christmas movie or not. Unlike Die Hard, the hero of this movie is Santa Claus (David Harbour) himself, who must defend a wealthy family when they're taken hostage on Christmas Eve. The film may skew more action flick than proper horror, but as directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead), it promises plenty of blood and guts and perhaps the movie quote of the year: "Time for some seasons beatings."
Watch It: In theaters on December 2
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