It’s a new year for horror, and it looks like it might be an unexpectedly good year. After the virus shut things down in 2020, many of us were left wondering if we’d ever get to see a horror film in theaters again. With theaters reopening and filmmakers adapting to Covid health guidelines, we finally have some great films headed to the big screen. Here are seven of our most anticipated horror flicks of 2021:
The Night House
Release Date: July 16, 2021
The Night House, an original film fresh from Sundance 2020, will be seen by a general audience for the first time this year. Director David Bruckner, the brains behind The Ritual and the V/H/S and Southbound franchises, is at it again in this atmospheric horror film. The Night House stars Rebecca Hall as Beth, a young widow grieving the unexpected death of her husband. Haunted by dreams that feel too real, she begins looking through his things in an increasingly obsessive effort to solve a mystery. Of course, some secrets are better left undiscovered. The film has a score of 88% on rotten tomatoes, and we are excited to see if the psychological thriller can hold its own with audiences.
Release Date: October 29, 2021
Folk horror has been having a moment the past few years, and Antlers promises to give fans of the subgenre all the primeval-meets-modern chills they desire. Produced by Guillermo del Torro and directed by Scott Cooper (Wild Heart), Antlers follows a middle school teacher who begins to suspect that one of her students is living with a supernatural monster. As she and her sheriff brother begin to investigate, they uncover a secret with frightening implications.
The film is based on the short story “The Quiet Boy” by Nick Antosca (Channel Zero). Antosca also helped with the screenwriting. With all these big names involved, it’s hard not to have high hopes for this one.
Release Date: September 10, 2021 (on HBO Max and Theaters)
If you’re a James Wan fan, then Malignant should be on your list of horror films to see this year. Wan has a huge list of film credits to his name, including horror and superhero titles. He clarified that Malignant is not based on his superhero comic book The Malignant Man. He stated, “Malignant is an original thriller NOT based off any existing IP.”
We don’t know much about the plot yet. A trailer released on HBO Max shows actress Annabelle Wallis waking up in bed with a smashed wall behind her and a not-human creature rising ominously in the background. The movie will also star Jake Abel, of Supernatural fame. Wan is secretive about the film, and we don’t know when or if we’ll get a more detailed trailer, but sometimes fewer details make a film more exciting.
Release Date: August 27, 2021
Described by director Nia DaCosta as a “spiritual successor” to the original 1992 film, 2021’s Candyman is already garnering praise and excitement. It follows Anthony McCoy (Abdul Mateen II), the baby used as a lure for the monster in the original film, now all grown up. He’s living in blissful ignorance of the events that took place during his infancy and is worried about making ends meet as an artist in his gentrified Chicago neighborhood. When a neighborhood old-timer fills him in on some of the macabre details behind the Candyman legend, Anthony begins using the stories as inspiration for his paintings and unwittingly opens a door to the monster.
A Quiet Place Pt. 2
Release Date: May 28, 2021
In a world that seems overwhelmed with sequels and reboots, it’s sometimes hard to get excited about one more. That being said, we are excited about the second installment of The Quiet Place. The first film left audiences with some pretty big questions about what exactly the deal was with these sensitive-eared monsters/aliens. The second film promises to answer some of these questions and give viewers a broader look at the Abbott family’s world. We have a hard time believing that the sequel could be more nail-bitingly tense than its predecessor, but the trailer shows Evelyn and her children involved in a more proactive battle for survival that should be interesting to watch.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Release Date: June 4, 2021
A franchise that has stood the test of multiple sequels, The Conjuring has been thrilling fans with its true-story based tales of supernatural horror since 2013. This will be the third film in The Conjuring franchise that tells the story of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The franchise also includes the Annabelle movies (there are three of them now), The Nun, and The Curse of La Llorona. These spinoffs show the origins of some of the demonic possessions that Ed and Lorraine encounter in the first two Conjuring installments.
The Devil Made Me Do It revolves around a man convicted of murder who claims that he was possessed by a demon when he committed the crime. There’s no word about whether or not this storyline has real-life origins, but it sounds interesting. Except for the generally disappointing La Llorona, all of The Conjuring films have given audiences a nightmare-inducing good time. We hope The Devil Made Me Do It lives up to the high expectations.
Army of the Dead
Release Date: May 21, 2021 (to select theaters and Netflix)
As with many films in the post-Covid era, Zach Snyder’s newest zombie film can be viewed in select theaters or from your couch via Netflix. This crazy mashup of zombie apocalypse meets Oceans 11-esque heist movie looks entertaining and, well, weird, in a good way. Based on the trailers, it looks like it will hit somewhere between zombie horror and action-comedy. Snyder describes the film as an experiment in genre deconstruction and says, “I love all the tropes, and so I’m constantly trying to subvert the tropes by having them not finish as you would [expect].” It’s hard to know what to expect from Army of the Dead, but hopefully, it will give audiences something they didn’t know they wanted.
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