The best horror films of 2020 (so far)
Take your mind off current real-life terrors with these spine-chilling horror films.
Stuck inside? Want to take your mind off real-life fears inspired by the coronavirus with some fictional terror tales? Here are the best horror films released so far this year.
The Invisible Man (available now on VOD)
Writer-director Leigh Whannell's skilled reimagining transforms the Universal monster movie into a metaphor for gaslighting as Elisabeth Moss' heroine Cecilia Kass is stalked by her controlling and abusive ex-boyfriend (The Haunting of Hill House's Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
“The interesting thing was that I was constantly shooting these empty rooms, and empty corridors, and there’s something a bit uncinematic about that,” Whannell told EW last year. “I mean, when you make a movie, the idea is that you put people in the frame — you put something in the frame. When you’re shooting nothing, it goes against the grain of every cinematic instinct you have!”
Color Out of Space (available now on VOD)
Nicolas Cage leads the cast of this H.P. Lovecraft adaptation about a meteor which warps a family, both mentally and physically. Hardware director Richard Stanley's return after an almost thirty-year hiatus is an unforgettable slice of reality-melting mayhem.
“I didn’t find him rusty at all,” Cage told EW about Stanley. “Richard was totally on point, and I felt like he was more than enthusiastic to be back on set as director, and I think he enjoyed that role, and I think he handled it in a perfect way. He’s my favorite sort of director in that he doesn’t fix things that aren’t broken. He lets the scenes find themselves, and he goes with them, and he’s very supportive.”
Gretel & Hansel (VOD release date TBA)
Sophia Lillis from the It films faces off against Alice Krige's witch in director Oz Perkins's retelling of the classic fairytale.
Perkins shot the film in Ireland, with locations including the Hell Fire Club, a ruined hunting lodge once frequented, so local legend has it, by the Devil.
“The Hell Fire Club is this massive, foreboding stone structure, just all by itself, on the top of a hill,” Perkins said. “It almost feels like an old prison or something like that. I guess the story is that the Devil played cards there…. One night, [someone] drops one of his cards, and goes to pick it up, and one of his opponents has cloven feet. That was a very very difficult day, actually. It’s cold and it’s super-wet. I mean, if you’re worried about any superstition, you’re not paying attention.”
Underwater (out April 14 on VOD)
You've got to love an aquatic horror film whose entire first act consists of Kristen Stewart brushing her teeth for a minute and a half. An inexplicable box office bomb, Underwater is a very fun mix of The Abyss, Alien, and — well, let's just say there's a big surprise at the end.
After Midnight (available now on VOD)
The team behind 2012's terrific micro-budget zombie film The Battery are back with a movie that's half-romantic drama and half-creature feature. Co-director Jeremy Gardner plays a bar owner named Hank with two big problems: his partner Abby (played by Brea Grant) has gone missing and every night a monster tries to break into his house.
“Hank is this small-town, good-old-boy hunter, about 10 years into a long-term relationship,” Gardner told EW. “He wakes up one morning and his partner, Abby, has just gone, [leaving] just a very cryptic note. Around the same time she leaves, something starts coming out of the swamp at night and scratching at the door and trying to get in. You don’t know if he’s losing his mind, because he doesn’t know where she is, he doesn’t know what this thing is, people don’t believe him. So it’s kind of a creature-feature romance.”
VFW (available now on VOD)
William Sadler, Martin Kove, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Avatar actor Stephen Lang, and action legend Fred “the Hammer” Williamson play veterans besieged by violent, drug-addled crazies in this action-horror film.
“It’s a classic siege movie,” says director Joe Begos. “Mutant punks versus Vietnam vets, which to me are the two coolest sets of characters you can have in a genre movie. So, to be able to pit them against each other is a cinematic playground for me.”
(Fun fact: The film's villain Tank is played by the movie's editor Josh Ethier, who also edited Gretel & Hansel.)
The Hunt (available now on VOD)
Delayed from last year thanks to controversy fueled by President Trump's negative tweets, this tale of liberals killing conservatives for sport is the perfect showcase for Betty Gilpin, whose tight-lipped hunted heroine brutally turns the tables on her tormentors.
"She carries the movie on her shoulder," co-writer Damon Lindelof said. "Her timing is just brilliant. To have a character of few words is always a challenge for an actor; it’s a very very physical role. But then she has monologues, as you know, in certain points of the movie that she completely nails."
Come to Daddy (available now on VOD)
Elijah Wood is a showbiz wannabe who reunites with his father (Stephen McHattie) after many years in filmmaker Ant Timpson's twisty horror-thriller.
“He has been estranged from his father for 30 years,” the actor told EW. “Gets a letter in the mail from his father asking him to come see him. We pick up at him having arrived at the house to see his father and reunite with this person he doesn’t know. Then Stephen McHattie, as his dad, opens the door, and they start to have a reconnection of that relationship, but it doesn’t go quite the way that Norval thinks it was going to go. And things take a turn for the worse. Things go awry.”
The Lodge (VOD release TBA)
Riley Keough is a troubled woman attempting to bond with her boyfriend's two children at the remote titular habitation in this chilly terror tale from Goodnight Mommy filmmakers Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz.
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