The COVID-19 pandemic messed up a lot of things, and while it’s far from the most important, few things got rearranged more thoroughly than the release schedules of movies, from indie favorites to major Hollywood fare. With theater chains in turmoil, production schedules in disarray, and many distributors trying out alternate release formats such as streaming services, VOD, or hybrid models like HBOMax—which is releasing Warner Bros.’ entire slate simultaneously in theaters and on the platform— just exactly when and where you can watch your favorite horror movies has never been more confusing.
Adding to the disarray, the release dates of plenty of movies got delayed and then delayed again, meaning it’s been a Herculean task just to know what was coming out and when.
Fortunately, we now have a pretty good idea of what’s on the horizon in the next few months, from releases that got delayed last year to stuff we’re all hearing about for the first time. As theaters gear back up with big winners like Godzilla vs. Kong dominating the box office—not to mention a dizzying array of streaming options to choose from—and the vaccine rollout continuing apace, it’s time to think about what horror movies are coming up for those of us who love to sit in the dark and be scared.
May 14—Spiral: From the Book of Saw
After lying fallow for a few years, the long-running Saw franchise is back for its ninth chapter, along with returning director Darren Lynn Bousman, who has been behind the camera for more Saw films than anyone, having previously directed installments 2, 3, and 4. Joining him are Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Max Minghella, for what fans are hoping will be both a return to form and an exciting new direction in the saga of the venerable horror franchise that was once a Halloween mainstay.
May 21—Army of the Dead
Zack Snyder made his directorial debut behind the camera of the controversial (but undeniably fun) 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead before going on to helm a variety of increasingly high-profile comic book film. For Army of the Dead, he returns to the zombie well with a tale of a ragtag group of mercenaries attempting a Las Vegas heist in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Love Snyder or loathe him, there’s no denying that he’s a part of the cultural zeitgeist right now. His zombie heist action movie will be a Netflix exclusive.
Related: Horror Movies Streaming in May
May 28—A Quiet Place Part II
Many of the films coming out this summer have faced multiple delays, but few have been bumped around as often as this follow-up to the critical and box office success of 2018’s A Quiet Place. Along with the returning cast from the hit first film, this sequel is expanding the world established in that film and adding new survivors, including Cilian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou, with John Krasinski back in the director’s chair. The first film was a runaway success, and was pretty much universally praised. Can the sequel keep that excitement going after so many delays? We’ll find out at the end of May…
June 4—The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Conjuring franchise has spawned a wide array of spin-offs, from the long-running Annabelle series to standalones (so far) like The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona. But up ‘til now, there have only been two films in the core series, both of them directed by horror superstar James Wan (more on him later in the list). Now, for the first time, a different director is stepping behind the camera of one of the main series films as we rejoin the Warrens for a third Conjuring movie, this time helmed by La Llorona’s Michael Chaves. The film tackles one of the most unusual real-life cases of all time—the first time demonic possession was ever used as a defense against a murder charge in a court of law.
July 9—The Forever Purge
So far, we don’t know a lot about this fifth (and possibly final) installment in The Purge franchise, which has already given us four films and a TV series. A new director is going behind the camera, along with a new cast which includes Josh Lucas, Will Patton, and Ana de la Reguera, who we will have seen, by then, in Jack Snyder’s Army of the Dead.
Related: 10 Twisted Movies Like The Purge
July 16—The Night House
David Bruckner made a name for himself with fan-favorite segments of V/H/S and Southbound, not to mention the 2017 folk horror creature feature The Ritual. His latest film stars Rebecca Hall as a widow who begins to suspect that her late husband may not have been who she thought, as she is plagued by a haunting in the home he built for her. The Night House already played festivals last year, to some rave reviews, so we’re looking forward to solid scares when it hits wide release this summer.
July 30—The Green Knight
When it comes to indie horror, few production shingles are as synonymous with the brand these days as A24, whose slate includes favorites like Hereditary, The Witch, Midsommar, and many more. This summer, they’ll be unveiling a retelling of the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from A Ghost Story director David Lowery. The film stars Dev Patel, and from what we’ve seen so far, the film looks absolutely stunning.
Related: Every A24 Horror Movie, Ranked
August 13—Don’t Breathe Sequel
Producer Sam Raimi apparently called this “the greatest idea for a sequel I’ve ever heard,” though we still don’t know a lot about the plot of this follow-up to Fede Alvarez’s 2016 hit. Alvarez is keeping this apparently genius plot close to the vest, saying that “it’ll spoil the whole thing” if he gives it away too soon. We do know that Stephen Lang will be back, reprising his role as that film’s nameless “Blind Man,” and that Rodo Sayagues—who co-wrote the original and also Alvarez’s 2013 Evil Dead remake—will be making his directing debut.
At one time, Nia DaCosta’s remake of Candyman—with Jordan Peele on board as co-writer and producer—was maybe the most hotly-anticipated horror flick of 2020. Then the pandemic happened, and, like so many other films, its schedule got bounced around a bit, finally settling in August of this year. We can’t wait to see what DaCosta, Peele, and their talented cast (including a returning Tony Todd) have to show us in this new reimagining of one of our favorite horrors from the ‘90s.
Technically, summer doesn’t end until September 22, which means we can squeeze in one of our most anticipated movies of the year. James Wan has been behind the camera for some of the biggest horror flicks of the past decade—from Saw to Insidious to The Conjuring. Now he’s rolling out a new, original horror concept called Malignant. Beyond its cast, we don’t know much about it, except that it will feature a “slice of horror James Wan hasn’t yet explored,” but we’ve heard rumors that it may have some influences from Italian giallo cinema, and we are on board for whatever!