The Best Horror Movies of 2020

The Best Horror Movies of 2020

Horrorific content by Brian B. on January 08th, 2021 | Culture |

2021 has arrived. And that means new horror films will hit the silver screen and streaming services too. Before looking ahead, however, let’s take a moment to talk about some of last year’s best horror films.

2020 was a rough year for the film industry owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the grand scheme of things, many individuals and families have certainly had more important things on their minds than movies. A lackluster year of new releases, at the personal level, has been a minor nuisance compared to the many struggles people have endured this year.

That said, the right movies can go a long way during lock downs, helping people escape the grim realities of life amid a pandemic. And horror movies are great at getting you to forget your surroundings and day to day challenges.

Compared to most years, the horror movie pickings in 2020 have been rather slim. That said, some great scary flicks have made their way to the big screen, and more commonly right now, streaming services.

So let’s take a look at the best horror movies of 2020. (I’ll try to avoid spoilers, so my apologies if things are a bit vague at times!)

Honorable Mention: The Invisible Man” didn’t quite make our top 2020 list but it was close and still easily worth a watch. Afterwards, if you find yourself struggling to unpack the oft-dissected ending, check out our spoiler-packed article “Examining The Invisible Man's Twisted Ending”.

Atmospheric Terrors in The Dark and the Wicked (2020)

In old westerns, there’s “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” In horror flicks, there’s “The Dark and the Wicked.” This movie makes my top of 2020 list because the overall atmosphere and isolation of the film plays well with the general pandemic-driven vibe of life last year. 

The opening minutes introduce you to a remote farmhouse that offers little in the way of company except for goats. A family patriarch is dying and when the adult children arrive and quickly things run afoul.

Indeed, the first act of this movie may be the strongest. while some horror movies like to string you along until the second or even third act, “The Dark and the Wicked” wastes no time instilling its horror.

In some ways, this movie reminded me of “The Shining,” another horror film I’ve enjoyed this winter. There are enough jump scares to keep you on the edge of your seat, but I’d argue that the isolated atmosphere is what really drives the creep factor in “The Dark and the Wicked.”

Host (2020): The Right Scares For the Times

Zoom has been all the rage this year, helping teams across the world coordinate and get work done. Friends, families, and social groups have also relied on Zoom en masse to stay in touch. The cast in “Host” took things a bit farther, holding a Zoom seance.

Does the premise sound absurd? It is, and yet British director Rob Savage makes it work. And the movie’s definitely timely, tapping into the reality and limitations many of us are living through right now.

Crazily enough, the entire film was basically filmed remotely and Director Savage wasn’t actually “on set” but instead provided direction remotely. Despite that serious handicap, the movie manages to shine.

Overall, this is a spooky, well-acted film and one I expect people to watch in the decades ahead to not only get their scares in, but to also understand what life was like during the pandemic. 

Given the overall timeliness and the feat of filming a horror movie remotely, “Host” deserves a nod as one of the best the horror flicks of 2020.

His House: One of the Better Movies of the Year. Period.

“His House” marks the debut for director Remi Weekes, and if his first film is any indication, he’s got a bright future ahead. Landing on Netflix, “His House” is packed with scares and great acting. Ultimately, this horror flick punches above its $17 million dollar budget.

Once upon a time, I worked as a refugee resettlement worker and many refugees relocating from refugee camps and unstable conditions struggle to adjust to life in their new home country. Resettlement sets the stage for “His House,” an apt allegory of the terrors refugees leave behind and the challenges they must confront while relocating.

In this case, a young couple relocates from South Sudan to the United Kingdom. They are sent to a home of the government’s choosing. To start, the refugees are “out on bail” and must follow the government’s instructions to the T. This means they must remain at their address.

A pretty reasonable request all things considered… except... the house is run down, in a rather shady neighborhood, oh and it’s haunted.

Ultimately, the interesting set up, excellent acting, and authenticity help make this movie one of the best horror movies, and indeed one of the better movies of any genre, to grace my TV in 2020.

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