Top 10 Best Horror Movies of 2020



Top 10 Best Horror Movies of 2020

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
2020 itself was the ultimate horror movie, but these flicks are a close second. For this list, we'll be looking at the scariest and most critically acclaimed horror movies that were released in theatres, or through streaming and on demand, throughout 2020. Our countdown includes "Host", “Color Out of Space”, "The Invisible Man", and more!

Top 10 Best Horror Movies of 2020

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 best horror movies of 2020.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the scariest and most critically acclaimed horror movies that were released in theatres, or through streaming and on demand, throughout 2020.

Have you caught up on your movie collection throughout 2020? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: “Host” (2020)

Horror movies often reflect our real world fears. By that measure, “Host” is by far the scariest, and most relevant, horror movie of 2020. The movie takes place during the COVID lockdowns, as six friends conduct a seance over Zoom. Naturally, things go totally off the rails. “Host” was filmed remotely throughout quarantine, with the individual actors needing to set up their own lighting and cameras, and even arrange a few practical effects, all with their director instructing them remotely. Many critics have praised the movie for its themes surrounding social alienation, and in that way, it is the defining movie of 2020.

#9: “Swallow” (2020)

While “Swallow” premiered at Tribeca in 2019, it wasn’t commercially released until March of 2020. Like most great horror movies, “Swallow” sneaks in some wonderful social commentary amidst its horrors and freakouts. In this one, an unhappy and isolated housewife named Hunter begins eating inedible objects. Hunter is brilliantly played by Haley Bennett, and if the world is a right and just place, this will prove to be her breakout role. The movie was also influenced by “Rosemary’s Baby,” with production designer Erin Magill telling Nightmare on Film Street that the movie’s visual aesthetics were heavily modeled after Roman Polanski’s masterpiece.

#8: “Sputnik” (2020)

For those looking for a good alien movie, be sure to check out Egor Abramenko’s “Sputnik.” This is a Russian film that takes place in 1983, at the tail end of the Cold War. A controversial psychiatrist is brought in to assess a cosmonaut who has just returned from space. There is something clearly wrong with the man, and the psychiatrist learns that he is unknowingly harboring an alien lifeform. The movie was widely praised for its character work, performances, and old school creature feature story - complete with all the disgusting B-movie gore one could ask for. It’s certainly not high art, but then again, who wanted that?

#7: “Relic” (2020)

Produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and led by the reliably fantastic Emily Mortimer, “Relic” is easily one of the finest horror movies of the year. The film is about one of the scariest horrors rooted in reality - the terrible disease of dementia. An elderly woman suffering from dementia goes missing and later re-appears to her daughter and granddaughter. After returning, she begins acting increasingly erratic and unstable - possibly under the influence of a harmful presence. It’s a scary story with brains and a heart, and it’s filled with some truly unbearable dread. Mix that with the everyday horror of dementia, and you have a modern horror masterpiece. And its deft blend of horror and reality proves that Natalie Erika James is a director to watch in the future.

#6: “Color Out of Space” (2020)

While H.P. Lovecraft is one of the most famous horror writers, his work is so individualistic that it makes film adaptations incredibly difficult and the results often divide viewers. That said, Richard Stanley’s “Color Out of Space” is one of the all-time best Lovecraft adaptations. Based on Lovecraft’s iconic short story from 1927, the film brings the events into the modern era. Starring a game Nicolas Cage as Nathan Gardner, the story concerns the Gardner farm and its inhabitants being invaded by a mysterious alien lifeform. Cage is his typically committed and bizarre self, and the movie’s visual effects are simply stunning - especially the scenes involving the vibrant color. It also contains shades of “The Shining,” as a strong family unit is violently disintegrated by a supernatural force. It’s simply an excellent movie.

#5: “She Dies Tomorrow” (2020)

Just hearing that title is enough to give someone goosebumps. “She Dies Tomorrow” concerns Amy, a young woman who is convinced that she is going to die the following day. Her paranoia proves contagious, and anyone she tells becomes convinced that they are going to die. It’s a pretty spooky concept, and it’s handled well by writer-director Amy Seimetz. The movie is also far funnier than one may expect, as Seimetz beautifully blends horror with some absurdist comedy. Seimetz wrote the movie based on her experiences with anxiety and panic attacks, and as such, the movie’s story and themes are rooted in an unnerving reality. Like “Relic,” “She Dies Tomorrow” is horrifying for what it suggests about real world fears.

#4: “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (2020)

Directed by the acclaimed Charlie Kaufman, Netflix’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” was one of the greatest streaming releases of the fall 2020 season. The movie concerns a young woman who is disillusioned with her short relationship and is thinking of breaking up with her boyfriend. While contemplating this, she is taken to meet her boyfriend’s parents at their secluded farm. Of course, this being a Charlie Kaufman movie, it’s far more complex than that. The psychological story is told in a surreal and artful manner, it’s rife with symbolism and chaotic dream imagery, and the movie is led by a stellar cast - including Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis, and Jessie Buckley of “Chernobyl” fame.

#3: “Possessor: Uncut” (2020)

Sci-fi horror can be tricky to pull off, but “Possessor: Uncut” makes it look easy. The story takes place in a distant future where a secret organization uses brain implant technology to possess people and make them carry out assassinations. It sounds like a fun action sci-fi thriller, but writer-director Brandon Cronenberg uses it as a vessel for horror. Cronenberg obviously learned a lot from his famous and influential father David, as “Possessor: Uncut” also embodies fears around the human mind and body - not to mention a dose of exquisite and revolting body horror. The movie also looks amazing and is led by a commanding performance from Andrea Riseborough. Cronenberg looks like a sure bet to continue his father’s legacy.

#2: “His House” (2020)

Horror lovers, you may now rejoice: the first great haunted house movie of the 2020s is here. This terrifying Netflix original centers on Bol and Rial, South Sudanese refugees attempting to make a new life for themselves in London, England, in the wake of tragedy. It quickly becomes clear that an evil presence has followed them there — and it wants something. Fans of such recent genre classics as “The Witch” and “Hereditary” will be sucked in, owing to its arresting imagery, next-level nightmare sequences, topical themes, and commanding lead performances by Wunmi Mosaku and Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù. It goes without saying that we can’t wait to see what writer-director Remi Weekes has up his sleeve next!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Come to Daddy” (2020)
Brutal Black Comedy Led by Elijah Wood

“Blood Quantum” (2020)
A Zombie Flick About Colonialism

“La Llorona” (2020)
A Terrific Spanish Film Not to Be Confused with the Goofy “Conjuring” One
La Llorona

“The Platform” (2020)
Engaging Dystopian Thriller with Smart Social Commentary

#1: “The Invisible Man” (2020)

Take note - this is how you bring old stories into the modern era. Written and directed by Leigh Whannell of “Saw” fame, “The Invisible Man” updates H.G. Wells’s classic science fiction novel for the 21st century. It stars the always incredible Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass, a woman who believes that her abusive boyfriend is stalking her with technology that allows him to become invisible. Others don’t believe her, as the boyfriend is supposed to be dead. The film is mainly about abuse and the haunting effects it leaves on someone’s psyche, but it also works as a straightforward sci-fi tale about invisible people. No matter how you view it, “The Invisible Man” is terrifying.