It’s hard to write a post about 2020 and ignore the clusterfuck that was, but in the spirit of keeping things positive and lighthearted here, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! So, if you’re like me, a big lover of horror cinema, 2020 provided you with a ton of great content delivered to your digital doorsteps. Like, so much good stuff. Like, so much good stuff that I had trouble making this list. I had to leave off some favorites, some fine films that easily could have made it, but overall…I’m pretty happy with my selections. It was another great year for horror fans, and we got to see some incredible, unique movies hit the small screen.
If you want to listen to me babble on in more detail about my list, be sure to check out THE FINAL GUYS PODCAST (THE BEST HORROR MOVIES OF 2020 – Final Guys Horror Show #188). It’s available on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and probably wherever else you find podcasts. Lots of other good recommendations in that episode!
So, without further ado, here’s my list:
This one makes the list for a few reasons. One – I think it’s a genuinely scary flick. Two – I love the creativity/originality that went into making a found footage film during the pandemic, making it perfectly relatable to the vast majority. PSA – it’s best to watch this on your laptop, in bed with the lights off.
I’m a huge Vince Vaughn fan, and he kills it in this movie. Literally. From the makers of Happy Death Day comes a lighthearted horror take on the Freaky Friday story. The best thing about this (besides that it’s hilarious) how it manages to take an overused trope and still feels completely fresh.
This movie took me by surprise. I went into it knowing little about it, and, honestly, I think that was the best way to dive in. Two huge twists in this film that left me feeling punched. It had me thinking about the writing and story structure days after I watched it. Solid film and I can’t recommend it enough.
10. SHE DIES TOMORROW
Another film that kinda came out of nowhere, and it wasn’t on my radar until the week before I sat down to make this list. This is a slow-burn story that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, I found myself kind of obsessed with it, much like the main character’s obsession with the idea that she’s gonna die tomorrow. I’m still thinking about this movie weeks later.
9. THE DARK AND THE WICKED
Family dramas tied up in a horror movie is my jam. If you dig films like Hereditary, Mama, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, then I think this is a movie that will creep and crawl right under your skin. This movie has some haunting moments and some of my favorite scares of 2020. A well-made flick that is lifted by some powerful performances from the lead actors (Marin Ireland is soooo good, put her in more things, please?). Worth a glance if you haven’t checked it out already.
<Claps for SHUDDER> They really gave us some great content this year, y’all. This Indonesian film didn’t come on my radar until my pal (and Final Guys cohost) Hunter Shea mentioned it on the show. And I’m glad he did because this ended up being one of my favorites of the year. The opening scene that takes place in a tollbooth was a nightmarish sequence I had to watch twice because I appreciated the thrilling way it was presented. Not gonna say anything else about it other than watch this movie.
Going back to the family drama thing. This has plenty of that and plenty of creepy, memorable moments that will leave you emotionally fucked. The acting is off the charts good. Well-written, well-directed. It’s a movie that virtually has no flaws. I will say, due to the heavy content, I probably won’t revisit it (at least anytime soon), but I will also never forget it.
6. COLOR OUT OF SPACE
This was the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in 2020. COOS has a ton of replay value. Great cast, great visuals, and some of the best practical effects I’ve seen in quite some time. Has everything cosmic horror fans enjoy about the genre, and it’s one of H.P. Lovecraft’s better adaptations. Plus, Nic Cage freaking out in front of the camera is always an added boost. Right?
5. ANYTHING FOR JACKSON
This was another Shudder exclusive I watched on a whim and was blown away by. I’ve watched it twice, and it’s one of those movies that has so much buried deep in the subtext that you will find more and more to unpack with each viewing. I’m planning a third rewatch soon, and I can’t wait to find out what else I’ve missed. In a sea of good exorcism movies, this one swims above the surface.
4. THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW
2020 was full of surprises, and I’m happy to report that The Wolf of Snow Hollow was one of the best of them. Knew nothing going into it, and that seems to be a consistent theme with this year’s releases. TWOSH might be one of the best movies about a werewolf I’ve ever seen, certainly one of the best of the last two decades. Hilarious, well-acted, a script that packs a punch with some witty dialogue – I can’t praise this movie enough. And, proof that your main character doesn’t need to be likable to tell a compelling story. Put this at the top of your to-watch list and thank me later.
This flick might get left off a lot of “Best of Horror” lists because it’s more science fiction than horror, but fuck – it’s so violent and dark and thematically grim that we can’t exclude it. This is a mind-bender that will satisfy all your horror needs, for sure. Worthy of several rewatches. Bonus points for a small-but-utterly perfect performance from Sean Bean.
2. HIS HOUSE
Not going to lie, I didn’t see this NETFLIX original making it so far up my list. I knew it deserved to rank high – incredible performances from the two leads (Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku) and an important look into the life of refugees being the driving force behind this powerful film – but I had no idea the effect it would have on me long after the credits rolled. I thought about it for days. Kudos to the filmmakers for bringing such a phenomenal story to life and making it one of the scariest things I’ve put inside my brain this year. Great imagery in this one that I can still recall with perfect clarity.
1. THE INVISIBLE MAN
Who saw this movie ending up the best horror film 2020 had to offer? I certainly didn’t. But from the first frame, Leigh Whannell’s horror/thriller takes off and doesn’t let up. It was, without a doubt, the most terrifying movie I saw all year. There’s also a scene in the midpoint of this movie that took my breath away, and, I’m pretty sure, it also removed a few years from my life. I wish I hadn’t slept on this movie as long as I had because it’s a dynamic film and a masterclass in crafting an edge-of-your-seat thriller. Don’t let this one slip past you undetected.
honorable mentions: THE HUNT, THE BEACH HOUSE, SPIRAL, UNDERWATER, HUNTER HUNTER
WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE HORROR FILMS FROM 2020???