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Upcoming horror movies in 2021 that will freak you out

While 2020 saw its fair share of freaky horror movies in spite of the global pandemic, there were a number of eagerly awaited genre films that had their premieres pushed to 2021 in the hopes that a more traditional release would be possible. As we all adjust to the new normal of pandemic living, studios are still holding out hope that films made for the big screen will be able to be watched as intended, even though loads of fans would've happily shelled out big bucks to have seen the planned 2020 releases on time, even if only through video-on-demand. 

So, even though it was super disappointing for horror fans to see much-anticipated release dates continue to get pushed back well into 2021, the lineup of films on the way remains particularly impressive, hopefully making this worth the wait. From several high-impact sequels to original chillers and slashers, the docket for 2021's horror movies will totally freak you out.  

(Be warned, there are spoilers below.)

The legend of Candyman continues in 2021

Directed by newcomer Nia DaCosta and written by horror master Jordan Peele, as well as Win Rosenfeld and DaCosta, Candyman is a sequel to the original 1992 Candyman film that picks up in real time, decades after the events of the first movie. The film follows multimedia artist Anthony McCoy (Yahyah Abdul-Mateen II), whose obsession with the now fully-gentrified Cabrini Green site of the infamous Candyman murders begins to take on an entire life of its own in DaCosta's stylish follow-up. 

The new Candyman trailer gives us a whole lot of hints about what might go down in the movie, including a number of callbacks to the original, such as an overwhelming presence of bees and imagery of Candyman that continues to haunt viewers. However, the movie looks like it's diverging from the original by suggesting that Anthony might actually be getting possessed by the spirit of Candyman, as opposed to simply being haunted and/or hunted by him, taking things to an entirely new level of scary for the franchise. Candyman's new release date is August 2021, just in time to kick off Halloween season.

A Quiet Place Part II is silently creeping up on us

The Office alum John Krasinski made a massive pivot from comedy to horror with A Quiet Place, a surprising box office smash written and directed by the comedian turned filmmaker. Set in an apocalyptic world overrun by human-eating monsters who respond to sound, the Abbott family has figured out how to make their life work until a series of tragedies unfold that include key character deaths and a chilling ending where a postpartum Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and her surviving children must face a growing horde of the monsters

While details about A Quiet Place Part II are sparse, the teasers hint that the remaining Abbotts will have to leave their farmhouse sanctuary and venture out into a world made hostile not just by the flesh-eating monsters but also by other humans who've been severely damaged by years of this ongoing trauma. A Quiet Place Part II will feature the same original cast, including John Krasinski in flashback, as well as adding Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou to the ensemble. The tentative release date is set for April 2021. 

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is getting ready to play a game

The Saw franchise has seen its fair share of ups and downs as the eight installments in many ways inconsistently explore the franchise, at least until 2017's Jigsaw put some new twists and turns into a stale plot. Presumably following in Jigsaw's surprising vein, come 2021, we'll have Spiral: From the Book of Saw, starring Chris Rock as Detective Zeke Banks whose current investigation will possibly lead all the way back to the first movie. But Chris Rock isn't just starring in his first ever horror movie, he's actually a long-time Saw fan and the one who came up with Spiral's concept, as well as writing the story's treatment. The film takes place firmly in the Saw universe, but it isn't necessarily a sequel to Jigsaw

Long-time Saw collaborators are all on board the Jigsaw train for Spiral, with Darren Lynn Bousman directing and both James Wan and Leigh Whannell signed on as producers along with Rock himself. Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella will also star in Spiral, slated for a May 2021 release.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It will terrify you in 2021

Also known as The Conjuring 3, the newest installment of the popular supernatural franchise, The Devil Made Me Do It, will be the eighth film in the Conjuring universe, even as it's a direct sequel to the first two Conjuring movies. Featuring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, Conjuring 3 follows the infamous real-life 1981 Arne Cheyenne Johnson murder trial, which was the first time in American legal history that demonic possession was used as a "not guilty" defense. Johnson's defense was laughed out of court, but he served only five years of his 20-year sentence. 

We can imagine Conjuring 3 will be suitably dramatic with its court scenes, as well as featuring its usual level of jump scares heightened by a truly disturbing story and subsequent crime. Conjuring 3 is directed by The Curse of La Llorona's Michael Chaves, and Conjuring franchise "founder" James Wan has signed on as producer. The Devil Made Me Do It should hit cinemas and video-on-demand in June 2021.

Morbius is going to inject some horror into the superhero genre

Following in the highly esteemed footsteps of fellow Marvel accidental vampire Blade, Morbius tells the story of Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), a human turned bloodsucker thanks to the side effects of a cure for his rare blood disease. Unlike Blade, though, Morbius might be a vamp, but he has none of the qualities we've come to expect from the supernatural species other than super strength and extreme blood lust. Also starring Doctor Who alum Matt Smith as Morbius' best friend, Adria Arjona as Morbius' fiancé, and Jared Harris as Morbius' teacher, Morbius will be part of Sony's Spiderverse, in the same vein as Venom.

From its trailer, Morbius looks brooding, gothic, action-packed, and with disturbing creature effects to round out Marvel's soon-to-be newest monster movie. Michael Keaton, who played Adrian Toomes/Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, also makes a quick cameo in Morbius. This superhero horror crossover should be hitting theaters in March 2021

Edgar Wright is getting scary with Last Night in Soho

From the fantastically twisted mind that brought you the horror-comedy world of Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright's newest genre film, Last Night in Soho, is now expected for an April 2021 release. Last Night in Soho follows a modern-day fashion designer played by Anya Taylor-Joy who mysteriously finds herself back in the 1960s in search of an icon who doesn't turn out to be who she expected. While the time travel aspects have only been teased so far, it will be interesting to see how Wright integrates all these disparate elements into this psychological horror story. The vintage fashion in the movie alone looks to die for. 

Also starring Doctor Who's Matt Smith and Jojo Rabbit's Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, this stylish psychological thriller looks to be an interesting genre counterpoint to the high-powered sequels that make up most of the docket for 2021's horror releases.

Don't Breathe 2 will blindside horror fans

Fede Alvarez's chilling 2016 horror feature Don't Breathe has had a sequel in the works ever since the first film came out. Don't Breathe introduced us to Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang), a blind veteran who's rumored to live with loads of cash stashed around his house. After three robbers break in and try to steal from him, Nordstrom reveals himself to be far more capable than the reclusive reputation he has around town, brutalizing the robbers one by one while in his domain. Rocky (Jane Levy) manages to escape, and Don't Breathe ends with Nordstrom planning his own revenge. 

But as for Don't Breathe 2, Nordstrom appears to have moved to a remote cabin in the woods where he now cares for an orphan girl — a replacement for the daughter he lost before we met him in Don't Breathe — until people from her past arrive to collect her, not realizing who her new adopted father is. Will Rocky appear in this sequel? There's no news on those plot details yet. What we can expect, though, is Nordstrom pulling out his incredible tactical skills to protect his surrogate daughter, as he creepily did in the original film. Don't Breathe 2 is set for an August 2021 release. 

The Forever Purge begins soon

In what will be the fifth and final installment of James DeMonaco's The Purge franchise, The Forever Purge is one of the upcoming 2021 releases that we know the least amount about. No teaser trailer has been released, and plot details have been scarce, other than DeMonaco telling EW that he'd come up with a "really cool" way to round out the last of his ultraviolent, social commentary horror series. Set in an America that allows a 12-hour window once a year where all crimes are legal — including murder, torture, and rape — each installment of The Purge franchise has deepened its social and cultural critique about the roots of violence, state-sanctioned crime, and social control via fear. 

While some installments of the franchise have hinted at changes in legislation to end the Purge in this fictional America, the title of the final film suggests that an end to this horrific event might not actually be on the way. The Forever Purge is slated for a July 2021 theatrical release, followed quickly by video-on-demand.

There's Someone Inside Your House could be a teen horror classic

Based on Stephanie Perkins' novel, Patrick Brice's slasher adaptation of There's Someone Inside Your House will premiere on Netflix sometime in 2021. The story focuses on Makani Young (Sydney Park), a senior from Hawaii who transfers to Nebraska for her final year of high school. As if that trauma isn't enough for Makani, someone has been targeting folks around town, revealing their most secret of secrets before killing them, causing multiple levels of havoc in the small Midwestern community.

Worse, new girl Makani finds herself at the center of it all, making this a senior year to match Carrie White's. Dubbed a "coming-of-age slasher film" by producers at Netflix, the story is primed to channel a '90s horror vibe a la the ensemble films Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, as well as '80s John Hughes classics like The Breakfast Club.

Audiences can try to solve Escape Room 2 in 2021

Adam Robitel's Escape Room capitalized on the new entertainment trend of, you guessed it, escape rooms, aka puzzle rooms, where participants must solve clues in order to find their way out. However, in this 2019 film, the titular room turns out to not be a game at all, but rather, it's a twisted experiment to see who's the fittest in a group of already-traumatized survivors ... most of whom die by the end. The whole affair is orchestrated by an enigmatic figure named the Gamemaster, and by the end of the film, the two survivors (Taylor Russell and Logan Miller) — who've been accused of the Gamemaster's crimes — begin spying on the escape room organizers, waiting for their moment of revenge.

Escape Room 2 stars both survivors as leads once again, suggesting the sequel will pick up where the first left off. Orphan actress Isabelle Fuhrman will join the Escape Room 2 cast, along with Pose star Indya Moore. There's no release date announced yet, other than it will be in the later half of 2021.

Paranormal Activity 7 will continue to haunt horror fans

While Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity series has been one of the most lucrative horror franchises of all time, raking in cash thanks to its low-budget filmmaking, the critical reception of the films has been up and down over the course of six movies. With Peli's bump to producer after the first film and Christopher Landon taking over writing and eventually directing most of the subsequent movies, Paranormal Activity has followed the Featherstone family's demonic curse as its tentacles reach out into the lives of other people who've come in contact with them.

Details about the seventh installment – including its subtitle, cast, and plot — remain a mystery at the moment, but the film is still planned for a 2021 release. But what we do know is that Landon will be returning to the project in some capacity, although he's confirmed he won't be involved in the script or production as he had been in previous installments.

Run Sweetheart Run is poised to be one of the best horror films of 2021

Based on a terrifying real-life encounter that began with a sexual assault and ended in director Shana Feste barefoot in the Hollywood Hills, with no phone or wallet, and forced to walk to her home in West Hollywood, Run Sweetheart Run takes Feste's encounter to the next fictional level. Ella Balinska stars as the titular "sweetheart," across from Euron Greyjoy actor Pilou Asbaek as her date turned violent assaulter and stalker in the urban landscape of Los Angeles. 

Inspired by the social justice horror of Jordan Peele's Get Out, Feste wanted to heighten the daily misogyny that women deal with into the uber-nightmare scenario of Run Sweetheart Run, which sounds like it might be the sleeper horror hit of the year based on its powerful plot alone. Run Sweetheart Run also features Sense8's Aml Ameen and Marvel's own Clark Gregg. The film premiered at Sundance to an excellent critical reception in 2019, and it will be hitting Amazon Prime in early 2021.

Michael Myers is coming back in Halloween Kills

After the incredible success of David Gordon Green's sequel to 1978's Halloween exactly 40 years later, horror fans were thrilled at the news there would actually be a trilogy in the works, one exploring the long-term trauma suffered by Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her family at the hands of serial killer-stalker Michael Myers (Nick Castle). Picking up exactly where the 2018 Halloween left off, in Halloween Kills, the Strode women — including Laurie's daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), and granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak) — are newly traumatized by a deeply disturbing encounter with the Shape that results in more than double the original body count of Halloween

Halloween Kills will also focus a huge chunk of its story on the many denizens of Haddonfield who've also been living in the shadow of Myers' rampages, including Laurie's original babysitting charges Tommy Doyle, now a grown man played by Anthony Michael Hall, and his friend, Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), who actually appeared in John Carpenter's original. Where 2018's Halloween explored trauma as pertains to the Strode/Nelson women, Halloween Kills looks to examine the collective trauma of the town as Myers rampages anew. Originally slated for an October 14, 2020 release, the new premiere is scheduled for October 15, 2021.

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