The most terrifying horror coming your way in 2024
From long-dead slasher icons to daddy-daughter directors, here are ten not-to-be-missed shots of nightmare fuel for the year ahead as selected by Matt Glasby – author of The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film, available here.
New from Blumhouse and producer James Wan is this high-concept chiller about a woman (The Banshees of Inisherin’s excellent Kerry Condon) who’s tormented in her pool by an evil spirit. Co-writer/director Bryce McGuire based it on his 2014 short, which makes a very good case for just how weird it is to be underwater. The trailer, essentially one long Wan-style gotcha, promises much.
Not to be confused with Jughead, Jarhead or Baghead by the Duplass brothers, Alberto Corredor’s debut—also based on a spooky short—has a great cast including The Witcher’s Freya Allan, Treadstone’s Jeremy Irvine, Saffron Burrows and Peter Mullen, plus an intriguing premise. Baghead is a shape-shifting witch who can commune with the dead. But can those who seek her out really trust her? Of course not.
Starring Dakota Fanning as an artist stalked in the woods by mysterious creatures, The Watchers could be forgiven for sounding a little The Village (a good thing, in case you were wondering). It’s the directorial debut of one Ishana Shyamalan, daughter of M Night. Let’s hope the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Speak of the devil, after 2023’s excellent Knock at the Cabin, M. Night Shyamalan himself returns with Trap, a film about which nobody seems to know anything—except that it’s a psychological thriller set at a concert. Whether good, bad or ugly, Night’s films are always unpredictable, so the only thing he could do to shock us is make something boring.
Another filmmaker who gets a far harder time than they deserve is screenwriter Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body). After too long away from the genre—her last horror job was an uncredited rewrite on 2013’s well-received Evil Dead reboot—she’s back with a horror-comedy directed by first-timer Zelda Williams. It stars Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, and The Fall of the House of Usher’s Carla Gugino.
Friday the 13th
Following years of legal wrangling, Jason Voorhees returns in this prequel TV series overseen by Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller. Although plot details are as scant as a camp counsellor’s swimming costume, Adrienne King, the series’ original final girl, will star. “We can use everything,” Fuller told Fangoria of the now-solved IP issues. “We can go to hell, we can go to space. That’s not to say that we will do those things, although if we do go ten seasons, I will be lobbying hard to go to space.”
Director Darren Aronofsky and star Jared Leto last worked together on 2000’s Requiem for a Dream, one of the most traumatic non-horror films ever made. Since then, they’ve made choices both wise (Aronofsky’s Black Swan) and poor (Leto’s Morbius), but rarely dull. Though there’s no official release date, they’re rumoured to be reteaming for this supernatural effort about a haunted ship. The kicker? It’s adapted from a short story by Ringu author, and premier pant-damager, Koji Suzuki.
Ti West’s accidental slasher trilogy concludes with this much-anticipated third instalment. Following the events of 1970s-set X, which pitted Mia Goth’s adult-film star Maxine against ageing murderer Pearl (also Goth)—which itself followed the events of World War 1-era prequel Pearl—part three sees Maxine attempting to make it big in 1980s Hollywood and, presumably, turning lots more people into dead in the process.
Robert Eggers is known for eerie, otherworldly historical films such as The Witch, The Lighthouse and The Northman, so this remake of FW Murnau’s 1922 silent film should be a great fit. Bill Skarsgård, aka Pennywise the Clown from IT, is the creepy Count Orlok, with Lily-Rose Depp as the object of his undying affections. The cast is rounded out by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nicholas Hoult, Emma Corrin and Willem Dafoe, who played Orlok in 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire.
After 2022’s smash-hit Barbarian, writer/director Zach Cregger is definitely one to watch. And the fact he’s teaming him up with man-of-the-moment Pedro Pascal and The Worst Person in the World star Renate Reinsve makes his next project all the more intriguing. While details are thin on the ground, internet gossip is already comparing it to a kind of horror Magnolia. Bring on the frogs.