11 Best Horror Movies of 2021
You’ve seen all the old ones—are you ready for a new horror movie favorite? We’ve rounded up 11 contenders from 2021.
This season, we’ve written till our fingers are bloody, boney stumps about Halloween movie recommendations from yesteryear. It’s like all the great horror happened in the ’80s.
Not true: we’ve gathered 11 modern fright films from 2021 as good, if not better, than those your parents watched at the drive-in (or didn’t watch . . . we’ll leave it at that).
Halloween Kills (2021)
You can’t keep slasher-flick icon Michael Myers down: Halloween Kills picks up where 2018’s Halloween reboot left off, with Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) believing she’d finally vanquished the masked monster—even after 11 movies since 1978, they never learn.
Spoiler: chances are more than good that he’ll also survive Halloween Kills since director David Gordon Green plans to wrap up this trilogy with 2022’s definitive-sounding Halloween Ends.
A Quiet Place Part II (2021)
Writer, director, and costar John Krasinski didn’t make it out of 2018’s A Quiet Place, but he’s still behind the camera (and in a flashback) for A Quiet Place II.
The planet remains overrun with ravenous, blind alien creatures with heightened hearing senses, but Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and the kids are finally venturing out of the bunker in search of other survivors. Unfortunately, humans are now as much of a threat as monsters. This is the new classic alien-invasion franchise.
After learning the urban legend of the Candyman, Chicago artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) begins creating new works based on the tale and unwittingly unleashes the hook-handed killer.
This new take on Candyman, co-written by Jordan Peele (Get Out), introduces deeper Black folklore into the narrative and also amps up the gore and visual flashiness (special effects have come a long way since the 1992 original). It’s easily the smartest horror film of 2021.
The Night House (2021)
After her husband unexpectedly commits suicide, Beth (Rebecca Hall) begins having waking nightmares and soon discovers a mirror-image facsimile of their home across the lake.
Beth eventually pieces together that her husband was dabbling in the occult and studying how to conjure demons—what else wasn’t he sharing with her? The Night House is a moody, slow-burn thriller that’s as creepy as it is unpredictable, and Hall’s performance is fantastic.
Released around Halloween 2020, Possessor is a sci-fi-tinged Canadian horror flick written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg (son of David Cronenberg).
Tasya is an assassin who takes control of others’ bodies through a microchip to complete her kills, returning to her slowly unraveling self when her targets (and host bodies) die. Possessor lives up to the elder Cronenberg’s body horror legacy while establishing itself as a violent and mind-bending original.
The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)
Based on the R.L. Stine book series, the three-part Fear Street is a supernatural murder mystery, shifting time periods within the city limits of “cursed” town Shadyside (Part One takes place in 1994; Part Two, 1978; Part Three, 1666).
Be aware, parents: Fear Street is more adult, bloody, and scary than most Stine works; it’s less Goosebumps and more like American Horror Story (the good seasons, at least). We especially liked Part Two, set in the classic slasher territory of summer camp.
Army of the Dead (2021)
You think zombie movies are so over in 2021? Director Zack Snyder proved otherwise with Army of the Dead, a fast, furious, and fun flick about an undead outbreak in Las Vegas that inspires a band of criminal mercenaries (led by Dave Bautista) to stage the ultimate Sin City robbery.
Army of the Dead takes full advantage of its glittery Vegas setting and injects far more humor than what’s come to be expected of Snyder after all those dark and downbeat DC superhero flicks.
Till Death (2021)
Megan Fox stars in this survival thriller who wakes up handcuffed to the bloody corpse of her dead husband—and that’s just the beginning.
Till Death also benefits from a remote, snowbound setting, which serves as a stark backdrop for her to drag a dead body around while trying to escape the men after her husband’s ill-gotten money. Less of a pure horror movie than her great Jennifer’s Body, Till Death still elevates Fox as a viable scream queen and action star.
Scare Me (2020)
A struggling writer (Josh Ruben) retreats to a remote cabin to work and inadvertently meets a best-selling author (Aya Cash). During a power outage, the two engage in an increasingly heated scary storytelling contest, spinning vivid yarns by the fireplace light.
Scare Me is a cleverly minimalist comedic horror film, relying on Ruben and Cash (as well as Chris Redd and Rebecca Drysdale, the only other actors here) to play out the story and its twist ending.
A couple (Sara Canning and Osric Chau) who review pricey vacation homes for their travel vlog settle in with an unhinged, overly ingratiating B&B host (Gracie Gilliam). She could be great for clicks, or she may be the bloody death of them—smash that “subscribe” button.
Superhost doesn’t instill much sympathy for these wannabe-celebrity “Hey guys!” vloggers or their psychotic host, but it’s a wild and dark ride that might make you rethink your next Airbnb excursion.
After a couple of years of working from home, most of us are mentally at war with pants—comedic horror flick Slaxx takes it literally. Sure, the idea of possessed pairs of jeans on a clothing store killing spree sounds ridiculous (because it is), but at least they make your ass look amazing first.
Believe it or not, there’s a labor exploitation message beneath the silliness of Slaxx, which could maybe lead to a sequel about the ongoing wrongful derision of cargo shorts (Shortzz?).