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Can you believe it? The summer season is just about over. The back half of August is usually the time when those big popcorn movies start to wind down and the in-between month of September makes way for the horror Halloween season. But in summer 2020, spooky season has sneakily come out of the shadows bright and early.
Since many of our local theaters have been closed down, and we’ve been left to fend for ourselves between streaming platforms, rentals and even dusting off those physical copies sitting pretty on our shelves. So chances are you’ve missed quite a few of the genre’s offerings, but we have you covered. If you’re looking for a brand new set of horror films, check out the following:
The summer 2020 horror film that has amassed the most buzz from fans is Shudder’s hour-long film, Host, which was produced during the pandemic while the actors and filmmakers were in quarantine. It’s the perfect scary movie to enjoy and get seriously freaked out about right now because it so perfectly speaks to the odd times this season has been instead of typical big-budget action-genre fare. Host is about a group of six friends who decide to hire a medium over a Zoom call during their quarantine, which in turn unleashes evil spirits into their homes. Host has garnered 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and can be exclusively viewed on Shudder.
Slow-burn horror has been all the rage recently, from Robert Eggers’ The VVitch making waves back in 2015 and paving the way for the cult success of Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation. Though it doesn’t quite reach the status of these titles, if you're a fan of this sub-genre, check out the recent British film Amulet. Actress Romola Garai wrote and directed this movie about a former soldier named Tomaz who enters a living arrangement with Magda and her ill mother after he finds himself veering on homelessness. As he becomes closer to the family he’s staying with, Tomaz learns the disquieting truths about what’s going on around the house. Amulet is available to rent here and on other VOD platforms.
Stranger Things’ Joe Keery stars in a horror movie of his own alongside Scream’s David Arquette about social media culture with Spree. Keery plays Kurt, a rideshare driver who is desperate to go viral on YouTube by pranking his customers. Since it features the likes Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney and Sasheer Zamata, Spree doesn’t go full-on horrifying, but if you’re looking for a fun ride that goes for the low-budget horror route, this new release could be a great choice. The movie is a satire on the idea of internet fame, but it doesn’t aim to blow your mind or anything like that. Like I said, a fun horror pick! Spree is available to rent here and on other VOD platforms.
She Dies Tomorrow
Existentialism as a horror movie, anyone? You got it! Pet Sematary actress Amy Seimetz wrote and directed She Dies Tomorrow, which follows a young woman named Amy who wakes up convinced that she is going to die the next day. Soon, her delusions of imminent death catch on to people she comes into contact with, and thus begins a spiral into anxiety-inducing madness for Amy and her friends. You can check out Amy Seimetz’s recent interview on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast here and rent She Dies Tomorrow here and other VOD platforms.
One of the most well-reviewed horror movies of the summer is Natalie Erika James’ Relic, starring Mary Poppins Returns’ Emily Mortimer and Matrix’s Robyn Nevin. The horror drama, which has been getting praiseworthy comparisons to Hereditary, is about a mother, Kay (Mortimer), and daughter, Sam (Bella Heathcote), who go to their remote family home to search for Kay’s mother, Edna. They find her there, but there’s something supernatural haunting the home and elderly family member. Not only is Relic an impressive summer horror offering, it's a heartbreaking dive into the fears of losing someone to dementia. Relic is available to rent here and other VOD platforms.
It's widely known among horror fans that Elisabeth Moss already gave a chilling performance in Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man at the top of this year. But you may have missed out on her role as the famed horror writer behind The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson, in Josephine Decker’s Shirley. As far as this list goes, Shirley is less so straight horror and more so a cool take on the biopic through interesting uses of thriller elements. It follows the author on the cusp of writing her masterpiece when a newlywed couple disturbs her and husband’s routine. Shirley is available to stream on Hulu and rent on VOD platforms.
Looks like Jordan Peele won’t be the last comedy actor to move into the horror genre. Neighbors’ Dave Franco co-wrote and directed his first feature with this summer’s VOD release The Rental, starring his wife and GLOW actress Allison Brie, Dan Stevens and Jeremy Allen White. The movie is about two couples who vacation together in an ocean-view home rental for a weekend until something dark and sinister changes the tone of their trip. You can check out Dave Franco’s interview with CinemaBlend about The Rental here and rent the movie here and via other VOD platforms.
Not to be confused with the Conjuring universe title that suffered ghastly reviews last year, Shudder’s La Llorona is a hidden gem horror fans should check out on the new streaming platform devoted to genre titles. The Guatemalan flick is a spine-chilling take on the folklore centering on a retired general finally being place on trial for the genocide of thousands of Mayan people, and his targeted family home amidst protests and a supernatural threat. The Enrique family housekeeper becomes entangled in their haunting. You can stream La Llorona exclusively on Shudder.
Which summer horror movie did you miss that you’re going to check out next? Vote in our poll below and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more horror movie news.