New Decade, New Horror
As 2019 ended and brought the decade to a close, I thought it would be interesting to gather data to try to predict what to expect from horror movies in the next ten years. This data covers a broad spectrum and looks at remakes, patterns, and general statistics of what’s to come.
Before we dive into the future let’s study the past. From 2000-2009 remakes of Asian horror movies were the money maker. Both American and Japanese remakes and sequels to The Ring and The Grudge are still being made. In fact, in just a few months we’ll be getting another remake of The Grudge. The Ring being one of the first U.S. remakes in 2002 had the estimated budget of 48 million dollars and brought in approximately 250 million dollars worldwide. On the contrary one of the last remakes, The Uninvited in 2009, had a budget of approximately 10 million and made only 41 million dollars worldwide. It was evident that people were beginning to lose interest. Will we get more of the early 2000s Japanese horror remakes? That depends on the success of the upcoming The Grudge and how people react to it. But my hunch says we won’t be getting more of those, at least not in the first half of the decade.
However, while Asian horror remakes were slowly depleting, a new seed was being planted. The early 2000s were slowly starting the zombie craze phase that bloomed in the early 2010s. After all one of the biggest shows on television, The Walking Dead, emerged in 2010. Some Romero zombie movies were remade in the early 2000s and we also had a few other zombie titles like 28 Days Later and the horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead. The zombie phase became so huge that they made every possible version of it. From zombie beavers to zombie Nazis. As fast the sub-genre rose it dropped. Toward the second half of 2010 to 2019 we barely got any zombie movies. Of course, they are still being made, the zombie sub-genre will probably always be made but distribution companies are much more selective now.
Remakes make up the one pattern that’s easy to study. From the data collected, remakes are done in increments of 30 years, give or take five years, not applying to foreign movie remakes. This has been a trend since the 70s and 80s. The remake of The Blob in 1988 was from that of 1958, a rare case of exactly 30 years. Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1978 was a remake of the 1956 movie of the same title. And of course, there is The Fly from 1986 which was a remake of the 1957 version. This is a trend that continued onto the 2000s. However, in the late 2000s we started getting more reboots than direct remakes. Child’s Play, Suspiria, and Evil Dead—these were stories retold, keeping the same name and skeleton but altered to appeal to today’s generation and audience.
Now what to expect from the next 10 years? What seed has been planted?
If the remake trend of 30 years continues then we should start to see remakes from the very late 80s to the 90s and possibly 2000 and 2001.
And this is already proving to be true since we are expected to get a remake of The Craft, American Psycho, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Grudge, and Cube. Jordan Peele is also making his sequel to 1992’s Candyman. Not to mention, Gremlins 3 is also in the talks. Every year we have seen a ton of sequels but in the next few years, we will be getting a ton more. We are probably getting more remakes than originals in 2020. Some sequels will even revive movies from earlier 2000s. Trick ‘r Treat 2, Saw, Insidious: The Dark Realm, Terrifier 2, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Nun 2, A Quiet Place Part II, just to name a few.
With the success of Marvel movies in the last decade, it’s only natural for horror to jump on the graphic novel bandwagon as well. We already had a comic book style/superhero gone bad movie, Brightburn, showing us what it would be like if Superman was an asshole. The 6 million dollar budget movie was a success bringing in more than four times its budget worldwide.
There was also DC’s Swamp Thing TV show that, despite its raving reviews, got its plug pulled due to an accounting error. In the coming year we already have The New Mutants coming out and if you’re stoked for that, then get excited because there is more where that came from. Eli Roth will be working alongside Jim Carrey to make IDW horror comic’s Aleister Arcane. To top it off, Plan B and New Regency will also make a movie of the horror comic Black Hole, written by Charles Burns. James Wan will be directing Malignant, based on his comic book Malignant Man. Lastly, Morbius from the Spiderverse will have his own movie in 2020 with a dark setting that incorporates a few elements of horror. It’s safe to say we should expect more graphic novel movies in the genre.
Next, let’s look at some upcoming original movies and what to expect as far as style and atmosphere are concerned. In the last five years or so we started getting more stylistic horror movies. A number of acclaimed directors hopped on and made their version of a horror movie. Nicolas Winding Refn directed the colorful The Neon Demon, Darren Aronofsky gave us anxiety-inducing Mother!, and Yorgos Lanthimos offered us The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Just like horror is jumping on the graphic novel pool, many well-known directors both familiar and strangers to the genre will be interested in making a horror movie. Exhibit A, Zack Snyder will be making action-horror Army of the Dead and Edgar Wright will return to the genre with Last Night in Soho.
Artsy slow burns were also huge in the last few years. We had The Witch, The Eyes of My Mother, and of course the beautiful and colorful Midsommar. These slow-burn eye-candy horror movies with huge budgets will continue to be made. We shall also see more story-driven stylish movies on a smaller budget, like Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s Spring. We also had a lot of retro vibes from the last few years such as Turbo Kid, The Guest, and last year’s Mandy. This is definitely a trend that will continue into the next few years at least until 2025.
It appears that in the next few years horror will be both nostalgic and original with some great reboots, sequels, and originals.