The most lucrative movies to be turned into franchises right now are comic book movies. But there’s always been a place for horror franchises at the multiplex, either an endless slew of slasher rehashes like Friday the 13th or an interconnected universe like Cloverfield. No moderately successful horror movie is safe from being forced into a franchise.
Even Happy Death Day got a sequel that turned it into a Back to the Future Part II homage. So, with many burgeoning horror franchises on the horizon, here are 5 Recent Horror Movies That We Hope Will Be The Start Of A Franchise (And 5 We Don’t).
Jordan Peele’s latest horror-fest Us, a dark tale of doppelgangers, is one of the most inventive horror movies in recent years. It’s been a hit with audiences and critics alike, and the ambiguous ending left the door open to sequels. The film set up an underlying mythology that involved government experiments and a violent nationwide invasion, so there are plenty of directions to take a sequel.
Peele has announced that he does have ideas for sequels to the movie: “There’s a lot of different ways to approach continuing in this universe that are at the very least fun in my mind and computer.” However, he’s not telling us any of the ideas just yet, because he’s not sure which one he’ll go with – or if he’ll do a sequel at all.
Robert Eggers’ chilling historical movie The Witch works as a horror film due to its basis in reality. There actually were witch trials and people actually did get banished from their villages and everyone actually did believe in witches and feared them.
Eggers’ haunting use of imagery like a flickering campfire in the stark black of the night to keep his audience unnerved throughout the whole movie. However, the whole mythology of witchcraft and its devastatingly cyclical nature is fully explored in the movie. Everything there is to be said about witches is said in the movie. A sequel would just be a retread.
Fede Álvarez’s recent remake of Sam Raimi’s indie horror classic The Evil Dead was one of the few horror remakes to actually add something to the original. Alvarez had a bigger studio budget and CGI effects that Raimi didn’t have when he was making the original.
Rather than use them as a crutch, he used them to increase the impact of every jump scare or gory moment to make them even more gut-wrenching. Jane Levy’s Mia was a more compelling and less silly protagonist than Bruce Campbell’s Ash, so it would be great to follow her through a trilogy like Ash.
Slasher movies are ripe for franchises. Any horror movie with a mysterious killer who picks off teenagers one by one – whether they’re an escaped mental patient in a boiler suit or a demon running an evil supernatural game of “Truth or Dare” – is inevitably made into a seemingly endless franchise: Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street etc.
But please don’t let Truth or Dare become one of them. The original left the door open for a sequel by (SPOILER ALERT!) drawing millions of people across the world into the demonic game via YouTube. But the movie sucked, so there doesn’t need to be anymore.
Lighting is among the most important elements of horror filmmaking. The way a horror film is lit can make or break it. That’s what made David F. Sandberg’s Lights Out, a scary movie in which darkness is the enemy, such a delight for horror buffs.
In this case, the franchise potential is more than just mere speculation as a sequel has actually been put into development. Eric Heisserer, the writer of the first movie, is back on board to pen the script for a potential sequel, while Sandberg has pledged to return to the director’s chair if a sequel is made – and hopefully it will.
As a spin-off from The Conjuring universe, this one is technically already a part of a franchise – in fact, to the tune of a $365 million worldwide box office gross, it became the highest grossing installment in that franchise. But it shouldn’t be given sequels, like fellow Conjuring spin-off Annabelle (although it certainly will), because it just wasn’t that good.
The writing was sloppy, the set pieces weren’t properly executed, and the movie relied almost solely on jump scares, which are the laziest way to scare an audience. Unfortunately, this is pointless, because a screenwriter named Akela Cooper has already been hired to write a sequel.
David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows was a frightening movie, made in the old-school style of Carpenter-era ‘70s horror cinema, and it has a rich concept that could be explored deeper in sequels. We can all relate to the fear of being followed and that’s what made the movie work so well.
According to distributor Radius-TWC’s co-president Tom Quinn, a sequel has been discussed, and it could follow Maika Monroe’s Jay, or some other unrelated protagonist, as they try to figure out where the paranormal entity came from. The first movie laid some interesting groundwork, but a franchise could really build on that.
The second Jordan Peele-directed entry on this list, Get Out was a monster hit with both critics and audiences, even going on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. There’s been vague talks of a sequel in the years since its release, but it shouldn’t be a franchise. Get Out works brilliantly on its own as a standalone work of cinema.
It was all about the twist – the sinister reason why Rose brought Chris to her parents’ house – and now that we know that, a sequel won’t be able to lull us into the same false sense of security a second time around. And there’s no need to continue Chris’ story, because we saw everything we needed to see in the first one – we can fill in the blanks ourselves.
The home invasion thriller is a horror subgenre that has been done to death, but Fede Álvarez managed to beat some fresh life out of it in 2016 with his movie Don’t Breathe. It flipped the script on the usual home invasion template by having the people breaking in as the protagonists and the guy whose house is broken into as the villain.
The most exciting thing about a sequel to Don’t Breathe, which had a somewhat ambiguous ending, is that producer Sam Raimi said of the rudimentary talks, “It’s only the greatest idea for a sequel I’ve ever heard. I’m not kidding.” That’s something we want to see.
Hereditary might just be the greatest horror movie of the 21st century so far, but it’s not a movie that needs any sequels or continuation. Ari Aster’s directorial debut was acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, and a big part of their enjoyment of it was that it told its story neatly.
Within half an hour, moviegoers realized they’d been completely misled by the trailers about what kind of movie it would be and, from the edge of their seats, they strapped in for a frightening cinematic experience. At the end of the movie, (SPOILER ALERT!) everyone in the Graham family had died, Paimon was given a host body, and he was being worshipped by a coven of followers. We don’t need to see what happened after that, because our imagination of Paimon’s reign is far scarier than any movie could live up to.