What to Watch: the Scariest Movies & TV [January 2021]
Updated: Jan 26
New year, new horror. Celebrate new beginnings as January welcomes a smashing selection of spooky new offerings.
January 1, 2021 - "Insomnia" (Crackle) 📺 🇺🇸
Sci-fi thriller series, "Insomnia," kicks off the new year with chilling suspense and nonstop action. Set in Moscow, Russia, Insomnia is an illegal game held once a year in an exclusive casino where only the rich and the powerful can play. The ultimate game of life and death -- and there can only be one winner.
Creators: Slava N. Jakovleff, Ilya Kulikov
Cast: Alex Jay, Dylan Everett, Shaun Sipos
January 4, 2021 - "30 Coins" (HBO Max) 📺 🇪🇸
In "30 Coins," Father Vergara (Eduard Fernández) is an exorcist, boxer and ex-convict who was exiled by the church to a remote town in Spain. Strange things begin to happen and his enemies come back to haunt him -- a cursed coin seemingly at the heart of it all.
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Writers: Álex de la Iglesia, Jorge Guerricaechevarría
Cast: Eduard Fernández, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Megan Montaner
January 12, 2021 - "Horizon Line" (VOD) 🎞 🇸🇪
In the thrilling and unforgivably frightening survival story, "Horizon Line," two former lovers discover new altitudes of fear when the pilot of their small plane suffers a fatal heart attack on the way to their friend's tropical island wedding.
Director: Mikael Marcimain
Writers: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken
Cast: Allison Williams, Alexander Dreymon, Keith David
January 12, 2021 - "Two Sentence Horror Stories S2" (The CW) 📺 🇺🇸
This fan-inspired anthology series, "Two Sentence Horror Stories," taps into the universal primal fears of mankind - despite our differences, "the things that haunt us are still the same."
Creator: Vera Miao
Cast: Nicole Kang, Gentry White, Mardy Ma, Wei-Yi Lin
January 13, 2021 - "Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer" (Netflix) 📺 🇺🇸
"Night Stalker," a limited docu-series on Netflix, tells the true tale of the manhunt for the LA night stalker, one of the most notorious serial killers in American history.
Directors: James Carroll, Tiller Russell
Cast: Gil Carrillo, Frank Salerno, Tony Valdez
January 14, 2021 - "Hunted" (Shudder) 📺 🇧🇪
A modern and radical take on the Little Red Riding Hood fable, "Hunted" follows Eve (Lucie Debay), who finds herself amidst a flirtatious encounter in a bar, yet becomes the unknowing target of a misogynistic plot and is forced to flee, fighting to survive in the wilderness.
Director: Vincent Paronnaud
Writers: Vincent Paronnaud, Léa Pernollet
Cast: Christian Bronchart, Lucie Debay, Ciaran O'Brien
January 15, 2021 - "Don't Tell a Soul" (VOD) 🎞 🇺🇸
Two teenage brothers steal thousands of dollars to help their sick mom, when a security officer - the only witness to their crime - falls down a forgotten well. Find out what happens next in this dark and savvy film, "Don't Tell a Soul" - but, don't tell a soul.
Writer/Director: Alex McAulay
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mena Suvari
January 15, 2021 - "Servant" (Apple TV) 📺 🇬🇧
The insidiously haunting series, "Servant," returns for a second season this year, but has taken a supernatural turn. The young couple mourns the loss of their baby, but hires a strange nanny to care for their doll, that the mother thinks is real.
Creator: Tony Basgallop
Cast: Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free
January 15, 2021 - "Promising Young Woman" (VOD) 🎞 🇺🇸
Nothing in Cassie's life is what it appears to be -- she's wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she's living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs from the past in "Promising Young Woman."
Writer/Director: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie
January 16, 2021 - "A Monster Calls" (Netflix) 🎞 🇪🇸
Originally released in 2016 but brand new to Netflix this January, "A Monster Calls" is a dark fantasy adapted from a novel by Patrick Ness. A co-production between Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, the film follows Conor, a boy with a terminally ill mother who is visited by a monster with three stories.
Director: J.A. Bayona
Writer: Patrick Ness
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones
January 17, 2021 - "No Escape" (Hulu) 🎞 🇺🇸
While "No Escape" made its VOD debut in September, it is officially streaming on Hulu as of January 17th. Tensions run high in the new Vertical Entertainment release as one group of influencers must fight for their lives inside a Russian torture chamber. In Cody's review, she called it "a gem among escape room movies" and "extremely tense throughout."
Writer/Director: Will Wernick
Cast: Keegan Allen, Holland Roden, Denzel Whitaker
January 18 - "Alone" (Amazon Prime) 🎞🇺🇸
A recently widowed traveler is kidnapped by a cold blooded killer in "Alone," only to escape into the wilderness where she is forced to battle against the elements as her pursuer closes in on her. We reviewed "Alone" at Fantasia Festival and loved it!
Director: John Hyams
Writer: Mattias Olsson
Cast: Jules Wilcox, Marc Menchaca, Anthony Heald
January 22, 2021 - "Psycho Goreman" (VOD) 🎞 🇨🇦
Two siblings unearth a gem that resurrects an ancient alien overlord that attempted to destroy the universe millions of years ago. Thanks to their possession of the amulet, the "Psycho Goreman" is forced to obey their childish whims.
Writer/Director: Steven Kostanski
Cast: Matthew Ninaber, Kristen MacCulloch, Rick Amsbury
January 27, 2021 - "Resident Alien" (Syfy) 📺 🇺🇸
"Resident Alien" is a sci-fi comedy-drama series that follows an alien that has crash-landed and poses as a doctor to complete his secret mission on Earth. But -- his nefarious mission is endangered when he realizes a 9-year-old-boy can see his true alien form.
Creator: Chris Sheridan
Cast: Elizabeth Bowen, Levi Fiehler, Meredith Garretson
January 28, 2021 - "The Queen of Black Magic" (Shudder) 🎞 🇮🇩
A re-imagination of the 1981 Indonesian horror classic of the same name, "The Queen of Black Magic" centers on a family who pays a visit to the father's orphanage, but is plagued by a supernatural entity looking for revenge.
Director: Kimo Stamboel
Writer: Joko Anwar
Cast: Ario Bayu, Hannah Al Rashid, Adhisty Zara
January 29, 2021 - "The Night" (VOD) 🎞 🇺🇸
In psychological thriller, "The Night," an Iranian couple finds themselves locked in an old hotel with no other but their baby and a malevolent force that hungers for the secrets that lie between them.
Director: Kourosh Ahari
Writers: Kourosh Ahari, Milad Jarmooz
Cast: Shahab Hosseini, Niousha Noor, George Maguire