The year 2023 has brought an unprecedented wave of horror films, capturing the imagination of audiences worldwide. From spine-tingling microbudget productions to blockbuster sequels, the horror genre has witnessed a renaissance. As we delve into the most captivating and hair-raising films that have graced the screens so far, we anticipate the arrival of even more thrilling titles in the latter half of the year. Before we unveil the top spots, let’s acknowledge some honourable mentions that deserve recognition for their fear-inducing brilliance.
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- “M3GAN” — Despite carrying a PG-13 rating, this killer doll sensation has proven to be a box office hit, resonating with horror aficionados. Heavily influenced by the 2019 reboot of “Child’s Play,” the film offers a viral roller coaster ride of GIF-able kills and viral moments, cleverly navigating a thin plot. Fans eagerly await a darker sequel, building upon Allison Williams’ compelling performance.
- “Sick” — Kevin Williamson, the mastermind behind “Scream,” co-wrote this intriguing low-profile COVID-era mystery, finding a comfortable home on various streaming platforms. With its claustrophobic setting, the film capitalizes on its bloodthirsty experience, skillfully camouflaging budgetary limitations. While the ending may have been a bit over the top, the film’s nostalgic slasher vibe resonates with viewers.
- “The Wrath of Becky” — This amusing yet violent genre gem stars Lulu Wilson as the teenage assassin, Becky, who sets her sights on Proud Boy-esque goons in this sequel to the 2020 neo-Nazi-killing first feature. With Seann William Scott leading the all-male organization, chaos ensues, leaving audiences in stitches. The film’s tension-packed final act and humorous coda leave room for a promising sequel.
The Top Horror Films of 2023 (So Far)
9. Knock at the Cabin
M. Night Shyamalan’s intimate apocalyptic thriller unravels an eerie tale. A small family’s tranquil vacation in the woods is shattered when four desperate strangers arrive, each proclaiming that the apocalypse hinges on one of the family members killing another. Dave Bautista’s standout performance as a gentle giant trying to reason with strangers adds depth to the film. Controversial and impactful, “Knock at the Cabin” showcases Shyamalan’s storytelling prowess.
Cleverly dissecting social media culture, “Influencer” revolves around Madison, an influencer embarking on a sponsored vacation in Thailand. The film’s unpredictability and authentic portrayal of technology and influencer economics make it a hidden gem. Emily Tennant’s compelling performance as Madison and Cassandra Naud’s enigmatic role as a fellow traveller adds to the film’s intrigue.
7. The Blackening
A sweet treat for horror fans, “The Blackening” is a genre comedy reminiscent of “Scary Movie.” Brimming with quirky characters and clever twists, the film keeps audiences amused throughout. While not every gag hits the mark, the film’s pace and joyful theatergoing experience make it a memorable watch. A hilarious mid-credit scene sets the stage for a potential sequel, much to the delight of fans.
6. Scream VI
The latest instalment in the iconic slasher series injects fresh life into the franchise. Picking up after the events of 2022’s “Scream,” the film follows two sisters who find themselves pursued by yet another Ghostface in the bustling streets of New York City. Boasting an impressive cast, thrilling fight scenes, and nods to its predecessors, “Scream VI” successfully revives the franchise.
5. Brooklyn 45
Ted Geoghegan’s historical séance thriller is a captivating blend of style and emotion. Set primarily in a single room, the film revolves around a group of WWII veterans attempting to contact a deceased comrade’s wife. As spooky events unfold, jaw-dropping twists keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Anne Ramsay and Kristina Klebe deliver impactful performances, making “Brooklyn 45” a must-watch for horror enthusiasts.
4. Evil Dead Rise
Lee Cronin’s gory tribute to the “Evil Dead” series takes the horror to an apartment complex, resulting in a fresh and thrilling canvas for scares. A young aunt finds herself trapped with her sister, who has turned into a deadly Deadite determined to harm her children. The film delivers visceral gore and introduces a terrifying new monster to the “Dead” lore. The stage is set for a potential sixth movie, leaving fans eagerly awaiting more from the franchise.
3. Infinity Pool
Alexander Skarsgård’s mesmerizing performance in “Infinity Pool” is a highlight of the film. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, the movie follows James, a novelist who marries into wealth and indulges in violent and sexual revelry with vacationers at Li Tolqa. The blend of psychedelic imagery and distressing brutality delves into James’ descent into depravity, expertly portrayed by Skarsgård. Mia Goth’s supporting role adds to the film’s intrigue and intensity.
2. Beau is Afraid
Ari Aster’s follow-up to “Midsommar” ventures into the realm of anxiety and social commentary. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a compelling performance as Beau, a perpetually anxious individual living in a rundown near-future neighbourhood. The film’s satirical elements and astute social commentary create a suffocating atmosphere that resonates with viewers. “Beau is Afraid” may divide audiences, but its unique approach to horror promises a lasting impact.
Kyle Edward Ball’s debut feature is a triumph in experimental storytelling. Shot on a shoestring budget at the director’s childhood home, “Skinamarink” delves into the haunting fears of growing up. Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, the film presents a novel perspective on the eerie happenings that surround us. “Skinamarink” is an unconventional masterpiece, solidifying its position as the most divisive yet compelling film of the year.
The first half of 2023 has ushered in an extraordinary selection of horror films that have left a lasting impression on viewers. From psychological thrillers to slasher classics, the genre continues to captivate and terrify audiences across the globe.
- Are these films suitable for all audiences? Horror films can vary in content and intensity, so it’s essential to check the ratings and reviews before viewing. Some may contain graphic violence and disturbing themes.
- Can I find these films on popular streaming platforms? Yes, many of these horror films are available on popular streaming platforms like Hulu, Shudder, Paramount+, and Apple TV+.
- Are there any upcoming horror films to look forward to in 2023? Absolutely! The second half of 2023 promises even more exciting