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10 Best Horror Movies of 2023

From a lo-fi haunted house masterpiece to the big-budget return of Godzilla — it was a good year to be terrified at the movies

Best horror movies 2023


IT WAS THE creepiest of times, it was the here’s-more-comfortable-I.P.-reboots of times….

Horror continues to be one of the few Friday-night multiplex staples that’s the movie equivalent of recession-proof, one of those go-to genres that guarantees good opening weekends and the sort of thrills-chills-spills combinations that sells popcorn. It also remains a low-budget way for high-minded filmmakers to be experimental and subversive, as well as for name-brand patron saints like Jason Blum and Jordan Peele and distributors like A24 to keep introducing fresh blood — metaphorically and literally — into the mix. This was also the year that Shudder, the streaming service that caters to die-hard horror nerds, seemed to step up their game in terms of picking up and putting out smart, sly, and downright scary stuff from all over the globe.

And — no surprise here — 2023 was also a year in which legacy franchises continued to get rebooted, requeled, resurrected and often run into the ground (more SAWs and Screams), while a couple of new up-and-comers laid down what they hoped will be the foundations for long, beautiful friendships. Some felt like they were straining for insta-cult status (M3GAN, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey). Others showed enough potential that they suggested a sort of watch-this-space approach once they got a few more movies under their belts. We’re looking forward to seeing where the creators of It Lives Inside and Talk to Me might take those potential series, or at the very least what these filmmakers do next.

There were surprises, discoveries, left-field takes on established subgenres, and premises that knocked us sideways. It was almost enough of a bounty to make you forget the attempt at turning the Five Nights at Freddy’s video games into the Next Big Horror Thing and the fact that the execrable Exorcist: Believer is the first entry in a new trilogy. Almost.

Our picks for the 10 best horror movies we saw this year run the gamut from kaiju-legend reimaginings to folk-horror nightmares, auteur-driven apocalypses to lo-fi creepypasta dreadfests. We may be in between renaissances and new wave-crestings at the moment, but there’s still enough solid work out there to offer traditional jolts and suggest there’s more to this ever-evolving genre than just jump scares. (Also, some honorable-mention shout-outs to Angry Black Girl and Her Monsters, The Blackening, Evil Dead Rise, Final Cut, The Five Devils, Influencer, It Lives Inside, The Outwaters, Run Rabbit Run, and Talk to Me.)

From Rolling Stone US


‘When Evil Lurks’

A reminder that whenever you come across someone bloated, pus-exuding, and harboring the spirit of an unborn demonic spirit inside their body, do not kill that person. The host’s death will only make the evil much more powerful — and transmittable. An absolutely ingenious melding of both possession and pandemic horror, this splatterrific movie from Argentina’s Demián Rugna was one of those outta-nowhere surprises that left jaws on floors. This is one of the few horror films of 2023 where you will suddenly find yourself involuntarily screaming at the screen: No, don’t put that infected hellspawn in the truck and drive him into the woods! Hey, you, the handsome farmer played by Ezequiel Rodríguez — stay away from your ex-wife’s house in the suburbs! And the family pets! And your kids! (Yeah, this film definitely goes there.) Dear lord, don’t shoot that harmless-looking goat… he’s actually the devil! Oh my god, put that ax down! It’s stomach-turning, vomit-inducing, and nerve-shredding, in the best possible way.



Had Canadian filmmaker Kyle Edward Ball’s singular take on the haunted-house tale done nothing but turn a $15,000, lo-fi production into a minor box-office sensation and TikTok fixation, it would still be the most welcome up-from-the-underground Cinderella story of 2023. But this ghost story adapts the grainy look of found-footage horror and the cut-and-paste vocabulary of experimental movies to stunning effect — it’s the rare genre flick that fans of both Paranormal Activity and Maya Deren can love. A four-year-old boy (Lucas Paul) finds himself alone in his house late at night, seemingly by himself; his mother, father, and older sister (Dali Rose Tetreault) disappear one by one, as do many of the doors and windows leading to the outside world. Odd images of dolls and chairs affixed to the ceiling suggest something wicked this way comes, and that’s before an unknown voice whispers for the boy to pick up a knife. Anyone with longstanding abandonment issues may want to have their therapist on speed-dial before they dip into this waking nightmare. You don’t need a firsthand knowledge of trauma, however, to appreciate the way the Canadian filmmaker so deftly channels the free-form fear and anxieties of childhood. Appreciate, and feel extremely unnerved by. Read our review here.