The Best Horror Movies In 2023

There are plenty of things 2023 could be remembered for, with the most important by far being what a good year it was for horror movies. Well, maybe not the most important, but it really was one of the best years the horror genre has ever seen. Fans were spoiled for choice when it came to delightful frights to watch.

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Major franchises had landmark entries, while newcomers to the scene also left their bloody mark. Whether you were hoping for a big-budget blockbuster or an indie darling, you were treated to both in 2023. It was such a great year for horror that we decided to put together a list of some of the best ones.

We took different things into account for this list. Reviews, fan reaction, pure fun, impact on the genre, and more were all considered. We wanted to celebrate a mix of beloved franchises and new properties, so there’s something for everyone here. The list is in no particular order since every movie is number one for someone!

10 Skinamarink

New Horror For Old Fears

Skinamarink Staircase viewed from a distance
Via Shudder.

Skinamarink isn’t a traditional horror experience, but it plays on some of the fears we developed in our earliest years. It follows two children who wake up to find their father inexplicably missing from the house, while things around them continually disappear. It harkens back to childhood fears of the unknown, the things we can’t explain, and it does it all with great care.

The exquisitely crafted atmosphere and unique shot composition weren’t for everyone, Skinamarink was divisive among both fans and critics for being so different from the usual horror fare. It’s the sort of experience you have to invest in, letting it sweep you up. If you do, you’re in for a horror experience unlike any other.

9 Scream VI

New York, New Rules

The two female protagonists of Scream VI stand amidst police cars, looking frightened.

Scream is one of the most beloved properties in horror history, thanks largely to its self-aware nature and willingness to poke fun at both itself and the horror genre as a whole. After the fifth entry fans were growing worried that Scream was losing steam, but Scream VI put those fears to rest.

A new setting and improved cinematography help things feel fresh again, with great performances from Melissa Barrera and horror darling Jenna Ortega. Although it suffers for not having Neve Campbell back in the role of beloved final girl Sidney Prescott, Scream VI stands on its own as a rejuvenating entry in this iconic series of films.

8 When Evil Lurks

The Critics Favourite

A shot from When Evil Lurks - two men stand outside a lit house at night. The man on the right wields a rifle.

Beloved by just about every critic who has seen it, this Spanish-language horror film hits hard. A supernatural, psychological horror it takes that old horror classic, possession, and brings it to new places by mixing some of the tropes we’ve come to expect from zombie movies.

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It’s a harrowing watch, but one worth enjoying. We won’t spoil the ending for you but it’s one that will stick in your mind for quite a while. When Evil Lurks deserves every bit of acclaim coming its way.

7 Thanksgiving

A Movie To Be Thankful For

A man menacingly looms over a cooked turkey after stabbing it with a kitchen knife.

When it comes to horror, Eli Roth is perhaps best known for the Hostel movies. That deserves to change with Thanksgiving, a love letter to the slasher genre with an all-star cast. Thanksgiving is a perfect example that not every horror movie has to be a masterpiece to be a great time.

A killer dressed as a pilgrim in a John Carver mask terrorizes a town, there really isn’t a need to say more. While some critics found it too straightforward a film to be worthy of praise, horror fans know that there’s a time for arthouse and there’s a time to just watch a movie that reminds us why we love horror.

6 Talk To Me

Gripping

A young woman with an evil grin, possessed by the dead.

Talk To Me, the debut film of Australian directors Danny and Michael Philippou, is a modern take on a horror favourite trope. Young people performing a seance, what could go wrong? Predictably, a lot goes wrong for the cast of Talk To Me, but it’s one of the best horror movies of the year because of it.

A sense of dread is expertly crafted and built upon throughout the film. The visual effects are top-notch, and the message that grief can make us vulnerable to poor decisions is a powerful one. Nominated for a list of awards, Talk To Me is a great first film from the Philippou brothers who were originally known for a horror comedy YouTube channel.

5 Saw X

Reviving A Franchise

Amanda Young from the Saw franchise, her pig mask sitting atop her head.

Saw became one of the big names in horror with new entries expected to hit cinemas regularly for Halloween. Although fans still enjoyed it for what it was, the convoluted timeline made things difficult to follow. Writing out the main villains, John Kramer and Amanda Young, in the third movie also felt like a major loss to the films even if the traps remained a beloved feature.

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Saw X fixed these problems by being a midquel, set between the first two films. This provided a much cleaner timeline to work with and allowed both Kramer and Young to return. Although Saw X may not be as good a horror movie, critically speaking, as some of the others from 2023 it is one of the best simply for bringing Saw back to its former glory.

4 Huesera: The Bone Woman

Body Horror At Its Best

A woman stands in the doorway to a room, looking at an empty crib.

This Mexican-Peruvian film might have flown under your radar, many Spanish-language films fail to get the attention they deserve in English-speaking countries. Huesera: The Bone Woman tells the story of a young pregnant woman, cursed by an evil spirit.

The film excels at exploring the notion that for many people motherhood can feel like a curse, using unsettling imagery and body horror to take the audience to some truly uncomfortable places. The directorial debut of Michelle Garza Cervera, Huesera: The Bone Woman is a must-watch.

3 Totally Killer

A Trip Through Time

Kiernan Shipka in Totally Killer, crouching in wait for the serial killer. She is armed with a wrench and a baseball bat.

Kiernan Shipka, known for Mad Men and Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, stars as the final girl of Totally Killer. Think of it as a mash-up between Halloween and Back To The Future, as Shipka is hurtled into the 80s to stop the original killing spree of the Michael Myers-esque figure who tormented her mother.

It’s a fun premise and the film mostly capitalizes on it, although there’s certainly room for sequels to do more with the idea. It’s a nod to your favourite slasher movies rather than something totally new, but we’re in a time where those movies are seeing a revival, so something irreverently reverential like Totally Killer is a great movie to kick back and eat popcorn with.

2 Sick

From The Creator Of Scream

Two young women in protective masks, driving in a car during the Covid pandemic.

Most people associate Wes Craven with the Scream franchise, understandably so, but writer Kevin Williamson is arguably more responsible for the franchise. Sick is his latest offering, a timely film set during and largely about the COVID-19 pandemic.

By making full use of the conceit of its 2020 setting it dodges the danger of seeming dated in years to come, the state of the world at that time is vital to the film and will help it feel like a window into that time. If you’re craving a new favourite slasher flick, Sick might be the cure for what ails you.

1 M3gan

The Horror Of The Future

The artificial intelligence doll M3gan grips a womans face.

You’ve probably seen the dance even if you haven’t seen the movie, but let’s just say M3gan is a modern horror worth watching. The main reason for this is it knows exactly what it is, a campy and funny horror movie about a killer doll inspired by Chucky and Annabelle, but with a technological twist.

That self-awareness is something people appreciate in horror perhaps more than any other genre. You’ll laugh, you’ll delight in the kills, you’ll want to learn the dance. It’s helped by a short runtime too, as many horror movies of recent years can be a little too self-indulgent.

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