Thanks to its ability to consistently perform at the box office, the horror genre has managed to endure the major upheavals that have changed so much of what it means to go to the movies in recent years. The last decade has seen the release of some genuine horror masterpieces, and 2023 has also had its fair share of interesting, notable horror movies.
While none of the movies on this list are out-and-out masterpieces, all of them excel at thrilling audiences, and serve as pretty definitive proof that the horror genre isn’t going anywhere.
Talk to Me (2023)
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This breakout hit is almost definitely one of the scariest horror movies you’ll see all year, and it comes from a roster of almost entirely fresh talent. The film tells the story of a group of teenagers in Australia who discover a hand that allows them to commune with the dead, and follows them as they use the hand and eventually come to understand the dangers it presents.
Filled with stylish direction and anchored by several deeply unsettling sequences, Talk to Me has become a small-scale phenomenon at the box office, and absolutely deserves all of that success.
The first great meme movie of 2023, M3GAN is horror parody at its finest. The movie follows a young girl and her aunt as they attempt to form a relationship in the face of unimaginable loss. When the aunt decides to introduce an AI companion to her niece, things initially seem to go great before taking an inevitable turn toward the sinister.
Equal parts hilarious and unsettling, M3GAN doesn’t have anything all that serious to say about AI, motherhood, or anything else, but when a movie is as much fun as this one is, deeper meaning feels entirely unnecessary.
Infinity Pool (2023)
Director Brandon Cronenberg is following closely in his father David’s footsteps, and Infinity Pool may be the most twisted movie he’s made yet. The film follows a couple vacationing at a resort in a small foreign country who discover that, after getting themselves into legal trouble, they can clone themselves and watch the clone be killed in order to avoid punishment.
It’s a premise that Cronenberg wrings out all the drama and pathos it has to offer, and the result is a movie that is almost entirely devoid of jump scares, but somehow manages to be the most disturbing movie of the year anyway.
The Blackening (2023)
A self-aware horror movie that takes a page directly from Scream, The Blackening follows a group of friends who find themselves stranded in a cabin with a killer, and take advantage of everything they know about horror movies in order to stay alive.
In the wrong hands, this could be completely exhausting, but The Blackening knows exactly what it’s doing from its very first moment. And, thanks to a strong ensemble cast, the movie is consistently funny without compromising the thrills that any good horror movie should deliver. It has its cake and eats it too, and that’s it’s greatest achievement.
Evil Dead Rise (2023)
Any great Evil Dead movie should be, among other things, incredibly gross. Although Sam Raimi’s original trilogy is also quite goofy, Evil Dead Rise manages to keep a vague inkling of that spirit while telling a story that’s in many ways much more conventional.
The film follows a mother, her two children, and their aunt as they battle against the evil dead after the mom is possessed. Along the way, things get truly gnarly, and that’s part of the movie’s immense charm. Although Evil Dead Rise may not be for everyone, if you’ve liked the other movies in this series, this one will thrill you too.