Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2023: If not for anything, 2022 would be remembered as an especially memorable year for horror movies. From movies that resurrected franchises (Scream, Hellraiser, Prey) to feature films that saw horror auteurs returning back to their roots (Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone, Ti West’s X and Pearl), the year marked a prolific output for the genre, catering to the diverse demands of horror fans. The brutal gore in Terrifier 2, the pulse-stopping tension of The Black Phone, and the WTF premise of Barbarian—each month welcomed the audience with an instant genre classic.
With Blumhouse’s M3GAN topping this week’s box office and the frenzy created by the new Evil Dead Rise trailer, it seems to tease that 2023 would likely follow in the footsteps of its predecessor. While it is too early to foretell this, the various horror movies in line for release this year have definitely got our adrenaline pumping. Here is our list of the ten most anticipated horror movies of 2023.
No one does slasher satires better than Kevin Williamson. The progenitor of the Scream franchise marks his return to the big screen with Sick, a pandemic-inspired slasher flick. The film, directed by John Hyams (who also helmed the underrated Alone (2020)) and scripted by Williamson, is set to be released on Peacock following its premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
The film revolves around two best friends who decide to quarantine at a family lake house only to be hunted by a ‘masked’ killer (Williamson’s ingenuity in creating a cinematic pun with his slasher villain has us already excited!).
9. Infinity Pool
After his critically acclaimed Possessor (2020), Brandon Cronenberg returns with a twisted science-fiction horror thriller, Infinity Pool (2023). Revolving around a rich couple whose exotic vacation goes awry, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, and Cleopatra Coleman and is set to be released this month after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
While the trip-gone-wrong narrative seems familiar, the wild trailer of the film hints at something much more twisted and darker, reminiscent of Cronenberg’s early works as well as his father’s signature body-horror style. Plus, who would want to miss another opportunity to watch Mia Goth go bat-shit crazy after her iconic turn in Pearl? Count me in.
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8. Knock At The Cabin
A gay couple vacationing with their daughter at a cabin (cabins being always a red herring in horror films!) find themselves held hostage by a group of strangers who talk about a world-ending prophecy and compel the family to make a sacrifice.
Adapted from the award-winning novel by Paul Tremblay, Knock At The Cabin is another addition to M. Night Shyamalan’s stack of eccentric horror movies. While Shyamalan’s last feature, Old divided critics, the intriguing premise and the moral dilemma at the heart of Knock At The Cabin signal a grimly entertaining time. Besides, apocalyptic forest cabins have also led to the decade’s most inventive horror flick, courtesy of Drew Goddard!
7. Scream VI
One of the most surprising films from last year, Scream (2022), breathed new life into a franchise with its stabs at toxic fandom, the category of ‘elevated horror,’ and the state of modern horror franchises.
Following the film’s huge success, we are getting a sequel in just a year’s time (FUN FACT: Scream 2 was also released in 1997, less than a year after the first film). The film brings back the surviving cast from the previous film and the director-duo team of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and screenwriters Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt.
In the franchise’s sixth installment, we follow the Woodsboro survivors heading off to New York for a fresh start, only to be stalked by a new killer donning the Ghostface mask. The heavily anticipated film has been further teased by the official Twitter page of the franchise, generating much buzz and conspiracy theories from dedicated fans.
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Who isn’t excited by the prospect of watching Adam Driver wielding a futuristic machine gun and fighting Dinosaurs?
Directed by the magnificent writers behind A Quiet Place, this science-fiction horror film follows Mills (Driver), a pilot who crash lands on a planet only to come to a shocking realization that he is on Earth…but only 65 million years ago.
Described as “Alien meets Jurassic Park,” the viral trailer for 65 sees Driver fighting pre-historic creatures, running from dinosaurs, and protecting a young girl. My ticket is already brought!
5. Evil Dead Rise
Even before its release, Evil Dead Rise has gathered a lot of hype thanks to its gnarly Red Band trailer. Produced by the franchise creator, Sam Raimi, this is the fifth installment in the cult-classic series and is directed by Lee Cronin.
In contrast to the usual cabin-in-the-woods setting of the previous films, Cronin situates his film in an apartment complex, where the discovery of the Book of the Dead leads to a harrowing night for Beth (Lily Sullivan), her sister, and the children.
If the trailer is a sign of initial promise, Evil Dead Rise seems to deliver everything the fans love about the franchise and more! There are possessions, demons, blood, gore, and chainsaws! Director Lee Cronin has further stated how the film required over 6,500 liters of fake blood, and judging from the trailer, it is hard to deny his claims.
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4. Beau Is Afraid
Emotional and familial traumas masquerading as horror films completely changed the genre landscape in the last decade, leading to the coining of the term ‘elevated horror’ (to dive into the problematics of this term is beyond the scope of this humble list!).
A pioneering auteur of this subgenre of horror films was Ari Aster, the mastermind behind the A24-produced Hereditary (2018) and Midsommar (2019). Aster makes his comeback with Beau Is Afraid (earlier titled Disappointment Blvd.), a surrealist horror comedy starring Joaquin Phoenix, set to release this summer. Considering the talent both in front and behind the camera, Beau Is Afraid is likely to be discussed and dissected as Aster’s previous features (we hope that this time the Academy does not turn a blind eye to it!).
3. Insidious: Fear The Dark
The original Insidious, released almost a decade ago, cemented the status of both James Wan and Leigh Whannell as horror masters. The fifth installment in their franchise is directed by Patrick Wilson, the star of the first two films, and continues the story of the Lambert family.
While the franchise’s third and fourth films featured the demonologist Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) and her various quests into The Further, the fifth entry is deemed a sequel to the first two films. In the film, we follow Dalton Lambert (Ty Simpkins reprising his role for the third time) as he heads off to college, only to be haunted by demons from his past.
With most of the original cast and crew returning for the film, we cannot help but get excited for a sequel to one of the best horror films of the previous decade.
2. The Untitled Sequel To The Exorcist
Continuing his streak of making legacy sequels, David Gordon Green (Halloween, Halloween Kills, Halloween Ends) is set to write and direct a new trilogy of films for Blumhouse, which continue the saga of one of the greatest horror films of all time.
While little is known about the film’s plot, it is set to mark the return of legendary actress Ellen Burstyn whose turn in the 1973 original film landed her an Oscar nomination. The film further stars acclaimed thespians like Leslie Odom Jr. and Ann Dowd and is set to be released just near Halloween. Do we have another classic in the making?
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In 2022, Ti West delivered not one but two of the best horror movies of the year. While X paid homage to the various exploitation films of the 1970s, his prequel Pearl adopted a classical Hollywood-style format to depict an insane origin story of its predecessor’s villain.
With both the films emerging as critical darlings, West is set to continue his horror series with MaXXXine, a sequel to X.
MaXXXine would feature the eponymous final girl from X as she travels to L.A. to pursue a career in Hollywood. Goth is set to reprise her iconic role, and judging from her previous teamwork with West, we expect nothing short of a horror triumph.