The 10 Best Horror Movies of 2023 Ranked

2023 may have been a tough year for many movies, but it was a damn good year for horror. While movies like Washing, lightningand Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning horror films have become blockbusters almost every month, struggling to make waves or make money. Horror even had a great year on streaming platforms where original movies were released HuluPeacock, Prime Videoand of course Shudder.

But which horror films were the absolute best of the year? From box office hits to critical darlings (and in many cases both), these 10 horror films defined 2023 and proved they’re breathing new life into the genre.

10. Sick

Blumhouse

Since the pandemic, Hollywood has been trying to create COVID stories… but no one wants them. From the box office of Katie Holmes, Alone togetherto NBC’s Connectingwhich was canceled before the first season was completed, COVID is still too bleak and raw a subject for most viewers.

But Sick was different. In the film, a group social distancing in a secluded lake house is haunted by a masked killer. The setting of COVID gave the film a good sense of grounding and was a great vehicle for explaining why the group was so far away from the others and why no one came to help. Granted, the film certainly has similarities Foreignersbut if you love this style of endlessly suspenseful horror, Sick is a must see movie.

9. M3GAN

M3GAN doll from the movie M3GAN
Blumhouse

Released in January M3GAN had very little competition in theaters. Avatar: The Path of Water still dominated the box office week after week, and apart from forgettable titles like these, hardly any other new movies Aircraft and House party they were released. Fortunately, the cheesy horror movie antics have become a cultural phenomenon.

M3GAN centered around an AI-powered, life-size doll that goes murderous and cuts down anyone who gets in her way. Plus she dances. It didn’t take long for social media to start buzzing M3GAN. Drag queens have dressed up as her, people have performed her now-iconic dance moves, and she’s even appeared at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. She was a demented doll everywhereand for good reason. The film was cheesy but aware of its absurdity, which made it a lot of fun.

8. Five Nights at Freddy’s

Chica the Chicken in Five Nights at Freddys
Universal images

Five Nights with Freddy earns a spot on this list because even though it’s not that great of a movie, it has a lot of great aspects to it. No, it wasn’t very scary, and unfortunately the movie completely lacks the jump scares that the game is known for. And yet it became a roaring hit. Everyone out there remembers the deep-seated fear we all secretly had of Chuck-E-Cheese, knowing that something that big emotionless animatronic was just…not right.

FNAF knows how to tap into our secret childhood fears, so audiences flocked to theaters and the Peacock to see the film despite lackluster reviews. Not only did the film gross over $287 million at the box office, it also became Peacock’s most watched film of all time. With the iconic Matthew Lillard and a ton of easter eggs for fans of the franchise (including some deep cuts), the film knew how to draw audiences in, regardless of what the critics thought. FNAF ended up being the highest-grossing horror film of 2023, an accolade it deserved.

7. Blackening

A group of friends play a game in The Blackening
lionsgate

Like in a demented horror movie Jumanji, a group of black friends are forced to play a board game…or risk losing their lives. The game challenges them on their knowledge of black culture and forces them to sacrifice someone when they get a question wrong. Blackening it’s hilarious but morbid and has a deeper story about race and discrimination.

But like Get off, the meaning isn’t heavy-handed like some PBS children’s special, but instead is wrapped up in a deliciously entertaining and compelling plot. The film questions who the real villains are and has some incredibly clever lines and great moments along the way.

6. He saw X

The Billy puppet in Saw X
Lionsgate

Another successful sequel this year was He saw Xwhich actually takes place between Saw and He saw II. Fans and critics alike loved the film’s return to form, praising the return of Jigsaw and Amanda and the film’s story – reminding everyone that Saw movies can be more than just unnecessary bloodshed and actually have compelling stories.

Not only is it one of the best horror movies of 2023, but it’s also one of the best Saw movies of all time, and it earned a much-needed victory for a franchise that many thought was dead years ago. He saw X it also has some truly hideous and sadistic trappings (true story: My roommate literally passed out while watching the movie), so it’s perfect for gorehounds and anyone who misses the 21st century “torture porn” era.

5. No one will save you

A young girl hides from an alien in the movie No One Will Save You
20th Century Studies

No one will save you function Dopesick actress Kaitlyn Dever must escape an alien invasion and her own tragic past in this unique First Contact film. The film begins more like a home invasion movie as Dever is chased around the house by an alien intruder. But at the end it is clear that the aliens have started taking over every person in her town and they intend to conquer the world.

What makes the film even more memorable is the fact that it has virtually no dialogue, so the plot is not thrust upon the audience and is up to them to interpret. No one will save you can best be described as unusual – doesn’t fall easily into horror or sci-fi norms, and its atmosphere totally changes as the film plays out. But it captivates you and keeps you watching, until the shocking (and hilarious) ending.

4. Evil Dead Rise

Deadite from Evil Dead Rises
New Line Cinema

Bruce Campbell has returned to the franchise that made him famous (this time as an executive producer). Evil Dead Rise. In a separate sequel, the family must escape their apartment after the Deadites return, bringing more blood, gore and horror. The film received rave reviews, became a hit at the box office and even caused some stir controversy at its SXSW premiere.

During the post-film Q&A, someone in the audience started yelling how much they hated the movie, to which Campbell responded, “What are you doing here? Get the hell out of here.” The audience then erupted into cheers and the incident went viral. With regard to Evil Dead Rise‘with 84% Rotten Tomatoes score and his $146 million in box office, it seems that this fool’s opinion was not shared by the rest of the public.

3. Absolute killer

Masked killer in Total killer
Blumhouse

After premiering to rave reviews at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, An absolute killer became a Prime Video exclusive. In Julie Bowen’s film (Modern family) plays a mother who survived a serial killer 30 years ago. But after the killer somehow returns and murders her, her daughter decides to go back to the 1980s to prevent her mother’s death.

Complete with time travel and 80s camp vibes, An absolute killer is a cheesy and funny film that’s quirky and fun while also being a really smart and solid entry into the slasher subgenre. The film also scored an impressive 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is no easy feat for a live-action horror film. But An absolute killer proved that sometimes you can’t find the best movies in theaters.

2. Scream VI

Ghostface stands in an empty theater in Scream 6
Paramount Pictures

After Scream the franchise returned with Scream V, complete with a new generation of stars included WednesdayJenna Ortega, 2023 saw another sequel, Scream VI. And in the classics Scream style, was bigger and wilder than its predecessor, this time placing Ghostface in New York. The new setting worked flawlessly and the film was as exciting and clever as ever.

The new cast continued to grow in their roles and perform better than Scream V, and the movie even got a comeback Scream 4 fan favorite Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere). Plus, new additions to the cast like Jack Campion and Dermot Mulroney fit the franchise’s vibe perfectly. Scream VI grossed over $168 million at the box office and became the highest grossing Scream film since then Scream 2 in 1997.

1. Talk to me

The infamous handshake from Talk to Me
Causeway Films / Causeway Films

One of the biggest surprises of 2023 was speak with me, an Australian film that put a unique twist on the classic “monkey’s paw” trope. In the film, a mysterious severed hand gives people the power to communicate with the dead, but if the connection takes too long, the spirit can possess the victim and cause carnage and mayhem.

speak with me had a very successful premiere at film festivals, premiering to rave reviews at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival before heading to Sundance and SXSW in 2023. The film was met with rave reviews everywhere it was screened and eventually demanded a worldwide release. Made on a budget of just $4.5 million, speak with me it eventually grossed nearly $92 million in theaters, making it one of the highest-grossing horror films of the year.

speak with me is the best horror movie of 2023 because it’s both genuinely terrifying and doubles as a great metaphor for family trauma. However, this isn’t one of those critically acclaimed “horror” films that plays more like a drama; it has real scares and like all great horror movies it leaves a lasting impression.

Editor’s recommendation