2023’s Finest: Unveiling the Best in Horror Cinema

In a retrospective analysis of the horror genre’s landscape in 2023, Richard Newby from The Hollywood Reporter delves into an array of noteworthy releases that captivated audiences across studio productions, indie offerings, and streaming gems.

Starting off the list of major releases is ‘The Boogeyman,’ a film by Rob Savage that expands upon Stephen King’s iconic short story. Following therapist Will Harper’s (Chris Messina) endeavor to restore normalcy for his daughters, Sadie (Sophie Thatcher) and Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair), after their mother’s demise, the narrative ventures into a new lore surrounding the universally feared Boogeyman.

Next on the roster is ‘Cobweb,’ directed by Samuel Bodin, delving into childhood fears within a Halloween-themed setting. Young Peter (Woody Norman) suspects hidden dangers stemming from his parents, Carol (Lizzie Caplan) and Mark (Antony Starr), which coincide with unsettling noises in his bedroom walls. Bodin intricately weaves a tale reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel, exploring the chilling notion of living within a metaphorical witch’s house.

‘Roth’s long-awaited ‘Thanksgiving’ comes in at number eight, chronicling Jessica’s (Nell Verlaque) encounter with a menacing figure resembling the Pilgrim, John Carver, a year after a Black Friday massacre. The suspense builds as Jessica and her friends find themselves under threat, striving to outwit their relentless stalker, embodying the quintessential slasher film tropes.

‘M3GAN,’ directed by Gerard Johnstone and penned by Akela Cooper, initiates the year with a viral horror experience. Roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams) introduces her AI-powered doll, M3GAN, to her niece Cady (Violet McGraw), sparking a sinister turn of events. Despite its PG-13 rating, the unrated version unveils a darker, more ominous narrative.

M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Knock at the Cabin’ adapts Paul Tremblay’s novel, ‘The Cabin at the End of the World.’ The film follows a family’s vacation interrupted by enigmatic strangers bearing an apocalyptic message: sacrifice or face catastrophic consequences. Shyamalan’s signature twists and divergences from the source material add a distinct flavor to the narrative.

David Gordon Green’s ‘The Exorcist: Believer’ explores a contemporary perspective on faith. Angela (Lidya Jewett) and Katherine (Olivia Marcum) return from a mysterious disappearance, displaying unsettling behavior. While Katherine’s parents turn to the church, Angela’s father delves into alternative avenues to confront the supernatural occurrences.

Newby’s reflections showcase a diverse spectrum of horror films that enthralled audiences in 2023, encompassing a mix of iconic adaptations, imaginative narratives, and chilling explorations of fear and the unknown.