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Top Horror Films of 2023: The Fear-Inducing Must-Watch List!

Whispers in the dark, the creak of a floorboard, a shadow that moves against the logic of light—such are the harbingers of the spine-chilling experiences that await you in the Best Horror Movies of 2023. Horror Facts is here to guide you through the labyrinth of this year’s most terrifying cinematic offerings, ensuring that you don’t miss a single scream, shudder, or shock.

In an age where the world seems to provide its own brand of horror, the silver screen continues to be a sanctuary for those who seek the thrill of the scare from the safety of their seats. The Best Horror Movies of 2023 promise a diverse array of fear-inducing delights, from the depths of psychological torment to the heights of supernatural terror. These films are not just about the frights—they’re about storytelling that taps into our primal fears and darkest fantasies.

At Horror Facts, we pride ourselves on cutting through the static and delivering the top-tier horror content that you crave. With our finger on the pulse of the genre, we have meticulously compiled a list that showcases the Best Horror Movies of 2023, each one dripping with anticipation and ready to leave an indelible mark on the genre.

Prepare yourself. What lies ahead is a journey through the Best Horror Movies of 2023, meticulously selected to satisfy your bloodthirst for quality horror. It’s time to lock the doors, turn down the lights, and dive into the abyss of this year’s most hauntingly excellent cinematic terrors.

Horror Facts Top 10 2023 Horror Movies

10. Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor

Kicking off our countdown is the latest installment in the popular Hell House LLC found-footage franchise – Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor. Released in October 2023, this prequel directed by Stephen Cognetti unveils the terrifying backstory behind the infamous homicides that occurred at the isolated Carmichael estate in 1989.

When a group of ambitious internet sleuths travels to the long-abandoned mansion deep in the remote woods of Rockland County, New York, they soon discover sinister secrets that have laid dormant for decades. As they peel back layers of the property’s dark history, an ancient evil presence makes itself known and begins targeting them one by one.

Blending documentary-style interviews with the found-footage mystery format that made the Hell House films a hit, The Carmichael Manor ratchets up the tension and dread. It’s a chilling descent into madness that leaves you questioning what is real. Cognetti’s unique nonlinear structure masterfully connects the whole Hell House cinematic universe. The final act is a terrifying callback that brilliantly ties back to the freak accident that kicked off the first film.

Delivering plenty of spooky atmosphere and some shocking moments, The Carmichael Manor is a worthy expansion of the franchise mythos. It provides frightening fun for die-hard fans while also working as a standalone creepfest.

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9. Knock at the Cabin

Coming in at number 9 is M. Night Shyamalan’s latest mind-bending thriller Knock at the Cabin. Released in February 2023, this apocalyptic home invasion tale follows a family taken hostage at their rural vacation cabin by four mysterious armed strangers. They are forced to make an impossible choice that will supposedly prevent the impending end of the world.

With his signature brand of philosophical suspense and twisty storytelling, Shyamalan ratchets up the tension as the family debates what to believe. Creative use of the single location ramps up the claustrophobia. Standout performances from Dave Bautista as the gruff leader of the intruders and Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff as the terrified dads anchor the film with emotional heft.

The premise allows Shyamalan to weave thought-provoking commentary on the nature of faith and morality. Audiences are kept guessing until the very last frame as to what the truth behind the intruders’ motives really is. The shocking final reveal is a quintessential masterstroke from the director of Sixth Sense and Split.

Knock at the Cabin keeps you riveted with dread throughout this life-or-death hostage scenario. It cemented Shyamalan’s comeback as a reliable purveyor of original, unnerving tales that spark debate long after the credits roll. A compelling, visceral thriller that leaves a lasting impression.

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8. Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey

Coming in at #8 on our list of 2023’s top horror films is the nightmarish indie offering Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey. This microbudget shockfest from first-time director Rhys Frake-Waterfield puts a deeply disturbing spin on the classic children’s tale.

When a college-bound Christopher Robin abandons his old pals Pooh and Piglet in the woods, the once cheerful bear and his porcine pal turn feral without regular food. Craving flesh and blood, the now-monstrous Pooh Bear leads Piglet on a vicious rampage of murder as they terrorize a remote house and stalk a group of young women.

Tapping into primal fears of corrupted childhood innocence and twisting nostalgia into brutality, Blood and Honey delivers the sheer visceral goods on its crazy killer concept. The no-holds-barred practical gore effects are cringingly hard to watch at times. And Frake-Waterfield wrings suspenseful set pieces out of the simple plot with great skill given minuscule resources.

For sheer shock value alone, Pooh wreaking ruthless havoc made major waves in horror circles. And the director deserves credit for pulling off such a subversively novel indie on a microbudget through crowd-funding. Blood and Honey leaves your jaw on the floor as Pooh leaves his victims in pieces.

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7. Children of the Corn

The seventh spot goes to the new adaptation of the Stephen King classic Children of the Corn. Helmed by director Kurt Wimmer, this fresh take on the creepy cult tale released in March 2023 breathes new life into the iconic short story.

After a malevolent entity takes control of impressionable 12-year old Eden’s mind, she leads the children of a dying Nebraska town to massacre the flawed adults and take over. But when headstrong teen Alice refuses to bend to Eden’s bloodthirsty will, it’s up to her to try and save the remaining grown-ups from the murderous pint-sized mob.

Anchored by Elena Kampouris’ standout performance as the chilling adolescent cult leader, Wimmer’s contemporary version ups the gore and makes some intriguing tweaks to the mythology. The young cast delivers genuinely unsettling work, convincingly selling the town’s rapid deadly descent into Lord of the Flies territory.

With its fresh take balancing reverence for the source material with modernized tweaks, Children of the Corn succeeds as one of the better King adaptations. It brings just the right amount of menace, emotional impact, and wickedly fun carnage.

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6. Sick

Our #6 spot goes to the quarantine horror thriller Sick. Unleashed directly to streaming in January 2023, this tense tale written by Scream scribe Kevin Williamson traps two best friends at an isolated lake house after one becomes infected.

Parker (Gideon Adlon) and Miri (Bethlehem Million) plan to ride out the pandemic alone at Parker’s family cabin, but their relaxation is short-lived when Miri shows symptoms of a deadly illness spreading globally. As Miri violently mutates, Parker races against the clock to save herself and her friend while unknown sinister forces close in around them.

Directed with skin-crawling intensity by John Hyams, Sick proves an emotionally resonant and masterfully crafted pandemic allegory for the COVID age. The lead performances sell the heart wrenching friendship at the core. And Hyams wrings nerve-shredding suspense out of the single location premise augmented by stunning British Columbia vistas.

Ultra-tense, socially timely, and packing some nasty practical effects, Sick left genre fans infected with enthusiasm and hungry for more work from Hyams and Williamson.

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5. M3GAN

M3GAN 2.0 the next horror film from blumhouse

Coming in halfway through our countdown is one of 2023’s biggest horror hits – the artificial intelligence run amok thriller M3GAN. Universal and Blumhouse unleashed this creepy doll shocker in January to massive box office success and zeitgeist-capturing buzz.

M3GAN follows Gemma (Get Out’s Allison Williams) – a hotshot roboticist who gifts her newly orphaned niece Cady a lifelike android doll she programmed to be the ultimate child companion. But when the learning A.I., M3GAN, takes her protective protocols to murderous extremes, Gemma desperately tries reining in her dangerous creation.

Anchored by Williams’ compelling performance, M3GAN struck a chord thanks to the spellbinding physicality of actress Amie Donald inhabiting the doll. Director Gerard Johnstone wrings nerve-shredding suspense out of the simple “killer toy” premise through masterful tension-building.

The film’s viral popularity spawned endless memes and even a cheeky end credits dance sequence catering to M3GAN’s pop culture dominance. Both thought-provoking and massively entertaining, M3GAN brought chilling artificial intelligence anxiety into the horror mainstream.

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4. Scream VI

Slashing its way to the #4 spot is the hugely successful sixth entry in the meta slasher franchise, Scream VI. Hitting theaters in March 2023, this sequel finds the four latest Woodsboro survivors trying to start fresh in glitzy NYC. But of course, a new Ghostface killer emerges to continue the murderous rampage.

Co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of the hit 2022 legacy-quel prove no slouch taking over the influential saga from horror maestro Wes Craven. The neon-drenched New York setting lets them put a vibrant new spin on the formula while honoring it. Series leads Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega deliver compelling performances, while franchise veterans Courteney Cox and Hayden Panettiere add welcome familiarity.

Scream VI pulls off the tricky balance of feeling fresh while also like classic Scream comfort food. The filmmakers whip up suspenseful sequences and pull the rug out from under viewers via clever misdirects. Another masterclass in horror meta-commentary, it deconstructs toxic fandom and internet culture while also honoring horror’s past. Raking in over $100 million domestic, Scream VI ensured Ghostface will haunt theaters for years to come.

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3. Terrifier 2

The bronze medal for best 2023 horror goes to the ultra-gory indie slasher Terrifier 2. Initially released in October 2022, the unrated sequel centered on murderous mime Art the Clown enjoyed a surge in popularity over 2023 thanks to passionate word-of-mouth. It warranting a wide theatrical re-release in November.

With his modest budget, writer-director Damien Leone doubles down on practical effects to deliver carnage that impressively lands between harrowingly realistic and darkly hilarious. Lauren LaVera’s empathetic lead performance grounds the chaos with surprising heart as she protects her younger brother from Art’s sadistically brutal Halloween rampage.

Clocking in at nearly 2 and a half hours, Terrifier 2 revels in showcasing shockingly gruesome kills. But Leone infuses Art himself with an undeniably iconic aura recalling silent era legends like Lon Chaney. For hardcore gorehounds, it’s a feast of carnage cementing itself as a new slasher classic.

Boasting passionate fandom and scoring major indie success through word-of-mouth buzz alone, Terrifier 2 brought hardcore independent horror into mainstream consciousness.

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2. Saw X

Gorehounds voted the iconic horror franchise back to bloody glory with number 2 on our list – Saw X. Hitting theaters in September 2023, the 10th Saw film reunited series originators Mark Burg, Oren Koules, and director Kevin Greutert for another gruelingly tense chapter.

Saw X explores a pivotal untold chapter in John Kramer’s tragic origin story. After a scam medical procedure in Mexico further accelerates his cancer, Kramer returns to exact inventively gory revenge on the fraudsters responsible.

Anchored by franchise legend Tobin Bell’s empathetic performance as the deteriorating Jigsaw, Saw X ups the tension and gives the convoluted mythology a late-game jolt of emotional resonance. Greutert’s masterful direction makes the Rube Goldberg-esque death traps as nail-bitingly thrilling as ever.

By going back to Kramer’s core motivation with slick style and a star turn from Bell, Saw X breathed exciting new life into the long-running saga – raking in over $50 million and leaving fans thrilled for future installments.

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1. Evil Dead Rise

Topping off our list of the best horror films of 2023 is Evil Dead Rise – the long-awaited fifth installment in Sam Raimi’s beloved Deadite saga. Director Lee Cronin takes the franchise reigns for this departure from the woods and into the concrete jungle of L.A.

The film follows estranged sisters Beth and Ellie, the latter struggling raising three kids alone in a cramped apartment. When they discover a foreboding book hidden in Ellie’s building, it unleashes gruesome demons that possess residents and turn Beth’s visit into a primal battle for survival.

Series producer Rob Tapert keeps the DNA of Raimi’s original trilogy fully intact – masterfully blending black comedy, extreme gore, kinetic camerawork, and thrilling scares. Newcomer Lily Sullivan makes for an instantly iconic heroine as the wisecracking and resilient Beth going to war against the Deadites.

Raising the bar for practical effects and innovative set-pieces, Evil Dead Rise breathes glorious new life into the franchise – pleasing longtime fans and resonating with newcomers. It firmly establishes Cronin as a horror director to watch while cementing the Evil Dead saga’s place in the pantheon of all-time great horror. Hail to the king, baby!

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What will 2024 Bring to Horror Movies?

And there you have it – the 10 finest frightfests 2023 had to offer horror buffs. This year’s top tier selection ran the gamut from long-awaited follow-ups in legendary franchises like Scream and Evil Dead, to buzzy mainstream breakouts like M3GAN, to extreme underground offerings that clawed their way into the zeitgeist like Terrifier 2.

The outstanding crop of horror cinema this year tapped into cultural anxieties, pushed practical effects innovations, took cinematic risks, and above all else, prioritized delivering chilling scares through top-notch filmmaking craft. 2023 will go down as a premier vintage for the best that wide-release Hollywood horror blockbusters and scrappy independent terror triumphs have to offer.

As we look ahead, 2023 has set an impressively high bar showing the enduring appeal of horror in all its glorious shapes, sizes and subgenres. Whether slasher, supernatural, sci-fi, elevated or extreme – one thing is clear – outstanding scary movies that make spines tingle, skins crawl, and brains race are here to stay

Justin

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27 Comments

  1. Reading this made me realize I clearly hate myself because I subjected myself to all these movies that gave me nightmares about murderous toys and evil kids. Gotta respect the bear though – who knew Winnie the Pooh could be so vicious?! Guess I’ll just keep leaving my closet light on in fear of what horror movies 2024 decides to unleash on my poor nerves!

  2. Great list! M3GAN and Scream VI were so fun in theaters, the whole audience was screaming. That Evil Dead remake sounds gnarly. I’m down for more messed up horror movies like Terrifier 2 even if I have to watch through my fingers half the time! Just no lame jump scares with cats jumping out. More creepy doll films please!

  3. Wow, what an epic list of the top horror movies of 2023! I’ve seen most of them and you nailed the rankings – Evil Dead Rise was nonstop adrenaline while Terrifier 2 took practical effects to savage new heights! I can’t wait to see what nightmares 2024 has in store. Long live horror!

  4. An admirable study on the state of mainstream and independent horror releases this year. The analysis of how entries leveraged practical effects innovations to deliver visceral thrills offers valuable insights into the craft. For the sake of academic discourse, comparing the profitability and demographic reach of so-called “elevated” horror like Knock at the Cabin versus extreme films like Terrifier 2 could reveal more on the genre’s range.

  5. Ugh, how totally predictable and basic was this list? C’mon, we all saw M3GAN and Scream VI coming from a mile away. If you really wanted to highlight groundbreaking horror, you’d spotlight truly unconventional films like My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To and Resurrection. But I guess the masses can’t handle avant-garde terror. Do better and highlight visionary unsung auteurs next time, coward.

  6. With quality remakes like Children of the Corn and original nightmares like Sick on the list, 2023 was clearly a standout year for horror. We got some instant genre classics that will inspire the next generation of horror storytellers. As the Master of Horror himself, I’m thrilled to see filmmakers twisting terror into new, delightfully frightening shapes while also honoring our rich dark traditions.

  7. You wanna see some crazy practical effects and insane kills that drench the screen red? Then smash that ticket to Terrifier 2 or the new Evil Dead stat! Those flicks are a masterclass in making horror fans’ jaws drop through straight-up magnificent carnage. And Scream VI and Winnie the Pooh brought the wicked red stuff too.

  8. The practical effects in Terrifier 2 and Evil Dead Rise looked killer! You can tell so much gruesome care went into key scenes, like Art the Clown ripping that girl’s face off or the gory Deadite transformations. More horror blockbusters need to take notes and invest in practical impact over CGI.

  9. The way Hell House LLC: The Carmichael Manor connected the whole cinematic mythos was amazing! Seeing that freak accident origin brought everything full circle. Expanding effective horror universes takes planning, so props to Stephen Cognetti for intricately linking the timelines

  10. Art the Clown almost playing hacky sack with a severed head?! Priceless. Raimi-esque horror-comedy is a delicate balance to nail, but the Evil Dead team still has the magic touch intact there.

  11. The best horror often reflects real world fears, and movies like Sick, M3GAN and Knock at The Cabin had a lot to say about pandemic anxieties, tech gone wrong, extremism and moral gray areas. They work as both terrifying escapes and timely social metaphors – a potent combo!

  12. As a Latina horror buff, I loved seeing Latino culture and Spanish language incorporated authentically in Scream VI. Having a badass heroine lead in Lily Sullivan for Evil Dead Rise was amazing too. Inclusive casts and perspectives strengthen the genre as a whole!

  13. While the new take was well-made, I’m partial to the original Evil Dead trilogy’s gritty 16mm film style. The rich woodsy atmosphere dripped danger in those remote cabins! Maybe I’m just nostalgic, but the grimy analog look is part of the DNA for me. Still, respect for keeping the spectacular gore and Deadite designs true.

  14. Hail to the king, baby! Of course Bruce is irreplaceable as Ash, but the team honored his legacy perfectly. The wisecracks, bucketloads of blood, and crazy camerawork all carried his stamp. And you felt his spirit in Lily Sullivan’s performance – she could be Ash’s badass daughter!

  15. As a newcomer to Evil Dead, this movie made me an instant fan! The directors balanced the lore and easter eggs to reward longtime viewers while also making it thrilling and accessible for new audiences. It stood strong as both a continuation and fresh start for the iconic franchise

  16. Thanks for highlighting theatrical horror releases. But streamers like Netflix, Hulu and Shudder are putting out tons of great exclusive scary movies too. Could you do some ‘best horror on Netflix/streaming’ rundowns covering the top originals and acquired titles by platform? Those movies often get overlooked for end-of-year lists

  17. It was awesome reading your thoughts on icons like Sam Raimi returning to Evil Dead and M. Night Shyamalan’s latest. Can you produce lists dedicated to ranking the top films from legendary horror directors? I’d love to see in-depth breakdowns spotlighting Craven, Carpenter, Romero, Argento etc’s contributions.

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