There’s no doubt that 2022 was a great year for horror movies, with Scream, Barbarian, Smileand Do not speak evil scoring not only with audiences but also critics. Even B movies like Orphan: First Kill and Terrify 2 were better than they had any right to be, providing the slasher genre with a deep bench of highbrow and lowbrow hits for fans to choose from.
The good news is that 2023 looks set to be no different. With M3GAN Ruling the box office with its killer TikTok dance moves, the horror genre is poised for even more success this year with a slate full of worthy originals, reboots, sequels and adaptations. These movies have the most potential to be as good as their 2022 brothers and sisters.
Skinamarink (now in cinemas)
You won’t have to wait long to see this one as it’s already in theaters and will premiere on Shudder on February 2nd. The Canadian horror film has a bare plot: In 1995, two teenagers wake up from a dream in the middle of the night to discover strange things happening in their empty home. Regular objects like doors and windows keep disappearing, their father is nowhere to be found, and the lines between reality and nightmare begin to blur.
Directed by first mate Kyle Edward Bell, Skinamark is a lo-fi affair shot on digital cameras on a meager $15,000 budget. What the film lacks in polish, it more than makes up for in creating genuinely creepy vibes as Bell uses shadows and silence to create scares. While some have complained about the nonsensical plot and barely audible dialogue, Skinamark is one of the few horror films that accurately reflects the experience of being trapped in a waking nightmare. See it before it becomes the cult classic it will inevitably be considered.
Knock on the cabin (February 3)
Who is that knocking at the door? It’s M. Night Shyamalan back with another mid-budget horror flick that’s sure to disturb you. In this one, the premise is simple: a young family (two fathers and a little girl) decide to vacation in a remote cabin in the woods. They are quickly visited and quickly captured by four people who claim that they have to kill one of them to prevent the apocalypse.
Adapted from aPaul Tremblay’s award-winning horror novel The cabin at the end of the world, the film has all the hallmarks of a good Shyamalan film: an isolated location, a high-concept premise, and a twist ending that few will see coming. The cast of the film which includes Glass onion‘s Dave Bautista, Hamilton‘s Jonathan Groff, and Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, is exciting, and if it lives up to the ominous trailer, Knock on the cabin can join The sixth Sense and Share as one of Shyamalan’s best works.
Book Club: The Next Chapter (May 12)
Yes, 2018’s septuagenarian gabfest Book club gets a sequel. You can’t get more horrible than that. Of course we’re kidding, this isn’t a horror movie, and we’re glad Jane Fonda is getting more work.
Cuckoo (TBD 2023)
Not much is known about the upcoming film Cuckoo. Neon, the studio behind the film, has only revealed that it is about a teenage girl, played by Euphoria actress Hunter Schafer, who is forced to move with her family to a remote resort. We can only assume that it will follow the classic horror plotline where the main character finds out that things are not exactly as they seem.
We are suckers for remote horror movies like Evil hotel and The innkeepers, and this promises to carry on the tradition of uncovering the things that go bump in the night. Together with Schafer, the guest’s Dan Stevens and The gray manJessica Henwick rounds out the exciting cast.
The Exorcist (October 13)
It is hard to believe that the original The Exorcist was released the day after Christmas in 1973. What’s more incredible is that there were lines around the block, with eager patrons waiting to see a little girl stab herself in the groin with a crucifix, throw up pea green soup on a priest and utter unspeakable things that would make the most jaded viewer blush. The rest, they say, is history. The film broke box office records, earned 10 Oscar nominations and became one of the defining films of the horror genre.
After two sequels, two prequels, and a Fox TV series starring Geena Davis (!), the original film is finally getting the reboot/sequel treatment that other horror franchises have received in recent years. The creative team behind this endeavor is Halloween’s David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jason Blum, which brought the nearly dead Michael Myers franchise back to life at the box office. Not much is known about this one yet, except that Ellen Burstyn, star of the original, reprises her role as Chris MacNeil, mother of the unfortunately possessed Regan. That alone ensures that we see the opening weekend.
Scream VI (March 10)
Last year, the Scream franchise was awakened from its 11-year slumber with Scream, a reboot/sequel hybrid that saw the original three stars — Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox — return to help a new generation of teenagers from being sliced and diced by a new Ghostface. The film was a surprise hit (Scream 4 had been a dud), and since franchises never die, a sequel was quickly ordered, with most of the reboot crew returning (Campbell declined due to an insulting cash offer, while Arquette is not returning due to his character, Dewey, who meets an unfortunate end in the last).
Like the not so big one Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Scream VI takes place in New York City. The trailer features franchise favorite Kirby (again played by Hayden Panettiere) and a good use of Big Apple staples (Ghostface stalking the subways!) as the film promises to do something different from previous installments. What exactly that is is still anyone’s guess, but the filmmakers are wisely leaning into what worked last time (more Martin twins banter and Gale Weathers taking no prisoners) and capitalizing on the recent popularity of Wednesday star Jenna Ortega to make this sequel something special. This movie could be bad, but we here at DT are Scream fans, so we’re looking forward to seeing it.