YOUR 2023 HORROR SCOPE
Okay. So here we go. Another New Year of horror.
We’ve come up with this list of films that we’ve got our eyes on over the next 12 months. There’s a lot there to get potentially excited about. Franchise sequels, original scares … and Nic Cage as Dracula!
However, you know better than us that these details are extremely … err ... flexible. Some dates are tenuous at most. Releases will be pushed back, cancelled, or even brought forward. At least some of these will premiere on Shudder and other streaming channels. Some of these may quietly slip onto VOD, whereas others may just slump into release purgatory. We’ve tried to include all promising (and some not-so-promising) titles. This includes films being given a USA release but no official UK data, and some which are just vaguely expected in 2023.
We hope you enjoy this journey into forthcoming attractions, and it puts some films on your viewing list.
Let’s go …
Devil [Original title: The Devil Conspiracy
Directed by Nathan Frankowski
13th January (USA Only – No UK date yet)
Nutty looking biblical apocalypse movie that has hot-mess written all over it. With a plot that sounds a bit like Christopher Walken’s 1995 film “The Prophecy”, it seems that angels St Michael and Lucifer Morningstar are renewing their beef by possessing mortals. Oh, and the Shroud of Turin gets stolen by a devilish cult, and there’s the imminent birth of the anti-Christ … or something. Production values look higher than you would expect, but you would already know if this was one for you or not
Directed by Oliver Park
13th January (USA Only – No UK date yet)
An interesting and creepy-looking Hebrew horror that looks like it’s a mixture of “The Vigil” and “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”. An ancient demon looks to get hold of a child for its own insidious purposes. Promising. Watch out for Brit actor Paul Kaye adding another genre string to his bow after “Game of Thrones” and multiple TV appearances.
Directed by Mark Jenkin
13th January (USA Only – No UK date yet)
More English folk horror ahoy! With shades of “Shepherd” and “The Wicker Man”, the 1970s-set plot sees a wildlife volunteer on a Cornish island haunted by disturbing noises and images. Surreal and disturbing if the trailer is anything to go by. Early reviews also praise its uncompromising nature and willingness to flummox the viewer. Seeing this is the first attempt at horror by the “Bait” filmmaker you would expect nothing less. By the way, the title rhymes with “Tennis Mane”. You’re welcome.
Directed by Deon Taylor
27th January (USA Only – No UK date yet)
Unorthodox-looking horror (which is our way of saying the trailer is all over the place) from the director of “Black and Blue” and “Chain Letter”. Shot during the pandemic, the film ironically has a group of friends being subjected to a “contagious airborne threat”. Presumably, something that makes people see their worst fears. Just an educated guess…
Directed by Brandon Cronenberg
27th January (USA Only – No UK date yet)
After the uber-weirdness of “Possessor”, David Cronenberg’s son continues down a dark directorial path that his father favoured. This film boasts the presence of current horror hot properties Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth in its cast. As to what it’s actually about …well, a couple taking a holiday on a tropical island get sucked into a depraved subculture after being affected by an accident. Looks suitably weird and Goth seems to be having a ball with the material.
Directed by Jon Wright
27th January (UK)
Described by its director as “Gremlins” meets “Straw Dogs”, if that doesn’t make you want to see it, we don’t know what would. It follows the trials of a city-bred couple moving into a house in rural Ireland. The locals don’t want them there … and neither do the murderous goblins in the woods! We’re promised practical effects rather than CGI and it looks fun. We loved Wright’s criminally underrated “Grabbers” so we’re looking forward to this.
Knock at the Cabin
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
3rd February (UK)
Shyamalan’s career takes more twists than any of his films. At the moment, any of his projects could well receive love or hate from critics and cinema audiences. This one sees a same-sex couple and their daughter being harassed by fanatics who think that the end of the world is genuinely nigh… unless they do something about it. One of the YGROY team has read the book (“The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay) and let’s just say that if he keeps it close to the source material, this has the scope to be as divisive as any of his other films. Watch this space.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey
Directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield
15th February (USA Only – No UK date yet)
This was reported with great delight by the UK media last year. And yes, it’s not supposed to be a maniac in a Pooh mask, but the actual Winnie and Piglet (with tusks) who are going on a slasher rampage. Christopher Robin getting old and leaving them made them feral you see. The copyright for Winnie the Pooh lapsed in the United States during 2022, which made all this possible. If/when/why we get it on these shores (and other European territories) remains to be determined. But we’ll be surprised if it doesn’t sneak onto streaming or VOD at some point.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
24th February (UK)
We’ll admit it. The title itself already cemented it into our “guilty pleasure” checklist. But when we saw the chaotic red-band trailer, we were even more sold. You wouldn’t associate Banks with this kind of wacky material but here we are. It’s based on a “true story”… well, yes, a huge black bear did ingest cocaine in Northern Georgia in 1985, but it left this mortal realm almost immediately as a result. In this cinematic universe, it goes absolutely ape-shit and starts tearing the populace to bloody shreds. Hilarious looking and has the last performance from Ray Liotta.
Directed by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods
10th March (UK)
It’s stretching it a little bit to call this horror. Probably. But Adam Driver with a ray gun shooting freaking dinosaurs, man! It also comes from Beck and Woods who wrote the excellent “A Quiet Place” screenplay. Seeming to be a variation of the original “Planet of the Apes”, it sees astronaut Driver go through a time-warp and land on a dino-populated Earth 65 million years ago (there’s that title). If it has half the charm and tension of “Quiet Place”, then we’re sold. Hopefully, it will squash the need for any further lame “Jurassic” sequels as well…
Directed by Ti West
17th March (UK)
What-the-what?! When Ti West’s “X” did so well at UK screenings, we thought that the unexpected prequel would be a quick shoo-in for last year. Not so. For some unfathomable reason, we’re getting it six months after the rest of the world has seen it. No. We don’t know why either. Anyway, set in 1918, it explores the younger years of the killer from “X” and has an intentional “Wizard of Oz” feel to it. Hopefully, it gets a proper theatrical release in the UK. And then there’s “Maxxxine”. More on which later…
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett
31st March (UK)
Overall “Scream 5” (Stop calling it “Scream”!) had a fairly good reception and boffo box office in 2022, so this next entry was no surprise. However, the absence of Neve Campbell’s “Sidney” is a bit of a blow. From the same directors as the previous entry, this sees the next gen of victims move away from Woodsboro and relocate to New York. Cue moody scenes of the new Ghostface lurking about in the subway. Whilst there’s no Sidney, Courtney Cox is back as Gale Weathers and Hayden Panettiere is definitely returning as Kirby, the fan-favourite character from “Scream 4”. We’re cautiously optimistic… but then we were cautiously optimistic about “Halloween Ends” as well.
The Pope’s Exorcist
Directed by Julius Avery
10th April (UK)
Based on the real-life figure of Father Gabriele Amorth. He was a priest who genuinely acted as the chief exorcist of the Vatican, and is believed to have performed over 100,000 exorcisms during the 91 years of his life. He wrote memoirs and there is already a documentary about him available (“The Devil and Father Amorth”). However, what makes this especially interesting is that Russell Crowe is portraying him, and it’s being filmed by the maker of the WWII horror “Overlord”. The always-brilliant Alex Essoe is also on the cast list which is a good sign. Could be a sleeper, but we’ll see….
Directed by Chris McKay
14th April (UK)
Somewhat brilliantly, the trailer for this has only just been released… and it surpassed expectations. A modern twist on Stoker’s original “Dracula” storyline, it sees Renfield (played by Nicholas Hoult) try to break away from his master’s influence… by going to a self-help group and admitting he’s in a toxic relationship. Appropriately batty to the extreme, it sees Renfield gain superpowers by eating insects (!!) and hooks up with Awkwafina’s “Quincy” to escape. And yes, Nic Cage IS Dracula, complete with a “Sesame St” accent and a mouth full of needle-like teeth. We’re counting the days…
Evil Dead Rise
Directed by Lee Cronin
21st April (UK)
Again, somewhat fortuitously, the red-band trailer for this movie has also just been put out there. And initial reactions are … it rocks! Cronin’s last horror was the Irish creep-fest “The Hole in the Ground”. He’s worked on this with Sam Raimi to follow up on the terrific pitch-black tone of Fede Álvarez’s 2013 reboot… so don’t expect Ash wise-cracking … but do expect chainsaws, blood, and freaky Deadites. This new version sees (yet another) edition of the Necronomicon turn up to turn people into demons. Only this time it’s in an L.A. apartment building. Looking to have a lovely OTT performance from Alyssa Sutherland as a Deadite Mom and plenty of gore, we’re just happy that it isn’t going straight to HBO Max… which we still don’t have in the UK. Finger’s crossed for gallons of grue.
Directed by Patrick Wilson
7th July (UK)
The “Insidious” franchise has had a funny old run with its timeline. Chronologically, it goes 3, 4, 1, and 2. So with that in mind, part 5 takes place 10 years after the events of Part 2. Got that? Rather than focus on Linn Shaye’s lovable “Elise Rainer” this time and explore her pre-part1 life, herewe’re back in the bosom of the Lambert family again. After the spooks from the ghost dimension tried to destroy both Father and Son in previous entries, Dalton Lambert is now college age, but it looks like more murderous spectres are in his immediate future. Interestingly, Dalton is played by the original actor (Ty Simpkins), as are his parents (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne). Also notable is that this is Wilson’s first directing job, and if anyone knows the Lambert family, then it’s him…
The Meg 2: The Trench
Directed by Ben Wheatley
4th August (UK)
Yeah, okay. The first film wasn’t exactly Oscar-material. In fact, it was basically “The Transporter” meets a SyFy “Shark Movie” but with a higher budget. Aside from the sadly-brief beach attack, there wasn’t a whole lot of originality in evidence and was very predictable, making it a “guilty pleasure” at best. But check out the director! Ben-Freaking-Wheatley! The filmmaker who gave us “Kill List” and “In the Earth” has made a giant shark flick! That’s got to count for something, right? No details or trailer yet, but the subtitle suggests that at least part of it will be set in the Mariana Trench with more sharky shenanigans. Worth mentioning that Steve Alten’s sourcebook contains the discovery of another type of “extinct” sea monster. We can only hope
The Nun 2
Directed by Michael Chaves
8th September (USA Only – No UK date yet)
Another did-we-really-need-to-see-a-sequel? project hitting the screens later this year is this next entry in the “Conjuring” cinematic universe. Easily the least impactful of all the films in this franchise, it was nonetheless one of the biggest money-makers and the follow-up has the still-creepy presence of Valak the demon (a returning Bonnie Aarons). Taissa Farmiga is also returning as Sister Irene for this storyline which is taking place in 1956 in France. The pesky title character is thought to be responsible for a priest killing and the sisters from different cloisters are expected to clash again. Helmed this time by Chaves, who also made the underrated “Conjuring 3”.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter
Directed by André Øvredal
Dracula fans are being spoilt this year, along with the earlier “Renfield”, Summer will bring us this more traditional take on the original Bram Stoker legend. Based on a single chapter of the original novel (“The Captain’s Log”) which has been historically ignored or only skimmed over in most modern adaptations, this details how Dracula got from Transylvania to Whitby. By boat. And the crew paid for it. Helmed by the “Jane Doe” and “Troll Hunter” auteur, this features the brilliant Liam Cunningham and Javier Botet as another piece of dream casting for the Dark Count. Expect high-seas storms and periodic Nosferatu naughtiness…
Directed by Tilman Singer
29th September (USA only – No UK date yet)
The plot is well and truly under wraps with this one, but it has post-modern slasher vibes about it. Coming from the director of “Luz” and starring the lead from “The Guest” and “Apostle” (Dan Stevens) it does look intriguing. An unsubstantiated storyline suggests that it sees a teenage girl being chased by a mysterious hooded woman after moving to an alpine resort. And there is also a deadly conspiracy mixed in there somewhere. Cool.
Directed by David Gordon Green
13th October (UK)
We were really excited about this at one point. Then we saw “Halloween Kills” and “Ends”. But then again, “Halloween 2018” was good, right? Ah, well. In the spirit of “Halloween”, this new film is seen as a reboot, having been stated to be a direct sequel to the original 1973 classic. So forget about all the other movie sequels, prequels, and TV series. Actually, don’t. “The Exorcist III” is superb and the TV series (with Geena Davis as Angela Vance/Regan MacNeil) wasn’t bad either. Anyway, the 2023 film sees Ellen Burstyn back as Chris MacNeil. The plot sees Leslie Odom Jr. as the father of a possessed child, who searches for someone who had similar experiences. We’ll reserve judgement and cross our fingers. An announcement of a rebooted “Jaws” is surely only months away…
Directed by Kevin Greutert
27th October (UK)
Guess who’s back again? The franchise that they won’t let die. To be fair, we loved the original cycle of “Saw” films, from one through to seven. The twisty-turning meld of flashbacks and double-crosses in the main story arc were as enjoyable as the cruel and (mostly) inescapable traps. Don’t let anyone tell you that they were just “torture porn”!! However, “Jigsaw” was disappointing and failed as a reset or reboot. “Spiral” was an interesting experiment in spinning off from the established lore but didn’t exactly set the box office alight (although the pandemic didn’t help). However, from the director of “Saw VI” (bloody great sequel!) and “Saw VII/3D” (okay-ish), it looks like this is going back to basics. Tobin Bell is here again as John Kramer (presumably in flashbacks or is it a prequel?) as well as Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young (one of the best supporting characters from the first films). No details so far, but expect blood, back-stabbing, and bamboozlement.
Untitled Ghostbusters Afterlife Sequel
Directed by Gil Kenan
20th December (UK)
“Ghostbuster: Afterlife” did pretty well at the box office so this was always a given. Expect new, old, young, and returning characters to cross those streams for more world-saving shenanigans
ExpECted sometime in 2023
Directed by Gary Fleder
Now, this sounds interesting… However, its release status is dubious at the moment. Some prominent film sites are still showing a release date of 20th January in the UK and US, but we haven’t even seen a trailer yet! Unless it slips silently onto VOD, we’re calling “big fat phoney” on that information. It stars Erin Moriarty from “The Boys”, and goes the “Amityville” route of being based on a “true story” (hence the title). A couple discovers their new house is haunted and requests an exorcism. This genuinely led to NBC airing news footage of the event in 1971, which apparently made things MUCH worse. Could be worthwhile.
Directed by Ti West
Judging by the release practice being shown by “Pearl”, we Brits can probably expect this one in 2025! Hopefully, we’ll get this later this year alongside our overseas cousins. The last part of West’s/Goth’s “X” trilogy, it sees the survivor of the original film (Maxine Minx) played by Goth, trying to make a go of it in Hollywood during 1985. Judging by the other films, expect more slasher hi-jinks and some nasty events to affect her path to stardom.
Directed by Chris Stuckmann
Promising looking debut for Stuckmann which is classed as being a “supernatural horror mystery”. Featuring the legend that is Keith David, it tells the story of a woman searching for her sister, who disappeared along with some of her friends during a paranormal investigation. Looks like an “imaginary” demon from their childhood may have been the culprit.
Directed by J.D. Chua
Not a sequel to Garry Sherman’s “Death Line” (although… wouldn’t that be great!) or even set in the London Underground. This is actually Singapore's first modern-day creature feature! Delayed by the pandemic and post-production FX, this sees a family and other passengers become preyed upon by a monster that lurks in unused rail tunnels when their train veers off course. Sort of looks like Bong Joon Ho’s “The Host” but set in a subway system. Very promising.
Sister Death (or Hermana Muerte)
Directed by Paco Plaza
What’s the director of “Rec” doing these days? Well, it looks like he’s starting a brand-new horror franchise! Remember the break-out Netflix horror from Plaza called “Verónica”? This is the prequel to that. It’s set in Spain during the aftermath of the Civil War and follows the trials of a novice nun who joins a school to teach young girls. She also has some supernatural powers and predictably, things go awry…
Directed by Rob Savage
One of Stephen King’s best short stories that appeared in his “Night Shift” collection, “The Boogeyman” originally told the story of a man attributing the death of his children to a supernatural being, with the obligatory nasty sting in the tail. For this new film, however, it’s been ramped up a bit for melodrama and sees a teenage girl and her little sister try to get their sceptical father to acknowledge the existence of a murderous entity before it gets them. Going straight to Hulu in the US, so expect it to slide into the Disney Plus schedules at some point.
Directed by Lee Daniels
Another film based on a true incident, known as the “Ammons haunting case” or “Demons House Incident”. Having occurred relatively recently, it tells the story of a family living in a home in Indiana that fall victim to apparently demonic occurrences. It convinces them they are situated in a location close to a “portal to hell”. Whilst it will probably have that “Amityville” vibe to it, Daniels has some solid work behind him, and it features the likes of Glenn Close and Omar Epps. Expect it to pop up on Netflix sometime later in the year.
With segments directed by David Bruckner, Scott Derrickson, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Natasha Kermani and Mike P. Nelson
The foundational found footage horror anthology franchise has found a solid home on Shudder and you can expect this to appear on the streaming channel around Halloween this year. The last entry (“V/H/S/99”) was pretty good and a spin-off (“Kids vs. Aliens”) is also due on Shudder this year. If that sounds weird, don’t forget that “Siren” was also a well-received spin-off from one of the original “V/H/S” stories. Anyway, not disrespecting any of the other great talents lined up with segments for this offering, it will be interesting to see Derrickson’s footage which was already filmed a little while ago in 2022.
Directed by Gary Dauberman
Does anybody know what the actual Hell is happening with this film? The release date has been postponed at least three times due to post-production issues, Covid-related delays, and studio squeamishness (they didn’t want it clashing with “Evil Dead Rises”). It stars Lewis Pullman, Makenzie Leigh, and William Sadler, and apparently closely follows the original novel’s storyline. At the time of writing this, it still doesn’t have a solid release date. We still think that Tobe Hooper’s version is the definite article and we still have the nasty flavour of the “Firestarter” remake in our burnt mouths, so we’ll see how this one pans out…