Horror Movies You Don’t Want To Miss In 2023

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Believe it or not, 2022 is almost done. Where did the time go?! /Film recently took stock of the year’s best horror releases, including “X,” “Crimes of the Future,” and “Resurrection.” It’s also that time of the year to look ahead to what’s barreling down the tracks. What will 2023 have in store? Considering there are new releases being announced almost daily, 2023 will surely be another banner year for horror. 

To be honest, though, it’s going to be difficult to outdo 2022, which saw one franchise come to a close (“Halloween”) and another just getting started again (“Scream”). Plus, original horror shattered the box office. Films like “Smile,” “The Black Phone,” and “Nope” drew in loads of cash; who said horror was dead? For the most anticipated horror films, here are several handpicked studio-backed releases and a few indie film titles peppered in that are making waves online. This is by no means a definitive list, but these are the films you definitely won’t want to miss out on in 2023.

Cocaine Bear

With films like “Snakes on a Plane” and “Sharknado,” it’s not a stretch that moviegoers are now getting a “Cocaine Bear.” The title itself harkens back to such sleazy ’80s flicks as “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama” and “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.” And the trailer does not disappoint. A shipment of cocaine gets airdropped from an airplane, a bear eats it, and it goes on a drug-induced murder spree. Sounds like a blast, right?

“Cocaine Bear” is loosely based on real events (emphasis on loosely). In the true story, a drug smuggler tossed kilos of cocaine out of an airplane, a bear ate it, and it died. There was no rampage, no dead bodies, no nothing. (Except for the drug trafficker, Andrew Carter Thornton II, who did end up dying after falling from the plane.) It’s just weird enough to turn into a dark comedy, and all but guaranteed for box office success.

Judging by the trailer, writer Jimmy Warden, whose notable credits include “The Babysitter” and “The Roommate,” clearly gets the humor right, perfectly balanced with grisly depictions of mauling and other acts of violence. Cokey the Cocaine Bear also has a few moments to shine, mostly as it feels the effects of cocaine coursing in its bloodstream. With director Elizabeth Banks at the helm, the pressure is on to deliver, especially after her last two directorial features, “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Charlie’s Angels.” “Cocaine Bear” gets high on February 24. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

M3GAN

Chucky, step aside. There’s a new killer dolly in town, and her name is M3GAN (pronounced “Megan”). M3GAN has been programmed by roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams) to be your best friend till the end. After her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) becomes orphaned, Gemma takes on parental duties and decides to test out her latest creation on Cady. As the trailer suggests, the two strike up an instant friendship. Cady processes her grief and finds the companionship she desperately needs.

M3GAN and Cady do everything together. They hang out, play games, and dance. What could possibly go wrong? Well, things inevitably hit the fan, and it’s pure chaos. Taylor Swift’s “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” plays over the trailer, but its synth-laden production morphs into a dark, twisted anthem for “M3GAN.” “It’s nice to have a friend” rings the refrain. M3GAN won’t let anyone get in the way of their friendship, and she’ll even resort to murder. In one moment, M3GAN breaks out into a dance, and it’s the most delicious kind of camp.

Considering humanoids like Sophia exist, “M3GAN” (directed by Gerard Johnstone and produced by James Wan) could very well happen in this lifetime. If “Black Mirror” has taught viewers anything, it’s that it is best not to play god — it only results in destruction. For now, living in a fictional world is enough. Could M3GAN become the next great horror icon? She’s certainly well on her way. “M3GAN” sashays into theaters on January 6.

Skinamarink

Do you recall those moments as a kid when it’s the middle of the night and you have to go to the bathroom, so you run for your life? Or maybe you pull the blankets up under your chin to keep you safe from monsters? Well, honey, you’ve got a big storm coming. Writer-director Kyle Edward Ball guides you through a nightmarish hellscape with his forthcoming “Skinamarink,” in which the audience is forced to relive their childhood. The trailer evokes all the fear and dread of the witching hour with grainy camera work and suggestive imagery. If you’re afraid of the dark and looking for a thrill, this might scratch that itch.

The premise is rather simple. Two kids wake up and find their dad has disappeared. Even more terrifying, all the windows and doors have disappeared. They’re left trapped, and the pitch-black darkness isn’t the only horrifying thing. There’s an entity lurking in the shadows. “Come upstairs,” a disturbing voice whispers. There’s great power in letting the imagination run wild, and it seems Ball has a lot of scares up his sleeve.

Developed from his short film “Heck,” “Skinamarink” relies on “grain, feeling, emotion, and attention,” Ball said in an interview. He also reveals that the film was shot entirely without sound and actors went in afterward to record using ADR. Where the home should be a safe space, Ball unflinchingly wrecks that fantasy. The film currently does not have a release date. So, you’re safe … for now.

The Strangers (Reboot)

In the list of modern horror to be remade or rebooted, likely no one imagined 2008’s “The Strangers” would ever make the cut. It’s as perfect a home invasion film, packed with tension and disturbing imagery, as you can get. Directed by Renny Harlin (“Deep Blue Sea,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”), the upcoming reboot is expected to kick off an entire trilogy of films. As of this writing, Harlin’s only set to direct the first.

According to the premise, a couple sets out across the country for a new life. After their car breaks down in Oregon, they check into an Airbnb and it’s not long before a trio of masked strangers comes out to play and begins toying with them. That’s essentially the only plot details available so far, but the cast in itself is exciting enough. “Hocus Pocus 2” star Froy Gutierrez and Madelaine Petsch (“Riverdale”) will play the unsuspecting couple with Rachel Shenton (“All Creatures Great and Small”) set to play the sister to Petsch’s character. The cast is rounded out with Gabriel Basso (“The Kings of Summer”). With the creative team remaining tight-lipped on details, the film has a ton of promise. “The Strangers” knocks on theater doors sometime in 2023.

Scream 6

Ghostface takes Manhattan. Where Jason Voorhees only spent 20 minutes in the Big Apple in “Friday the 13th Part VIII,” Ghostface will get an entire film. “Scream” (2022) getting a sequel isn’t surprising considering it disemboweled more than $100 million worldwide in its first three weeks. A much higher budget means more chances for Ghostface to slash their way around town. Maybe they ride the subway just like Jason did, or perhaps take the ferry to Staten Island. Whatever co-directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin have up their robes, there will surely be plenty of thrills to be had.

What’s even more exciting is the returning cast. Reportedly, the film will follow Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding). Courteney Cox eyes her return, the only original cast member to do so. Neve Campbell will sit this one out, but in truth, Sidney deserves to live a happy life with her husband Mark and their kids. She’s earned it.

And don’t forget, fan-favorite Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) makes her triumphant comeback after her supposed death in “Scream 4,” although Wes Craven once confirmed Kirby did actually survive her stab wound on the director’s commentary for the film (via Digital Spy). Her return opens up the story even more, and that’s just exciting. “Scream 6” stabs into theaters on March 10. And whatever you do, get the heck out of the city.

Time Cut

Christopher Landon is one of the best modern horror directors. From “Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones” to 2020’s “Freaky,” he masterfully melds genres and influences, while carving out a lane all his own. On the producer side, he knows when to pick ’em and most recently backed “My Friend’s Exorcism” and “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin.” Now, you can add “Time Cut” to his producer’s credits.

Frequent collaborator Michael Kennedy returns to co-write the script with Sono Patel (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). Madison Bailey (“Outer Banks”) and Antonia Gentry (“Ginny & Georgia”) will star. Their roles, as well as a film synopsis, are currently under wraps. The film, directed by “Into the Dark” filmmaker Hannah Macpherson, reportedly will gear towards a younger audience, so it’s not likely to have much explicit violence. It may lean towards “Happy Death Day” in that department, which surprisingly has very little blood, if at all. At least a PG-13 rating is expected.

Billed as “‘Back to the Future’ meets ‘Scream,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, the film has officially entered post-production and it’s only a matter of time until it hits theaters. With such comparisons, one can glean that there will be time travel involved; perhaps a character travels back in time to save someone from being murdered, which inevitably sets in motion some unexpected butterfly effects. What are your predictions?

Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey

Writer-director Rhys Frake-Waterfield is here to ruin your childhood. “Winnie the Pooh,” a 1926 children’s book by author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard, entered the public domain in 2022, and it was only a matter of time before it would get a new reimagining. But most people did not have someone turning the beloved characters into serial killers on their bingo cards. Much like “Cocaine Bear,” Frake-Waterfield’s upcoming “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” hopes to capitalize on sleazy and absurd throwback horror. Based on the trailer, “Blood and Honey” looks to follow in the footsteps of ’80s cult classics like “Motel Hell” and “Mother’s Day.”

The story sees Christopher Robin heading off to college, leaving his pals to “fend for themselves,” as Frake-Waterfield revealed to Variety. Pooh and Piglet have “essentially become feral so they’ve gone back to their animal roots,” he added. As a result, they go on a murderous rampage to find Christopher Robin and exact some sweet revenge. As the trailer suggests, the gore is grimy, and the violence outrageous, tip-toeing between horror and humor in a way that can only be described as camp.

After the trailer went viral earlier this year, it became clear there just might be an audience for this, and now, the film will be released for a one-day theatrical event. “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” wrecks into theaters on February 15. Too bad it just misses Valentine’s Day; it’d make a great date-night watch.

Knock At The Cabin

Based on Paul Tremblay’s 2018 novel “The Cabin at the End of the World,” M. Night Shyamalan is tasked with bringing the story to the screen. You know you can expect a twisty, jaw-on-the-floor kind of film. Known for an exemplary body of work, from “Signs” to “The Visit” and “Split,” Shyamalan has a way of world-building unlike other filmmakers of today. Judging by the creepy trailer, you’d likely suspect there’s far more than meets the eye, perhaps in the vein of “The Village.”

The story follows a young gay couple Eric (Ben Aldridge) and Andrew (Jonathan Groff) and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) on their getaway in the woods. The secluded location is ripe with possibilities, as most cabin-in-the-woods films typically are. When four intruders break into their cabin, Dave Bautista’s character Leonard reveals the reason for their visit: “We are here to prevent the apocalypse.” What exactly that means is a mystery — unless you’ve read the book, of course.

With a cast that also includes Rupert Grint (from Shyamalan’s “Servant”) and Nikki Amuka-Bird (“Old”), “Knock at the Cabin” is shaping up to be one of 2023’s most anticipated releases. On one of the promotional movie posters, Wen is seen in a field of dandelions, and the tagline reads: “Save your family or save humanity. Make the choice.” Well, that’s not ominous at all. “Knock at the Cabin” comes knockin’ on February 3.

Renfield

Nicolas Cage is among today’s most dynamic actors. Whether he’s seeking bloody revenge in “Mandy” or searching for his kidnapped “Pig,” he fully embodies every single role he performs. With the forthcoming “Renfield,” directed by Chris McKay, Cage dons a maroon suit and fangs to star as Dracula, with Nicholas Hoult taking on the titular character.

The intriguing premise partially reads: “After centuries of servitude, Renfield is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness. If only he can figure out how to end his codependency.” “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman, who developed the original story idea, promises the film will be an “extremely violent comedy.” Considering its genre tightrope act, it will rely solely on Cage and Hoult’s chemistry together. Hoult, whose credits include “The Menu,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Warm Bodies,” certainly has some impressive roles from which to springboard into “Renfield.”

When 2017’s “The Mummy” released, what should have been the restart to a Universal Monsters universe bombed with critics and fans, so the production company pivoted. Instead, they opted to hand over the reins for various classic tales to some of today’s best filmmakers, the most notable entry being Leigh Whannell’s “The Invisible Man.” Now, in the hands of McKay (“The Tomorrow World,” “The Lego Batman Movie”), a fresh creative perspective is exactly what is needed. “Renfield” bites into theaters on April 14.

Salem’s Lot (Remake)

2023 might be the year of the vampire. Alongside “Renfield,” “Salem’s Lot” makes a theatrical debut. The only other on-screen adaptations have been two limited series (1979 and 2004). Promising to adhere closer to Stephen King’s 1975 novel, down to even dialogue, the forthcoming reimagining could be a clean slate to explore the lore around Kurt Barlow. Writer-director Gary Dauberman has his work cut out for him. A quote from film star Lewis Pullman teases what could be a worthy adaptation. “There are some parts where Gary had to press and find what was really at the heart of the movie to keep in,” Pullman told ComicBook.com.

The cast is quite impressive and includes Pilou Asbaek (“Ghost in the Shell,” “Game of Thrones”), Alfre Woodard (“Annabelle”), Bill Camp (“Joker,” “The Killing of Sacred Deer”), William Sadler (“The Mist”, “Shawshank’s Redemption”), and Nicholas Crovetti (“Goodnight Mommy”). The only other tidbit available is the synopsis: “Haunted by an incident from his childhood, author Ben Mears returns to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot in search of inspiration for his next book, only to discover the town is being preyed upon by a bloodthirsty vampire and his loyal servant.” Intriguing enough on paper, so King fans will wait with bated breath for how it all turns out. “Salem’s Lot” sinks its teeth into theaters in 2023. 

Evil Dead Rise

Director Lee Cronin promises “Evil Dead Rise” will “make your eyes bleed,” he teased on Twitter. He also included a first look at what he has in store, posting a photo of a ragged, gnarled woman covered in blood and looking directly into the camera. It’s enough to give you the heebie-jeebies. The film revamps everything we’ve come to expect from the franchise, even down to the setting. Instead of a cabin in the woods, we’ll witness the Deadites taking over an apartment building.

While details are few and far between, the announced cast includes Lily Sullivan (“Killing It”) and Alyssa Sutherland (“Vikings”) star as two sisters, Beth and Ellie, respectively. Somehow, the Necronomicon manages its way into one of their apartments; how and why are the big unknowns here. Backed by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Robert G. Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures, it clearly has their seal of approval. While that could literally mean anything (John Carpenter gave his approval for the new “Halloween” trilogy, after all), it sets up what could be a thrilling new entry in the saga. Originally set as an HBO exclusive, it will now see a theatrical release. The “Evil Dead Rise” on April 21.

Read this next: 14 Horror Movie Flops That Became Cult Classics

The post Horror Movies You Don’t Want To Miss In 2023 appeared first on /Film.

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