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There are lots of horror movies released every year. Hundreds, in fact. With so many movies coming out it’s nearly impossible to see everything. So many great movies fly under the radar even for dedicated horror fans.
This list highlights a few of the best movies released during 2023 that are either underrated or underseen. Sometimes both. The movies on this list were picked because they are all highly entertaining, but they also have either low overall ratings, or they have extremely low numbers of total people submitting reviews for them on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. More people need to see these movies!
Underrated 2023 Horror Movies You Need to See
Why it deserves your attention: Do Not Disturb is much funnier than the trailer might suggest, using dark humor to heighten the trippy and grisly nature of the whole experience. The movie is an intense relationship drama set inside a story of drugs, desire, and murder. It’s bloody and brilliant. Do Not Disturb does have good reviews from the people who have seen it, but the sample size is very small when looking at the major review sites. That means many more people need to be made aware of its existence.
Why it deserves your attention: Horror comedies of this sort, where the comedy is quite silly and lighthearted, can be very subjective. But Shaky Shivers works so well because of the wonderful chemistry between its lead actors, Brooke Markham and VyVy Nguyen. The push and pull between the sardonic Lucy (Markham) and her optimistic best friend Karen (Nguyen) as they try to figure out how to cure Lucy of her werewolf problem is hilarious. The movie grows on you, getting funnier later in its run time as the situation spins more and more out of control. Plus, there are great monster effects throughout the film.
Why it deserves your attention: It’s always exciting when a horror movie can introduce viewers to an underused mythological monster. It Lives Inside uses a creature of Hindu origins, a Pishacha, to tell a coming-of-age story about an American teenager of Indian heritage. The suspense is good, the movie looks great, and the story feels familiar but with unique twists thanks to the culture it is inspired by. It Lives Inside might be the most high-profile movie in this list, but its review scores are annoyingly low for how good the movie is.
Why it deserves your attention: Beaten to Death is one of those horror films that creates a grueling experience for the viewer. It’s about a man, Jack (Thomas Roach), who makes an awful series of decisions that leads to him to the actions described in the title of the movie. It starts with a beating, and as Jack tries to survive, his story is told in flashbacks. People expecting an hour and a half of bloody beatings will be disappointed since the movie is more about survival (as in, escaping, running, searching for help, etc.) punctuated with shorter moments of graphic violence, but it is quite grueling to tag along with Jack in this bleak film.
Why it deserves your attention: The tension is great, and its clever writing approaches the subject of voyeurism in multiple ways. 15 Cameras is about a couple, Cam (Will Madden) and Sky (Angela Wong Carbone), who move into a duplex that used to be owned by a voyeuristic (and murderous) landlord who installed secret cameras in some of his properties. While Sky enjoys watching true crime documentaries about the supposedly-deceased landlord, Cam discovers a secret control room for the cameras that were never removed from their home, including the side they’ve decided to rent out.
Why it deserves your attention: Bad CGI Gator is great fun for fans of bad movies. It mocks the overuse of CGI in modern film production through its eponymous killer alligator. The gator is an intentionally goofy computer-generated creation that moves oddly, floats, rings doorbells, and changes in scale. The cast is up to the task of keeping up with the ridiculousness of the gator, confidently delivering cheesy dialogue in eye-rolling and funny ways. Bad CGI Gator is awfully good.
Why it deserves your attention: Murdercise is a throwback to the campiest low-budget slasher movies from the 1980s. Lots of movies claim to capture the 1980s aesthetic, but Murdercise is one of the few that actually feels like it could have come straight out of the decade. Gore and nudity, laughs and murder, Murdercise is perfect for old-school slasher fans. Also, star Kansas Bowling’s performance as a deranged aerobics-obsessed killer is something that must be seen.
Why it deserves your attention: Re/Member is a super-fun mashup of multiple subgenres. It is set in a haunted high-school where the ghost of a little girl resides. It’s also a survival-game movie that challenges a group of students to a gruesome scavenger hunt involving a search for the girl’s missing body parts. And, it’s a time-loop movie, because if the students fail in their task (which they do, many times) they are killed and wake up on the morning of the same day to play the game all over again. Oh, and it’s also a sweet Japanese high-school drama about friendship. It’s ridiculous, and it’s good… despite the less-than-great reviews it’s received.
Why it deserves your attention: If you like your horror quirky, quiet, and more about deadpan comedy than supernatural scares, look no further than Jethica. Jessica (Ashley Denise Robinson) runs into an old friend, Elena (Callie Hernandez), while on the road. After taking a detour to visit Elena at her home, Jessica’s stalker Kevin (Will Madden) appears. The problem is, Kevin’s dead body is hidden in Jessica’s car. It’s weird, yet also weirdly engaging.
Why it deserves your attention: Frankly, the trailer and advertising for Herd does the movie a disservice. It’s marketed as a zombie movie that appears to be heavy on action, violence, and faction warfare. While all of those things do exist in Herd, the movie is really about the relationship between its two main characters, played by the excellent Ellen Adair and Mitzi Akaha. Jamie (Adair) and Alex (Akaha) are in a relationship that is falling apart after a painful shared experience. They seem destined to separate, but a zombie outbreak forces them back together in the worst possible scenario, exposing feelings they couldn’t otherwise bring themselves to confront. There are a few zombies here and there, but this isn’t about that. Rather, Herd is a surprisingly good relationship thriller.
Why it deserves your attention: The world needs more tiny-creature horror movies, and Unwelcome is a great one. The creatures in Unwelcome are the “far darrig” of Irish folklore (also referred to as “redcaps”), and they are mischievous and murderous little things. Though it does take a while for the redcaps to start murdering, the story of Unwelcome is quite good. Also, the whole movie has a slightly unreal feel to it thanks to its production design, and the uncanny feeling it provides helps the movie feel somewhat like a fairy tale. It all comes together exceptionally well.
Why it deserves your attention: If you like your horror weird and gory, Visitors: Complete Edition is for you. It’s violent and bloody in ways similar to extreme Japanese films like Tokyo Gore Police (2008) and Meatball Machine (2005), but the story is definitely more inspired by the Evil Dead franchise. It’s a quick and fun watch at about an hour, and it’s so goofy and strange that you won’t want it to end. But that ending though… it’s kind of perfect.