It’s time to rank BrittNic Creations’ top 10 horror films of 2023 and not everyone will be excited about my number one choice. With the reality of streaming and multiple release dates based on premieres in film festivals, some may look at some of the titles with confusion. I tend to base my picks on when the wider release was and up till the middle of December of the given year. With some horror films premiering at the end of a month like December, I place those in the running for the following year as if they’ve debuted in January.

top 10 horror films of 2023

Horror films in 2023 have brought life back to franchises, explored new visions, and dived into the depths of what drives our fears. With each film, I’ll be giving a favorite scene of mine from the film (without spoilers) and an explanation as to why it made it into the top 10 horror films of 2023. There were plenty of incredible films from this year and I will find myself still catching up and rewatching many of them well into the new year. Let’s get things started with the number one film on my list and go on from there!

BrittNic Creations’ Top 10 Horror Films of 2023

1. Skinamarink

skinamarink - top horror of 2023

Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished. To cope with the strange situation, the two bring pillows & blankets to the living room and settle into a quiet slumber party. They play well-worn videotapes of cartoons to fill the silence of the house and distract from the frightening and inexplicable situation. All the while in the hopes that eventually some grown-ups will come to rescue them. However, after a while, it becomes clear that something is watching over them.

Skinamarink was written and directed by Kyle Edward Ball and its initial release was in 2022 but it didn’t get a wider release until early 2023. This film has a lot of debates surrounding it and some wouldn’t consider it in their top 10, but I genuinely feel that mindset only serves to downplay the versatility of the horror genre. Ball has been able to grab onto the fear of the unknown and loss within our childhoods. Not having security or comfort is a fear that doesn’t end when you become an adult and this film had me on edge the entire time. My favorite scene would have to involve the bedroom with the parents, that’s all I’ll say.

2. Saw X

saw x - top horror of 2023
Credit: Lionsgate

John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is back. The most chilling installment of the SAW franchise yet explores the untold chapter of Jigsaw’s most personal game. Set between the events of SAW I and II, a sick and desperate John travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer – only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable. Armed with a newfound purpose, John returns to his work, turning the tables on the con artists in his signature visceral way through a series of ingenious and terrifying traps.

Saw X  was directed by Kevin Greutert and was written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg. This film surprised me in so many ways. Bell’s performance was incredible and the film expanded upon his background in a much better way than past films. There’s depth and true human-led horror in almost every scene in this title in the franchise. I can’t wait to buy a physical copy and play one of my favorite scenes that puts the mind to work, no anesthesia required.

3. Godzilla: Minus One

Post-war Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb. Godzilla: Minus One was directed and written by Takashi Yamazaki.

This film is a a powerful force, not just for the scenes with the iconic kaiju himself but for the humanity grappling with the claws of war and death sunken into their every waken moment. This film is worth the watch no matter what, but it makes a huge impact when seen on the big screen. My favorite scene is oddly enough the very first set of scenes (basically the cold open), it sets the film on a very specific path and doesn’t let up from there.

4. Evil Dead Rise

Evil Dead Rise Poster
Credit: Warner Bros.

A reunion between two estranged sisters gets cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.

Evil Dead Rise was written and directed by Lee Cronin, it featured some powerhouse performances from the cast and most of anything that I can say about the film is better read in my review. My favorite scene would have to be the cold open, for yet another film, because it sets such a insane tone for the film and brings classic energy from the franchise to the screen again.

5. Huesera: The Bone Woman

huesera the bone woman
Credit: XYZ Films

Valeria (Natalia Solián) has long dreamed about becoming a mother. After learning that she’s pregnant, she expects to feel happy, yet something’s off. Huesera: The Bone Woman is directed by Michelle Garza Cervera, written by Cervera and Abia Castillo, and premiered early this year similar to other films.

This film captures the physical and emotional horror of pregnancy and expectations within a cultural frame in such a fantastic way. My favorite scene from this film involves something going bump in the night and Valeria questioning her sanity.

6. The Pale Blue Eye

Veteran detective Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) investigates a series of grisly murders with the help of a young cadet who will eventually go on to become the world-famous author Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling). The Pale Blue Eye is directed by Scott Cooper, written by Cooper and Louis Bayard, and premiered on Netflix in January.

The film is such a cool and dark journey through the words of Poe while maintaining such a unique sense of horror and dread. My favorite scene from this film would be Landor meeting Poe for the first time.

7. Five Nights at Freddy’s

five nights at freddy's - top horror of 2023

The film follows a troubled security guard (Josh Hutcherson) as he begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. While spending his first night on the job, he realizes the night shift at Freddy’s won’t be so easy to make it through.

Five Nights at Freddy’s was directed by Emma Tammi, written by Tami, Scott Cawthon, and Seth Cuddeback, and premiered on Peacock in October. This is the horror film I wish I had earlier in my love of the genre, it’s a fantastic introduction to all the ways nostalgia can haunt us and animatronics can be horrifying. My favorite scene has to be towards the end with fun nod to Scream with an iconic actor.

8. Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor

hell house llc origins the Carmichael manor - top horror of 2023
Credit: AMC/Shudder

Internet sleuths travel to Carmichael Manor, site of the 1989 Carmichael family murders. They find a terror that’s lurked in the shadows long before Hell House LLC. Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor is written and directed by Stephen Cognetti and premiered on Shudder late this year.

This film shocked me with how many times I genuinely jumped in my seat and looked away (those freaking clowns). I was concerned this wasn’t going to live up to the terrifying experiences of watching the first film, but it blew me away! I’m beyond impressed and find myself thinking my favorite scene, which features a cursed video conference, time and time again.

9. It Lives Inside

it lives inside poster - top horror of 2023
Credit: Neon Pictures

Sam (Megan Suri) is desperate to fit in at school, rejecting her Indian culture and family to be like everyone else. When a mythological demonic spirit latches onto her former best friend, she must come to terms with her heritage to defeat it.

It Lives Inside is directed by Bishal Dutta, written by Dutta and Ashish Mehta, and premiered in September. This film was a profound exploration of mythological horror and my review explains everything I love about this addition to the horror genre. My favorite scene would have to be the one where house exploration gets deadly.

10. Talk To Me

talk to me
Credit: A24

When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits with an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill and high-stakes party game — until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces.

Talk to Me is directed by Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou, written by Danny, Bill Hinzman, and Daley Pearson, and premiered in the United States in July of this year. This was a fantastic original horror film to make it on the list for top 10 horror films of 2023 and broke the barriers of expectations involving social media in the plot of any story within the genre. My favorite scene in the film involves a younger brother allowed to take things a little too far because of grief.

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