10 Horror Movies You May Have Missed in 2023

Underrated Horror 2023

If you have ever read my column, you likely know I am a champion for overlooked and under-seen films. So, when my editor presented me with the chance to submit a roundup of genre pictures that flew under the radar in 2023, I jumped at the opportunity. This year has delivered some tremendous content and even the most ambitious movie lover is bound to miss some of what bowed over the past 12 months. So, without further ado, I present to you 10 noteworthy horror offerings you may have missed in 2023. 

She Came from the Woods

She Came From The Woods

I will not stop singing the praises of this film until it’s given its due. The Bloomquist brothers are extremely talented filmmakers with a bright future ahead of them. Their latest effort, Founder’s Day, is a real delight. So look for that in 2024. But let’s get back to She Came from the Woods. This picture is smart, inventive, and frequently funny. In my review, I called the film “a better, smarter version of Friday the 13th,” and I meant it. The flick has been acquired as a Tubi original. So, head over there and give it a watch. 

She Came from the Woods takes place on the last day of the season at Camp Briarbrook. According to local legend, the spirit of nurse Agatha haunts the woods surrounding the camp. While they close up shop, a handful of counselors set out to lure the late nurse back to the grounds. The attempt initially appears unsuccessful. But the counselors eventually find themselves entwined in a series of visceral events that may or may not be related to their ritual.   


This Shudder original managed to surprise me in the best possible way. The storyline is unpredictable and quickly upended my expectations. Additionally, the core cast members turn in rather strong performances. The picture also offers some insightful commentary on the empty nature of searching for validation on the Internet. 

This psychological horror-thriller catches up with Madison (Emily Tennant), a social media influencer on a trip to Thailand. Though her vacation begins as uneventful, things take an unexpected turn when she meets the enigmatic CW (Cassandra Naud). CW shows Madison some noteworthy tourist attractions her followers are sure to enjoy. But when CW takes her to a desolate island, Madison cannot possibly prepare for what’s in store. 

Dark Harvest

Dark Harvest

Aside from Halloween and Trick ‘r Treat, I don’t have that many autumnal horror films that I reliably put into seasonal rotation during October. I am pleased to say that Dark Harvest (now available to stream on MGM+) has been added to that list. Though the flick only got a one-night theatrical release in select Alamo Drafthouse theaters, Dark Harvest is absolutely worth seeking out. In fact, I liked the film so much that I made a space for it in my top ten of 2023 (coming soon to Dread Central). 

Dark Harvest is set in 1963, in a sleepy Midwestern hamlet with a frightening annual tradition. Every October, a monster called Sawtooth Jack is released from the cornfields and allowed to roam the city. His sole quest is to make his way to the church intact. The teenage boys of the town are tasked with stopping Jack from reaching the church by any means necessary. 

Loop Track

Loop Track

Loop Track does a brilliant job of keeping the audience in the dark regarding what’s happening until it’s absolutely necessary to clue the viewer in. That approach kept me guessing until the very end. To avoid giving anything away, I will simply say that I was pleasantly surprised by where the story concludes. And I absolutely recommend giving this recent release a look. You can check it out on digital now. 

The film follows Ian (Thomas Sainsbury, doing triple duty as writer, director, and star), who is chronically anxious and has zero hiking experience. Despite that, he shows up at a New Zealand national park and prepares to set off on a miles-long loop track. After much protesting, he joins a group of fellow hikers and continues his journey as part of a pack. Throughout the ordeal, Ian becomes increasingly more paranoid, convinced that someone (or something) is out to get him.  

There’s Something in the Barn

There's Something In The Barn

I love Christmas horror. I love the unexpected juxtaposition of the holiday season against deranged acts of savagery. And There’s Something in the Barn (now available on digital) makes the most of that unlikely combination. Although the film is funnier than it is scary, the jokes are pitch-perfect. Additionally, the carnage that does transpire is memorable and often comical, to boot.   

There’s Something in the Barn follows an American family that relocates to Norway with designs on opening a bed and breakfast in the barn adjacent to the familial estate they’ve just inherited. However, the elf that lives onsite has no interest in vacating the premises. In fact, he’s willing and able to make their lives a living hell to ensure his home remains intact. 

Play Dead

Play Dead

Though it isn’t firmly rooted in logic or entirely free of plot holes, I loved Play Dead. Full stop. The flick is essentially a feature-length chase sequence with a cat-and-mouse dynamic that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Not to mention, it was nice to see Jerry O’Connell in a rare villainous turn. If you’re curious to see what I’m talking about, you can find Play Dead streaming on Prime Video

Play Dead sees orphaned brother and sister, Chloe (Bailee Madison) and T.J. (Anthony Turpel) in a bind when their family home is on the brink of foreclosure. Determined to keep their heads above water, T.J. makes the ill-advised decision to rob a cannabis dispensary with his friend Ross (Chris Lee). The heist doesn’t go as planned and Ross is pronounced dead, with T.J. narrowly escaping in one piece. But all is not well for T.J. because Ross’ phone contains messages implicating him in the heist. After an unsuccessful attempt to gain entry to the morgue, Chloe, a forensic medicine student, fakes her death to gain access to the mortuary and recover her brother’s phone. 

Mad Heidi

Mad Heidi

I must stress that this film is sure to offend you before the opening credits have even finished rolling. But if you aren’t easily put off by poor taste, Mad Heidi may be right up your alley. I had such a great time with the excessive violence and off-color humor. Not to mention a hilarious turn from Casper Van Dien as an evil dictator. The picture is now available as a digital rental and on physical media. 

Heidi (Alice Lucy) lives an idyllic existence high in the Swiss Alps. She shares a home with her loving grandfather and enjoys the company of her gentleman friend Goat Peter (Kel Matsena). But when Goat Peter gets mixed up in the high-stakes world of illegal cheese trafficking (gasp), the powers that be kill him on sight. A heartbroken Heidi is captured following Peter’s execution and imprisoned by the government. After escaping from captivity and intent on avenging the death of her lover, Heidi sets out on an ass-kicking quest to bring Peter’s killers to justice.  

Jagged Mind

Jagged Mind

I had a great time with Jagged Mind. My favorite aspect of this Hulu original horror-thriller is that the characters just happen to be queer. This isn’t a movie about LGBTQIA+ issues or the continued fight for equality. It’s a picture that simply happens to feature queer characters. It’s so nice to see that kind of representation. But Jagged Mind features more than just positive queer representation. It’s also a really good movie. I appreciated the nuanced portrayals of the leads and found the time loop component of the narrative to be fascinating and well-executed.

Jagged Mind follows Billy (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), a woman experiencing blackouts that cause her to lose time. She initially believes the episodes are related to early-onset dementia, as her mother has experienced cognitive decline. But she can’t shake the notion that her experience feels different from that of her mother. Her loss of consciousness appears to center around her memories of her first date with Alex (Shannon Woodward), a romantic partner who subjected her to varying degrees of hostility, including outright abuse.     

Killer Kites

I will level with you: Killer Kites (streaming on Tubi) is easily the dumbest film I saw in 2023. But damn if it isn’t fun. The filmmakers make effective use of what might be the most asinine premise in recent memory, delivering a tongue-in-cheek horror picture that delivers frequent laughs on a shoestring budget. The core cast’s commitment to staying in character and keeping a straight face amidst the stupidity make this moronic effort surprisingly enjoyable. 

Abby (Manon Pages) inherits a kite from her grandmother’s estate. Having little interest in the item, she pawns it off on her conspiracy theorist brother. But when her unhinged sibling turns up dead less than 24 hours after taking possession of the kite, Abby begins to head down a rabbit hole investigating the sordid history of kites. Namely, she begins to think that the kite she offloaded on her brother has an insatiable thirst for blood and a desire to convert other kites to communism. Yep. That’s the setup. 

Sick of Myself

Sick of Myself 2023

If you love pitch-black comedy, you will surely appreciate Sick of Myself, from the same director who brought us Dream Scenario. Kristoffer Borgli is having a very good year. In Sick of Myself, Kristine Kujath Thorp is inspired as the self-centered lead character. And the depths of her quest to stay relevant had me laughing uncontrollably. But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can check the flick out for yourself. It’s streaming on Showtime, as of the publication of this post.  

Café manager Signe (Thorp) desperately wants to be the center of attention. But when her boyfriend begins to develop a level of notoriety from his artwork, Signe feels threatened. Her solution? Taking a black-market medication to deliberately disfigure her physical features, ultimately forcing herself into the spotlight. Signe loves the attention she gets from her ‘mystery illness’. But is the notoriety she receives worth the toll it takes?  

What was your favorite underrated horror movie of 2023? Let us know over on Twitter @DreadCentral.



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