‘Mommy’s with the maggots now.’ Director Lee Cronin keeps it in the family in this franchise revival, as he relocates the torment from a blood-spattered shack in the woods to a dilapidated LA high-rise. But Dead Heads need not worry: Rise captures the spirit of the series – and then some. Cronin forces the best of Sam Raimi and Fede Álvarez’s movies into a wood-chipper, scoops up the resulting viscera and reassembles it as his own marauding modern remix, packed with as many fresh ideas as it has gory callbacks.
Emerging from the pink-and-grey phenomenon that was Barbenheimer like a hand emerging from the ground, ace Aussie chiller Talk to Me is the latest in a broad array of horror movies to storm, creep and skulk into our cinemas this year. There have been atmospheric supernatural meditations (Enys Men), slowburn freak-outs (Infinity Pool, Knock at the Cabin), demonic deluges (Evil Dead Rise, The Boogeyman) and meme-worthy horror comedies with tongues in their cheek and menace in their hearts (M3GAN). Even a few of the non-horror films, Beau Is Afraid, Tár and Oppenheimer among them, have lent into the ghostly trappings of the genre.
In short, we’ve never been too far from a satisfyingly upsetting night at the pictures so far in 2023. Not everything has landed, admittedly, with Scream VI showing its age, Insidious: The Red Door creaking on its hinges and Winnie the Pooh: Blood And Honey probably causing AA Milne to turn in his grave. But the good has firmly outweighed the bad, and gorehounds, Dead Heads and genre aficionados have had plenty of reasons to celebrate – and it’s not even Halloween yet. Here’s our pick of the best of the year so far.