Fresh Frights 2023: The Best New Horror on Streaming Services

Get into spooky season with Nicolas Cage as a vampire, the latest from Mike Flanagan and a stand-out 'Scream' instalment

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

BY Rachel Ho and Alex HudsonPublished Oct 17, 2023

Happy spooky month! Horror being the genre du jour means that slashers and thrillers aren't only relegated to October anymore. Throughout the year, horror heads have lots to sink their teeth into, and as these films and shows slowly reach the streaming shores, we've brought together our 10 favourite screams from 2023 that can be enjoyed at the click of a button.

This year's horror slate has been vivid, thought-provoking and, most importantly, deftly unsettling. To accompany pumpkin carving and faux spiderweb decorating, enjoy some fresh takes on slashers, humanoid robots wreaking havoc, and even some family-friendly fare.

Be sure to read our past editions of Tune In or Turn Off here for more streaming hits and misses.

Tune In: A Knock at the Cabin
(Prime Video)

M. Night Shyamalan is notoriously inconsistent — his prior film was 2021's absolutely dreadful Old — but he switches up the usual formula for the intriguing and well-acted A Knock at the Cabin, favouring simmering tension over a flashy twist. Four strangers spoil a family's rural getaway with warnings that they're preventing the apocalypse, with the fun hook of nice people constantly apologizing for the terrible things they're doing, and Dave Bautista having a star-making moment in a rare dramatic role.

Tune In: The Boogeyman

Arguably, Stephen King's short stories deliver more than his actual novels, which makes them great fodder and jumping off points for filmmakers. Rob Savage (who directed one of the best pandemic-era films, The Host) takes single-location short The Boogeyman and asks: what happens after? The film doesn't break new ground, but has all the markings of a fiery haunt — fantastical monster design, intriguing lore and a banging opening scene. 

Tune In: The Fall of the House of Usher

One of the best voices in horror today, Mike Flanagan continues his reign with The Fall of the House of Usher, a gothic horror miniseries inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Using the classic works as a foundation, Flanagan mixes in Succession-esque absurdity and drama to create a visually-stunning story with a poignant narrative. The last project for Flanagan under the Netflix banner, we're anxiously anticipating that Dark Tower adaptation.

Tune In: Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion succeeds in being a bog-standard fun film based on a theme park ride. Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson and Tiffany Haddish deliver the jokes while LaKeith Stanfield and Rosario Dawson propel the story forward. Entertainment-lite to the fullest extent, Haunted Mansion is engaging and thrilling in a serviceable manner that will happily fill any lazy afternoon. 

Tune In: Influencer

Influencer follows Madison (Emily Tennant), a social media influencer on vacation in Thailand who meets CW (Cassandra Naud), who shows her local hot spots for Madison's many followers. Commentary on the hazards of social media eventually give way to a gripping thriller when Madison goes missing in a smart and clever take on the slasher genre. A hidden gem of 2023, Influencer will surprise and delight as the film unfolds. 

Tune In: M3GAN
(Prime Video)

Arguably the most timely horror hit of 2023, M3GAN is a campy take on AI, as a companion robot becomes murderous in order to defend its beloved human. With themes including technology addiction and the risks of sentient AI, it reflects contemporary anxieties back at the audience — but the real fun is how silly it is, with its TikTok dances and a comically vicious doll.

Tune In: No One Will Save You

Presenting alien tropes in a new way, No One Will Save You has familiar monsters (long-fingered extra-terrestrials sucking humans into their flying saucers with tractor beams) and a unique format (a main character, played by Kaitlyn Dever, who has almost no dialogue). The spooky rural house is gorgeous to look at, and the cat-and-mouse chases ramps up the tension without being unbearably scary.

Tune In: Renfield
(Prime Video)

Yes, Awkwafina and Ben Schwartz's storyline greatly diminishes the enjoyment of this movie — and yes, they occupy a lot of the runtime. Had the film only focused on the Nic(h)olas dynamic, with Cage as Count Dracula and Hoult as his familiar, Renfield would've been an indisputable knockout. As it stands, it's a delightfully camp romp that excels when Cage and/or Hoult are on screen and the out-of-place police/gangster storyline is ignored.

Tune In: Scream VI

I hesitate to call Scream VI the most meta of the Scream movies, since that's kind of the franchise's whole deal. But it's a quintessential instalment in the beloved series, with an opening scene that flips the expected formula followed by a story that perfectly channels everything Scream fans expect, serving as a tribute to the franchise itself. It's the best entry in the series since 1997's Scream 2.

Tune In: Totally Killer
(Prime Video)

A horror-comedy that's more funny that it is scary, Totally Killer is about a time-travelling teen who goes back to 1987 in order to prevent her mom being murdered by a serial killer. Overtly combining elements of Halloween, Back to the Future, Mean Girls and Scream (all of which are directly name-dropped by characters), Totally Killer is a fun culture clash comedy-slasher about how weird the '80s would be for a modern teenager.

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