Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



As we approach the quarter century mark we find genre cinema, especially horror, in rude health. This year proved to offer an eclectic mix of films that often struck a chord with audiences. Whether it was the fun M3GAN proving popular with teenage audiences or Mark Jenkin’s stylised ENYS MEN proving popular with art house audiences, 2023 proved to offer a wide variety of films at both the cinema and on streaming services. 2024 looks just as promising, with FrightFest’s own 25th anniversary taking place in the summer, but before we get there let’s let’s look at the first part of our ten favourites from 2023.



10 - COBWEB - Releasing a chilly horror film set at Halloween at the height of the Barbie/Oppenheimer box office phenomenon and not, oh I don’t know Halloween maybe, might not have been the best idea for director Samuel Bodin’s under seen tale of a young bullied boy making contact with something behind his bedroom wall. Bodin proves himself as a major talent with a series of well executed scares, aided by the performances of Lizzy Caplan and Anthony Starr as this years most sinister parents. Full of unexpected twists and turns, this fun flick will no doubt find the audience it more than deserves in the future.


9 - NO ONE WILL SAVE YOU - Brian Duffield’s straight to streaming alien invasion story was denied the chance of a big screen release. A shame as this was an original spin on Sci-fi creature features with its mute protagonist, Kaitlyn Dever in one of her most impressive performances yet, facing off against a mysterious and truly alien threat. With its bold Twilight Zone-esque climax this confirms Duffield as one of the most original and compelling voices in genre cinema today who will surely go on to become more recognised in his field and beyond.



8 - SMOKING CAUSES COUGHING - In a year that seemed to see audiences turn their back on superhero blockbusters, Quentin Dupieux’s sublimely ridiculous take on the genre could not have arrived at a more suitable time. Following the members of Tobacco Force, think Power Rangers but replace the karate skills with cigarette aided powers, on a team-building retreat this was probably the daftest and one of the funniest films of the year. Very daft, very gory and utterly surreal, this is one of the most impressive works in Dupieux’s varied filmography.


7 - JOHN WICK CHAPTER 4 - Not only a fitting end to the series but possibly the best American action film in many a year. Whilst some critics took issue with the length and perceived repetitive nature of its action set pieces, fans of action cinema could revel in the variety and scope of said set pieces. Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski made the most of their big budget to send off the suited and grieving dog owner in grand style. Eye popping choreography and an absolutely belting closing act made this an immensely satisfying note to bring the curtain down on a classic franchise.


6 - BEAU IS AFRAID - Ari Aster’s third film sees him take small steps away from the horror genre with this epic take on Joaquin Phoenix’s titular character undertaking a hellish journey across the country to attend his mother’s funeral. There are still a large number of truly nightmarish incidents that measure up to anything seen in the director's previous works however but now melded with a surreal and black sense of humour. A box office flop, this flawed, and perhaps over long film will no doubt go on to gather a sizable cult audience. An overblown panic-stricken howl at the state of the world it lingers long in the memory no matter what you think of it.


Read part two HERE



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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans