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 look at the second part of our ten favourites from 2023.



5 - GODZILLA MINUS ONE - Roaring back onto the big screen, Godzilla emerges from the depths once more in one of the best and most exciting entries in his long running franchise. Playing out against the backdrop of an already ruined post-war Japan, this sees a disgraced ex-kamikaze pilot already struggling with guilt and remorse standing up against the terrifying creature as he wreaks destruction on his home country. Tapping into the creature's menacing nature this worked on a number of levels without having to skimp on the eye popping action.


4 - WHEN EVIL LURKS - Demian Rugna’s follow up to TERRIFIED delivers on the promise of his debut with a horrifying take on demonic possession. Treating the curse as a malignant virus, this sees two brothers unwittingly unleash a tide of evil that spreads out and destroys everything they hold dear in truly horrifying and often shocking ways. Pitch black in tone and nothing less than nihilistic in every way, Rugna’s film is impossible to shake off after a single viewing with its gore soaked imagery lingering long in the memory after a single viewing.



3 - INFINITY POOL - Brandon Cronenberg continues to carve his own gruesome path with the year’s most disturbing film. Alexander Skarsgaard’s holiday abroad becomes a journey to Hell when he discovers a peculiar loophole in the law that will see him walk away scot free after a hit and run accident as his clone can take the punishment. However, this surreal get out clause triggers a depraved journey where absolutely anything goes with the help of Mia Goth’s Gabi guiding him into a bloody and hallucinatory carnival of excess. A sometimes-uncomfortable watch, especially in its uncut version, this definitively proves Brandon Cronenberg as one of the genres most visionary directors.


2 - TALK TO ME - Brothers Danny and Michael Phillipou make the leap from YouTube shorts to the big screen with this snappy, energising and immensely entertaining tale of a cursed, disembodied hand that allows those foolish enough to grasp it the chance to communicate with the dead. Of course, things go wrong when Sophie Wilde’s Mia breaks the rules. How wrong they go though is delivered in a stylish manner, resulting in some of the most bracing scenes that don’t hold back on the terrifying premise at the films heart. A surprise success at the box office, the news of a sequel is a welcome and exciting prospect.



1 - PEARL - Finally arriving on UK screens after a month’s long wait, Ti West’s prequel to last year’s X, more than proved to be worth waiting for. Set in 1918, we follow Pearl set out on her path to carnage as she follows her ambitions to become a movie star. Multi-layered in a way that deepens and enriches its predecessor, West’s stylish direction is bolstered by a script co-written with Mia Goth, who gives a performance that was surprisingly ignored by seemingly every award committee. Her ten-minute monologue, shot in one take, was worth the price of admission alone. Grisly, moving and thrillingly bloody this superior sequel is an instant classic making the wait for next year’s eagerly awaited trilogy closer MAXXXINE enticing. Hopefully we won't have to wait as long this time.


Thanks to Iain MacLeod for compiling this list on our behalf again this year.


Read part one HERE



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