These 4 Horror Movies Deserved to Be on the Big Screen in 2023

Technology giveth and taketh away. We can watch most movies with the click of a button from our couch but no longer have the joy of going out to the video rental store. We can also buy and digitally “own” any movie at a moment’s notice, but more and more, physical copies of movies aren’t even being made (looking at you, Barbarian).

The movie theater has stayed the course, however. Through Covid-19 shutdowns, insane movie budgets followed by box office disasters, the rise of quality TV shows like Game of Thrones, streaming, The Flash… theaters have survived, thank God. That being said, each year, more movies conveniently grace us with their presence at home and only at home.

It’s not always a bad thing for films to skip movie theaters entirely. But I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t have been nice to have the option to see the following films in the theater in 2023.

Surrounded by loud popcorn chewers, seat kickers and all…


Cobweb trailer

Perhaps the most baffling of all on our list is Director Samuel Bodin’s Cobweb. A movie that had an extremely limited theatrical release in July but then was released digitally for rent during the spooky season with almost no fanfare or marketing whatsoever. A film that is absolutely drenched in a gothic Halloween atmosphere that would have likely had a Friday night wide release horror crowd in the palm of its hand during the Halloween season.

The film boasted a well-known cast featuring Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield) and Antony Starr (The Boys), complimented by a Barbarian-esque plot that was full of genre pivots and surprises. One of those films best experienced while knowing as little as possible about it. Good thing for us they didn’t market it at all, eh?!

If you’ve seen Cobweb, whether you enjoyed its wild unraveling or not, you probably agree it would have at the very least had folks talking had they known it existed. Just like original scary films like Barbarian, It Follows or Smile before it. I have no doubt in my mind that Cobweb wouldn’t only have been fun to experience with an audience in a packed theater but that it could have been a box office success just like the original horror movies previously mentioned.


No One Will Save You Dever versus Aliens

We watched this (nearly) dialogue-free alien home invasion thriller at home on Hulu at the tail end of my daughter’s fourteenth birthday party. The reason I’m weirdly sharing this much information with you is because you should have seen their reaction. Full on screaming and jumping in their seats and pointing and yelling at characters and covering their eyes. It was a blast. The opening of Scream 2 was basically happening in my living room. Sans, you know, the murder part.

Aside from the talking aspect (we live in a society, after all), this was the experience that No One Will Save You should have provided the world in a wide release format. It would have been an absolute ride to see this movie with a packed Friday night audience and Dolby surround sound. From the tense home invasion scenes to the wild shit escalating outside, it would have been hilarious to watch a packed audience react in real time. Not to mention, it would have just been nice to see all this unfold on the big screen in the highest quality possible.

Here’s hoping we at least get a physical media release this year.



It feels like Sick released years ago and in fact it premiered at TIFF back in September of 2022 but only became accessible for us little people in January of 2023 on Peacock streaming. Scope and size wise, Sick fits as a straight to video movie. There’s no arguing that. Still, with the right marketing and framing in today’s horror appreciative society, I’d argue Sick could have been a box office success. It’s a stripped-down teen slasher film in 2023 written by the guy who wrote Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer for crying out loud (Kevin Williamson along with Katelyn Crabb)! This thing sells itself.

John Hyams (the son of the great Peter Hyams, who probably directed one of your favorite Jean Claude Van Damme films) directed the hell out of this small scale, remote slasher. The film uses the Covid-19 pandemic to isolate our teens from the world as a killer with an unknown motive stalks them and picks them off one by one. The film follows many of the classic Scream tropes in the best of ways. An opening kill that sets the tone, a group of friends with history, an unknown killer and ultimately their motive-revealing monologue. You could argue the pandemic angle will date the film but I find it as more of a time capsule in a good way. Besides, Scream wasn’t without its “dated” moments, either. “It’s the millennium! Motives are incidental!”

It’s been long enough for the teen slasher sub-genre that I believe a theatrical introduction updated for today’s youth would have been received with open arms rather than an eye roll.


Sweet Sixteen Killer

Seriously, what’s the deal with teen slashers going straight to digital? In this case, someone better ask Blumhouse. Nahnatchka Khan’s Totally Killer takes the Scream concept and mates it with Back to the Future. It’s a bold concept, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off!

This is the one film on this list that I will admit probably worked best as a direct to digital film BUT with the caveat that its bold ideas just needed more faith from its studios. The ideas and cast were big screen capable where necessary financial support just wasn’t. Kiernan Shipka is an excellent final girl who goes back in time (to the 80’s) to stop a mystery serial killer before he gets started. Much like Sick, the entire film is a charismatic and loveable throwback to the Scream days, with a Hot Tub Time Machine twist. But whereas Sick was purposefully stripped down to match the isolation of its time, Totally Killer is tasked with not only time travel but the re-creation of the 80’s. A tall task for a short budget.

The script was sharp, witty, and funny. The actors were well cast and all-in on the wacky premise. The slasher mask was creative and looked like a Beavis and Butthead version of the masks from the Point Break robberies (this is a positive). And the chase scenes were on point.

In the end all of these aspects still felt like they needed something more, if we’re being completely honest here, but Totally Killer still could’ve been a hit in theaters all the same.

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