This is the first January I’ve seen in a while that I am actually excited for the films that are coming out. January is a notorious month for horror fans alike as it seems like studios purge their bad horror movies in the first month of the new year. However, 2023 is starting off with some decent picks. If not, there are plenty of classics and recent favorites that are on streaming that you can check out in the meantime.
Let’s kick it off some new releases that are both releasing theatrically and streaming. These films are exclusively premiering for the first time. Let’s get into it.
M3GAN – January 6th
M3GAN already dropped this weekend to surprisingly positive reviews. Definitely a better outlook than anticipated. It seems like there is a dose of meta comedy to this film. In the same vein as Child’s Play, the talking doll with an evil spirit has been done before. However, it seems like M3GAN is a modern take that works greatly in its favor. During this slow month for theater releases, go give it a try and don’t take it too seriously.
Skinamarink – January 13th
If you’ve been on the internet, you’ve definitely heard about this one. Skinamarink is an indie darling that recently gained praised due to the pirating of it and the internet praising it. While it is ultimately sad it was pirated, it is something to be said about the excitement and praise that has gathered around a film with a $15k budget. Skinamarink is looking to be the younger depressed brother of the OG The Evil Dead. With its official release, please support this indie darling and rent it, because it’s guaranteed an interesting, psychological watch.
There’s SOmething Wrong With THe CHildren – January 17th
Ah, the kids aren’t alright. Directed by Roxanne Benjamin–a frequent collaborator with the V/H/S group, a family trip goes sideways as some kids go missing. Upon their return, they are acting strange. Not in the traumatized way, but more in the Pet Semetary kind of way. Evil children are always scary, so having parricidal children as the focus of the film is a perfect setup for an unsettling film. This film also stars Zach Gilford, who has been one of my favorites in the past two years–both in Midnight Mass and The Midnight Club. There’s Something Wrong with the Children is set up with experienced creators, so be sure to check it out,
Kids vs. aliens – January 20th
Speaking of V/H/S, this film is a spin-off of a short from V/H/S 2. ‘Slumber Party Alien Abduction’ should ring a bell if you’ve seen V/H/S 2 and it is finally realized in a feature length film that will be available on Shudder. On top of all of this, it seems to have a Stranger Things kind of vibe that might make this film tamer than the inspiration films. Therefore, it might read more like a starter sci-fi horror film–similar to Super 8. Expect a fun, quick time with a colorful explosion.
Teen Wolf: The Movie – January 26th
Now, this is strictly on here for guilty pleasure’s sake. Teen Wolf is an iconic teen horror show that is finally getting a movie spinoff. Almost everyone will be returning for a reuniting battle against evil five years after the show’s strong ending. The only crime here is that Dylan O’Brien will not be returning, which is very sad for Stiles fans like myself. It should be a fun time and is another example of Paramount+ really delivering for 2000’s kids with these revivals.
Now on Streaming
These are films new and old that you need to check out this month to get your monthly dose of horror. These films will be added to these streaming services this month and should offer a variety of classics and newcomers to tide you over this slow month.
The Menu – HBO MAX
Everyone needs to see this film. This was one of my favorites of the year, and while it falls more into the thriller category, there are tidbits of horror. Some of the behavior of the people is horrific enough to qualify it. The Menu is funny, delightful and tense. It’s a great movie and if you have ever worked in the service industry, you will have a profound understanding and appreciation for this movie. If not, this might have you considering how you treat those in the service industry. Watch it as soon as you can.
The Devil’s Backbone – Amazon Prime
A classic film from the legendary Guillermo del Toro. The Devil’s Backbone is a haunting tale that is as visually stunning as it is beautifully written. It’s a creepy ghost story tied to a bloody historical event: The Spanish Civil War. Del Toro loves to focus on Spanish history, especially during wartime. His most acclaimed, Pan’s Labyrinth, is very much a spiritual sequel to this film as it takes place in the aftermath of the Civil War, making Guillermo del Toro the king of tragic child protagonists in Spanish wartime.
The Conjuring – Netflix
You already know this one. The Conjuring marked the fall of the PG-13 horror boom and the resurgence of R-rated horror renaissance. It’s a chilling tale full of family, creepy old houses and possessions. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson kill it as the Warrens, the legendary demonologists. It is a modern classic and is always a great one to revisit if you haven’t seen it in a while.
Zombieland – Hulu
Another classic that has recently had a very decent sequel, Zombieland took the world by storm all the way back in 2009. Horror and non-horror fans alike loved this film, and with The Walking Dead just on the horizon, it was the beginning of the zombie resurgence of the early 2010s. With brilliant comedic performances and enough blood, guts and glory to go around, you better nut up, shut up, and watch this flick again. Preferably with a side of golden Twinkies.
Arachnophobia – Paramount+
It is appropriate that I did a whole series on starter horror, and this is coming to Paramount+. Arachnophobia is one of the classic starter horror films from back in the day and remains so to this day. It’s mildly scary, but enough to startle and creep anyone out. Plus, if anyone legitimately has arachnophobia, this movie is your worst nightmare. Take heed and be sure to revisit this one if it’s been a while.
So, there are the standout films to take note of this month. January is, again, a slow month for horror. But have no fear, we have some releases coming out this year that are sure to stir up the scares. You can read about my five anticipated picks which I discussed right before the new year turned here. Let me know if I missed anything this month and I’ll be sure to add it in a pinch.
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