Critics' voices have been heard since Rotten Tomatoes announced the top ten horror movies at the Golden Tomato Awards. What are the Golden Tomato Awards? I'm glad you asked. They are the top ten best scary movies with the highest percentage of critical approval on the Rotten Tomatoes site. Some of these were highly successful in their theatrical runs, and some were not given wide releases, so this is a great resource for finding lesser-known films that are well-regarded. Each film critic who is Rotten Tomatoes-approved and whose reviews are part of the site contributes to this list of the top horror films each year. With runaway hits like M3GAN and lesser-known films like Jethica, the list captures both ends of the spectrum.
1. M3GAN (2022)
M3GAN is famous for its dancing robot sequence, but it is much more than just cool moves. Akela Cooper wrote the screenplay and also wrote Hell Fest, Malignant, and The Nun II, directed by Gerard Johnstone from New Zealand, who directed the underappreciated comedy Housebound. Not only is M3GAN entertaining and funny, but it can also bring a tear to your eye as it explores the themes of loss, friendship, and family. Read more: M3GAN Slays: Unrated Version 'On The Books', Sequel In Development. Now streaming on Prime Video.
2. Talk to Me (2022)
Twin brothers and directors Danny and Michael Philippou's film Talk to Me was the talk of film festivals for most of 2022. Predictably, it was a sensation when it was released in theaters, and it has remained a highly popular video-on-demand title since its release to digital platforms on September 12. The writer and directors' experience as YouTube short filmmakers stood them in great stead to make their first feature film. A treatise about grief has more than one dazzling sequence, but one where a laughing group of teens takes a video of their friends being possessed for social media, leading the film from hilarity to sorrow. Read more: A24's Talk to Me Summons A Sequel With Talk 2 Me. Now available on VOD.
3. When Evil Lurks (2023)
Demián Rugna's When Evil Lurks is another film that shocked and horrified the festival circuit starting at the Toronto Film Festival. Word spread about the Argentinian film from the director who had previously made the cult hit Terrified and how his new film was even more frightening and violent. One of the things that critics noted one after the other was how the film didn't hold back on characters that usually horror films don't touch. It was also widely acknowledged that When Evil Lurks, like Talk To Me, reinvented the possession film for the new millennium. When Evil Lurks is currently streaming on Shudder.
4. Huesera: The Bone Woman (2022)
Michelle Garza Cervera's film Huesera: The Bone Woman is a Mexican and Peruvian co-production that continues the trend of international scary movies as some of the year's best films. The film, written by Garza Cervera and Abia Castillo, stars Natalia Solián as Valeria in a beautiful and haunting performance, Alfonso Dosal, Mayra Batalla, Mercedes Hernández, and Sonia Couoh. Valeria finds herself doing all the things expected of her by her family and husband but begins to be consumed with fear of a presence stalking her as her pregnancy advances. The birth of her child doesn't free her from these fears, and Valeria must fight to free herself from the evil that seems to envelop her and her child. Read more: Huesera And Birthing As Horror. Huesera: The Bone Woman is now streaming on Shudder.
5. Birth/Rebirth (2023)
Birth/Rebirth is another riff on the classic tale "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley that comes in at number five on the list. It is another film in 2023 that takes on the idea of the ambivalence and fear that some women have about pregnancy and raising children. When Celie Morales' daughter Lila suddenly dies, the pathologist at the hospital decides she is a prime candidate for an experiment that could bring Lila back to life. The film brings out the theme of the sorrow of loss and the desire to conquer death. It stars Marin Ireland, Judy Reyes, A.J. Lister, and Breeda Wool. Stream on Shudder now.
6. Infinity Pool (2023)
Brandon Cronenberg's third feature is another audacious and jaw-dropping trip to the outer edges of experience, this time with privileged rich people on vacation visiting a country where one can commit any heinous crime, so long as they have the money to pay for a clone to suffer the consequences of their actions. It stars Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, and Cleopatra Coleman with gorgeous cinematography and in-camera effects by Cronenberg and his excellent cinematographer Karim Hussain. Like Cronenberg's other films, it has to be seen to be believed. Read more: Exclusive Interview: Brandon Cronenberg On Infinity Pool. Stream on Hulu now.
7. Evil Dead Rise (2023)
Lee Cronin's Evil Dead Rise reset the Evil Dead franchise in such a way that took the series out of the cabin in the woods setting and into a modern apartment block successfully. The film opens with a spectacular title sequence after telling a more familiar story with brevity. The story is about two sisters, Beth and Ellie, who are separated by deadite possession and must fight for the souls of Ellie's children as Beth is pregnant. The film stars Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, and Morgan Davies and was written and directed by Cronin, an Irish filmmaker who previously directed The Hole in the Ground. Stream on Max.
8. The Blackening (2022)
Tim Story's The Blackening is a satirical horror comedy that revolves around the tropes and stereotypes plaguing black characters in horror films and black people in real life. The film stars Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, and Jay Pharoah and skewers the expectations that horror audiences have come to expect in the genre, especially from "Cabin in the Woods" set films. It adds social commentary with biting humor to the mix. Streaming on Starz now.
9. Scream VI (2023)
Scream VI comes in at number nine and is the second Scream film directed by co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, co-creators of the filmmaking collective Radio Silence. Radio Silence is also responsible for making films such as Ready or Not and contributed to the V/H/S franchise, starting with the original V/H/S.'s segment "10/31/98". Scream VI is the sixth film in the series and stars Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Henry Czerny, Dermot Mulroney, Samara Weaving, Hayden Panettiere, and Courteney Cox. It is the first film without star Neve Campbell that takes the characters to New York City with a brand new Ghostface—streaming on Paramount+.
10. Jethica (2022)
This haunting supernatural horror comedy will get your ghost. Jethica is number ten on the list, an excellent showing for a film that has never heard a wide theatrical release and that most critics only saw on the festival circuit. It starred Callie Hernandez, Ashley Denise Robinson, Will Madden, and Andy Faulkner and was directed by Pete Ohs. Two try to deal with the world's most persistent stalker in a film that is charming, eerie, and poignant all at the same time. Jethica is streaming on SCREAMBOX.