2023 has seen some of the most popular horror movies in recent years. While we have had plenty of returning faces with Matt Bettinelli-Olplin and Tyler Gillett with Scream VI or Lee Cronin with Evil Dead Rise. However, it is time to look at the directors making a name for themselves in 2023.
Today I am looking at 10 horror movie directors to watch who have had a film released in 2023. I am putting more focus on first-time directors, with a few exceptions along the way. This means some of the favourites might not make the list purely because of that factor.
As always, this isn’t a ranking, purely a list of the directors to watch. I will be avoiding spoilers on the movies mentioned, so hopefully you can go and enjoy their movies in the near future.
8 Horror Movie Directors to Watch
1 – Bishal Dutta – It Lives Inside
Bishal Dutta’s It Lives Inside follows an Indian-American teenager struggling with her cultural identity. She has fallen out with her best friend but unwittingly releases a demonic entity that feeds on her loneliness.
It Lives Inside was shown at Frightfest this year and is easily one of the strongest horror movies of the year. While the horror is excellent, the social-cultural identity crisis Samidha goes through comes through strong too. Bishal proved to be a brave director who doesn’t hold back on the scares achieved and the emotional story involved.
2 – Ariel Vida – Trim Season
Ariel Vida’s Trim Season follows a group of young people who go to work in a remote marijuana farm. The money is big and too hard to turn down, but the farm has a much darker secret. A secret that will force the young farmers to try and figure out how to escape the mountain farm.
Trim Season gets to bring to life a host of horror elements to leave us with some of the most disturbing sequences of the year. While this isn’t technically the first movie directed by Ariel, the first ‘Vide Noir’ doesn’t seem to have had a wider release yet. Ariel has spent years working as a Production Designer teaming up with Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead for ‘Endless’, ‘Synchronic’ and ‘Something in the Dirt’. After working with those two, we know we can continue to see a creative mind unleashed on the horror industry.
3 – Daniel Turres – Here For Blood
Daniel Turres’s Here for Blood follows a wrestler who reluctantly helps his girlfriend out by covering a babysitting role for her. However, as the night unfolds, he finds himself dealing with devil worshippers trying to get into the home.
Here For Blood takes the prize for best horror comedy of the year by flipping the typical formula. For decades now we have seen the ‘helpless’ babysitter dealing with a threat, usually finding a way to overcome the threat. However, this makes the lead the biggest physical threat and turns it into the wrong place wrong time for the evil worshippers. Daniel’s ability to balance horror and comedy gives us a pleasant treat and hope we can see him return for another round of laughs.
4 – Alice Maio Mackay – T-Blockers
Alice Maio Mackay’s T-Blockers is the latest movie from the ultra-talented young director. T-Blockers follows an ancient parasite rising and spreading through a small town. We follow a young filmmaker who can sense the possession and looks to lead the fight back against them.
At 18 years old, Alice has already made a few horror movies. So Vam and Bad Girl Boogey are the biggest two. To see a director at such a young age producing quality horror movies, it is only a matter of time before we see their name attached to bigger projects.
5 – Takeshi Kushida – My Mother’s Eyes
Takeshi Kushida’s My Mother’s Eyes follows a mother and daughter who see their lives turned upside down after an accident. It leads to them taking on a difficult VR experimental procedure to share one vision of life, which leads to devastating consequences.
This might well be his second movie, but once again the incredible creativity comes to light and needs more eyes on it. The vision of a future can lead to many different potential outcomes in the movies. We can only wait and see what the mind has in store for us next.
6 – Chris Cronin – The Moor
Chris Cronin’s The Moor follows a journalist who is approached by the father of her childhood best friend to investigate his disappearance. It has been a long time since it happened and a serial killer claims to have killed him. However, the mystery of the haunted moor offers different answers.
Chris creates an atmospheric horror movie that uses fog-filled moors to create a haunting presence throughout the movie. With the ability to create a film that keeps us on edge throughout, we can only wait to see if he will continue to find the creepiest locations in England for added horror.
7 – Danny Philippou & Michael Philippou – Talk to Me
The Philippou brothers’ Talk to Me follows a group of teenagers who play a twisted game with an embalmed hand. They end up releasing spirits and must figure out how to survive the situation and understand what the spirits want.
Talk to Me took the world by storm being branded the best horror movie of the year. You can see the pair giving birth to the next big horror franchise and we can’t wait to see what could terrify us with next.
8 – Patrick Wilson – Insidious The Red Door
Patrick Wilson’s Insidious The Red Door is the fifth movie in the Insidious franchise. It returns to the Lamberts as a now college student-aged son deals with the nightmare returning to his life. The Lamberts must work together to rebuild their relationship to stop the latest series of events.
The face of the franchise gets his first directing job here and brings plenty of love to the franchise. He continues the atmospheric horror and the creepiest creations in the franchise. With the success at the Box Office, we can only hope this is the beginning of a long run behind the camera.
That is 8 Horror Directors to Watch, which other names would you like to see make the list?