Skip to main content
Start of main content.

The Best Films of 2023

2023 Movie Highlights 

by Darren Cunningham

With 2023 almost under wrap, lets look back at some of the best and most unusual films the year had to offer. A diverse range of films to suit all palates and demographics, 2023 served up a platter of tasty morsels.

Mentioning taste, let’s sink our fangs into the horror realm. Dracula dropped in for a bite with Renfield and The Last Voyage Of The Demeter. In Renfield, we have Dracula’s poor put upon servant/familiar in contemporary New Orleans, who decides it’s time to break free from the toxic binds his master holds over him. He seeks a self-help empowerment group and Drac, (a campy Nick Cage), isn’t too happy about it. 

A more serious take, based upon one chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, Dracula is stowed away on the Demeter, a ship sailing from Romania to London. It’s par for the course that the ship’s crew start to dwindle, as Dracula needs to satiate his cruel appetite. Less bloody than the amusing Renfield, just more intense.

Eli Roth served up an amped up slasher satire with Thanksgiving, a psycho on the loose horror, with thanksgiving break providing graphic themed kills and a carved-up atmosphere. Scream 6 cut its way into the Big Apple and Cocaine Bear had a savage appetite, with a doped up psychotic bear attacking anyone who crossed its rampaging path. 

Possession themed horror was popular, with The Pope’s Exorcist, Insidious: Red Door, Exorcist: Believer and animatronics that dined on criminals in Five Nights At Freddy’s. AI ran amuck with M3GAN and monsters really did lurk under the bed in Stephen King’s The Boogeyman.

Animated films were drawn in top form, with comic book style visuals in Spiderman: Across The Spider-verse and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem impressing many fans. Disney Pixar gave us climate awareness with Elemental and Nintendo Illumination gave us the colourful and brilliantly rendered Super Mario Bros. Movie which ranks #2 box office of the year.

Action themed films with 2 fourth instalments of popular franchise’s blasted their way into the year, with the charged John Wick 4 and old school style action with Stallone in Expendables 4. Indiana Jones dialled up his destiny and implicitly hung up his hat and Denzel Washington was still attempting to set things right with his own brand of violent justice in Equalizer 3.

Barbietopped the comedy list of films, in a pink hued satire of marketing and social commentary. Jennifer Lawrence delivered as usual in No Hard Feelings, in which she eagerly flaunts her wares to get a young man to come out of his shell. A droll Toni Collette in Mafia Mamma took charge of the mob with bloody comic results and MCU’s popular Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 3, continued to rollick the universe.

The biggest and most popular drama of the year was Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, a slow burn biopic epic. Korean-Canadian director Celine Song wooed with her romantic Past Lives and Dumb Money showed us how the little guy might not be as foolish as the big guy likes to make out when it comes to trading options. Here, the basement dwelling gamer ends up a big-time winner.

This leaves us with what could be considered the most unusual and original films of the year that satiated the appetite of discerning film goers. Two disturbing and outlandish offerings with Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool and Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid, challenged and infuriated audiences, yet also imprinted indelible imagery onto the mind.

Offbeat director Wes Anderson gave us Asteroid City with its unique and nostalgic perspective on the mid 50’s, star-glazed with surreal and satiric visual design and Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, skewered the British upper crust with a stylish psychological/sexual thriller, that had plenty of third-degree substance to burn.   

This is all just the icing on the cake of what 2023 had to entice and there were plenty of other delectable cinematic treats on offer. It will be exciting to see what 2024 has in store.