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THR'S Best of Indie 2023

The Horror Revolution has always been a huge supporter of indie horror, and I was excited to see a ton of great indie flick this year. I will say, there were quite a few of these films that would’ve easily taken spots in my Mainstream Top 10 list if I didn’t decide to separate them. Indie filmmaking has been experiencing massive improvements in quality with advancements in technology, and this was a year when you could really feel that start to make a difference.

Indie werewolf films are hard to come by, and good indie werewolf films are even tougher. This one was a little too slow, but other than that was a fun and charming British werewolf movie. With throwbacks to American Werewolf in London and others, it wears its inspirations on its sleeve and does a good bit with them. I’m excited to see what director Ben Etchells comes up with next.

Most indie filmmakers won’t even attempt an anthology film, and the fact that Kevin R. Phipps has made one that’s pretty good all the way through is an accomplishment. When it goes for horror comedy it’s legitimately funny, and when it goes for gory horror it does a bang-up job. I didn’t expect a whole lot going in if I’m being honest, but was pleasantly surprised with an excellent indie horror anthology that is well-deserving of a spot on this list. (And check out our interview with director Kevin R. Phipps!)

This one surprised the hell out of me. It does a fine job of being a supernatural-ish haunt movie-turned-home invasion thriller, and the acting performances were well above indie level. With one of the harshest and most shocking ending sequences of the year, this one is a movie that I hope a lot of people get the chance to check out.

A remake of the also-excellent Last Shift, Malum is a terrifyingly effective cult horror with some jaw-dropping violence and one of the scarier “found footage” moments of the year. I actually don’t think it’s quite as good as Last Shift, and I don’t know that that film actually needed a remake, but Malum is a fantastic effort nonetheless. This one got a release from Terror Vision, and if you haven’t gotten the chance to watch it, I highly recommend picking up a copy from them on their website.

Bark is almost entirely carried by it’s writing and acting, a bottle thriller that takes place in a single location and is almost all dialogue. It’s a fantastic film with an excellent twist, and I sincerely hope it’s one that people will be able to check out.

A brutal subversion of the home invasion thriller, Girl Gone Bad delivered two excellent performances and some of the best indie writing I’ve seen in years. Truly excellent film, and the fact that it isn’t higher on the list is a true testament to the films below. (And check out our interview with director Kevin Schultz too!)

A darkly comedic movie that breaks the final taboo, The Coffee Table is an excellent Mexican horror that has gathered some momentum on the indie circuit. It’s frenetic as hell, reminding me a bit of Uncut Gems in its tension-building finale, and I highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance.

I absolutely loved this film. I have some interviews coming with some of the cast, and to say they deliver some phenomenal performances would be an understatement. It’s tense as hell, a psychological mindfuck, and just an all-around fantastic indie horror. Loved, loved, loved it. (And even more interviews! Check out our interviews with stars AnnaClare Hicks and Milly Sanders!)

Man, if the Number 1 film on this list hadn’t been so good, Trader would’ve easily taken home the gold. An incredibly insular movie, with not only a single location but a single actress, Trader is a mindfuck of a movie that is an incredibly thrill ride all the way through. Excellent movie, and you can actually stream it on Tubi right now. And you definitely should. (And check out our interview with star Kimberly-Sue Murray!)

River was not the best indie film I saw this year, it was the best film I saw this year. Directed by Junta Yamaguchi and performed by the Europe Kikaku Theater Troupe, River is a silly and perfectly done time-loop movie that is just an absolute blast to watch. I am sincerely hoping that this movie becomes available to stream, because it is truly extraordinary. This is exactly why indie film exists, and you need to seek this one out when it becomes available.

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