Check out the Best of 2023 collection on Shudder

Still from Skinamarink. Photo Credit: Shudder
Still from Skinamarink. Photo Credit: Shudder /

Horror streaming platform Shudder always has a nice selection of “Collections” available, and I like to go in and check them out every now and then. My most recent perusal of the collections turned up some newer ones, as well as some that have been there for a while, so I thought I would explore a few of them for our readers.

First up, let’s talk about the Best of 2023 Collection, which includes 16 films released last year.

Hell House Origins: The Carmichael ManorHell House LLC is one of my favorite modern franchises, and this fourth installment was possibly the strongest since the original. In this prequel/sequel, the action is taken away from the Abaddon Hotel for the first time – but don’t worry, the stories about the Abaddon still play a part (and those creepy clowns are back).

When Evil Lurks – I knew this one was going to be good when I found out it was written and directed by Demian Rugna. He was the writer/director of Terrified, which was that rare horror film that actually gave me the cold chills, and When Evil Lurks had that same effect. The official blurb reads: “When the residents of a small rural town discover that a demon is about to be born among them, they desperately try to escape, but it may be too late.”

Night of the Hunted – In this tense thriller, Alice is traveling back home to her husband after a work conference with her co-worker/boyfriend. The two stop at a gas station-convenience store, and when Alice goes inside to pay, she sees no clerk, but lots of blood. Very quickly, the action amps up as someone opens fire from a billboard across the street. Alice must use her wits, along with anything she can find in the store to help her stay alive.

Puppet Man
Puppet Man - Photo Credit: Shudder /

The Puppetman – Brandon Christensen was responsible for Shudder Originals Z, Still/Born, Superhost and this dark film about the daughter of a man who brutally murdered his wife (and daughter Michal’s mother). David has been in prison for many years, and his execution date is looming on the close horizon, but he always claimed that he did not murder of his own free will, that he was basically possessed by an evil presence. Michal, now a college student, must navigate her trauma while trying to avoid letting anyone else know who she is. But that same evil force may now be in her.

V/H/S/85 – The sixth installment of the popular V/H/S franchise contains five different stories, along with a narrative that is sprinkled throughout. Each segment is helmed by a different director, with David Bruckner responsible for the frame narrative. You might know Bruckner as the director of The Ritual and The Night House.

Nightmare – Mona has been having trouble sleeping, and is plagued by horrible nightmares and sleepwalking episodes. Sleep expert Aksel tells her she may be the victim of the Mare, a mythical evil entity. This information, along with the creepy neighbors eventually begin to wear on Mona’s sanity.

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster - RLJE
The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster - Courtesy RLJE /

The Angry Black Girl and her Monster – In this modern version of Frankenstein, “Vicaria is a brilliant teenager who believes death is a disease that can be cured. After the brutal murder of her brother, she embarks on a dangerous journey to bring him back to life.”

Perpetrator – Rebellious teenager Jonny gets in trouble one too many times, and is sent away to live with her Aunt Hildie. On her 18th birthday, Jonny discovers she is the victim of a family spell, which allows her to go in search of the person responsible for the disappearance of several girls at her school.

Bad Things – When Ruthie inherits an old hotel from her grandmother, she and three friends decide to stay at the place for a few days while Ruthie entertains the thought of running it. She may decide to sell it instead, but her girlfriend Cal isn’t happy with that idea. When Ruthie begins to hallucinate, things get weird at the hotel.

Unwelcome – This fun Irish folk horror film introduces us to a young couple who have just found out they are pregnant. When Jamie and Maya are attacked by criminals in their London apartment, they decide to move to the Irish countryside, where Jamie has just inherited his Aunt’s home. They are warned by a neighbor that need to leave raw liver every night for the “Red Caps”, who are devilish small folk living in the forest.

Unwelcome 4
Unwelcome - Courtesy Shudder /

Brooklyn 45 – Four friends and military veterans meet at a Brooklyn brownstone after World War II. The owner of the home is Hock, who was their former commander, and he talks the others into taking part in a séance, believing he may be able to reach his dead wife. It goes wrong, as seances often do in horror movies.

Influencer – Madison is a popular online influencer, who had planned a fun trip to Thailand with her boyfriend. When he cancels on her, Madison goes on the trip alone, pretending to have a great time for the benefit of her followers. Madison meets CW, a fun-loving woman who persuades Madison to join her at great locations, including a deserted island. After leaving Madison on the island, CW pretends to be her, and her followers are fooled.

Husera: The Bone Woman – “Valeria's joy at becoming a first-time mother is quickly taken away when she's cursed by a sinister entity. As danger closes in, she's forced deeper into a chilling world of dark magic that threatens to consume her.”

The Unheard – Chloe spent six months in a coma as a child after catching meningitis, and when she awoke, she had lost her hearing and her mother had disappeared. She and her Dad moved away, and now an adult, Chloe has agreed to a new treatment that she hopes will restore her hearing. One of the side effects is that Chloe begins to have auditory hallucinations, and she may find out what happened to her mother.

Attachment – Maja and Leah are in a new relationship, and things are going well before Leah is seriously injured while having a seizure. Her mother Chana wants to take care of her until she is well, and Maja goes along for the ride when they move into Chana’s Orthodox Jewish home. Maja doesn’t know what to believe when the overprotective Chana insinuates that demonic possession plagues the family.

Skinamarink – Along with The Outwaters, Skinamarink was possibly the most polarizing horror film of 2023. Its story is not straightforward; instead, it is told via dark, grainy shots, extremely minimal (and often hard to hear) dialogue, and through the experiences of two young children, Kevin and Kaylee. The two children awaken late at night to discover that their father is gone, along with all of the windows and doors in the house. Really, it’s nearly impossible to give a synopsis of this creepy, bizarre film. But if you like weird, trippy slow burn horror (as I do), give it a watch. I recommend watching it in the dark, close captions on and wearing headphones.

Keep your eyes on 1428 Elm as we explore more of the Shudder collections in the next few weeks!

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