15 Underrated Movies From 2023 That Are Worth A Watch

The Barbenheimer phenomenon that took over social media and drove people to the movie theater in droves will inevitably be the cinematic event that defines 2023. Barbie and Oppenheimer made casual audiences interested in experiencing the joy of going to the movies again.

But plenty of other movies were released this year that generated much hype among movie fans, such as the delightfully shocking Emerald Fennell movie Saltburn, or the highly anticipated sixth installment of the Scream franchise. From surprising horror hits like Talk to Me or part one of Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, 2023 has been another incredible year for film.

Mixed in with the blockbusters and surprising hits, 2023 saw the release of many great films that likely slipped past your radar. With the buzz surrounding movies such as Saw X, John Wick: Chapter 4, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it was easy to miss the movies that went straight to streaming or had a limited theatrical release.

Many of these films that were overshadowed by these hyped-up movies ended up being some of the best of the year that are absolutely stunning. Here are 15 of the most underrated movies from 2023 that are worth a watch.

15 Reality (2023)

Based on the true story of former American intelligence specialist Reality Winner (Sydney Sweeney), Reality uses the recorded transcript of the day the FBI showed up at her house to question her. Reality was given the longest sentence for the unauthorized release of government information to the media about Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections via an email operation.

Related: The 20 Best Dramatic Films of 2023

Based on a Fascinating True Story

Despite the public outcome of Reality’s FBI interrogation, the film manages to be intense from the moment they show up on her property. The use of the real-life transcripts of the interrogation as the dialogue for the film makes it more intense, because you know that this is verbatim what happened that day.

Reality visibly struggles to keep her story straight, and the immense pressure is palpable. Sweeney does an excellent job conveying how physically uncomfortable and mentally drained Reality was.

Stream Reality on Max

14 Dream Scenario (2023)

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A hapless family man named Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams. When his nighttime appearances take a nightmarish turn, Paul is forced to navigate his newfound stardom and his dream selves that inexplicably become violent with their respective subconsciousness.

A Bizarre and Chaotic Nic Cage Film

Nicolas Cage has had a late-stage career resurgence over the past five or six years with films such as Mandy and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and it has been wonderful. He delights here again in this dark comedy-turned-psychological horror. It’s a strange film, and strange is where Cage thrives. Dream Scenario is equally insightful, humorous, and dark.

Rent Dream Scenario on Prime Video

13 Asteroid City (2023)

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Eclectic director Wes Anderson’s latest film is set in the fictional desert town of Asteroid City circa 1955. The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention, an event meant to bring parents and kids across the country together for scholarly competition, is irrevocably disrupted by world-altering events.

A Love Letter to Acting

Asteroid City received some buzz when it was released in June, including a standing ovation at Cannes (probably because the film is a love letter to actors and filmmakers), but it seems to have been largely forgotten after the slew of anticipated movies that were released in July.

It features another stacked ensemble cast that one would expect from a Wes Anderson film, and the colors here might be the most gorgeous of his entire filmography. It is visual eye candy, but it is also one of his most reflective and abstract films ever.

Stream Asteroid City on Prime Video

12 Suitable Flesh (2023)

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Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Thing on the Doorstep,” Joe Lynch’s Suitable Flesh revolves around a once esteemed psychiatrist, Dr. Elizabeth Derby (Heather Graham), whose life is turned upside down as she becomes obsessed with a young patient. She watches her life spiral into a nightmare of supernatural hysteria that seems to be connected to an unstoppable ancient curse.

An Ode to Campy ’80s Horror

If you are an H.P. Lovecraft fan, or a fan of late director Stuart Gordon’s cult classics Re-Animator or From Beyond, then this is for you. It’s an ode to campy ’80s sci-fi horror films and an homage to Gordon himself. It more than delivers on both the campy elements and gore in the best ways possible. The screenplay was also written by the same writer of Re-Animator, Dennis Paoli, and co-stars one of Gordon’s frequent collaborators, Barbara Crampton.

Rent Suitable Flesh on Prime Video

11 To Catch a Killer (2023)

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Set in Baltimore on New Year’s Eve, To Catch a Killer follows a talented but troubled young police officer named Eleanor (Shailene Woodley) as she deals with a disturbed individual who terrorizes the city. After showcasing her profiling skills, FBI Chief Investigator Lammark (Ben Mendelsohn) recruits Eleanor to help him track down the criminal.

An Incredible Crime Thriller

This crime thriller flew under the radar when it was released on Hulu over the summer. This is a shame, because the acting is fantastic and is reminiscent of iconic films such as The Silence of the Lambs and Zodiac. Director Damian Szifron utilizes overhead and upside-down shots to give the cinematography an artistic style.

Combined with the constant action, excellent performances, and editing that keeps up the momentum, the film is a must-watch for fans of crime dramas and crime thrillers.

Stream To Catch a Killer on Hulu

10 Rye Lane (2023)

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Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) are two young strangers both reeling from recent bad breakups. Mourning their relationships and looking to find a way to move on, the pair accidentally meet at a mutual friend’s art gallery. After meeting, the two embark on an eventful day in South London, intending to help each other through their breakups.

Rom-Coms Aren’t Dead

Raine Allen-Miller’s insightful rom-com Rye Lane exceeds genre expectations. Yes, it is funny and follows certain genre tropes, but overall the film breaks the mold. It is exquisitely shot, and the use of bright colors and unconventional camera framing visually make the film stand out from other rom-coms.

Dom and Yas feel like real people that you could easily be friends with, and their ways of coping with their heartache feel more relatable than most rom-coms.

Stream Rye Lane on Hulu

9 BlackBerry (2023)

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Starring Glenn Howerton and Jay Baruchel, Matt Johnson’s BlackBerry follows the meteoric rise of the world’s first smartphone. It follows the company as it toppled media giants before quickly succumbing to the competitive forces of Silicon Valley. Instead of falling due to greed and fraud, BlackBerry fell at the dangerous speed at which they tried to race along the information highway.

The Double-Edged Sword of Innovation

Plenty of corporate dramedies have been made over the years, but BlackBerry takes an unconventional approach by focusing on a different way that a company can come crumbling down. It is also perfectly cast with Howerton and Baruchel in the lead roles. They have impeccable comedic timing and bounce off each other so well. It accurately captures the joys of innovation and the consequences that come with building a company.

Stream Blackberry on AMC+

8 Cobweb (2023)

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From the producers of the 2022 supernatural horror hit Barbarian comes Cobweb, a horror thriller about an eight-year-old boy named Peter (Woody Norman), who hears a constant knocking coming from within the walls of his house. His parents, Carol (Lizzie Caplan) and Mark (Anthony Starr), insist that it’s his imagination.

As Peter’s fear intensifies, and he starts to believe that his sinister parents might be hiding a dangerous secret from him, he begins to question his trust in them.

Imaginative and Disturbing

Cobweb was unceremoniously given a limited theatrical release during Barbenheimer weekend, despite its Halloween setting. Had it been released in October, there would likely have been significantly more buzz surrounding the movie, because it is an imaginative, disturbing horror film.

The story takes the haunted house subgenre and subverts expectations by turning it into something completely unexpected. Lizzie Caplan and Anthony Starr shine as Peter’s creepy, untrustworthy parents, but Woody Norman steals the show as the innocent and inquisitive Peter.

Stream Cobweb on Hulu

7 Influencer (2023)

While struggling on a solo backpacking trip in Thailand after her boyfriend ditches her, social media influencer Madison (Emily Tennant) meets CW (Cassandra Naud), who travels with ease and shows her a more carefree way of living. But CW’s interest in her soon takes a darker turn.

Horror and Social Media Commentary

In an age inundated by social media influencers and content creators, Kurtis David Harder’s Influencer may seem too on the nose, but it offers so much more than that. The overall message is to be wary of what you do online, but the way that message is portrayed through CW’s conniving nature hidden by a free-spirited facade ends up being both enthralling and shocking. It’s a modern-day twist on identity theft with both horror and thriller aspects that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

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6 Sanctuary (2023)

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Confined to a hotel suite, Sanctuary follows a resourceful dominatrix named Rebecca (Margaret Qualley) and her wealthy hotel heir client Hal (Christopher Abbott), who square off in a battle of wits and will when Hal tries to end their relationship. As the one who primed Hal for the opportunity to take over the hotel chain, Rebecca demands compensation.

Dark Comedy and Tense Thriller

Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott make for an undeniably entertaining duo. They’re like a car crash happening in front of you that you can’t help but watch. The film constantly switches from a dark comedy to a tight thriller that keeps the viewer hooked from start to finish. The single location and cast of just two characters enhances the atmosphere and makes the viewer feel as though they are stuck in that claustrophobic hotel suite with them.

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5 Theater Camp (2023)

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Directed by The Bear’s Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman, Theater Camp is a cinematic treat for anyone who is a former theater kid. Taking place at a rundown summer theater camp in upstate New York, the eccentric staff of Camp AdirondACTS must work with the comatose founder’s wannabe businessman son to keep the camp afloat.

A Hilarious Theater Kid Film

This film is instantly enjoyable for anyone who has ever been a part of theater and musicals at some point in their lives. It’s an exaggerated depiction of the lives of theater kids and the adults who instruct them. Gordon and Lieberman directed the cast exactly like real-life theater kids behave, from their constant singing to their praise of Broadway icons. Even if you have never done theater before, the movie is entertaining enough that you will laugh for the entire 92 minutes.

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4 The Royal Hotel (2023)

Backpackers Hanna (Julia Garner) and Liv (Jessica Henwick) take a job in a remote Australian pub for some extra cash after running out of money on their Outback vacation. The bar owner gives them a riotous introduction to the drinking and party culture Down Under, but soon the girls are confronted with a bunch of unruly locals and a situation that grows rapidly out of their control.

Related: The Best Australian Horror Movies, Ranked

A Slow-Burn Travel Thriller

The Royal Hotel marks the second collaboration between Julia Garner and director Kitty Greene after making the tense drama The Assistant in 2019. They work exceptionally well together and bring that same tense atmosphere to this film as it goes from two young women making the most of an international vacation to an uncomfortable situation. The film is a slow-burn thriller that seeks to show the audience that even the simplest of adventures can veer terribly off track.

Rent The Royal Hotel on Prime Video

3 No One Will Save You (2023)

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Brian Duffield’s sci-fi horror film No One Will Save You follows Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever), a young woman with haunting guilt and crushing sadness who lives isolated within her eerily vacant childhood home. When a blood-chilling noise in the dead of night awakens her, Brynn is left to fight off her intruders completely alone. As the sheer terror of a home invasion demands a clear mind to fight back, Brynn must brace herself for a long, unimaginable ordeal.

An Alien Twist on a Home Invasion

Home invasion movies are nothing new, but the added sci-fi element of alien intruders adds a much-needed twist to the subgenre. There is virtually no dialogue in this film, which works in its favor by amplifying the already eerie, isolated atmosphere our outcast protagonist has put us in. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the stereotypical-looking aliens are actually quite unnerving.

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2 Infinity Pool (2023)

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From the mind of David Cronenberg’s son Brandon, Infinity Pool is an unsettling, wild ride. The psychological horror film follows James (Alexander Skarsgard) and Em Foster (Cleopatra Coleman) as they enjoy an idyllic beach vacation on the fictional island of La Tolqa. After meeting an eccentric couple, Gabi (Mia Goth) and Alban (Jalil Lespert), and getting into a fatal car accident with them, the island’s subculture of hedonistic tourism and reckless violence is revealed.

A Psychedelic Horror Flick

Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth are unnervingly excellent at playing unhinged characters, and their roles here are no exception. As soon as James meets Gabi and her husband, it is evident that something sinister is about to go down. Everything that happens from then on is full of surreal, psychological horror that will make you question ever hanging out with strangers while on vacation. The visuals in the film are both beautiful and disturbing, and the acting is superb.

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1 Past Lives (2023)

Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), two deeply connected childhood friends, are torn apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. 20 years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny.

An Introspective Heartfelt Drama

It is astounding that Past Lives is Celine Song’s directorial debut because it is truly an awards-worthy masterpiece. It’s an incredibly moving, touching drama that makes you yearn for the people who have long since been out of your life because of unavoidable circumstances.

Sometimes two people are perfect for each other, but the world pulls them in different directions, leaving them with no choice but to acknowledge that with each other. It’s an introspective narrative, and the conversations the protagonists have with one another are hopeful, but will still pull on your heartstrings.

Rent Past Lives on Prime Video


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