My Top Picks for FrightFest 2023

Get ready, because FrightFest 2023 is creeping up next week!

If you managed to snag yourself a festival pass, mark this Saturday as the day for discovery tickets! Like many of us, you’ve probably been diving into list-making and spreadsheet frenzy, attempting to figure out which tickets are the must-grabs. On my end, I’ve got a whopping 13 discovery films jotted down, though realistically, scoring them all is very unlikely.

So here’s a list of my top pick discovery screen films I’m hoping to catch at this year’s FrightFest (in no particular order).

Short Film Showcases

Showcase 1 – Friday 25th August 3:45pm – Discovery Screen 2

Showcase 2 – Saturday 26th August 10:30am – Discovery Screen 1

Showcase 3 – Monday 28th August 6:30pm – Discovery Screen 1

Still from an animated short.

This year there are three showcases spread over the week of frights. Now, if you’re anything like me and your attention span is sometimes about as long as a jump scare, you’re going to love these showcases. Showcase 1 is crammed with shorts from every corner of the globe, all playing out on one of the smaller screens. As for Showcase 2 and Showcase 3, they’re all about celebrating the short-form works from the brilliant minds hailing from the UK and Ireland, and are held in the much larger Discovery Screen 1.

These showcases are like a buffet of horror brilliance, offering up a wild variety of styles and talents, all in just one (or three) sittings.


Thursday 24th August 10:30pm- Discovery Screen 1

Richard Brake in Lore.

LHS Pro member James Bushe (Cannibals and Carpet Fitters), along with Patrick Ryder and Greig Johnson are the trio of directors responsible for bringing twisted and spine-tingling campfire stories to life in this anthology. Just like those captivating short blocks, I’ve got a soft spot for anthologies. Seriously, getting four eerie tales bundled up in a single cinematic package – plus the wrapper that ties it all together – is just my type of thing!

In this case, it’s a weekend away in Scotland for four scare-loving friends. Their creepy guide urges them to share their most bone-chilling fears through twisted tales and to ignite a totem that fuels the lurking evil. Unbeknownst to the friends, the horrors they are weaving might have dire consequences, which of course will be all the more fun for us!

Sympathy for the Devil

Sunday 27th August 9pm- Discovery Screen 1

Nicolas Cage in Sympathy for the Devil.

Nicolas Cage. Need I say more? This one was a bit of a late addition to the line-up and I think people were surprised that it’s not on the Main Screen, where Cage undoubtedly belongs. But Discovery Screen 1 will still be a prime space to showcase his larger-than-life presence. Us pass holders just have to worry about nabbing ourselves a ticket.

In this ‘diabolical revenge thriller’, a red satin-dressed Cage takes a driver (Joel Kinnaman) hostage at gun point in the midst of a baby-on-the-way emergency. Get ready for a pulse-pounding game of cat and mouse on the Vegas streets, all while an intricately woven plot unravels before your eyes. The reviews for this film might not be off the charts so far, but in my book, Cage is always worth the watch. When he’s in the zone (and judging by the film stills he is), you’re in for something you won’t forget.

The Weird Kidz

Friday 25th August 4pm – Discovery Screen 3

Sunday 27th August 1:30pm – Discovery Screen 3

Still from The Weird Kidz

Now, as a total fan of ‘grown-up’ cartoons, imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this animated gem in the lineup. Besides a sprinkle of shorts in the showcases, animated films at FrightFest are pretty few and far between, so I’m really hoping to get a ticket for this one.

They’re billing this as an adventure, a coming-of-age tale, an urban legend, and a horror flick all rolled into an adult-humour filled package. The story follows three 12-year old boys (Dug, Mel, and Fatt) as they go on a camping trip in the desert with Dug’s older brother and his new girlfriend. On the way, a gas station attendant tells them about a desert-dwelling creature she claims took her younger brother years ago. Probably just a local legend, right? Well, when they get to their campsite, things start to get weird.


Saturday 26th August 6:30pm- Discovery Screen 1

Still from Isaac.

Now, for a complete switch-up from my last pick! This time around, we’re diving headfirst into the world of a grief-stricken couple (Johnny Viviash and Kathryn Louise) whose journey leads them into the heart of a chilling experiment. If Viviash’s name rings a bell, that’s no surprise – he’s a familiar face on the FrightFest scene, making not one, not two, but four appearances this year (two features and two shorts).

After the loss of their first child, the couple decides to take part in a clinical trial where a cellular meat company is using its technology to create genetically modified babies. And let’s be real – this is a horror film. There’s no way these experiments are going to go as planned. As the story unfolds, it’s bound to leave us with a truckload of questions. Just how far is too far when it comes to technology? When do we just let Mother Nature take her course?

Good Boy

Monday 28th August 1:20pm- Discovery Screen 2

Still from Good Boy.

So this one looks absolutely bonkers. After meeting Christian, who she finds on a dating app, Sigrid accompanies him to his home where she meets his dog, Frank. Only Frank isn’t a normal dog. He’s a man dressed in a dog suit. Christian tells Sigrid it’s imperative she treats Frank like a real dog, all in the name of therapy. If the trailer is any indication, this film is bound to be a thrilling, wild ride as Frank starts misbehaving. And, as it’s playing on one of the smaller screens, I think I’ll prioritise these tickets to make sure I get a seat!

The Knocking 

Friday 25th August 6:25pm – Discovery Screen 3

Sunday 27th August 4pm – Discovery Screen 3

Still from The Knocking.

Despite my previously mentioned short attention span, I love a slow-burn, creepy horror, and I think that’s just what we’re going to get with this one. The film sees three siblings returning to the home where their parents were murdered. The plan is to get the house and surrounding estate ready for sale, but past traumas resurface and there’s something lurking in the woods that may be trying to stop that from happening. This one is inspired by old Finnish myths about woodland spirits, and to be honest, I was pretty much sold on it from that. This one’s going to take us on an eerie journey into the depths of the unknown, and I, for one, am here for every spine-tingling moment.

We’ll survive if we all just stick together!

Whether you’re a horror super-fan, a seasoned industry professional or someone looking to dip their toes into creating their own project, we’d love to welcome you inside the Independent Horror Society! If you’re keen to join us, click here to see all of our membership options.