12 films to check out during The Overlook Film Festival 2023

For the first time, Elements of Madness will be covering The Overlook Film Festival and we thought we’d offer up our recommendations of what to check out during the fest or what to keep an eye out for in wider distribution.

Overlook 2023

The Overlook Film Festival runs from Thursday, March 30th, through Sunday, April 2nd, in New Orleans, Louisiana. For more information on their full program, head to the official 2023 schedule.


Why EoM Recommends It:

One can’t imagine the terror of being falsely identified as a perpetrator of a crime that you didn’t commit. Based out of the U.K., there are additional racial elements which fuel the flames of racial disparity toward violence, implying that Philip Barantini’s Accused is going to be a hard watch from go.

Official Synopsis:

Alone at a remote country house, a young man (Chaneil Kular, Sex Education) watches helplessly as a social media frenzy wrongly identifies him as a wanted terrorist. When online threats lead to an IRL home invasion, he must fight for his life in this tense thriller of virtual witch-hunts and false accusations.

Fri, Mar 31st | 7:45 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sun, Apr 2nd | 2:30 PM | Canal Place Theater


A still from the film ACCUSED. Photo courtesy of The Overlook Film Festival.

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster

Why EoM Recommends It:

Though it’s sold as a science fiction horror tale, writer/director Bomani J. Story’s homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is far more horrifying when it leans into the real world aspects of police brutality, racism, classism, and social change. If you’re looking for a heartbreaker, start here.

Official Synopsis:

For Vicaria, death is just another disease, and she believes she has the cure. After her brother is brutally murdered, she embarks on a dangerous journey to bring him back to life in this thrilling tale about a family that, despite the terrors of systemic pressure, will survive and be reborn again.

Thu, Mar 30th | 9:15 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sun, Apr 2nd | 7:30 PM | Canal Place Theater

Spoiler-free review from SXSW 2023 available.


Laya DeLeon Hayes as Vicaria in Bomani J. Story’s THE ANGRY BLACK GIRL AND HER MONSTER. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

Brooklyn 45

Why EoM Recommends It:

EoM senior critic Hunter Heilman checked out Brooklyn 45 during its world premiere at SXSW 2023, saying, “Geoghegan’s uniquely structured ghost story is a tender departure for the filmmaker yet retains the strands of schlocky, but incredibly polished and studied, horror.”

I’ve learned over the years that if Hunter recommends a horror film, listen.

Official Synopsis:

Restless spirits are not the only things haunting a group of longtime friends, reunited in the wake of WWII. Ted Geoghegan directs this chamber piece of horrors where the only thing more terrifying than what lies on the other side may be the secrets we’ve buried in the past.

Fri, Mar 31st | 12:45 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sat, Apr 1st | 12:30 PM | Canal Place Theater

Mon, Apr 3rd | 6:45 PM | Canal Place Theater

Spoiler-free review from SXSW 2023 available.


Why EoM Recommends It:

In a Post-Roe world, there seems like even more pressures and concerns around pregnancy. In this expansion from short film to feature, writer/director Alexis Jacknow explores the social and cultural pressures that crush individuals into changing their identities just to fit in. It’s a wild ride from start to finish, offering a unique perspective that places the real and fantastical horrors on equal footing.

Official Synopsis:

On the eve of her birthday, a woman desperately attempts to fix her broken biological clock, but at what cost? Featuring a powerhouse turn from Dianna Agron (Shiva Baby), this cautionary tale warns that when the pressure to conform mounts beyond reason, something’s going to break.

Fri, Mar 31st | 5:15 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sat, Apr 1st | 7:00 PM | Canal Place Theater


Dianna Agron as Ella in Alexis Jacknow’s CLOCK. Photo courtesy of Hulu.

The Five Devils

Why EoM Recommends It:

Sense memory has a way of snapping people out of the present and straight into a time/place unlike anything else. It could be a smell, a sound, or a fabric that places you back in a time of great joy or heartbreak. Léa Mysius’s The Five Devils goes even further by having its lead character Vicky (played with a quiet roguishness by Sally Dramé) actually travel to moments in her parents’ lives, uncovering secrets that could change all of their lives. It’s an ingenious concept that’ll leave you questioning your own choices and relationships.

Official Synopsis:

Struggling to decipher the adult world around her, an eight-year-old girl with an uncanny sense of smell discovers that her gift also allows her to travel back in time and observe her mother and her aunt’s mysterious past. At once intimate and inexplicable, this is a mesmerizing vision of powerful emotions and sensory overload.

Thu, Mar 30th | 9:45 PM | Canal Place Theater

Fri, Mar 31st | 4:45 PM | Canal Place Theater

Give Me An A

Why EoM Recommends It:

Having seen this via Fantastic Fest 2022, EoM founder Douglas Davidson can unequivocally say that audiences will feel all the rage, all the sorrow, all the grief, and all the fight that project creator Natasha Halevi and her project partners have within them. The 15 shorts that make up Give Me An A jump from comedy to horror to sci-fi to drama with little warning, so prepare for a bit of whiplash, but don’t miss it.

Official Synopsis:

With passion, strength and righteous anger, 16 women filmmakers make their voices heard with this anthology of genre-themed short films, all made in direct response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. A mix of horror, sci-fi and dark comedy, these shorts are a rallying cry for personal rights and bodily autonomy.

Sun, Apr 2nd | 3:30 PM | Canal Place Theater

Spoiler-free review from Fantastic Fest 2022 available.

Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism

Why EoM Recommends It:

XYZ Films is a distributor with more hits than misses, attached to films that are willing to get weird, dark, or darkly silly. They’re the folks behind releases such as DualMandy, and Gatlopp: Hell of a Game, films which have made varying impacts on my imagination. So if their name is attached to Godless, pay attention. Things likely are about to get wild.

Official Synopsis:

Convinced that his wife is possessed by dark forces, a desperate husband puts his faith in the power of a pitiless self-proclaimed exorcist, who is convinced that salvation can be found only through his hands. Inspired by true events, this is a disturbing tale of misplaced faith and destructive zealotry.

Fri, Mar 31st | 2:15 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sat, Apr 1st | 11:45 AM | Canal Place Theater

It Lives Inside

Why EoM Recommends It:

Possession stories serve as metaphors for something else (i.e. grief/loss in The Vigil) or just provide an opportunity to explore the darker corners of humanity. To few possession films exist outside of the Christian POV so the concept of one within the Indian community is enticing all by itself.

Official Synopsis:

Sam is desperate to fit in at school, rejecting her Indian culture and family to be like everyone else. When a mythological demonic spirit latches onto her former best friend, she must come to terms with her heritage in order to defeat it.

Fri, Mar 31st | 5:45 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sat, Apr 1st | 7:45 PM | Canal Place Theater


A still from the film IT LIVES INSIDE. Photo courtesy of The Overlook Film Festival.

My Animal

Why EoM Recommends It:

Debuting at Sundance 2023, Jacqueline Castel’s My Animal uses the lycanthropy as a metaphor that services multiple ideas of identity, sexuality, and position within a family. From my original spoiler-free review, “it’s as aching a rebirth as one may expect and the audience feels it, too.”

Official Synopsis:

A coming-of-age tale equally concerned with the coming of the next full moon, this visually stunning queer romance follows two teen girls struggling to come to terms with their desires, their fears and, for one of them, a family curse of bloodlust and lycanthropy.

Fri, Mar 31st, 12:30 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sun, Apr 2nd | 1:00 PM | Canal Place Theater

Spoiler-free review from Sundance 2023 available.


L-R: Amandla Stenberg as Jonny and Bobbi Salvör Menuez as Heather in the horror/romantic film, MY ANIMAL. Photo courtesy of Director of Photography Byrn McCashin.

Trim Season

Why EoM Recommends It:

Nothing good ever happens when you’re isolated somewhere. Look at The ThingThe Evil Dead, and The Strangers. Makes one wonder what kinds of gnarly things can happen when such a story is set within a remote marijuana farm. Only so much kush can soften the terror to come.

Official Synopsis:

Completely cut off from the outside world, a small crew of trimmers working on a remote marijuana farm discover the stalks there have disturbingly deep roots in ancient blood-soaked traditions. Now they must fight to escape the final harvest in this stylized and twisted tale of the Emerald Triangle.

Fri, Mar 31st | 2:45 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sat, Apr 1st | 5:15 PM | Canal Place Theater

Red Tent

A still from the film TRIM SEASON. Photo courtesy of The Overlook Film Festival.

We Kill For Love

Why EoM Recommends It:

There’s been an on-going discussion recently regarding the depictions of sex in cinema, with some feeling there’s too much, others feeling like it’s unnecessary, and others wondering why it’s being discussed at all since no part of a story is necessary unless the artist (filmmaker) deems it so. In this regard, going for a deep dive (163 minutes, in fact) into the world of direct-to-video erotic thrillers may just have an answer to stop the exploration once and for all.

Official Synopsis:

Take a deep dive into the sultry, shadowy world of direct-to-video erotic thrillers — films of mysterious strangers, sexual obsessions and crimes of passion that once dominated video store shelves and late night cable. This in-depth documentary celebrates the genre with insight, filmmaker interviews and an amazing array of clips that will leave you lusting for more.

Sat, Apr 1st | 12:00 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sun, Apr 2nd | 5:30 PM | Canal Place Theater

We Kill For Love 1

WE KILL FOR LOVE director Anthony Penta. Photo Courtesy The Overlook Film Festival.

The Wrath of Becky

Why EoM Recommends It:

EoM contributor Lindsey Dunn says of 2020’s Becky, “Viewers looking for some blood, guts, kids-gone-wild type action will approve.” So if the follow-up is anything like the first, audiences are in for a blast in The Wrath of Becky.

Official Synopsis:

Two years after she escaped a violent attack on her family, Becky attempts to rebuild her life in the care of an older woman — a kindred spirit named Elena. But when a group known as the “Noble Men” break into their home, attack them and take her beloved dog, Diego, Becky must return to her old ways to protect herself and her loved ones.

Thu, Mar 30th | 9:30 PM | Canal Place Theater

Sun, Apr 2nd | 12:15 PM | Canal Place Theater

Mon, Apr 3rd | 9:30 PM | Canal Place Theater

About The Overlook Film Festival

The Overlook Film Festival is a 4-day celebration of all things horror held in America’s most haunted city, New Orleans. Each May, genre fans and cinephiles from the world over convene in the heart of the French Quarter, home to countless apparition sightings, voodoo legends, vampire curses and even some lore related to our namesake, horror fiction’s most frightening creation.

Presenting superior film programming with an expanded focus on experiential events, the festival showcases exciting work in new and classic independent horror cinema alongside the latest in interactive and live shows for a fully immersive weekend. As a summer camp for genre fans, The Overlook is a community event bringing the best of horror in all its forms to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience within an intimate and inspirational environment.

The Overlook has been listed as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Best Genre Festivals in the world every year. Past guests to our events also include Roger Corman, Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Taika Waititi, Ari Aster, Ana Lily Amirpour, Paul Scheer, Roxanne Benjamin, Darren Lyn Bousman, Simon Barrett and Jason Blum in addition to our illustrious advisory board, who include Elijah Wood, Karyn Kusama, Leigh Whannell, Mick Garris, Larry Fessenden and Joe Dante along with industry luminaries from the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Intl. Film Festival, Blumhouse Productions, CAA, Endeavor Content, Neon, 30 West, XYZ Films and SpectreVision.

As part of the virtual collaborative initiative NIGHTSTREAM, a digital genre festival created in the wake of the pandemic, The Overlook spearheaded the virtual events component which included John Carpenter, Nia DaCosta, Mike Flanagan, Mary Harron, David Dastmalchian, Ernest Dickerson, John Landis, Issa Lopez, David Lowery, Greg Nicotero, Peaches Christ and many more.

Overlook 2023

Categories: In Theaters, Reviews

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