Pigeon Shrine FrightFest 2023: SciFiNow Top Picks

Pigeon Shrine FrightFest 2023: SciFiNow Top Picks

There’s plenty to look forward to at this year’s Pigeon Shrine FrightFest. Here are SciFiNow’s Top Picks from the horror festival…

Our favourite UK scare fest is back next week with Pigeon Shrine FrightFest returning to Cineworld in Leicester Square, London, for its 24th edition.

Running from Thursday August 24 – Monday 28 August 2023, Pigeon Shrine FrightFest will have feature-length and short films, as well as documentaries, and will encompass 25 World, 23 International / European and 12 UK premieres, with 14 countries represented, spanning five continents.

From carnival murderers and underwater claustrophobia, to demons and a man who dresses like a dog, there’s something for everyone at this year’s Pigeon Shrine FrightFest. Here are our top picks (all in handy date order!)…

Thursday 24th August

Suitable Flesh

Just days ago, Elizabeth Derby was a successful psychiatrist with a loving husband and the world at her fingertips. Now, she finds herself locked up inside a psych ward after the murder of a young male patient to whom she had an inexplicable, almost otherworldly attraction. Hoping to clear her name, Elizabeth confides in her doctor and recounts what happened, giving way to a bizarre and disturbing tale of sexual madness, supernatural horror, and homicidal rage.

Read our review here.

Director: Joe Lynch.

Cast: Heather Graham, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Davison, Johnathan Schaech.

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Thursday 24 August | 5.45pm

The Dive

Experienced scuba divers May and Drew are two sisters with a close but complex bond who go on a deep sea diving trip to a beautiful but remote beauty spot. During their dive, May is struck by a rock from a landslide above the water, leaving her trapped on the seabed 28 meters below the surface. With dangerously low levels of oxygen and cold temperatures taking their toll, it‘s up to Drew to fight for her life, which jeopardises her own…

Read our review here.

Director: Maximilian Erlenwein

Cast: Sophie Lowe, Louisa Krause

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Thursday 24 August | 8.25pm

Friday 25 August

It Lives Inside

It Lives Inside finds Indian-American, Samidha, at that point where her culture and hanging out as a normal teenager collide. She has supportive parents and a teacher ally, and she’s interested in a boy named Russ. But none of this matters when her estranged friend Tamira breaks a jar she claims houses an ancient demon. When the evil force kidnaps Tamira and starts targeting her friends and family, Samidha must acknowledge that some legends are true as she tries to end the reign of terror.

Read our review here.

Director: Bishal Dutta

Cast: Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan, Betty Gabriel

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Friday 25 August | 10.45am

Eight Eyes

A mysterious local crashes a couple’s vacation through the former Yugoslavia, pulling them deeper into his web of psychic rituals in this unique shocker drawing equally from Eastern European genre cinema and American regional horrors of the 1970s.

Read our review here

Director: Austin Jennings.

Cast: Emily Sweet, Bradford Thomas and Bruno Veljanovski

Where: Discovery Screen 3

When: Friday 25 August | 1.15pm (plus an additional screening on Sunday 27 August at 8.55pm)

Where The Devil Roams

We’re big fans of the Adams family’s work here at SciFiNow (so much so, that we chose their newest movie, Where The Devil Roams to be our hosted film at the festival this year, find out more here).

Where The Devil Roams is set in the harsh Depression-era America, and explores a dark, eerie journey filled with suspense, thrills, and chills. Venture into a nightmare alley with the Adams pack as they trace a family of murderous sideshow performers travelling around the world on the dying carnival circuit on a bloody search for eternal life.

Read our review here.

Directors: John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser

Stars: John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Friday 25th August | 3.30pm

What You Wish For

A chef with gambling problems flees to a Latin American villa where he assumes another man’s identity in What You Wish For. A morality tale about omnipresent greed in the post-President Donald Trump years, Tomnay looks at how the rich and powerful in America have become completely uninterested in the world as a community, particularly inaction concerning climate change.

Read our review here.

Director: Nicholas Tomnay

Cast: Nick Stahl, Tamsin Topolski, Randy Vasquez, Penelope Mitchell

Where: Discovery Screen 2

When: Friday 25 August | 6.20pm

Saturday 26 August



Inspired by the short story ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ by Edgar Allen Poe, Cobweb tells the story of a mysterious, constant tap that plagues eight-year-old Peter from inside his bedroom wall – a tapping his parents insist is all in his imagination. His concerned schoolteacher starts enquiring after Peter shows clear evidence of trouble at home. But as Peter’s fear intensifies, he believes his parents could be hiding a terrible, dangerous secret and questions their trust. And for a child, what could be more frightening than that?

Read our review here.

Director: Samuel Bodin

Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Anthony Starr, Cleopatra Coleman, Woody Norman

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Saturday 26 August | 1.10pm (plus an additional screening at the Discovery 3 screen with closed captions)


In Pandemonium, Nathan and Daniel wake at the scene of a car crash, confused and seemingly unscathed. The two men begin to slowly understand that they did not make it. They are dead. Nathan’s previous acts will now determine his fate, however reprehensible they might have been. He will have to leave this earthly world and enter the depths of Hell that await him for all eternity and be confronted with other tormented souls whose pain he will be forced to experience by the demon Norgül.

Read our review here.

Director: Quarxx

Cast: Hugo Dillon, Ophelia Kolb, Arben Bajraktaraj, Manon Maindivide

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Saturday 26 August | 3.30pm

Doctor Jekyll

Doctor Jekyll is a modern reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. When ex-convict Rob takes the carer position to the infamous Nina Jekyll, little does he know he’s part of an evil master plan devised by her alter ego Rachel Hyde. But to what lengths will Rob go to satisfy his client’s weird wishes and ambitions for the daughter he has never seen?

Director: Joe Stephenson

Cast: Eddie Izzard, Scott Chambers, Lindsay Duncan, Simon Callow

Where: Discovery Screen 1

When: Friday 25 August | 8.45pm


Transmission’s story unfolds on a television screen as we switch between different channels and slowly realise that each of these channels is actually telling different aspects of the same horrific narrative…

Director: Michael J. Hurst

Cast: Vernon Wells, Felissa Rose, Dave Sheridan, Sadie Katz.

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Saturday 26 August | 11pm

Sunday 27 August

The Seeding

the seeding

In The Seeding, a hiker finds himself marooned with a mysterious woman in a remote desert canyon where a pack of feral boys have built a primitive society structured around a brutal coda of entrapment and procreation. A slow-burning survival thriller from prolific music video director Barnaby Clay, this stone-cold shocker confronts the dread of isolation and unchecked toxic masculinity head-on. Boys will be boys, and in the terrifying vastness of the California arid region, their worst desires come out to play.

Read our review here.

Director: Barnaby Clay

Cast: Scott Haze, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alex Montaldo, Charlie Avink

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Sunday 27 August | 1.25pm

Raging Grace

raging grace

Raging Grace is a bold coming-of-age story that follows Joy, who is an undocumented Filipina immigrant struggling to do her best for her daughter, Grace, when she secures the perfect job; taking care of an extremely wealthy but terminally ill old man. The position pays well and guarantees a roof over their heads, but soon, Joy realises everything is not as it seems. Something is festering beneath the surface, threatening all they have worked for.

Read our review here.

Director: Paris Zarcilla

Cast: Jaeden Paige Boadilla, Max Eigenmann, David Heyman, Leanne Best

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Sunday 27 August | 6.15pm (plus an additional screening on Monday 28 August at 1.15pm)

T Blockers

When ancient parasites that thrive on hatred rise from beneath a small town, taking the most fearful and susceptible as hosts, a young trans filmmaker struggling to transition in these increasingly hostile times for LGBTQ+ people finds herself the only one who can sense the possessed, and rally the resistance before the horror escapes and spreads.

Read our review here.

Director: Alice Maio Mackay

Cast: Lauren Last, Lewi Dawson, Lisa Fanto

Where: Discovery Screen 2

When: Sunday 27 August | 6.40pm

Monday 28 August

Good Boy

Millionaire heir Christian meets student Sigrid on a dating app. Meeting up at his mansion, she’s shocked after their liaison encounters his dog, Frank. The problem is Frank is a man dressed and acting like a dog – therapy Christian says for his friend with a traumatic past to cope with stress. Concerned at first, Sigrid gradually comes around to the pet ‘puppy’ antics and starts dating Christian properly. Then he asks her to spend a weekend at his country cabin, where events take a completely unexpected turn, and their whimsical romance lurches into shocking horror.

Director: Viljar Bøe

Cast: Gard Løkke, Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen, Nicolai Narvesen Lied, Viljar Bøe

Where: Discovery Screen 2

When: Monday 18 August | 1.20pm

The Sacrifice Game

It’s bad enough that elite boarding school students Samantha and Clara can’t go home for Christmas. But things take a deadly turn for the worse when a murderous gang of cult killers arrive, intent on summoning a demon. What must the girls do to survive the night?

Read our review here.

Director: Jenn Wexler

Cast: Mena Massoud, Olivia Scott Welch, Chloe Levine, Gus Kenworthy

Where: Empire Studio Main Screen

When: Monday 28 August | 9.15pm

Find the full line-up for the 2023 Pigeon Shrine FrightFest and for more information on the festival, click here.