THE PORTRAIT is a new supernatural thriller with lots of horror moments of the psychological variety. A tiny cast and a slow-burn story that draws you in with every scene. Read our full The Portrait movie review here and find it on VOD now!

THE PORTRAIT is a thriller with a supernatural story that slowly reveals itself. In fact, it happens so slowly that you won’t truly get the full picture until the final scene. To be fair, though, it has been teased and even stated plainly. It’s just that you won’t see it with your own eyes until the end.

While this is a thriller, there are many moments of psychological horror. It’s both tragic and dangerous for our main character, which leads to moments of real fear. The runtime is just 1 hour and 26 minutes, so it’s a quick watch and has a definite ending, which I know many movie-watchers prefer.

Continue reading our The Portrait movie review below. Find it on VOD and Digital from December 8, 2023.

Holding on to hope

In The Portrait, we follow Sofia (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) as she is doing her best to get her husband Alex back. Alex (Ryan Kwanted) was in a devastating accident that left him without memories or the ability to speak.

At least, that’s how it seems but Sofia can’t be sure of his status without him talking. Alex can walk around but does have some physical scars as well.

As part of his recovery, they move to a mansion owned by his family. Sofia is hoping that being in an environment he knows from several times in his life, something might “click” and he will come back to her. Unfortunately, nothing seems to happen when they get there.

Not for Alex anyway.

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Sofia, however, comes across a painting that looks exactly like her husband. It shouldn’t be possible as it was painted a long time ago. Before any of them – of their closest ancestors – were even born.

As her obsession with this painting intensifies, it starts to haunt her in strange ways. She starts to question whether the painting may somehow be possessed or if she’s losing her mind.

The Portrait (2023) – Review | Supernatural Thriller

Solid jump scares and a great cast

Again, this is mostly described as a thriller, but on IMDb, it also has the official titles of horror and mystery. Personally, it feels much more like a psychological horror mystery to me than a supernatural thriller. But hey, to each their own.

I can say that it has some solid jump scares. Sometimes in a classic horror sense, others come from a different kind of shock effect. Whatever the background for these moments, they worked for me as I physically jumped in my seat. Especially during a flashback.

Also, I loved the casting in this movie. Natalia Cordova-Buckley is a strong lead and carries so much of the movie. Ryan Kwanten, who is an actor we’ve seen in lots of interesting projects since True Blood, has almost no lines. He suffers from brain damage from a tragic accident, but his physicality in this role is perfect.

In smaller supporting roles, we see Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Virginia Madsen. To me, Virginia Madsen will always make me think of the original Candyman, but I love what she’s doing these days. Her small role in the Christmas horror movie Better Watch Out was brilliant.

Watch The Portrait (2023) on VOD now!

The Portrait (2023) was directed by Simon Ross and the screenplay comes from writer David Griffiths. This is the feature film debut of director Simon Ross, and I must say I enjoy his style. Both in terms of how the actors come across in this movie and the eerie vibe throughout.

Screenwriter David Griffiths has co-written some pretty big movies in the past. Including the Arnold Schwarzenegger 2002 movie Collateral Damage and the 2003 movie The Hunted starring Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, and Connie Nielsen. He hasn’t written much recently, but maybe he’s coming back.

With a runtime of just 86 minutes and a dark and sinister vibe throughout, it is very much worth checking out. Also, I truly enjoyed the casting in this one. It just worked for me.

The Portrait (2023) is out on VOD and digital on December 8, 2023.


Director: Simon Ross
Writer: David Griffiths
Cast: Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Ryan Kwanten, Isidora Goreshter with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Virginia Madsen


In the wake of her husband’s devastating accident, a devoted wife becomes consumed by a mysterious portrait that resembles him in his happier days. However, as her obsession intensifies, the painting starts to unleash terror upon her life, leading her to question whether it is possessed by a malevolent force or if she is losing her sanity. Caught between the haunting unknown and her own fears, she must confront her deepest fears and unravel the unsettling truth before it’s too late.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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