New horror movie debuts to a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, as first reactions call it an "instant body horror classic" that is "one for the sickos"

The Substance
(Image credit: Mubi)

The Substance has landed rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, as the new Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley-led horror movie is called an "instant body horror classic".

Landing an 11-minute standing ovation at the festival, the film is written and directed by  French filmmaker Coralie Fargeat. Taking its inspiration from cell division, the movie imagines a new revolutionary product called The Substance, which allows users to create an alter-ego that’s younger, more beautiful, and more perfect. 

Reviews have been glowing so far, with a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes currently, based on seven reviews. It’s early days for the new movie, but in general, the reviews and first reactions have been pretty glowing.

Our own The Substance review gives it four stars as our critic James Mottram writes: "Packed with ideas, blood-curdling FX, and a full-on Demi Moore, The Substance is a movie you’ll want to mainline."

Elsewhere, Indie Wire’s David Ehrlich writes: "The Substance is absolutely fucking insane and by *far* the best film in competition so far. An instant body horror classic, equal parts Freaky Friday and The Fly, Demi Moore going full demented. Loved."

Meanwhile, Next Best Picture’s Josh Parham tweets: "The Substance is like David Cronenberg made Death Becomes Her, a dark and twisted fable regarding Hollywood’s obsession with youth and beauty. Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley are both superb in this excessively gory spectacle of body horror. This one is for the sickos."

Variety’s review reads: "Shocking and resonant, disarmingly grotesque and weirdly fun, The Substance is a feminist body-horror film that should be shown in movie theaters all over the land."

"With her second film, Coralie Fargeat not only addresses this question but takes aim at ageism and sexism in the entertainment industry with a riotous, dreamlike horror-thriller that ends in a delirious symphony of blood, guts and otherwise undefinable viscera," adds Deadline in their first-look review.

Mubi is due to distribute the film, but no release date has been announced yet. For more scares, here’s our guide to the best horror movies around and all the upcoming horror movies to get excited about.

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.