The 10 Best Horror Movies of 2022: While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, its unparalleled versatility makes horror a genre most frequented by lovers of motion pictures. Offering an endless variety of films that accommodate almost all tastes and preferences may have even placed the grisly genre right at the top of the list. And for those fans whose frantic search for the next great horror movie will never end, horror is most likely a soothing refuge that distracts from the darker happenings of the faltering world.
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Lucky for both groups, 2022 has seen sort of a revolution in the unpredictable genre with its films breaking shapes and making new ones. Not only have there been applaudable entrees that will satisfy conventional cravings, but the genre has also been adorned with films that are unyielding with their palpable ambiguity.
What has also increased horror’s approachability in 2022 is its effort toward letting other genres in far enough for them to have their fun without changing the primary genre’s identity. So if you’re looking for a list from a reliable source (I.e., yours truly) that lives and breathes horror, take a look at the ten movies I’ve handpicked and find out which of these cater to your specific murky cravings.
A double-booked Airbnb in a creepy town, and you have to spend a frenzied night with a strange man? Check! A frightful basement ceaselessly engulfed by the pitch black? Check! A ginormous “creature” chasing you through a dungeon, and you’re all alone? Check. Oh, and how could I forget? No one–and I mean absolutely no one will lend a helping hand. Albeit, all of that is true for you if you’re the unbelievably unfortunate lead Tess in Zack Cregger’s mystery horror Barbarian. But who can deny the crippling second-hand anxiety of watching the hellish plight of the innocents in an unfairly messed up situation?
Barbarian insists on breaking the rules, and we are not complaining. Hitting you with the strangest twists and tricks that, more often than not, come out of nowhere, the film shakes you up every time you think it can’t get any worse for Tess. If Bill Skarsgard’s signature threatening aura darkening the door to the Airbnb isn’t menacing enough, the poor girl will find herself in countless traumatizing stages of purgatory. Tess’ horror finds the most authentic outlet in Georgina Campbell’s expressive elements. Cregger has clearly had savage fun while handpicking an unlikely cast for a bone-chilling story that isn’t all that likely.
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9. Terrifier 2
Currently making history as a daring Academy Awards entry, Damien Leone’s extreme slasher horror Terrifier 2 is ruthless all around–in a great way. A gory charm that was first inflicted by Leone’s brainchild Art the clown, in All Hallows Eve, became a drug for the bloodthirsty fans. Sure, body horror is something that either works for you or it doesn’t. But there’s something about the lure of a grisly clown wrecking people up, which will make you take a look. Whether you can sit through Art’s bloody rampage or not is up to you. Art’s insane popularity amongst gore fans has brought him back twice as of now. After 2016’s Terrifier, where the murder clown was a dark Santa spreading around the chilling gift of death from his sack of weapons, Terrifier 2 brings him back to life to unleash hell on a bigger scale.
Terrifier 2 isn’t just unstoppable with its gorier aspects. A bolder take on Art’s mysterious origin and blood-soaked future weave an ambitious story that serves as a solid foundation for the clown’s violence to thrive. Not only does Leone give us a sound narrative this time around–we are also getting a badass heroine strong enough to face Art. It’s only a matter of time before Art replaces Jason Voorhees and Mike Myers and becomes the newest crowd-favorite killer.
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There’s always something graver than what the surface gives off in every Jordan Peele movie. Peele’s third directorial ambition, Nope, is an even more nuanced addition to his list of horrors that contain a darker social message. Entertaining with each crumb of its existence, Nope is a fantastic culmination of all of Peele’s strengths. Being a cousin to whodunnits with its what-on-God’s-green-earth-is-that kind of thrill, Nope confuses you endlessly with its enigmatic threat–tickles you every chance it gets with its hilarious irony–and makes you linger in the thought of the messages it sneakily passes on to you.
Forming its story around polar-opposite but broke on the same level ranch siblings OJ and Emerald, Nope lays its intriguing premise that introduces the horrors of financial desperation, the exploitative nature of Hollywood, and blinding greed. A murderous Chippanzee, random objects being shot down from the sky, and peculiarly restless horses are only the insane starters to be followed by the real terror. Is it a UFO? Is it an alien? Or is it something else altogether? Of course, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
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The Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance, Nanny, which is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, was expected to be one of the bests in the gloomy genre even before its wider release. Director Nikyatu Jusu has been known for finding elements of horror, both jarring and satirical, in the ever-looming questions of racial discrimination and femininity. Jusu’s Nanny, however, along with her usual territory, introduces an even more perplexing set of issues that are in the heart of anyone who feels a wretched longing in a strange new place.
Nanny hovers over the overwhelming predicament of a Senegalese immigrant, Aisha. The new life she is trying to build in the coldness of America while caring for a peculiar couple’s little daughter is crawling with troubles that surpass anything she could have ever expected. Missing her son Lamine, being treated with disdain by her employers, and her desperation for keeping the American dream alive is already heavy enough to crush her soul. To top it off, she is chased by ghostly visions and suggestive hallucinations of warning waters and an ominous spider. Can Aisha beat her demons? Only the tense climax will tell.
Ti West entered 2022 with but one agenda–and that is to make you very, VERY uncomfortable. West’s X came as the exact experience that was missing from the slasher sub-genre. A world not quite visited by arthouse body horrors got a reassuring hug from the unnerving killings of X. Chilling deaths of a porn crew in the hands of the frightening protagonist was, however, only the beginning of what’s going to be a more revered slasher franchise. As a prequel to X and a disturbing origin story of its killer, Ti West introduces Pearl in the same year.
A production made only tighter and more authentic by the lead actress Mia Goth the co-writer, darkly graces the genre with one of the most blood-curdling fright-fests of the year. Addicted to the maddening drive of gaining fame and love as a star, Pearl doesn’t quite take heed of her sanity slipping away. Saturated with her all-consuming psychosis, the girl with a bleak heart and a bright dream find her criminal expression with a pitchfork and a “friendly” crocodile. By the time she does look herself in the eyes, her darkness may have already gone too far.
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5. Speak No Evil
How far will you go to be polite and avoid confrontation? To what end will you let people you owe nothing to cross lines of invasiveness, and when will you shut them down? Christian Tafdrup’s psychological horror Speak No Evil will make you ask the forlorn victims of the film these very questions. But while you’re trying to warn them in vain, you will find yourself wondering what you would have done in their situation. In a world that brings people up with more preachings of good manners than teachings of respecting their own boundaries, it’s hard to gauge the distance a creep will be allowed to go. Only in the case of Speak No Evil, the formidable couple is substantially worse than anyone could have thought.
Ignoring his wife’s legitimate discomfort, naive and frankly pitiably insecure Bjorn not only accepts a strange invitation from his newfound role model Patrick and his wife Karin but also decides to stay anyway when things start getting weird. Instead of trusting their own gut feeling and putting an end to the mistreatment by the peculiar couple, Bjorn stupidly manipulates his wife into handling it with a smile because what’s the worst that can happen? What Speak No Evil treats this gullible rhetoric with is the worst possible maniacal consequence that can’t be imagined in the darkest of nightmares.
Countless horrors could be made just around the anxious idea of a woman blind dating. What should at least be a fun experience even if it’s not a meaningful one, is often (and terrifyingly so) riddled with the risks of running into a creep. And that is the least of women’s worries around a strange man. Mimi Cave’s directorial debut, Fresh, digs through the idea of being swept up by sweetness after an exhaustingly long stretch of disappointments and it digs deep enough for our trusting Noa to fall into a pit of unthinkable danger. We love the necessary absence of victim blaming, too; just saying.
Charming Daisy Edgar Jones and the ever-so-desirable Sebastian Stan star in the satirical horror that loves its game of arbitrary escalation to death. A pretty girl meets a sweet man in a supermarket and decides to trust her instincts. What could go wrong? While the film doesn’t scratch below the straightforward surface to bring forth a nauseating warning, watching it will certainly make you think twice before going off on a retreat with a man you barely know. Nothing is as it seems, but just how bad can it be? Fresh is doubtlessly a film I would strongly advise you against reading the synopsis of before watching.
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Horror movies of 2022 haven’t disappointed the fans of traditional horrors that can make the popcorn fly from the bowl and eyes be covered. One of the very best in the lot is undoubtedly Smile. From the trailer itself, nerve-wracking fear was promised. But what Smile really brings to the table is a grander, more affecting story of haunting that is only elevated by its fantastic use of jump scares. With the all-around attention every trope is given, nothing takes a backseat in Parker Finn’s feature directorial debut.
The petrifying ride starts with therapist Rose witnessing one of her patients taking her own life. To the best of her abilities, Rose clings to a more grounded explanation for the bizarre path her life is suddenly taking. She can hardly foresee the absolute mayhem of fright she is about to become an unlucky part of. But what she expects even less are the old wounds that will wake with a festering tendency while she is already being choked up in a fatal haunting. Squeezing the creepy factor out of every element it contains, Smile births an experience that is disturbing to the extent of making you want to look away. Will you dare to take a look anyway?
As far as horror movies of 2022 are concerned, Carlota Pereda’s Spanish-French indie horror (based on her short film of the same name) faithfully captures the brewing desolation in the mind of a troubled teen. Encapsulating the bleakness of its rural setting and adding it to the torment of an overweight teen, Sara, Piggy makes use of every atmospheric element not because it had to but because Pereda’s feature has a clear idea of what it wants to be. The frustrating circumstances of a teen who is ruthlessly bullied by her peers and only finds cruel condescension at home get its organic outrage in Laura Galan’s eloquence. The horrors of being an outcast while being surrounded by people that are supposed to care are reflected in every imagery and poignant montage.
Sara is lonely. That is until a frightening dark savior comes into her life and everyone who has ever been unkind to her faces the worst possible retribution. Piggy’s tension surrounds the distressing dilemma of a brutalized teen who wants to do the right thing but can’t really be blamed for choosing the wrong path, even if she does. There’s always the question of Stockholm Syndrome when the knight in shining armor brings more danger with him than he diminishes. All I will tell you is that the journey of finding out which path Sara chooses will reward you with a deliciously unsettling experience–if that’s your thing.
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1. Bones And All
Luca Guadagnino regroups with his Call Me By Your Name star Timothee Chalamet and turns him into someone Chalamet treats delicately and with caution. What essentially is a tale of the softness of love and the pain of abandonment finds its angsty expression in the horrors of cannibalism. Chalamet’s Lee as a drifter with a cannibalistic urge, comes off as an image of someone previously known. That very familiarity yields the necessary soothing effect to soften the grittiness that comes with the film’s horror elements. It is, after all, a story of love with the grimness of flesh-eating.
What Guadagnino’s story primarily pivots around for the sake of communicating the layered depth of a dangerous urge are the pervasive themes of loneliness, isolation, and confusion. Bones And All’s protagonist Maren leads the gloomy yet endearing journey of finding one’s root and choosing goodness even when there’s more than one reason not to. But even for a movie that finds its real truth in love and companionship, there’s bloodiness and body horror aplenty. The crunching of bones and the tearing of flesh, however, don’t take anything away from the comfort that is communicated by the two outcasts finding a home in each other’s arms.
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