I’m obligated to say this: I can’t believe that another year has come and gone. 2022 was bananas, but a very good year. It was one that was filled to the brim with cinema visits. I watched 313 movies this year (so far – I still have time!) and many of them were new favourites. But a bit more on that next week…
This year, more than usual, I really tried to watch as many 2022 horror releases as I could. I missed some due to UK release dates being different (Pearl) or just being too busy to catch it (The Menu). That being said, I saw a lot of excellent horror movies this year. From legacy films (I loved Halloween Ends, so what of it?) to wholly original ideas like A Wounded Fawn and Nope – it was a really, really good year for fans of the genre.
It was pretty tough to narrow down to five. A top ten could have been done if I wasn’t so lazy. Interestingly (or not) my top films aren’t the ones I rated most highly on Letterboxd. The impression the film left on me was more valuable than the overall quality, I think.
So here it is. My top five horror movies released in 2022:
5. Terrifier 2 dir. by Damien Leone
I’ll admit, I never really cared to see Terrifier because I just hated All Hallows’ Eve. I also really hate clowns. A lot.
But when I heard all the hoopla happening in the US, I listened. An indie on an impossibly small budget grossing over $12 million? More of this, please.
When it finally made its way over the ocean, my friend and I literally took a day off work to see it at the Prince Charles Cinema. It was an event that made me feel like I was part of a modern day urban legend, similar to the stories told of The Exorcist.
Sure. The movie is a bit too long. It’s a bit gross and not really my jam. But I still think about it all the time. My friend (whom I’ve seen multiple horror films with this year) says it has stuck with him as well. You just have to celebrate a moment like this.
4. Saloum dir. by Jean Luc Herbulot
I have to admit, I’ve not see many African movies, let alone horror movies. I know that people adore Nollywood and there’s a can-do attitude for many of the countries’ film industries. But beyond that… nada.
Watching Saloum was a unique experience. Drawing on Senegalese folklore and the 2003 coup in Guinea-Bassau, the story is a blend of fantasy and very real horrors.
The three main actors playing the mercenaries made me feel so deeply connect to them, that I mourned their struggles even despite their flaws.
The movie made me desperate to seek out horror from African countries. It’s definitely a goal for 2023.
3. Deadstream dir. by Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter
On the complete opposite of the spectrum is this horror comedy, Deadstream. It’s a hilarious found-footage movie that somehow made the tired genre feel fresh – a remarkable feat considering Host achieved something similar only two years ago.
This movie is bananas in all the right ways. I’ve seen lots of comparisons to Evil Dead 2, which are valid but also undersells how unique the movie is.
Deadstream will definitely be something that I will continue to rewatch and recommend to anyone who loves horror comedies with plenty of scares.
2. Prey dir. by Dan Trachtenberg
I have a terrible admission to make: the only Predator movie I’ve seen is Predators, which I saw because I think Adrien Brody is hot. Sorry, not sorry?
My reasons for wanting to see Prey had nothing to do with its relation to the others in the franchise. It was the cast and historical setting that caught my attention.
My expectations were high after hearing the synopsis. The expectations were blown out of the water when I watched this fantastic, succinct action film. Amber Midthunder is an excellent and compelling lead as Naru. As is Coco the dog as Sarii. Dog actors forever!
I might not be able to comment on the film’s place in the franchise, but I can say it’s one that successfully stands on its own.
1. Barbarian dir. by Zach Cregger
When I sat down to see Barbarian at FrightFest, I had already heard comparisons to Malignant, a movie I was obsessed with last year. But what could possibly live up to that bonkers movie? Well, it turns out this one can.
It might have been out for a few months now, but I think it’s best to go into this one as unaware of the plot as possible. I rarely feel surprised by the turns movies take, but this one threw me so many curveballs, I was just constantly whispering, “the fuck??” to myself.
The story is definitely the highlight here, but shoutout to a fantastic cast. Justin Long plays the ultimate d-bag.
This was a fantastic year for movies. I’d also have to say I adored Scream, Nope, Halloween Ends, A Wounded Fawn, Significant Other, and Wendell & Wild. These would probably round out my top 10.
And shout to services like Hulu, Shudder and Screambox for bringing these movies to people’s screens. But more theatrical releases too, please. Thinking of what could have been with Prey…