The year 2022 was a rough one for a lot of people. Luckily, our friends in Hollywood have continued to churn out films to entertain and distract us from the unfortunate events happening in the outside world. And few genres are as effective at grabbing our attention as the horror genre. Scientific studies have proven that watching scary movies can trigger your flight-or-flight response, one of the most primitive aspects of human behavior. However, once that response is activated, your brain can take in your surroundings and deduce that there is no genuine threat to your safety. That means that you can enjoy some good, safe, adrenaline-pumping enjoyment by turning on a horror flick and scaring the wits out of yourself.
As of 2022, it seems like there have been about a million horror movies made. So, when writers, directors, and producers set out to create a new horror film, it can be pretty difficult to generate something novel and original. Despite that, many of the films that came to theaters this past year have managed to be unique and push the boundaries of the horror genre. It seems that the industry has not yet finished discovering the multitude of things that can terrify the human mind.
The best horror movies of 2022 definitely featured some original concepts: one takes place in the prestigious world of fine dining (a setting where the horror genre had never made its home before) and several of these movies flip well-established horror tropes on their heads. In this article, we’ll look back on a great year for the horror genre and talk about the # best horror movies of 2022.
Undoubtedly one of the most terrifying movies of 2022 was the American supernatural psychological horror film Smile. If you’ve ever experienced a creepy smile that sent chills down your spine, then you know why this movie is so scary. The villain of this film is an amorphous spirit or demon capable of taking over other people’s bodies. What is the calling card of this evil spirit? The most blood-curdling smile you’ve ever seen.
The film stars Sosie Bacon (daughter of Kevin Bacon) as Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist who’s overworked at her job in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. When Dr. Cotter witnesses one of her patients commit suicide in a suspicious manner, a demon seems to latch onto the doctor and things take a turn for the worse. As the movie continues, the demon’s intentions become more and more clear and Dr. Cotter’s relationships with her fiance and sister (who are both completely unsupportive) come into question. The ending of this film might take things a step too far but, overall, this movie was supremely scary and very entertaining.
The film Barbarian is one of the most unique and surprising horrors to come to theaters in a long time. There are multiple times in this film where the viewer is certain that they know exactly what’s going to happen next, and then the complete opposite happens. The film starts when two strangers are forced to stay in the same Airbnb together overnight. And, of course, we would all expect that one of these two strangers is going to be a sadistic maniac with a penchant for murder. However, without giving away too much, this film takes a very different direction than that.
The movie stars Georgina Campbell (who viewers may recognize from the “Hang the DJ” episode of Black Mirror) as Tess Marshall, an aspiring professional who comes to Detroit for a job interview. However, things go awry when Tess discovers that her Airbnb has been double-booked and she has to share the house with a stranger named Keith. But, stranger danger isn’t the only thing threatening Tess; there are more terrifying secrets hidden within the house. This movie featured some great performances from Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgård and a hilarious and brilliant performance from Justin Long.
3. The Black Phone
The Black Phone is a film adaptation of a short story of the same name written by Joe Hill. While Joe Hill is known by most as the son of legendary horror author Stephen King, Hill has become a master of the genre in his own right. The Black Phone is the story of a serial kidnapper known in the Denver community as “The Grabber” who’s been snatching children off the streets, never to be seen again.
When a boy named Finney is abducted by The Grabber and locked in his basement, he’s able to communicate with the fiend’s past victims using a supernatural black rotary phone hanging in the room. Each of the victims that Finney communicates with give him advice on how to escape The Grabber’s lair. All the while, Finney’s sister Gwen is using her psychic capabilities to aid in the investigation to find her brother. This movie’s premise was a little far-fetched for some; however, the film was carried by an outstanding performance by Ethan Hawke as the villain and some great acting by the two starring children: Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw.
After the massive success of both Get Out (2017) and Us (2019), Jordan Peele’s 2022 film Nope was about as highly anticipated as a horror film could be. Unfortunately, Nope didn’t receive the same high praise from critics that Get Out and Us did, but it was still a very original and interesting film with some very scary aspects. This neo-Western stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as horse-wrangling siblings whose small town is terrorized by an otherworldly force. The duo then becomes obsessed with capturing this otherworldly object on camera( an idea that resonates especially well in the modern era where everything is captured on iPhone cameras).
While this film didn’t live up to the heights set by Peele’s first two films, Nope was groundbreaking in terms of removing the barriers between genres. This film is a neo-Western (meaning that it contained many of the elements of a traditional Western) but its premise is also based on sci-fi concepts. This film is a horror but it often feels more like an adventure movie than a traditional horror. All in all, Nope was amazingly creative and different from any other movie out there.
5. Bones and All
Speaking of movies that span across genres, the 2022 horror-romance film Bones and All stars Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet as a pair of young cannibals who take a road trip across the country together and end up falling in love. The film narrows in on the journeys and lives of the two main characters as they come to realize that they aren’t alone in their desire to eat human flesh. The entirety of the film shows the two youngsters sharing human feasts. So, if you don’t like seeing blood, it’s probably best to avoid this flick.
As strange as this movie sounds, it tells a somehow relatable story about being misunderstood and finding love in unexpected places. Plus, there are some intensely scary parts of this movie too, particularly, one horrifying scene that features Chloë Sevigny. Bones and All is one of the most original stories of any film to come out in 2022. This movie will make you cry, laugh, jump out of your seat with fear, and probably consider whether you could fall in love with a cannibal.
The Black Phone is my favorite horror movie. I watched it on Netflix and experience moments of fright and thrill while playing. The performance of all characters was good and the twists in this movie surprised me a lot.