The Best Horror Movies Of 2022

It's 2022 and the horror genre continues to crank out some absolute beauties. Despite what pessimistic haters might have you believe, horror is not dead, and the continuation of the genre's prolific and profitable legacy doesn't show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Considering the overwhelming amount of content available at any given moment, keeping up with new releases is no easy task. Fortunately, much of the staff at /Film are a bunch of dorks who spend their time consuming every last morsel of horror goodness in order to feel something. We are hungry for horror, insatiable in fact, and we will continue to devour every last scary movie and turn them into easy-to-read listicles for your amusement until our dying breath. 

Forget about allocating an extra hour to scroll until your eyes bleed trying to figure out what to watch, here are the best horror movies of 2022 (so far), presented in alphabetical order.

Crimes of the Future

The introduction of David Cronenberg's latest, "Crimes of the Future," observes a little boy quietly going into his bathroom and chewing on a trash bin like it's made of crackers; eight-year-old Brecken (Sozos Sotiris) digests the plastic just fine. His mother, repulsed by this biological imperative in her son, coldly smothers the child to death and calls her husband to come pick up the body (a body she refers to as "it"). Thus begins Cronenberg's thorough treatise on climate change, biotechnology, evolution, and — because it's a Cronenberg film — how it all relates to art. It's the Canadian director's first feature film since 2014's "Maps to the Stars" and his first feature from his own screenplay since 1999's "eXistenZ." But the "Scanners" storyteller hasn't lost his ability to push buttons; its Cannes screening contained enough body modification and graphic viscera to prompt audience walkouts, just as Cronenberg predicted.

Viggo Mortensen (following up on prior roles in Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises and "A History of Violence") stars as a performance artist who cultivates strange new internal organs which his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux) surgically alters or removes as part of their performance pieces. Densely packed with philosophies and latex prosthetics alike (including a man who is all ears), and supported by a memorably pulsating score by frequent Cronenberg collaborator Howard Shore, "Crimes of the Future" is what /Film's Chris Evangelista hails as "a return to roots" for its director, who always asks the most uncomfortable, open-ended questions about humanity, with plenty of body horror to punctuate. (Anya Stanley)


The dating world can be an absolute nightmare, and few movies exemplify that reality quite like "Fresh." Nora (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is caught in the rat race of modern dating, wading through an endless sea of unsolicited dick pics, boring dinner dates, and pathetic attempts by men she's only met through dating apps desperately trying to get in her pants. App-based dating is a steaming trash heap of weirdness and disappointment, so Nora is absolutely elated when she gets her very own grocery store meet-cute with Steve (Sebastian Stan), a charming doofus (because he's Sebastian Stan) who woos her with conversations about cotton candy-flavored grapes and love of a good classic cocktail. The two quickly develop an adorable relationship fit for a Sundance darling rom-com from 2012, and it seems too good to be true. Well, it is, because as it turns out ... uh, well, spoilers.

If you've successfully managed to escape the big reveal of "Fresh" thus far, do yourself a favor and continue the trend. It's sincerely refreshing to see a film take such wild and graphic thematic swings wind up on Hulu of all places, and Sebastian Stan continues to prove why he's one of the most versatile actors in the game. Sorry to the Bucky Barnes stans everywhere, you might not be able to see him the same way ever again. (BJ Colangelo)


Body horror is coming back in a big way, and the Finnish import "Hatching" is an incredible standout. Siiri Solalinna plays Tinja, a young gymnast who is desperate to appease her image-obsessed mother who runs a popular lifestyle Mommy blog. Think about all of those insufferable moms on "Dance Moms" or "Toddlers and Tiaras," slap on a coat of Rae Dunn aesthetics, and you're in the right wheelhouse. One day, a crow flies through the house, and after Tinja's mother catches it, she snaps its neck. Oddly, Tinja is awakened later that night by the pained cries of the crow in the woods and discovers a strange egg near its body. Feeling guilty about the egg losing its mother, she brings it home and keeps it incubated under a pillow and eventually inside a stuffed animal.

And then ... it hatches.

With each passing day, the creature from the egg (which Tinja names "Alli") begins to appear more like Tinja, and Tinja's behavior grows increasingly erratic. What unfolds is a revolting look at the unexplainable connection between Tinja and Alli, and the way Tinja's family completely disregards their horrific new reality in favor of maintaining appearances. The film is currently available on VOD and absolutely worth the watch. (BJ Colangelo)

The Innocents

In his genre guide novel "Danse Macabre," author Stephen King (who many know as the writer behind the kids-gone-bad short story "Children of the Corn") posited that most kids don't torture in the sinister sense that adults assign them when they do morbid things like pulling the wings off of insects. Instead, he frames it as an inquisitive impulse:

"Kids are endlessly, voraciously curious, not only about death but about everything — and why not? They are like people who just came in and sat down during a good movie that's been on for thousands of years. When you're five, your big gurus are Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald ... when you're five, you seek knowledge down those avenues that are open to you."

Eskil Vogt's "The Innocents" has its quartet of youths navigating those very avenues, which would be pretty routine until they are armed with freaky mind powers. 

Animal lovers beware: one kid seeks his knowledge in a pretty cruel way with the local creatures. 

During a thick Nordic summer, in an apartment complex isolated within a dense forest, a group of school-age children figures out their own moral codes, tainted by varying degrees of supernatural power-ups. One begins as a victim, but given the chance to punish his bully without laying a finger on him, struggles with the corrupting effect that power has on his own sense of right and wrong. Supported by an incredible cast of child actors and a sparse script that keeps anyone from monologuing, "The Innocents" veers away from the sandpit of hokey-ness that plagues so many bad-seed stories; it's both a solid thriller and an effective birth control ad. (Anya Stanley)

The Sadness

The rumors are true: "The Sadness" is one of the most relentlessly violent and unapologetically cruel horror films ever made. No exaggeration. No hyperbole. 

"The Sadness" must be seen to be believed. Not for the faint of heart, Rob Jabbaz's directorial debut is inspired by the "Crossed" comic book series from Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows. The film stars Berant Zhu and Regina Lei as a Taiwanese couple attempting to find one another in the middle of a viral pandemic that has turned everyone in the world into homicidal maniacs. As the violence escalates, the government remains complicit by doing a whole lot of nothing. Gee, sounds familiar. 

It cannot be overstated how unflinchingly vicious "The Sadness" is. If you're disappointed that there's not as much of an in-depth promotion for this title, understand that this is an intentional decision. "The Sadness" is one of those films that you can't fully prepare for, no matter how much you know, and it's best to let the film just overtake your senses. Fortunately, the film was acquired by Shudder and is available to stream now, but, uh, trigger warning for absolutely f****** everything. Seriously. (BJ Colangelo)


When Drew Barrymore met the nasty end of the blade in the opening sequence of Wes Craven's slasher juggernaut "Scream," it certainly caught the attention of moviegoers in 1996. Not only did the movie shake loose the formulaic dust of slasher movies (the "Halloween" franchise would present its sixth thorny entry only the year prior, to poor reception) and codify its own rules, but the film would go on to become a massive success beyond its $173 million box office return, spawning multiple sequels and a teen slasher series on MTV and then VH1. While Craven's death in 2015 put new projects on hiatus for a while, his Ghostface killer was revived once again this year, with new directors at the wheel for the first time.

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett helm the fifth installment in the "Scream" franchise with the poorly titled "Scream," wherein the fictional town of Woodsboro is under threat once again from a slasher (or slashers) unknown, intent on eliminating those connected to the original killings whether by blood relation or direct involvement. Following in the spirit of the previous films and marrying slice-and-dice mayhem and whodunit sleuthing to snappy commentary on horror itself, the nu-Scream is both a "requel" and a reset of a film series that had lost its way in the middle sequels. While o.g. characters like Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) are brought back in this next chapter, they're wisely given supporting roles to facilitate the passing of the baton to a fresh cast of new blood — including Jenna Ortega, who must be exhausted from shrieking her way through Ti West's "X" in the same year. 

As the old gives way to the new, "Scream" is a thrilling night at the movies, bringing depth and energy to an already-strong legacy. (Anya Stanley)

We're All Going to the World's Fair

One of the films that falls into the weird zone of festival hit in 2021/VOD release in 2022, "We're All Going to the World's Fair" is a hypnotic look at what happens when the line between reality and fantasy begins to disappear as a teen girl throws herself into a massively multiplayer online role-playing horror game (MMORPG). Believed to be the scariest game online, a young girl named Casey (Anna Cobb) starts recording the way the game slowly manipulates her physical appearance, not unlike the way people document weight loss progressions or gender transitions.

Due to her existence in a rough home, Casey doesn't have much of a social life outside of the internet, which only pushes her further and deeper into the realm of "The World's Fair." The film thrives in its metaphors and subtextual messaging, refusing to give concise answers to the viewer and forcing all who watch to interpret the film on their own ... much like the way society is now forced to determine whether or not the latest influencer video on a social media timeline is authentic or just an act. 

This one might be a bit too galaxy-brained for the average horror fan, but if you're someone that enjoys films that mess with your mind, this is one to watch. (BJ Colangelo)


When /Film's Matt Donato caught Ti West's "X" at SXSW, he held it up like baby Simba at Pride Rock as a staunch retort to the oft-used but seldom-proven claim that there are no good original horror movies anymore. "Slashers are alive and well," he beams. "If only we supported new original slashers as much as the next 'Halloween' or 'Scream,' studios would take more unbelievable risks like 'X.'" Donato is correct that the risk is unbelievable — watching it in theaters only underlines the astonishment that the movie was greenlit for a wide theatrical release. It follows a group of filmmakers in 1979 who embark to rural Texas to shoot an adult film; the farmhouse they stay in during production is run by an elder couple and it's through them that the slasher approach to the story takes on a hagsploitation bent.

West leavens every character with depth. Even knowing what kind of movie this is and what body count to expect, each person is whole, with ambitions and reasons for being there, including the baddies. Understanding the despair of dreams deferred, West layers in a beautifully-performed acoustic cover of "Landslide" by Brittany Snow to interrupt the audience's bloodlust and add emotion where other unnamed Texas-based contemporary slasher movies failed to. It's immersive, creating an attachment for everyone and devastation when it's their time to be swallowed by the horror movie maw. 

As a cherry on top, that maw is practical; New-Zealand-based special effects company Wētā Workshop facilitates the story's ultraviolence with shocking prosthetics and old-school tricks which allow one doomed soul's body to continue twitching after decapitation, for example. Offering lowbrow blood for the horror hounds and some highbrow meat to chew on, "X" represents the best of what the genre has to offer. (Anya Stanley)


In both film and television, there has been an influx of stories about confronting the trauma of one's past in just about every genre. Horror gets to manifest that trauma in a bunch of different ways, be it monsters, ghosts, or demons. However, sometimes the most effective depiction of trauma is the trauma itself.

In "Resurrection," Rebecca Hall plays Margaret, a doctor and the mother of a daughter (Grace Kaufman) about to head off to college. While attending a conference, she spots David (Tim Roth), the man who psychologically tortured her while they were in a relationship when she was 18, and he continues to pop up wherever she looks. David begins exerting his power over Margaret with the added threat of what he could do to her daughter. He also claims to have the baby boy they had together inside of him.

More than anything, "Resurrection" is a showcase for Rebecca Hall, who has been one of the best actors working for over a decade. She has this ability to play someone unflinchingly determined and utterly hopeless within the same millisecond. Her ability to strike the right tonal balance for a piece that requires the most grounded naturalism and playing-to-the-rafters extremity truly is astounding. The centerpiece scene, where Margaret delivers a nearly eight-minute monologue about her abusive relationship and the horrific death of her child in one unbroken close-up alone cements Hall as one of the best performers of the year.

"Resurrection" is not afraid to get weird; to get arch, and it won't be to everyone's liking. Writer/director Andrew Semans and Rebecca Hall provide a psychological horror picture unlike any you'll see in 2022, and if you can get on its wavelength, it'll knock your socks off. (Mike Shutt)

The Black Phone

At this point, the combination of Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, and Ethan Hawke in horror might as well be a license to print money. The trio reunited for the first time following the rousing success of "Sinister" to adapt the Joe Hill short story of the same name. 

Set in the 1970s, "The Black Phone" is the story of a young boy named Finney (Mason Thames), a sweetheart of a kid who is easily targeted by bullies and spends his out-of-school hours trying to tiptoe around his abusive father. Fortunately, he has the support of his little sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw), who despite her size has the fighting strength to back up her razor-sharp tongue. Finney and Gwen's hometown has been plagued by a series of missing children for a while, with the community nicknaming the predator "The Grabber" (Ethan Hawke). Unfortunately for Finney, he becomes The Grabber's latest victim, and if the spirits of those he's killed before have their way, hopefully his last.

Where "The Black Phone" shines is its balance of horror and heart. While the story isn't quite as traumatically terrifying as "Sinister," it's a tale of survival and overcoming tremendous adversity. Finney is constantly waffling between trying to stay brave for the sake of survival, and breaking down in terror because, after all, he's still just a kid. Throw in some haunting phone calls from a gang of dead kids, a sister with supernatural sensitivities, and a memorable mask from horror legend Tom Savini, and you've got yourself a recipe for one of the best horror films of the year. (BJ Colangelo)


"Get Out" might still be Jordan Peele's most tightly written movie, but "Nope" is Peele at his most ambitious. It's a horror sci-fi film about a giant, mysterious creature in the sky, and it's also somehow a movie about exploitation in Hollywood. Or it's about our unhealthy obsession with spectacle, or about how we need to be more respectful towards animals. Maybe it's about all of these things at once, or none of them. Far more than most blockbusters, "Nope" is a movie that lets you look between the lines and come to your own conclusions. You'll get from it what you put in.

Some would argue that "Nope" doesn't fully qualify as a horror film. After all, it's a remarkably funny movie when it wants to be, and most of the final act is filmed in broad daylight. But when Peele goes full horror, he goes hard. There's a forty-minute stretch in the middle where things go from bad to worse, and any viewer who's ever suffered from claustrophobia might want to look away.

As if "Us" wasn't enough, "Nope" proves once and for all that Peele isn't just a one-hit-wonder. It's a movie that juggles several tones, themes, and genres at once, and makes it all look easy. It gives you some good scares, loveable characters, and plenty of ideas to chew on. What more can you ask for? (Michael Boyle)


Cinema is arguably the high point of humanity's need for creative and artistic expression. Accessible to all and easy to understand while containing enormous depth, resonance, and empathy, movies are dreams that last a lifetime, ones that allow us to find meaning and purpose in our own lives.

Yet the horror brought on by cognitive dissonance around cinema is that movies are not actually real life. The allure of a seemingly perfect world, the seduction of the silver screen as a device to transmute one's meager existence into a charmed life of fame, fortune, and especially adoration has led to the disappointment if not the ruin of countless people over the century since cinema began.

Director and co-writer Ti West, in collaboration with star and co-writer Mia Goth, make "Pearl" a harrowing character study of a young woman whose dreams and ambitions are larger than her means, circumstance, and ability. The daughter of German immigrants who lives with her invalid father and overbearing mother on a small Texas farm, Pearl is enchanted by cinema's promise, and quickly (and erroneously) convinces herself that stardom isn't just her ticket out of small-town life but is in fact her destiny.

Goth's fabulous performance makes it clear that Pearl is mentally unstable from the get-go, but it's enormously relatable and even heartbreaking to see her driven completely insane by a series of bitter disappointments. An ironic yet faithful pastiche of Old Hollywood melodrama made as a bonus feature back-to-back with its equally thoughtful predecessor, "X," "Pearl" contains scenes of brutality and murder, but its deepest horror lies in its protagonist being forced to face reality. It's not merely the regret of living a life unfulfilled; it's the dreadful realization that this is all there is and all that will ever be. (Bill Bria)


Whoever out there keeps saying "they don't make original horror anymore" surely hasn't seen the Lovecraftian glory hole chaos known as "Glorious." Directed by Rebekah McKendry and starring Ryan Kwanten ("True Blood," "Sacred Lies," "Dead Silence") and J.K. Simmons ("Spider-Man," "Whiplash"), "Glorious" is an existential Lovecraftian two-hander coated in pink-tinted cosmic horror. The story follows a mysterious man after he arrives at a rest stop to rid what appears to be the last remnants of a relationship, only to find himself trapped in the bathroom with the son of the eldritch god Cthulhu, Ghatanothoa aka "Ghat," who has taken refuge in an adjacent bathroom stall.

Thanks to a snappy script from Joshua Hull, Todd Rigney, and David Ian McKendry, "Glorious" is also injected with solid moments of levity to ensure that the audience has plenty of fun while realizing the fate of the universe is dependent on a scruffy dude harboring a seriously demented secret.

"Glorious" is one of the year's best, if only because it manages to tell a compelling story without the stars ever sharing the same space. Kwanten delivers a strong leading performance while Simmons continues to prove why he's one of the best Hollywood voice actors in the business by turning Ghat into a captivating amorphous being, hidden behind bathroom graffiti and a glory hole. Even with a microscopic budget, "Glorious" more than delivers the goods. (BJ Colangelo)


The "Predator" franchise has been a sci-fi horror favorite since Arnold Schwarzenegger told Elpidia Carrillo to "get to the choppa!" in 1987, and Dan Trachtenberg's "Prey" is arguably the best follow-up entry yet. Starring Amber Midthunder ("Legion") as Naru, it takes everything back to the fundamentals that made "Predator" so compelling in the first place: the hunt

Set centuries before the events of the first film, "Prey" takes place in the Great Plains in 1719 among a Comanche tribe fending off treacherous French fur traders who are ravaging their land and destroying the buffalo for their hides. Eager to prove herself as a warrior, Naru (Midthunder) is determined to complete a right of passage known as kühtaamia that's reserved for the men in her tribe. When a Predator is suddenly dropped off on Earth to find the planet's worthiest adversary, Naru finds herself forced into its cross-hairs. 

Trachtenberg brought everything back to the ultimate lesson from the first film that the hunt isn't about firepower, but rather it's a game of wits. Naru defies expectations at every turn, which proves to be an asset overlooked by everyone she knows until it's too late. "Prey" is compelling, exciting, and genuinely terrifying, but it's also stunningly made. The exceptional action and gore in "Prey" are an added bonus, but truly it's the plot and characters that make this such a standout for 2022. (Ariel Fisher) 


Shudder has been a treasure trove of horror for years, but Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes' influencer horror-thriller, "Sissy," is among the company's strongest acquisitions. The film stars Aisha Dee as Instagram micro-celebrity "@SincerelyCecilia," or as her distant childhood bestie Emma (Hannah Barlow) sees her, mousy little Sissy. 

In the years since high school, Cecilia has completely rebranded herself online as a "posi vibes only"-style mental health guru/life coach, acquiring a massive following of fans despite having zero clinical qualifications. This facade of toxic positivity has been beneficial for Cecilia on the surface but hasn't healed the hurt burrowing deep within. Things take a turn for the terrifying after Emma invites Cecilia to her bachelorette party, which forces Cecilia to cross paths with her former bully, Alex (Emily De Margheriti). With the @SincerelyCecilia mask slipping in the presence of people who know the real Sissy, the film shows the devastating lengths people will go to in order to maintain their curated persona. 

Horror has struggled in recent years to sincerely interrogate influencer culture and online communities without sounding like feature-length versions of the Steve Buscemi "How do you do, fellow kids?" meme, but "Sissy" zeroes in on the real-life dread that intrudes upon us all when the false-sense of anonymity online brings genuine repercussions. (BJ Colangelo)


Filmmaking duo and married couple Joseph and Vanessa Winters hit the jackpot with their horror-comedy "Deadstream," which balances a brutal skewering of live-streaming culture with some genuinely great gross-out scares. Joseph stars as Shawn, an online celebrity who hosts his own video and streaming series, trying to make a comeback after one of his videos went too far. 

Shawn is the ultimate obnoxious online personality, an amalgamation of some of the worst Twitch and YouTube celebs burdened with massive entitlement. He decides to live stream from a haunted house, and things don't exactly go as planned. The only rules he made with his sponsors are that he has to investigate everything that scares him, and he can't leave until morning, so he's stuck in the house almost no matter what.

"Deadstream" clearly took lessons from other found footage horror films about streaming like "Unfriended" and "Spree," but it's so gleefully fun that it stands on its own. Winters' performance as Shawn is great because there are moments where he almost seems capable of learning his lesson, but what fun would that be if he actually did?

One of the best things about "Deadstream" is its totally gonzo back half, where things go positively nutty, and the gore starts flying. While the movie's first half is mostly comedy, the horror kicks up in the film's back half, clearly inspired by Sam Raimi. Fans of "The Evil Dead" are certain to get a kick out of "Deadstream," and anyone with an internet connection and a pulse is sure to find something to appreciate. (Danielle Ryan)

Bones and All

Luca Guadagnino's latest film is a lot of things: a road trip movie, a coming-of-age saga, and, yes, a cannibal love story. But make no mistake, it's also a horror film. 

The movie delivers scares on multiple levels. First, it introduces viewers to an unexpected fright in the form of Mark Rylance's Sully, the type of eccentric old man who you wouldn't want to run into on the street even if he weren't a cannibal. Sully's presence looms over the film even when he's not on the screen, and it's hard not to think about his gag-inducing souvenirs or his ice-cold stare long after Maren (Taylor Russell) has left her first "eater" mentor behind.

But there's another horror present here, one that reaches audiences on a gut-and-heart level that's only fitting for such a literally visceral viewing experience. Guadagnino and screenwriter David Kajganich's take on the mythology of cannibalism is harrowing and painful, enriched by the film's great lead performances and by the specific 1980s America setting. The barely understood yet insatiable hunger that the eaters possess isn't a clear one-to-one metaphor but calls to mind any number of factors that could drive a wedge between a person, their family, and a sense of stability, from addiction or mental illness to queer identity. The film's climax, then, has the potential to leave us with a sense not just of beauty and tragedy, but of gnawing existential dread, too. (Valerie Ettenhofer)


An intriguing and insightful trend that's emerged over the past 20 years in horror sees the concept of a "curse" moving from such explicit transgression as "don't disturb the haunted tomb" into a broader space. To put it in other words, the idea is that we may all already be cursed.

That's one of the subtextual aspects of "Smile," the first feature by writer-director Parker Finn, an expansion of his short film "Laura Hasn't Slept." At first glance, the film seems like a creepypasta filtered through J-Horror, where psychiatrist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) stumbles upon a supernatural entity that literally feeds on trauma, its victims passing the curse along when they die by suicide (or, alternatively, commit murder) in front of someone else.

The so-called "elevated horror" trend has made trauma a kind of buzzword in horror lately (newsflash: all horror is about trauma, always has been) and "Smile" certainly leans into that theme. Yet it does so with remarkable effectiveness, as Finn, his artists, and effects teams (including the legendary creature designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr.) concoct unnerving and disturbing monster figures that distort the human form just enough to pique the uncanny valley.

Where "Smile" is most innovative is in its subversiveness. The title refers to the entity's pattern of making its victims appear unnaturally cheerful before their demise, and the irony inherent in that is something not lost on Finn. He conducts the film with a wicked sense of humor, making the film at times an unholy combination of Junji Ito and Sam Raimi. 

We all have trauma, and we all suppress it — who knows what's really lurking behind all those false smiles we see every day, even our own? (Bill Bria)

Blood Relatives

Noah Segan ("Knives Out," "Looper," "Starry Eyes") has been a genre darling for years, but after directing a segment in the 2019 anthology "Scare Package," Segan made his feature directorial debut with the father-daughter road trip horror-comedy, "Blood Relatives." 

Segan pulls triple duty, directing, writing, and starring as Francis, a 115-year-old Jewish vampire, who has been roaming the off-beaten path across America in a busted muscle car for decades. Given his vampirism, Francis has tried to keep a low profile and fly solo, but everything changes when a young woman named Jane (Victoria Moroles) shows up claiming to be his daughter. Now, thrown into the role of fatherhood, "Blood Relatives" feels as if someone took Kathryn Bigelow's "Near Dark" and shot it through the lens of a coming-of-age feel-good comedy. There's plenty of bloodletting to be had, but it's also a deeply charming look at finding your family after nearly a century. 

"Blood Relatives" is also an unapologetically Jewish horror film, with Segan constantly incorporating Yiddish words into his dialogue, and having to correct his daughter on her mispronunciation of words like "schlepping." In 2022's increasingly hostile political landscape, Francis is a radical inclusion in the face of increased antisemitism. While "Blood Relatives" may not be the scariest film of 2022, it's certainly the horror film with the most heart. (BJ Colangelo)


Nikyatu Jusu's directorial debut, "Nanny," is as much a thrilling, atmospheric drama as it is a traditional horror film, but the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner still strikes fear into viewers' hearts nonetheless. The smart, subtle story follows Aisha (Anna Diop), a Senegalese immigrant whose promising life in New York slowly becomes corrupted by both the dank rot of elitism — it radiates off the white Upper East Side family whose daughter she cares for — and by dark, ominous dreams and visions. The film unfolds deliberately, lulling us into a sort of waking nightmare as Aisha works herself to the bone raising another child in order to bring her own young son to America. By the time she becomes plagued by dangerous visions of spiders, shadows, and sea creatures, we can feel her exhaustion and anxiety as if it's our own.

"Nanny" is as beautiful as it is tense. It's a film that communicates the terror of displacement and American exploitation through everyday images that have turned deeply sinister. Jusu purposely makes everything from a child's dinner plate and a bedtime story to a missed phone call feel like a disaster waiting to happen, and infuses the film with a bone-deep melancholy. When the dam finally bursts and the film's deepest truths come to the surface, "Nanny" transforms into something gasp-inducing and almost unbearable by design. 

Frightening, disorienting, and masterfully made, "Nanny" will leave you with your heart in your throat and tears in your eyes. (Valerie Ettenhofer)


Writer/director Carlota Pereda's "Piggy" is the feature-length version of her short film of the same name, and is a painfully bleak coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in a small Spanish town. The film stars Laura Galán as Sara, a young woman who is often targeted by the cruel mean girls in town because of her weight. Sara's bullying is unflinching and ruthless, so when she is the sole witness to the abduction of her bullies by a wanted serial killer, her desire to seek help for the girls is non-existent. In Sara's eyes, justice has been served, but as she becomes intimately connected with the man who kidnapped the girls, she is forced to reckon not only with her own culpability in whatever happens to them but accept that deep down, she wants them to suffer for the pain they've caused her. 

Sara's conflict is complex and constantly forces the audience to question their own moral compass. She is presented as both an empathetic victim and apologist for extreme violence, consistently evolving into one of the most fascinating horror protagonists of the year. The strongest suit of "Piggy" is that Pereda is never trying to patronize the audience into understanding "a message" or walk away with a specific take, instead allowing them to descend down the terrifying path of ambiguous virtue. (BJ Colangelo)

Speak No Evil

There's nothing quite as terrifying as when something that seemed like a selfless act of kindness is revealed to be born of ulterior motives. Betrayal and confusion don't even begin to explain it. There is a fundamental disconnect between the abuser and the abused in this context, one that, as the prey, it can be damn near impossible to reckon with. It seems as though there are two types of people in this world: those who make deception and cruelty their native language, and those who fall victim to it in their efforts to maintain harmony. Christian Tafdrup's unsettling and downright upsetting satirical study "Speak No Evil" puts this lesson on a pedestal and shines a spotlight on it, all the while building up to a stunning conclusion that will make you think twice about how you handle yourself when dealing with new friends or acquaintances. 

This sick horror film is destined to become a longtime classic because it lays bare the idea that not everyone is kind, not everyone is good, and some of those people are fine with being monsters. Further still, some of them win. It's not a prospect anyone wants to think about, but it's a reality of human nature, and that is where some of the best horror comes from. The film is so well written and acted that it's almost hard to recommend, but that merely serves to emphasize how effective its messaging and themes are. 

No matter how many viewings you're able to stomach, Shudder's "Speak No Evil" is a nauseating cautionary tale that will forever augment how you connect with others, and that alone is a terrifying prospect. (Lex Briscuso)

No Exit

In the streaming era, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, it just feels like certain types of movies don't get made anymore. Everything has to have some meaty hook or be connected to a franchise. Perhaps that's why something like "No Exit," which hails from Disney's 20th Century Studios and was quietly dropped on Hulu earlier this year, stands out like such a sore thumb. 

On the surface, it seems like a somewhat unassuming isolated thriller. A winter setting, a group of strangers, and a big ugly secret in the middle of a blizzard makes for a tantalizing, bloody mystery. While the whole thing was executed to perfection by director Damien Power, what makes it seem downright special in 2022 is that his kind of thriller has all but disappeared from the mainstream consciousness. Yet, Hulu delivered a slept-on banger of a throwback horror/thriller that feels like the kind of popcorn movie we used to enjoy far more frequently. 

Fortunately, "No Exit" arrived to fill a void that many of us didn't realize needed filling. 15 years ago, this movie might have felt a bit more standard. Now? It feels like a minor miracle. The only real shame of it all is that it runs the risk of getting lost in time in the neverending deluge of Hulu's algorithm. This movie deserves better. (Ryan Scott)


Animal attack movies tend to live firmly at the intersection between action and horror, and the Idris Elba-starring "Beast" is no outlier. The film, directed by Baltasar Kormákur, is a lean, mean movie that pits Elba's Dr. Nate Daniels against a CGI man-eating lion. After the death of their mother from cancer, Nate takes his two teenage daughters to South Africa to see where their mother grew up and visit an old friend, Martin (Sharlto Copley). Things go wrong when they visit their mother's former village and discover that almost everyone has been killed by a man-eating lion. The scene that Nate and Martin discover is a gruesome one, and soon the lion is after them.

Kormákur and cinematographer Phillipe Rousselot lean into the horror elements, highlighting the violence with which the lion dispatches its kills and the isolation of the humans trapped on the savannah. Interspersed with the scenes of intense action are creeping moments of dread, where the odds seem impossible, and the threat of danger is always lurking. It's equal parts "Cujo" and "The Ghost and The Darkness," but "Beast" is a 90-minute thrill ride loaded with gore, action, and plenty of screams. Sometimes the best horror is the simplest, and "Beast" makes the most of its threadbare premise. (Danielle Ryan)

Halloween Ends

Even though 2018's "Halloween" was heralded as a back-to-basics resurrection of the "Halloween" franchise, 2021's "Halloween Kills" made clear that David Gordon Green was digging deeper into John Carpenter and Debra Hill's idea of Michael Myers as pure evil, a primal destructive force in human form. This year's "Halloween Ends" brings that idea full circle, drawing the trilogy to a remarkably insightful close.

It wraps up Laurie Strode's saga, changing her from a victimized survivalist to a woman who comes to understand, regard, and face her true enemy, much like Dr. Sam Loomis did. It portrays Myers as evil's Patient Zero, a pseudo-supernatural force literally lurking beneath the surface of a seemingly placid, average American town, commenting on the pandemic and the world's response to it with surprising insight.

"Halloween Ends" is no mere IP exploitation or "for the fans" franchise capper, but a movie that tries to frankly address the last few years of turbulent life in America. Evil has risen in such a blatant way through hate, bigotry, and greed, but its perpetrators are not so obvious; they're a group of bullies who are also in the marching band, an unhoused old man, a seemingly harmless radio DJ, overbearing parental figures (including Laurie herself), ordinary townsfolk caught in a mob mentality, and, of course, the once sweet-natured Corey Cunningham.

The film argues for the Halloween season, a time when our demons must be faced and purged, all while acknowledging that the darkness inside each of us could be drawn out at any moment. As the past few years have shown, things that we used to take for granted, like basic human empathy, are nowhere near as universal as some of us thought they were.

It also has some great kills, needle drops, and a doomed romance. (Bill Bria)

The Munsters

Rob Zombie's venture into PG territory was one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Still, a majority of critics and audiences alike were less than thrilled with the final product. Despite what the reviews may say, "The Munsters" is legitimately one of the best horror films of 2022. Shot in vibrant color with comedic energy that hasn't been explored in a generation, "The Munsters" is a delightful return to the age of slapstick horror-comedies of "Abbott & Costello," and yes, the original TV series of "The Munsters," that the horror genre hasn't seen in decades, and likely won't ever see again. 

The lifeblood of horror as a genre has always been the creative filmmakers who take massive risks, and Rob Zombie took quite possibly the biggest risk of his career with this film. Despite the film's historical importance, it's an extremely fun prequel to one of the most recognizable horror sitcoms in history and a simultaneous love letter to the old-school horror comedies of yesteryear. Each frame of "The Munsters" was intentionally crafted, and with "Munsters" historians like Zombie at the helm and Daniel Roebuck in the cast, the show's spirit shines through. Jeff Daniel Phillips is an absolute star as the "teenage Frankenstein" version of Herman Munster, and Sheri Moon Zombie's performance is infused with a clear appreciation for the work of Yvonne De Carlo as Lily Munster. 

"The Munsters" is expertly reminiscent of a period of horror that people have clearly forgotten, otherwise all of the naysayers would have seen that Zombie totally nailed it. (BJ Colangelo)

Other films available to check out

Here's the thing — taste is subjective, and anyone acting like an arbiter of horror's quality is pretentious and rude. There are plenty of other 2022 horror movies to choose from that may not have been mentioned, but that doesn't mean they won't become someone's personal favorite of the year. As just a quick laundry list, "The Coven," "You Won't Be Alone," "You Are Not My Mother," "Umma," "The Cellar," "Master," "The Last Thing Mary Saw," "The Seed," "Slapface," "All The Moons," "Night's End," "Virus-32," "The Twin," "They Live in the Grey," "The Requin," "Offseason," and for some, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," are all films currently available for your viewing pleasure. 

The beautiful thing about horror is that while fear is universal, what scares us isn't. There's something for everyone and every taste, you just need to know where to find it. (BJ Colangelo)