It was a fantastic year for horror this previous year. Nearly every month, something notable dropped. Sure, we had some ugly ones (I’m looking at you, Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but we also had some great ones. 2022 is going to be a year that we talk about when we look back on film history, and horror is a standout genre in that discussion. My top three picks will remain in people’s mouths for sure. Due to awards season always looking bleak for this genre, I am taking it into my own hands to give these films the praise they deserve.
Already looking forward to the new year? I also talked about my top five most anticipated horror films for 2023, which you can check out here. If you would rather a starter guide to horror and have no idea what I’m on about, I made a series just for you, which you can check out here. Nevertheless, let’s move on and discuss my top ten picks for this previous year.
10. The Black Phone
While I consider this one more of a thriller, The Black Phone stands out this year for the outstanding performances it provided. Not only did Ethan Hawke kill it as the diabolical Grabber, but its two lead protagonists are sure to be rising stars. Sure, this film did have its plot holes, but it is easily corrected by imaginative autofill or reading the source material, which is a quick read. A slow burn in an entertaining way–I was a fan. You can read my review for this film here, but there is definitely enough here to make my top ten.
9. Studio 666
Speaking of endearment behind films, Studio 666 is a beautiful, hilarious ode to the Foo Fighters and what they were and still are. Taylor Hawkins was a tragic loss this year, and it happened so quickly after the release of this celebratory film. However, it is honestly a heartwarming and heartbreaking tribute to the glorious friendships in that band. It’s still a fun watch however, with goofy scenes followed by grisly kills. I definitely don’t recommend it to the merely acquainted fans, but if you’re in on the jokes already with the Foo, then you’re in for a grand ol’ time.
Watcher was a fantastic watch. This is Chloe Okuno’s debut feature film after co-directing V/H/S ’94, a fun anthology from the previous year. Her and Maika Monroe are a match made in heaven as a shocking, disturbing tale takes form over a fast hour and a half. The paranoia you will feel during this film is exemplary and will have you checking out your windows for suspicious activity–or make you too scared to even do so. This was a terrifying watch when I lived in my downtown apartment.
I just recently reviewed this film right here on TVOC, so be sure to check it out if you want some more details. Sissy is the unsung hero of 2022. A smaller, indie film that was released as a Shudder exclusive made me laugh and gasp the whole way through. It’s the first horror film that accurately spoofs the influencer generation in the best way without making fun of the concept. It also is an introspective look on trauma and how severe things can get if its triggered. While that might be in a satirical way, there is still some endearment behind it all.
6. The Menu
Alright, this one definitely leans more towards the thriller-comedy, but the concept alone is horrifyingly brilliant that I had to include it on this list. No, this film isn’t about cannibalism like the trailer made it seem like it was, but rather about the horrors of the service industry–something that a lot of us can relate to. There are brilliant performances all around in this movie, the story is exciting, and it is full of twists and turns. This film is available for streaming on HBO Max as of January, so watch it as soon as you can. It is just as good on the rewatch as well. This one isn’t in my top five only because it is barely horror.
5. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies
This one looked like it might have been a stinker this year, but it ended up being one of my favorites. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies is a brilliant horror comedy that has one of the best twists I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. While the first twenty minutes of this movie take a while to get going, you’ll be hooked once it kicks off. If you’re skeptical throughout, I beg you to wait for the ending. It clicks everything into place and steps it up from a fun time to a great, hilarious time. This one has stuck with me and made it pretty high on my top ten list.
Who knew dating could be just as horrifying as cannibalism? This one IS about cannibalism, even though the first twenty minutes play out like a traditional romcom. Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar Jones deliver a performance that leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout its runtime. I feel like this one deserves a revisit as it was huge and then disappeared as the year went on. It is gross, but if you can get past it, there is a worthwhile film in there with a final act that makes it all worth it in the end, two times over.
3. Pearl / x (TIE)
This one is a tie, because one would not exist without the other. Ti West has returned in triumphant fashion with his films X and Pearl. This is the quickest trilogy ever to exist once Maxxxine drops this year. Not only is it the quickest, but it’s also dripping with quality. X and Pearl are both effective horror films that tell the most outlandish stories that provide metaphors on aging, inhibitions, sex and more. It is female rage incarnate with Mia Goth playing the starring role, and I am eating it up, not leaving a crumb.
Alright, some may argue this isn’t a horror film. It’s definitely a genre fusion, leaning more towards sci-fi and comedy, but has some standout horrifying moments that makes it jump up on this list for me. The Gordy situation as well as the entire Star Lasso experience are some of the more disturbing things I’ve seen in a film in a while. NOPE is a fantastic film and while Get Out is a masterpiece and one of my favorite horror films of all time, this is my favorite of Jordan Peele’s releases so far. I wrote an entire article on what the Gordy scene is even about, I loved it so much.
You had to see this coming. Barbarian is inventive and will go down as a legendary horror film. It’s hard to believe that this is Zach Cregger’s first horror film. He completely knocked it out of the park. This film has its immaculate twists and turns, making it a fun, disturbing and memorable watch. I simply laughed in disbelief the entire time due to how great this movie is. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it as soon as possible and go in completely blind. It’s truly a trip and an experience you won’t forget. I don’t even want to write about it because I don’t want to give it away, but it is possibly in my top ten of the decade.
Thank you for hearing me out on these top ten films. What are your thoughts on these films? Let me know in the comments and I am happy to discuss. As for what’s next, TVOC is posting daily content on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. There will be buttons below to check out that and you can see my lovely face discussing various topics on the regular. Be sure to follow those if you’re into fun facts, history, and the occasional fan edit dedicated to the art that is horror. There usually isn’t many top ten lists, but there is top fives. New blog posts will be posted Monday, Wednesday and Friday as regularly as possible.
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