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Joey’s Top 10 Horror Movies of 2022

If you’re a horror fan, then every year is a good year for the genre. But 2022 was especially impressive. From blockbusters to indies, bombastic sequels to quiet curios, expressive adaptations, and everything in between, helmed and led by women and POC, featuring queer and outsider stories front and center, and coming to us from all corners of the globe, this year was truly a smorgasbord of terrific stuff.

Before getting into the official Top 10, some honorable mentions. Although it obviously couldn’t hold a candle to the original movie, Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot was nasty, gory, and mean-spirited enough to put it slightly above the execrable Texas Chainsaw 3D, which is a win in my book. Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge was a wonderful follow-up to the 2019 Shudder anthology, once again helmed by Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns and featuring resurrected horror host Rad Chad (Jeremy King), whose enthusiasm for the genre remains unmatched.

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Elsewhere, Bones and All and The Menu were both culinary based albeit in vastly different ways, the former following a couple of cannibalistic teens in love, while the latter skewered the kind of rich people who’ll willingly pay hundreds of dollars for tiny portions of pretentious food just for bragging rights. Both impressed by going quieter and slowly, meticulously unveiling the true darkness at their cores. Likewise, The Cellar proved Irish horror still has some bite to it, which is no small feat. And, if another jaw-dropping basement dweller hadn’t also been released this year, it may have even charted.

Last but not least, Christmas Bloody Christmas saw indie auteur Joe Begos tearing the festive season to shreds with stylishly reckless abandon, while beloved character actor Noah Segan made his directorial debut with the smart, brooding vampire road movie Blood Relatives. Both are excellent and they’re available on Shudder now, if you want to catch up with them (and you should). It’s obvious just how strong of a showing horror had in 2022 when even the movies that didn’t crack the top 10 are likely classics in the making, but without further ado, these are my picks for the best fright flicks of the year.


Burgeoning Scream Queen Maika Monroe returns to horror in Watcher, a creepy and atmospheric tale of stalking and loneliness set amidst the cold and clinical landscape of Eastern Europe. Monroe is Julia, who moves to Bucharest alongside husband Francis (Karl Glusman) only to find herself being, well, watched by a creepy neighbor in the building opposite. Monroe is brilliant as the poised, but understandably terrified, ex-pat while director Chloe Okuno, making her feature debut, stages each sequence so that it’s never quite clear whether Julia is paranoid or simply finding it difficult to adjust to a new city where she doesn’t speak the language or really have anything to fill her days. Watcher is especially powerful as a ruthless dissection of how easily women are disbelieved, even by the men closest to them, when it comes to feeling unsafe. Although Francis wants to help his wife, it’s clear he thinks she’s exaggerating at least to a certain extent. The finale, which is low on gore and heavy on implied violence, lands with a satisfying gut punch that will have female viewers nodding enthusiastically.

Watcher is currently streaming on Shudder.

Watcher movie top 10 horror movies of 2022


Another exciting female voice announces itself with Hatching, the feature debut from Finnish filmmaker Hanna Bergholm. A shrewd and at times unflinching portrayal of a soon-to-be teenage girl in crisis, the movie follows gifted gymnast Tinja (an astonishing Siiri Solalinna) as she finds what the girl initially assumes to be a bird’s egg and hides it in her room, only to discover that quite a large creature is nesting in it. The practical FX and puppetry are incredible, but the real horror comes from watching Tinja’s social-climbing and image obsessed mother (Sophia Heikkilä) pushing her young daughter to her limit just so the family can look perfect online. Jarkko T. Laine’s stunning cinematography bathes everything in an eerie, too-bright, white light which gives the movie an ethereal, dream-like atmosphere. An impressive debut as well as a fascinating take on the horrors of being a young woman.

Hatching is currently streaming on Hulu.


If there was any justice in the world, Rebecca Hall’s eight-minute monologue in Resurrection would put her in the running to win Best Actress at the 2023 Oscars. But, since The Academy typically avoids rewarding horror, we’ll just have to sing her praises amongst ourselves instead. Andrew Semans’ sophomore feature–also his first release in a decade–tasks Hall with being on camera 99% of the time, as her otherwise put-together protagonist struggles to make sense of an abusive former boyfriend (played with taciturn spitefulness by Tim Roth) returning to her life and claiming to house a terrible secret. The body horror element crucially only comes into play in the film’s truly jaw-dropping final moments, but it’s Hall’s utterly committed, vanity-free performance that sticks with you.

Resurrection is currently streaming on Shudder.


Bodies Bodies Bodies

There was plenty of hype surrounding Bodies Bodies Bodies, predominantly thanks to its cast of hot up-and-comers–among them SNL alum Pete Davidson and Shiva Baby’s Rachel Sennott, who steals every scene she’s in–and a trailer that suggested it was one of those faux woke movies that tries to tackle big issues without truly understanding them. But Halina Reijn’s spiky follow-up to the challenging Instinct has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. The screenplay, credited to Sarah DeLappe and Kristen Roupenian, is razor-sharp and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, the duo finding just as much to make fun of in the group’s attempts to create safe spaces as they do their unacknowledged privilege. Amandla Stenberg is terrific as slippery lead Sophie, who shows up unexpectedly alongside new girlfriend Bee (Borat 2’s breakout star, Maria Bakalova) just as the night descends into bloody chaos. Although Bodies Bodies Bodies is essentially a slasher movie, it consistently plays with our expectations right up until an ending that, given everything that’s come before, makes the perfect amount of sick sense.

Bodies Bodies Bodies is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Bodies Bodies Bodies Top 10 Horror Movies of 2022


There’s no better feeling than when a movie comes out of absolutely nowhere and completely knocks your socks off. Internet horror/haunted house shocker Deadstream is the brainchild of husband-and-wife film-making duo Joseph and Vanessa Winter. Joseph also plays the lead, an obnoxious YouTuber named Shawn Ruddy who’s desperately trying to fight his way back from being cancelled, and decides to spend a night in a supposedly haunted house in an embarrassingly transparent attempt to earn some goodwill from his followers. The location is spooky in itself, and Joseph’s performance is compelling whether he’s playing up to the cameras, running for his life, or dealing with all manner of gross substances. Deadstream is slyly funny, particularly in how it presents Shawn’s channel and the endless comments scrolling past even as he’s clearly in danger, but it’s also surprisingly scary and hugely effective when it comes to creating an atmosphere of strange, unknowable foreboding. It’s almost like if the finale segment in 2016’s Blair Witch was stretched to feature length – and, if you know how scary that was, you should have some idea of what to expect with this.

Deadstream is currently streaming on Shudder.

Deadstream Top 10 Horror Movies of 2022


Lifelong fans of the Scream franchise were apprehensive about an installment without the irreplaceable Wes Craven and, although this one had the blessing of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, we still had plenty of reasons to be concerned. Thankfully, the fifth entry in the franchise–confusingly titled Scream, but for nerdy horror fans it will always be 5-Cream–is a furiously funny, frightening, and fittingly meta-textual modern take on the mythos Craven and Williamson so winningly established back in 1996. Co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who helmed modern classic Ready or Not, are clearly massive Scream fans but they weren’t too precious about the material either, even killing off one of the central trio in a moment that brought tears to our eyes. The opening segment, meanwhile, is another all-timer not least because it doesn’t end the way you’re expecting it to. Scream 6 is due out next year, and it’s telling that fans are excited to see what these two do with it next, rather than worrying about how badly they’re going to mess it up.

Scream is currently streaming on Paramount+.


Ti West’s X will be on many horror fans’ best of lists this year, and for good reason. The prolific indie filmmaker deliberately played with our expectations in the trailer, which recalls a dusty Texas Chain Saw Massacre style bloodbath. In reality, despite being set during a porn shoot, X is deeper and more introspective than it initially appears on the surface, while the violence doesn’t come until almost two-thirds of the way through. West starts at the end and then doubles back, making us wait for the payoff while carefully establishing who his cast of colorful characters are, from Mia Goth’s wannabe star to Jenna Ortega’s pearl-clutching newcomer. Goth has since fronted two further installments, Pearl and MaXXXine, a prequel and sequel respectively, which follow the two characters she plays here, solidifying how much of an appetite there is for more of West’s story. But even taken purely on its own merits, X is something very special indeed. What other movie released this year so wonderfully utilized an animatronic gator just ‘cause?

X is currently streaming on Showtime.

Halloween Ends

David Gordon Green and Danny McBride had a helluva task wrapping up their modern Halloween trilogy, and there were plenty of fans who felt the duo dropped the ball with Halloween Ends, which is easily the weirdest and most ambitious of the three movies. But if you consider what they really set out to achieve here, it makes perfect sense to finish the story this way. Green and McBride’s series is about Haddonfield, rather than Michael Myers or even Laurie Strode, and Halloween Ends showcases how the rot at the core of the town infects everybody and everything in it. Rohan Campbell gives one of the best performances of the year, in any genre, as the tortured Corey, whose life is ruined following an accidental death on Halloween night and who’s irrevocably driven towards Michael as a result. There are plenty of gnarly kills–some of the best across the entire franchise, in fact–and the overwrought emo moments between Corey and Andi Matichak’s Allyson are sensitively played, with the actors sharing a dynamite chemistry, while the whole thing builds to an epic showdown between Michael and Laurie that’s more than worth the wait. If this is the end of the franchise (and it probably isn’t, to be fair, so everybody can relax), what a wonderfully wild note to go out on (the Halloweenies did a cool three and a half hours on it, if you need further convincing).

Halloween Ends is currently streaming on Peacock. 


Speaking of comedians who are killing it in the horror game, The Whitest Kids U’Know alum Zach Cregger blew everyone away with Barbarian, which is easily the most talked-about horror movie of the year. The fact Cregger’s bizarre, self-contained little shocker did so well with genre fans and normies alike is especially impressive considering how hard he fought to get it made the way he wanted. Everyone’s favorite Final Boy, Justin Long, does great work as a sleazy actor trying to navigate a #MeToo scandal, but Georgina Campbell is the real star of the show, imbuing her smart, self-sufficient protagonist, Tess, with guts, guile, and empathy. It’s that regard for others that forces her down into the depths of her Airbnb’s basement, after the good-natured Keith (a believably nervy Bill Skarsgård) gets stuck down there. Barbarian wrong-foots us at every turn with plenty of frights, laughs and a surprising amount of heart too. The final moments are genuinely moving and the scares still work even when you know what’s coming. Credit to Cregger for refusing to sand down the edges of his vision, because it’s impossible to imagine the movie any other way but fully batsh*t crazy.

Barbarian is currently streaming on Disney+ (LOL).


Although Barbarian was the biggest surprise of the year, nothing could compete with Jordan Peele’s most epic, grandest, and impressive offering yet. Nope is equal parts western, sci-fi, social commentary, and horror-comedy, with the writer-director demonstrating a remarkable control of tone throughout. Both Get Out and Us were instant classics, but Peele’s third film establishes him as one of the best and most exciting filmmakers working in horror today. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer are terrific as siblings trying to turn their extra-terrestrial visit into a money-making scheme, while Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, and the great Michael Wincott all make an impression as the people working to help and, in Yeun’s case, hinder their aspirations. Nope isn’t just the best horror movie of the year; it’s also the best blockbuster, with neither Top Gun: Maverick nor the execrable Avatar: The Way of Water managing to bring nearly as much heart to the endeavor despite having millions more to play around with–and drawing off existing IP, to boot. From Hoyte Van Hoytema’s stunningly saturated and gorgeously expansive IMAX cinematography to the design of the alien itself and the brutally timely take-down of online spectacle culture, Nope is an all-timer. Peele makes the sky scary in a similar manner to how Spielberg made the ocean terrifying and, this year, nobody could touch him.

Nope is currently streaming on Peacock. ­

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Written by Joey Keogh
Slasher fanatic Joey Keogh has been writing since she could hold a pen, and watching horror movies even longer. Aside from making a little home for herself at Wicked Horror, Joey also writes for Birth.Movies.Death, The List, and Vague Visages among others. Her actual home boasts Halloween decorations all year round. Hello to Jason Isaacs.
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