2022 felt like a return to cinema. Not only did I finally start going to the movie theater again for the first time since the beginning of 2020, but this year was filled with an abundance of truly fantastic films. And not just horror films, but virtually every other genre had wonderful films to get audiences excited about movies again. There was so much to watch, in fact, that there was no way I could possibly watch everything. While I’m sure there are films and shows and books that I would have included on this list if there had been time to consume them, here are my best of 2022 selections of what I did watch and read!
BEST HORROR FILMS OF 2022
This film is such a perfect blend of mystery, comedy, and cosmic horror. Rebekah McKendry did a fantastic job of bringing this story to life as director, and Ryan Kwanten absolutely nailed it starring as Wes. The comedic beats in this sometimes caught me so off guard that I fully guffawed, which makes me very happy I watched this from the comfort of my own home rather than in a theater. It’s a film that definitely feels like a low-budget indie film, but it’s so clever and charming it’s hard not to love. Full review here.
9. THE HARBINGER
Going into The Harbinger, I didn’t have very high expectations, but I knew it was written and directed by Andy Mitton, who I’m a fan of. This film was such a wonderful surprise. Dark, unnerving, and deeply emotional, this film tells a frightening story that incorporates the pandemic better than any other film I’ve seen attempt to do the same. The characters are relatable, and the performances really bring everything together. Do not sleep on this one. Full review here.
8. HELLRAISER (2022)
I’m not going to lie, I already knew going into this year’s Hellraiser reboot that I was going to love it. This year I recently finished going through the entire franchise, and this is a worthy entry into the Cenobite universe. I loved the characters, the performances, and the new Cenobite designs/effects are outstanding. Could there have been a bit more sexual energy? Sure, but overall the film is still a delight, and I plan to watch it again and again.
Chloe Okuno’s feature-film debut, Watcher, is captivating. There is so much to love about this film from Maika Monroe’s performanc, to the twisting and turning plot, to the stunning cinematography and use of color. It’s the kind of film that doesn’t hide any of the big reveals, but what makes it so suspenseful and intriguing is to watch the protagonist trying to navigate her dire situation when no one around her believes there is any danger. I can’t wait to see what Okuno does next.
Everyone knows that Predator is one of the best sci-fi action films of all time. For me, Prey is even better! This prequel perfectly connected to the rest of the franchise, giving nods to the films that came before it, while still telling an entirely fresh story to appeal to new audiences. Amber Midthunder delivers a powerhouse performance, director Dan Trachtenberg gives us a film that is as exciting as it is thought-provoking, and this film features a very very good dog (which gives it bonus points). You can read my Uterus Horror article about the film here.
5. A WOUNDED FAWN
This film was another surprise for me this year. Each film writer and director Travis Stevens releases just improves upon his last. A Wounded Fawn tells a very twisted tale that combines elements of a serial killer slasher film with shockingly beautiful symbolic and mythological imagery. Probably the biggest surprise is Josh Ruben’s performance. While he’s mostly known for his comedic work, Ruben plays the antagonist of this film in a way that is as disturbing as it is thrilling to watch.
Let’s be honest, Jordan Peele doesn’t miss. Nope is a surprising, subversive sci-fi horror mashup that takes a very critical look at the Hollywood system and the world’s obsession with big spectacles. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya, as well as the rest of the cast, are a revelation. As with Peele’s past films, one of the best parts of this film is learning more and more fascinating nods and Easter eggs incorporated into the film that you missed the first time. It’s a film that is great upon first watch, but it will only continue to get better with each viewing.
This is a film that everyone should go into as blind as possible. So if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t read this blurb, just know that I adore this bizarre film. Writer and director Zach Cregger is so masterful at setting up the plot in a way audiences feel like they that know what’s coming next, just to completely subvert all expectations. The small but superb cast, including Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long, make the various twists and turns all the more thrilling to watch. Even more exciting about this film is the unique way it conveys different types of predatory men, even the supposed “nice guys”, and how women are often not believed.
2. X / PEARL
Ok, yes, I cheated with this one a bit since I’m including two movies. But come on, they came out the same year, both written and directed by Ti West, and both star Mia Goth (even as Pearl in both films). It’s difficult to separate the two, so I’m not going to. While the films focus on slightly different themes and styles, both are great at showcasing different eras of filmmaking. Everything from the performances, the filming styles, the color choices, and the hair and makeup help to transport us to different times while still telling compelling stories. Goth is truly a force to be reckoned with, and I cannot wait for the third film in this series to come out.
1. BONES AND ALL
I really can’t say enough good things about Bones and All. Director Luca Guadagnino is a highly skilled storyteller, and he knows how to give audiences a thought-provoking, gut-punch of a film while also making it beautiful to watch. Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, and Mark Rylance deliver some of the most powerful performances I’ve seen all year. It’s a nearly perfect film in my eyes, with only one of the deaths rubbing me the wrong way. As is common with my number one film each year, I can definitely see why the film won’t appeal to everyone, but the heaviness it left in my chest earns the film my number one spot for 2022.
More films I loved that I wanted to include: YOU WON’T BE ALONE, THE BLACK PHONE, FRESH, BODIES BODIES BODIES, SMILE, RESURRECTION, and WEREWOLF BY NIGHT.
BEST HORROR SHOWS OF 2022
10. Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans
8. Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities
7. Resident Evil
6. The Midnight Club
5. Stranger Things (Season 4)
4. Chucky (Season 2)
3. All of Us Are Dead
2. What We Do in the Shadows (Season 4)
BEST BOOKS OF 2022 (books that are new to me)
5. Hear us Scream: The Voices of Horror Vol. 2 by multiple authors
4. The Between by Tananarive Due
3. The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer
2. Clown in a Cornfield / Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives by Adam Cesare
1. The Queen of Cicadas by V. Castro