Top 10 films of 2022 (FEATURE)
Updated: Jan 13
So often we ride out the year sifting through the hundreds of genre entries that have adorned our eyes to find the few that make it to the top of the list.
In a year that can only be deemed that of the return, we saw new entries from franchise favourites SCREAM, JEEPERS CREEPERS, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE and HALLOWEEN to mixed effect but guaranteed some big figures at the box office.
The return of genre legends Dario Argento (DARK GLASSES), Ti West (X) and David Cronenberg (CRIMES OF THE FUTURE) proved once more why they are such legendary figures in film making. All of these managed to bring a snare of what made them great but spiced things up with a reinvention for today's cinema - Giallo, body horror and cinematic homage all played heavy in their entries and proved that they are the masters of their craft.
There are also key mentions to the future wave of horror, including Scott Derrickson and Jordan Peele, and it's in safe hands with 2022 giving us quite possibly the best year in horror cinema since 2012.
Honourable mentions go to; THE MENU, WHEN THE SCREAMING STARTS, ON THE 3RD DAY, GOOD MADAM, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, LAMB, THE CELLAR, NOPE, PLAYDURIZM, THE SEED and STUDIO 666.
10. THE SADNESS
Asian cinema, for many, is still the Godfather of horror. Japan, South Korea, China and now Taiwan have really proven that there's a lot to aspire to for western film makers and THE SADNESS is arguably the most blood soaked film in horror history.
Review: THE SADNESS
Possibly the biggest shock this year was the Disney+ movie FRESH. Starring Marvel icon, Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones, it did not deserve to go down as dark as it did. In some parts AMERICAN PSYCHO, in others a fight of wits for survival, the film perfectly balances the romantic sentimentalities with dating a serial killer with more guts and gusto than anything else this year.
Rob Savage relit the fire for the horror genre and reinvented terror at cinemas darkest moment. As cinemas shut down and film making was paused across the world through COVID, HOST gave hope not only to horror but to film making in general and took found footage into the 21st century. His follow up had a lot of hype to meet and completely went another way to his first film in all the best ways possible. Taking the action, still found footage, onto the streets of a cab driver, the action, and horror, are amplified to the degree that DASHCAM becomes the spiritual sequel to HOST, by being bigger and bolder with an ending that is so fist pumpingly fueled with adrenaline, it's hard not to get excited.
7. A BANQUET
The most understated realisation of the horror genre is how diverse it is. The genre can flit between mass murder to mental illness, masked slasher to cult phenomenon, there are no limits and Ruth Paxton's tale of a distant family who fight against an impending threat and the challenges of parenthood. A BANQUET is a family drama first and delves into the worlds of horror but is a revelation in storytelling and gives us one of this generations most promising film makers. At times ugly, others a little too real, yet it's always a beautiful film to watch and a miracle in independent film making.
Review: A BANQUET
6. A WOUNDED FAWN
Travis Stevens has been branding his name in the producers seat for years but only since he has turned to directing has his passion for horror been noticed. There are a number of similarities to another of this years top films, FRESH, but here the tables turn to the point of a familiar trip to horror, one that is reminiscent of 80s icons, THE THING, THE EVIL DEAD and the work of Bava and Argento.
Review: A WOUNDED FAWN
5. TERRIFIER 2
If anyone was to be the poster boy of the genre in 2022 then it would hands down be Art the Clown. The menace now 3 films in including anthology film ALL HALLOWS EVE, has really carved his name in what is the most depraved and graphic film of the year. Yet despite it's sheer brazen love for sleaze, Damien Leone's film goes above and beyond even the depths it's predecessor stepped and comes out on top. Giving us more clowning around and even buckling hardened horror, it somehow falls heavily between omedy and the most gross out horror film in history. Fortunately, it's not all gross and Lauren LaVera gives a lot of heart and soul to the new final girl.
Review: TERRIFIER 2
Within a year that gave us the return of Dario Argento and David Cronenberg, no director surprised genre fans more than Ti West. The director of THE SCRAMENT, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE INNKEEPERS gave us a 70s throwback of sex and violence and a standout performance from Mia Goth who not only stole the show but spawned her own equally great prequel with PEARL. In a cast of talent including Jenna Ortega (SCREAM, WEDNESDAY), Brittany Snow (PROM NIGHT, WOULD YOU RATHER) and singer turned actor KID KUDI, the depths of depravity that West took them down was not only memorable, but spawned a reignited love for 70s shock horror and the sexual freedom that the video nasties expressed so fluently. Not only is X a great throwback to the golden age of horror but is an effectively creepy and grizzly slasher with a deeper memento of youth and the downsides of ageing.
3. THE BLACK PHONE
Joe Hill has carved his name into the elite of horror writers in a relative short period of time. His books, including HEART SHAPED BOX and HORNS, have obliterated any correlation to his father and his anthology book 20th CENTURY GHOSTS, with echoes of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, finally gets its first movie, THE BLACK PHONE. From the writers and director of SINISTER and DOCTOR STRANGE, everyone knew this film was in safe hands and a menacing performance from Ethan Hawke only made this a dark masterpiece in horror cinema.
Review: THE BLACK PHONE
2. SPEAK NO EVIL
No film has sent shockwaves through the soul like Christian Tafdrup's tour de force that is so fucked up it only needs one viewing and to bel scarred for life. SPEAK NO EVIL is a film best knowing very little and as a result is a taut journey of holidays, family and friendship that takes a sharp u-turn from family friendly drama. What makes this more special is how grounded and real it feels, it's grasp in the real world makes the unfolding events more home hitting and the senselessness of the actions just cause a stir of emotion that only truly great film making can deliver.
Review: SPEAK NO EVIL
When it comes to horror, no matter how great the story, there has to be some element that transcends beyond the characters into the audience and INCANTATION gave us faith that audiences can still be left hiding behind their sofa's. Kevin Ko's fable of a mother seeking redemption for a curse she's passed on reminds us vividly of what not only makes found footage great, eastern cinema great but also the there are creatives out there still able to scare even the hardened horror fan. Based on scare factor alone, INCANTATION is the horror film of the year!