The 10 Best Horror Films of 2022 So Far

The year 2022 has provided horror fans with a lot of choices in its first six months. There have been new voices and ideas coming along, but also the return of filmmakers like David Cronenberg and Scott Derrickson and franchises like Scream and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Here are three honorable mentions and then my picks for the ten best horror films of the year so far. These go by U.S. release dates. 

Honorable Mentions: Hatching, The Innocents, The Sadness

10. Scream 

Fans were nervous about the fifth entry of Scream because it was the first time Wes Craven would not be directing (since he passed away in 2015); series creator Kevin Williamson didn’t return to write either. And while the film isn’t as good as the first, second, and fourth entries, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett do capture the spirit of the franchise well while their film also acts as a reboot and a sequel. Some of the twists and turns are either awkward or obvious, but the cast is fun and the filmmaking is slick. David Arquette gives one of his best turns as Dewey as well, while Jack Quaid shines as the timid newcomer Richie. Grade: 7/10

9. Crimes of the Future

After more than twenty years, David Cronenberg finally returned to the horror genre with Crimes of the Future. It’s a weird future-set film that features Cronenberg’s touches of intelligent writing and grotesque body horror. Viggo Mortensen plays a performance artist who grows new organs and removes them in front of audiences. And that’s just one of a few offbeat plot threads. While certainly not for all tastes, and not in the same league as Cronenberg’s classics of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Crimes of the Future creates a fascinating dystopian world. Grade: 7/10

8. Fresh 

Mimi Cave’s directorial debut Fresh plays out like a romantic comedy for a bit before switching gears into darkly funny horror territory. Sebastian Stan gives a charmingly evil performance as Steve, who abducts Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and has certain plans for her. I won’t reveal more as the twists in Fresh are part of its fun. Cave’s film knifes the modern dating scene. Grade: 7.5/10

7. Watcher 

Scream queen Maika Monroe shines in Chloe Okuno’s Watcher, which deals with voyeurism and gaslighting. Monroe plays a woman named Julia, who moves to Bucharest with her husband after he gets a new job. She soon finds that she is possibly being stalked. Watcher is beautifully shot and cranks up the tension as Julia suspects her neighbor (Rear Window (1954) vibes). Is he guilty or is she just paranoid? Grade: 7.5/10

6. The Black Phone

Scott Derrickson reunited with much of his Sinister (2012) team for The Black Phone, based on Joe Hill’s short story. It takes place in 1978 and follows a boy named Finney (Mason Thames) as he tries to escape from the basement that the serial killer “The Grabber” (Ethan Hawke) puts him in. He gets help from phone calls from the killer’s past victims. Hawke gives a creepy performance in a rare turn as an antagonist while Madeleine McGraw steals scenes as Finney’s sister Gwen. The Black Phone isn’t nearly as scary as Sinister, but it’s a well-crafted film from Derrickson and his team. Grade: 7.5/10  

5. The Cursed 

The Cursed from writer-director Sean Ellis is a solid werewolf flick with gorgeous production values, taking place in 1800s France as a land baron’s village is cursed after he kills a group of Romani people. Boyd Holbrook proves he has leading man quality as a pathologist brought in to help the village. Ellis’ film feels like an old-school gothic horror picture in look and feel. It’s one of the better werewolf films of the past few years. Grade: 8/10

4. X

Ti West’s X is a wildly entertaining slasher/psycho-biddy flick that focuses on a group making a porno on a rural farm in 1979. But the elderly owners of the land have some disagreements with the cast and crew. The first half of X is superior as it develops its characters and their goals well, though the second half feels more familiar. Mia Goth adds more terrific performances to her resume as she takes on two roles here. Grade: 8/10

3. Men

Men, the third film from Alex Garland, is a powerful little movie with a great performance from newer star Jessie Buckley. She plays a woman who escapes to the English countryside after her husband dies, but the vacation takes some unexpected turns as strange men (all brilliantly played by Rory Kinnear) approach her. Garland favors silence and use of beautiful locations over dialogue in Men much of the time before leading to a climax with surreal and nightmarish images. One scene of body horror is especially unforgettable. Grade: 8/10  

2. You Won’t Be Alone

Goran Stolevski’s directorial debut You Won’t Be Alone is an artsy and contemplative folk horror film that won’t be for all audience tastes. It hooked me though with its attention to detail and interesting story involving a mute girl being turned into a witch in 19th century Macedonia. The girl becomes men, women, and animals as she drifts through life and learns about humans. You Won’t Be Alone feels like Terrence Malick’s style put into a horror picture if you can wrap your head around that. Grade: 8/10

1. Mad God 

Mad God is a stop motion animated nightmare thirty years in the making. Effects artist Phil Tippett creates a world to get lost in, based around grotesque and grimy designs and actions. The plot is vague and there is no dialogue. The main bit involves an assassin being lowered into a dystopian city with a mission to set off a bomb. But Tippett’s film consistently takes different turns into the bizarre, so this is not a film for audiences who require clear and rigid plots. Mad God is an original and spellbinding creation. Grade: 8.5/10 

Written by
Daniel Rester is a writer for the We Live Film portion of We Live Entertainment. He is a Southern Oregon University alumnus and has a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Communication (Film, Television, and Convergent Media) and Emerging Media and Digital Arts. He has been involved with writing and directing short films for years. Rester also won 2nd place in the Feature Screenplay Competition in the 2015 Oregon Film Awards for his screenplay "Emma Was Here," which is currently in post-production and will be Rester's feature directorial debut.

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