Top 10 Best Horror Films of 2022

Top 10 Best Horror Films of 2022

By Daniel Rester

The year 2022 will likely be looked at as a landmark year for the horror genre in decades to come. A lot of financially successful horror films were released last year. Studio pictures like Scream and Smile made a killing at the box office, as expected, but smaller films like Terrifier 2 and Barbarian also did very well. The fans of the genre showed up. 

Dollar signs do not equal artistic quality though. Some of the best films ever made accrued barely anything in their initial runs while other bloated and terrible franchises continue to rake in cash. That being said, a lot of critics praised many of the horror films in 2022. The genre is often a punching bag for critics as they dismiss myriad entries as pointless and gory. A lot of horror films impressed journalists last year though by being skillfully made. 

So, horror films did very well financially and critically in 2022. I saw a lot of films in 2022, with dozens of them belonging to the horror genre. What were the best of the best horror films from the year? Here’s my take on them. 

25 Runner-Ups:

35. Piggy – 6.8/10

34. Orphan: First Kill – 6.8/10

33. Wendell & Wild – 6.8/10

32. Nope – 6.8/10

31. Sissy – 7/10

30. The Innocents – 7/10

29. Terrifier 2 – 7/10

28. The Pale Blue Eye – 7/10

27. Smile – 7/10

26. Resurrection – 7/10

25. The Sadness – 7/10

24. Saloum – 7/10

23. Bhoothakaalam – 7/10

22. Scream – 7/10

21. Crimes of the Future – 7/10

20. Hellraiser – 7/10

19. Fresh – 7.5/10

18. Watcher – 7.5/10

17. The Menu – 7.5/10

16. Adult Swim Yule Log – 7.5/10

15. The Black Phone – 7.5/10

14. Soft & Quiet – 7.5/10

13. Satan’s Slaves: Communion – 8/10

12. Speak No Evil – 8/10

11. Bodies Bodies Bodies – 8/10

The Top 10: 

10. The Cursed 

Writer-director Sean Ellis’ The Cursed has an old-school gothic horror feel that would fit in with the Hammer flicks of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Boyd Holbrook turns in solid work as pathologist John McBride, who is called in to support a land baron’s village in 1800s France. It turns out there is a werewolf on the loose after the village was cursed due to the slaughter of a group of Romani people. The Cursed is gorgeously designed and thematically rich, highlighting the ignoble actions involved with colonialism. Grade: 8/10

9. Deadstream 

Deadstream is a wonderfully wild DIY horror flick from husband and wife team Joseph and Vanessa Winter. They had a hand in the writing, directing, producing, and editing for the film, while Joseph also did the music and stars as the lead character. He plays Shawn, a disgraced online personality who decides to stay in a supposedly haunted house and live stream it in order to gain back followers. His plan doesn’t go well. Deadstream satirizes social media influencers while also providing some kooky thrills similar to those in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films. The Winters’ film is a breath of fresh air for the found footage subgenre. Grade: 8/10

8. Prey 

Director Dan Trachtenberg and Hulu brought the Predator franchise back to life with the prequel Prey. With a spin that puts a Comanche woman (an excellent Amber Midthunder) against a predator in 1719, Prey offers fresh and exciting scenes throughout. The antagonistic alien even fights a grizzly bear at one point! This may actually be the best entry in the series since the 1987 original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, though I am still fond of Predator 2 (1990). Grade: 8/10

7. Men 

Rising star Jessie Buckley gives a powerful performance in Alex Garland’s third feature film, Men. She plays Harper, who escapes to a remote house in the English countryside after her husband dies. Once there, she has strange interactions with a variety of local men (all played by Rory Kinnear). Harper is an interesting and psychologically damaged character who keeps the audience’s attention throughout. The film is also beautifully shot by cinematographer Rob Hardy, who captures the many shades of green at the country locations. There’s also a nightmarish sequence of body horror in Men that I will never forget. Grade: 8/10

6. Barbarian 

From its marketing, Zach Cregger’s Barbarian seemed like it was going to be a standard horror picture where a woman evades a man after the two book the same rental house. That’s hardly the case. Cregger provides plenty of surprises and commentary as his unusually structured film plays out in a rundown Detroit neighborhood. Justin Long steals scenes as a supporting character named AJ, but Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgård also do well in the lead roles. Barbarian is smart, scary, and funny as Cregger winks at the audience with some nutty material. Grade: 8/10


Ti West returned to the horror movie scene – after eight years away from it – with X. It’s a sweaty and violent slasher/psycho-biddy flick, but one with a brain and a terrific cast. X follows a group of wannabe pornographers in 1979 who must fight back against an elderly couple they rented a guesthouse from. West is interested in outcasts reaching for stardom here, including one of his antagonists. Mia Goth is magnetic and believable as she plays two different characters in X. Her and West re-teamed for a prequel to this film, Pearl, which released just a few months later. Grade: 8/10  

4. You Won’t Be Alone 

If auteur Terrence Malick ever made a horror film, it might look something like Goran Stolevski’s directorial debut You Won’t Be Alone. It has the graceful contemplation of Malick’s style. Taking place in 19th century Macedonia, You Won’t Be Alone follows a mute girl who passes through life after being turned into a witch. She goes through the years as women, men, and animals as she makes discoveries about humanity. Stolevski’s slow and artsy folk horror project won’t be for all tastes, but those who are on its wavelength will be rewarded with thoughts to chew on. Grade: 8/10

3. Mad God 

Created over a period of thirty years, effects legend Phil Tippett’s stop-motion animated film Mad God is a bleak and experimental feast for the eyes. It has a loose plot and no dialogue, instead relying on grotesque and dystopian images for its storytelling. The main thread involves an assassin being lowered into a dilapidated city with a mission to set off a bomb, but Tippett takes other detours into the bizarre and hopeless. Mad God may be surreal, but it clearly shows us the destructive results of man’s actions. The animation techniques are remarkable throughout. Grade: 8.3/10

2. Bones and All 

A touching and romantic film about… cannibalism. That’s Bones and All, Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino’s small slice of dark Americana. Based on Camille DeAngelis’ 2015 novel of the same name, the film follows young lovers – and human eaters – Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Timothée Chalamet) as they travel across the states in search of Maren’s mother. Bones and All is both melancholic and disturbing as it presents these two characters navigating the Reagan era ‘80s – where outsiders like AIDS victims were often being pushed to the side. Mark Rylance is unforgettable and creepy in a supporting role as Sully, a eater who stalks Maren, while Russell and Chalamet ignite palpable chemistry as the core couple. Grade: 8.3/10 

1. Pearl 

Ti West’s X is a standout horror film in 2022 (see my #5), but his surprise followup Pearl is even better. Taking place roughly sixty years before X, the prequel traces the origins of that film’s antagonist. Mia Goth returns to play Pearl again, only this time not buried under makeup. The craftsmanship by West and his team is top-notch (with nods to Old Hollywood techniques), but this is Goth’s show. Giving a complex performance from beginning to end, Goth turns Pearl into a horror icon; one particular scene involving a monologue is especially riveting. It’s a crime Goth didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for her work here. Maybe she’ll get one for MaXXXine, an upcoming sequel to X that will mark yet another collaboration between West and Goth. Grade: 8.3/10

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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