Another year has flown by and as the remains of the last bit of cold turkey starts to settle into a piece of bread and butter, what better way to relax than to settle back and to read our BEST OF THE YEAR awards, in which we look back at the TOP 15 Horror Films of 2022, the stars that wowed us and the director in which the year 2022 truly belonged to them. So pour yourself a nice deserved drink as we dive straight into our awards…..and from us all at HACKED 2 PIECES, have a wonderful Happy New Year….
THE TOP 15 HORROR FILMS OF 2022
15: ORPHAN: FIRST KILL
A late entry into this “BEST OF” list and while we acknowledge that it may surprise a few of our readers, on a second watch and with much discussion, we decided that it needed to be included as it was simply one of the year’s most surprisingly entertaining sequels as we went in with low expectations and yet had a huge beaming smile on our face as the final credits rolled. To see Isabella Fuhrman back in her iconic role and bouncing with energy alongside Julia Stiles was a delight and while no one expected the film to beat “that original twist”, you have to admit that FIRST KILL had its own “rug-pull” that made many fans hold their hands up with admiration.
It may have sailed a little too close to “RINGU” at times, but director Parker Finn managed to muster an early noughties J-Horror vibe that somehow despite the genre becoming stale, felt fresh again and it was like we needed it our lives once more. This delightful tale where just a small visible SMILE can make you shudder in horror had effective scares and jump scenes and made us all leave the cinema with the very thing on our face that only moments before…brought terror into our horror lives…..
A welcome treat in the year 2022, DEADSTREAM felt like a horror film born in the 80’s but created for a new generation of horror lovers who would immediately once finished would seek out the work of Sam Raimi and then such delights such as the cult flick HOUSE. With evil monsters lurking in the shadows, ghostly figures bringing the gore, this was the ultimate love letter of a golden age and a horror that is destined to become its own cult classic.
12: THE SADNESS
Terrifier 2 may take the headlines but there is no argument to be made that THE SADNESS is the most brutal horror flick of 2022. A virus that makes people fill with rage and an urge to kill may be an old plot we’ve seen countless times before, but director Rob Jabbaz creates a vicious energy that makes you the viewer feel as if you are swept along with the carnage, wanting to see but needing to look away as the visual assault at times is too brutal to comprehend. But, hey…..we loved it!
We offer no apology that we’ve included FALL into the list of “Best Horror’s” as while it has no bogeyman or the standard jump scares or slice and dice, it does contain some jaw dropping imagery that made us look a way more than any other horror film this year. Scared of heights? Then FALL will make you cling on to the armchair in total fear and if Stephen King himself calls it “Very Scary” then who are we are to argue? In fact maybe it should even be higher on the list!
In a year where a sequel to an 80’s classic broke box-office records, there was another follow up that wowed fans and was released to huge critical acclaim. PREY was the PREDATOR sequel we needed in our lives, a throwback to the original and while director Dan Trachtenberg didn’t reinvent the wheel, choosing not to offer a new bold take on a familiar concept, having the idea to re-write the mythology for a whole new generation. Instead he wisely returned to the stalk and kill alien we all grew to love way back in that central American rainforest and for that, PREY was a simple and yet wonderful delight, led by Amber Midthunder who we all would love to see return in a re-match. Lets hope!
9: SPEAK NO EVIL
Much like what DEADSTREAM did for 80’s horror, SPEAK NO EVIL invoked the memories of when MEAN CREAK and FUNNY GAMES were all the rage, an uncomfortable horror flick where you could taste the impending doom right from when the film begins. Old school fans will no doubt guess where the ride takes us, but even they would admit it was a journey well worth taking, which taught us all a lesson – just be careful who you actually befriend.
This perhaps should be higher as there is nothing wrong with Jordan Peele’s ambitious “UFO” entry, a feel of a proper blockbuster horror that threatened from its trailer to be an alien invasion horror but deep down, we all knew that Peele is too good of a horror storyteller to be that straight forward. As always, social commentary aplenty, NOPE had mystery, laughs and downright horror to make you enthralled from the moment it started and like all of his films, once finished we couldn’t wait to see what he releases next.
7. THE BLACK PHONE
Offering an old fashioned scare, Scott Derrickson and Ethan Hawke reteamed to build a horror where for once we actually cared if the characters lived or died who in return, they themselves delivered in terms of performance in a simple tale done right, a horror film that doesn’t rely on the gore to bring the terror and with Hawke leading the way as a frightening force, The Black Phone is the one horror film of this year that if you hear ringing, you’ll want to answer…..
A double-booked Airbnb brings terror and twists in this delightful treat with a simple concept but yet brilliantly executed by Zach Cregger, a first-time writer/director who displays all the creative tricks that suggests he has a massive future ahead of him as he cleverly injects his tale with enough dread and tension, that you’ll simply can’t take your eyes off what is unfolding. Going into this completely unknown is a must! You may think you know what is going to happen, but the script flips from one thing to the next that all expectations are thrown out of the window and much like last year’s Malignant, it was the most fun you’ll have at the cinema this year.
Fear and dread haunts every frame in this engaging slow burn psychological thriller….
One of the reasons why I love the horror genre so much is that over the last month we have had releases that are so different from each other and yet all bring some level of high entertainment to its viewer. While the likes of BARBARIAN offered a fear of dread at the start, the plot flipped to a rollicking good ride where laughs were just as important as the scares it tried to serve.
WATCHER starts the same. There is an air of foreboding right from when the credits start to roll that captures your imagination and yet unlike that previous film, it decides for the majority of its running time to stay in this vein, refusing to bow down to cheap “jump out of your seat” moments. There is an extreme level of confidence in first time director Chloe Okuno film debut which bodes well for her future within the genre as she serves up one of the best of 2022.
What feels like a throwback to the great horrors from the 70’s and 80’s and most notably a Hitchcock vibe, WATCHER is a classic example of how to make a great film without the need of the usual standard horror clichés.
4: THE INNOCENTS
The slow burn may be off putting for some, but The Innocents is quite possibly one of the best films of the year. The plot never races towards a high adrenalin climax, instead virtually staying at one pace, but incredibly it does not need a big bang finale. Director Eskil Vogt instead mixes the mood as one scene may offer some touching moments and then the next you’ll be sitting there anxious at what is happening. Psychologically it plays with your mind, a film in which at times you want to look away but your eyes won’t let you.
Its not a bloodbath, with gore at a minimal, but a feeling of real life stakes, a horror unfolding all in broad daylight, a kids adventure that is not for kids and a perfect movie for those wanting to explain why they never want children…..
Girl meets guy….both fall in love…..a typical rom com….then the opening credits roll….
“A delicious slice of horror mayhem” is the perfect summary of Mimi Cave’s extraordinary directing debut, a film that sets out like a perfect When Steve met Nora romantic comedy, before revealing its grotesque hand to an unsuspected audience. Fun and horrific in one whole package, FRESH was a delightful treat with star turns from both Daisy Jones and Sebastian Stan whose chemistry fizzled on the screen and besides what other film this year had Stan channelling Patrick Bateman, holding a kitchen knife while dancing to Animotion’s “Obsession”…..a must watch….
Mia Goth reprised her role as PEARL in a quickly released prequel to X and with it become a horror icon in a flash. Goth is outstanding, the direction by Ti West is on point, in a horror tale about a broken mind that plays like a slasher film but there was more to it than that. We as horror fans were spoilt this year by two releases that wasn’t even at the top of our radar 12 months ago and now we are just delighted that they are in our lives….PEARL could have been number one….but of course was only pipped by the very story that started the ride…..
Ti West’s greatest film. X a 70’s style grindhouse style sleaze fest which offers porn, naked ladies and plenty of gore, all in a place where you expect Leatherface himself to be the next door neighbour. West hasn’t just created a perfect throwback to a time when horror felt dirty, but has also delivered a film for a modern age, while ripping up the current rule book. that only sequels to slashers of old can deliver at the box-office. Somehow X manages to offer its viewer a feeling of nostalgia, while bringing something new to the table. Honestly its a hard thing to do, but this film delivers to give us all a rollicking good time.
X offers everything you need from a West film and more, with even a simple scene of a lemonade offering, adding tension to what is all set to be unleashed. It all comes down to power of sex and why its such a strong act as it consumes feelings of excitement, guilt and sadness. In lesser hands X could have easily been a normal slasher film with loads of sexual scenes, but here its used in such a clever and heart breaking way as it states quite rightly in “why can’t the youth of today enjoy and express themselves?” But “what happens if you still have those feelings but find your body doesn’t match your soul which is still full of youthfulness?”
By its written textbook, a horror film doesn’t work if you start to sympathise with the bogeyman holding the knife, but much of X surprises you in ways you will not expect, its the most perfect experience of a grindhouse flick, an offering of horror and porn that isn’t just West’s greatest film, but a Boogie Nights meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre masterpiece that much like Pearl’s feelings for Howard, will be lusted after for many, many years to come….
OUR AWARDS FOR
BEST HORROR ACTOR:
MIA GOTH for X/PEARL
How can it not be? For playing dual roles in X and then taking centre stage in PEARL, the year 2022 belonged to Goth who has truly become a horror icon for a new generation and we can only wait with anticipation as Pearl returns in a third film in 2023.
Jenna Ortega for SCREAM and WEDNESDAY
2023 is going to be a big year for Jenna Ortega with SCREAM IV on the horizon and of course as we await news for the expected return of a season two for WEDNESDAY the Addams Family spin off that has pushed Ortega into mega stardom – you can’t flip on Social Media at the moment without seeing posts from many copying that now iconic dance sequence. This young talented lady is going to be in hot demand over the next 12 months….
BEST NON HORROR MOVIE OF 2022
MAVERICK: TOP GUN
I feel the need…..the need for…..a very, very, very good sequel to an 80’s classic. No one expected Tom Cruise’s return to his iconic role to be as good as it turned out, but MAVERICK was a staggering thrill ride, an action movie that stormed the box office and proved that rare thing of a follow up possibly being better than its original.
BEST TV SHOW OF 2022
TV continues to sparkle with gems like EVIL, BAD SISTERS and a few more, but YELLOWJACKETS was the must watch show of 2022, a mystery that had people talking and offering theories, not witnessed since the days of Jack and Locke on LOST. With season two on the horizon for late 2023, the tale of school kids lost in the wilderness has never been so intriguing and we can’t wait for its return….
BEST HORROR DIRECTOR
TI WEST – X/PEARL
We have always been huge fans of Ti West and yet it seemed we have waited for years for his talent behind the camera and his work within the horror genre to reach the masses. It seems that 2022 his moment has arrived with X and its prequel PEARL finding critical and fan acclaim and we can only hope that he continues this rich form for when MaXXXine arrives sometime next year. With his quality….how can it not?