2022 has been delivering on some remarkable new horror so celebrate the night with one of the newest classics to release this year
Halloween has arrived once again, which means millions of people will be dressing up and celebrating all things scary and dark and strange and weird. There are plenty of traditions for this time of year, from costumes to pumpkin carving to trick ‘r treating, but a tried and true one will likely always be putting on a good horror movie to scare yourself silly. While many people celebrate all month long with their favorite selections that the genre’s had to offer over the years, the movie that gets picked on Halloween night itself is obviously the most important.
Most may wish to put on an old classic or a personal favorite, but loving the horror genre means yearning for the unexpected – for the next big thing that’s gonna really delight and / or terrify you in just the right macabre kind of way. 2022 has certainly come through on that front. It’s been a tremendous year for horror, with hit after hit and surprise after surprise arriving on the big and small screen throughout these past ten months. This Halloween, treat yourself to any of our picks of some of the best new horror movies that 2022 has had to offer, and where to find them on streaming services. Any one of these could become a new holiday tradition.
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‘Barbarian’ (HBO Max)
Barbarian is a worthy spiritual successor to the unhinged WTF vibes of last year’s Malignant. There are twists and turns and images so thoroughly unexpected throughout the film that it’s impossible to not walk away with some kind of strong reaction to Zach Cregger’s wild directorial debut. The story follows a woman (Georgina Campbell) who arrives at her AirBnb only to realize that a man (Bill Skarsgård) is already staying there. When the two of them stumble upon the horrific secrets of the previous owner of the house, things veer off in truly insane directions. The only way to go into this movie is knowing very little or nothing at all. Just enjoy the ride and do your best not to look away.
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V/H/S/99 marks the return of the acclaimed found footage anthology franchise and the sequel to Shudder’s most-watched premiere of 2021. Fittingly enough, 99 has now surpassed that very same record! The film features five new stories from filmmakers Maggie Levin (Into The Dark: My Valentine), Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City), Flying Lotus (Kuso), Tyler MacIntyre (Tragedy Girls) and Joseph & Vanessa Winter (Deadstream). V/H/S/99 harkens back to the final punk rock analog days of VHS, while taking one giant leap forward into the hellish new millennium. An undead rock band, an accidental trip to Hell, and much more await you.
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In this new adaptation of the Clive Barker cult classic, a young woman named Riley (Odessa A’zion) struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites, a group of sadistic supernatural beings from another dimension. Jamie Clayton takes over the iconic role of Pinhead in this new vision of pain and pleasure from director David Bruckner. Bruckner is best known for The Night House and The Ritual and he brings a fresh kind of melancholy to the franchise while taking it back to its grandiose roots. While this may be a reboot, it’s certainly not a remake, with a completely different story.
Read our interview with ‘Hellraiser’ composer Ben Lovett
Horror movies have always found ways to scare us by evoking that feeling of being watched; of constantly feeling like someone has their eyes on you. Watcher ramps this up to an extreme degree, proving itself to be one of the simplest scariest films in recent memory thanks to masterful tension and a powerful lead performance from Maika Monroe. A young American woman (Monroe) moves with her husband (Karl Glusman) to Bucharest, and begins to take notice of a stranger that appears to constantly stare at her from the apartment building across the street. There are moments in this film that can make you feel like all of the air has been sucked out of the room; every aspect of it is done with such quiet, anxiety-inducing intensity that it becomes rather hard to shake. The film’s seat-gripping final moments earn every bit of shock it goes for, establishing writer and director Chloe Okuno as a new filmmaking voice to be reckoned with.
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‘We’re All Going to the World’s Fair’ (HBO Max)
This chilling and captivating debut from Jane Schoenbrun almost feels designed to be viewed late at night on a laptop or tablet so as to set the right mood. Taking notes from the likes of Paranormal Activity and similar films, World’s Fair is told predominantly through one lonely girl’s webcam, making the scares more intimate and leaving you unable to look away. Casey (Anna Cobb) spends her nights alone in her dimly lit room, scrolling through the internet and becoming intrigued by an online role-playing game called the “World’s Fair Challenge”. Those who take the challenge claim to go through bizarre and inexplicable changes, and once Casey joins in, she believes it’s happening to her too. This is a coming-of-age story for a generation raised on the dark corners of the internet, who only had themselves and those other online lonely strangers hiding behind the screen.
Rebecca Hall has been delivering some next level performances in the genre space lately, but Resurrection may be her greatest yet. Hall plays Margaret, a confident, blunt and driven business woman who lives a comfortable life in Albany, New York with her teenage daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman). One day, David (Tim Roth), a man from her past life in England, suddenly shows up around her place of work. Things rapidly begin to spiral out of control as Margaret’s current life unravels amid a flurry of panic attacks, nightmares, and demons she thought she’d left behind. Written and directed by Andrew Semans, Resurrection excels at creating an atmosphere of dread and anxiety where every moving part from the actors to the direction to the lighting to the costuming are all working in tandem to stress you the hell out. It’s a thriller with real bite, one that really sticks with you even months later.
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‘Wendell & Wild’ (Netflix)
From the delightfully wicked minds of Henry Selick (director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline) and Jordan Peele (Nope, Us, Get Out) comes the story of Kat (Lyric Ross), a troubled teen haunted by her past, who must confront her personal demons, Wendell & Wild (played by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) to start a new life in her old hometown. Also starring Angela Bassett, James Hong, and Ving Rhames, Wendell & Wild is a match made in horror heaven. Two of the most distinct visionaries coming together like this is totally unexpected in the best way, and the film is sure to be a rewarding delight for any fan of either of the pair’s work.
A disgraced Internet personality (Joseph Winter) attempts to win back his followers by livestreaming one night alone in a haunted house. But when he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life. Deadstream is a unique take on the found-footage subgenre that’s refreshingly smart and genuinely funny to boot. There are some inspired scares to be found in this modern day Blair Witch, along with some laughs and sharp social commentary.
‘Mad God’ (Shudder)
A painstaking work of masterful stop-motion animation, Mad God comes from the mind and hands of special effects artist / stop-motion master / Hollywood legend Phil Tippet. His work in creature design and animation has been instrumental in the world-changing and culture-dominating films he’s been involved with, from the original Star Wars trilogy to Jurassic Park to RoboCop to Starship Troopers. After decades of work, Mad God’s terrifying stream of conscious (and unconscious) thoughts and images feels like a genuine purging of monsters and demons for its creator. A silent and nameless protagonist stumbles upon nightmarish scene after nightmarish scene in a cruel, desolate and insane world filled with terrors beyond imagination and comprehension. The film’s abstract structure and moments of jaw-dropping ghoulishness may test viewers, but something in this film’s dense tapestry of hand-crafted horror always manages to pull you back down to its depths.
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‘Orphan: First Kill’ (Paramount+)
Esther’s (Isabelle Furhman) terrifying saga continues in this thrilling prequel to the original and shocking horror hit, 2009’s Orphan. After orchestrating a brilliant escape from an Estonian psychiatric facility, Esther travels to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. Yet, an unexpected twist arises that pits her against a mother (Julia Stiles) who will protect her family from the murderous “child” at any cost. While this prequel may not quite live up to the surprising thrills of the original, it does wisely avoid falling into the trap of just repeating itself over again. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this one.