Craig's 15 Horror Tops of '22
Once again, January for me is a whirlwind of trying to catch up with all the Horrors I've missed throughout the previous year. It doesn't matter how many Movies or TV Shows I watch, there's always a plethora of quality viewing that I miss.
And even now, as I'm writing this article of My Top Horrors of 2022, I know there are still a bunch of films I've not managed to catch, but I feel I've watched enough to formulate a cohesive and good looking Top List.
BE WARNED - a lot of my reviews and their promotional pictures can be SPOILERVILLE.
So, in no particular order (I'm not a sadist!) here are the 15 TOPS that helped me get through 2022...
IT’S ALWAYS SOMEONE YOU KNOW.
Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past.
OK - yes, I'm also surprised this has made my Top. The film wasn't perfect, there are many things I could rip apart; but it was the return of GHOSTFACE and a (slightly lacklustre and short) reunion of Gale Weathers, Dewey Riley and Sidney Prescott!
I really feel that the new Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S, Ready Or Not) were more cautiously concerned with wanting to make Wes Craven proud, and not detour too far from the aspects that made the original movie great. So whilst it felt like a less effective 'copycat', the respect and homage they paid was admirable, and alongside that they managed to create a new foundation for the upcoming sequel (and possible trilogy) which looks set to lay away any doubt that this was always meant to be a new starting point for the franchise.
The opening sequence alone, with the formidable Jenna Ortega (and what a year she has had!) is enough to certify and solidify this as part of my Tops of 2022.
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
THE FACE OF MADNESS RETURNS.
In this sequel, influencers looking to breathe new life into a Texas ghost town encounter Leatherface, an infamous killer who wears a mask of human skin.
We've all seen the previous entries, and we all know what we're here for - and I'm sure there's an agreement that low expectations and the Texas Chainsaw franchise go hand in hand.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Or #TCM50 as I like to refer to it as) is a fast paced, no holds barred brutal thrill ride with pretty exceptional gore set pieces. We're here for LeatherFace, and his savage presence viciously delivers with barbaric glee.
'Cancelled Bro' - BEST FUCKING SCENE!
Now I could discuss its problematic themes, weak plot points, inconsistent fabrics to the original source it's marketed to follow, but... this is a CHAINSAW movie, so what's the point? I mean... Texas Chainsaw The Next Generation anyone!?
But to touch on my most aggravated issue - Sally Hardesty - her character is completely mishandled and in a shocking turn of events, actually makes me admire and appreciate the writing behind H40 's Laurie Strode a bit more.
SideNote - #JusticeForAliceKrige - I was expecting a LeatherFace 2017 Lily Taylor kind of role - but she was unfortunately underused 😭
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 is not interested in breaking new ground, but only delivering a mean-spirited, fun and grisly LeatherFace film. It was honestly difficult not to joyfully have a bloody good time.
TCM50 gave me some Wrong Turn 2021 meets H40 vibes and will be just as polarizing as both within the diverse Horror Community.
Frustrated by scrolling dating apps only to end up on lame, tedious dates, Noa takes a chance by giving her number to the awkwardly charming Steve after a produce-section meet-cute at the grocery store.
In amongst 2022's Slasher renaissance and Requel territory, it was pretty refreshing to be fed something new and original. Fresh is definitely the type of film I would watch on a date.
This captivating directorial debut from Mimi Cave was well executed with some solid performances, a very modern and sexy gloss to the cinematography and a great soundtrack to boot. Possibly even kicked off the 2022 tend of 'glorifying' cannibalism (Dahmer, Bones And All, Ethel Cain's Preacher's Daughter, Armie Hammer...)
Bridget Jones meets American Psycho by way of Hostel.
HE’S WATCHING YOUR EVERY MOVE.
A college freshman becomes obsessed with the previous owner of his school issued laptop, a webcam model whose last session may have ended in murder.
Exploited was definitely a sexy romp with much male nudity and kinky sex. An erotic horror/thriller with a refreshing amount of queerness, which I haven't seen outside of an LGBTQIA+ film festival.
The film has a sadistic killer kitted out in BDSM gear, some dodgy acting and some downright filthy and seductive neon.
I wasn't expecting the film to be anywhere near as good as it was, however, I definitely think it could have leaned more heavily into the Slasher elements, but regardless, it was a fun ride.
A young couple is pushed to the limits of sanity as they attempt to be reunited amid the chaos of a pandemic outbreak. The streets erupt into violence and depravity, as those infected are driven to enact in the most cruel and ghastly things imaginable.
The Sadness is hyped as the craziest and most gory movie to date... I mean... Not to the hardened Horror fan who's been obsessed with the genre for well over 3 decades... but, credit to the film, it's pretty batshit, and I loved it.
The story plays out like The Crazies meets James Herbert's 1975 novel The Fog, and from the moment the old woman in a bloody nightdress dumps a tray of boiling chip fat over a cafe owners head, the film is one demented scene after another.
It's a no holds barred vicious splatter-fest, of which is mostly practical FX 👏
But nothing we haven't seen before. One of the stand out scenes involving an eye just seems like a nasty homage to Zombie Flesh Eaters meets Cronenberg's Crash - but I'm not complaining!
The plot itself is lacking, and even though it tries, it does miss the emotional beats that Train to Busan encompassed, but it's a bloody good time for gorehounds!
BODIES BODIES BODIES
THIS IS NOT A SAFE SPACE.
When a group of 20-somethings gets stuck at a remote mansion during a hurricane, a party game gone very, very wrong ends with a dead body on the ground and fake friends at every turn as they try to find the killer among them.
'Fuck off and DIE!'
Based on many negative reviews. I went into Bodies Bodies Bodies with super low expectations... and came out pleasantly surprised.
In fairness, most of the negativity seemed to be people bitching at how 'WOKE' the film was; such dumb-ass people completely missing the satirical point of it all 😂
Playing out a little like Scream meets Cluedo with a bunch of coked up Gen Z's and add a sprinkle of 2019's (god awful) Black Christmas. But unlike the latter, this film was in on the joke, knew its audience, and used similar ingredients but knew how to deliver on a hysterically fun level.
The sexy cast boasts a deplorable bunch of coked up assholes that you wanna see get killed; all running around fighting, bitching and blaming one another with hilarious paranoia and dire consequences.
Director Halina Reijn knows exactly what to do with the material, and who the target audience is, and the script is pleasantly sharp, dimwitted and has some fun and toxic dialogue spewing out of the rampant mouths of this group of supposed 'friends'.
There's a few eye rolling scenes, like the fight over the gun - but it wasn't Urban Legends 2 level dumb. But for the most part, I was laughing and enjoying.
And that end 'twist'? HILARIOUS. A Cult Classic in the works! 👏
SOME STAY FOR A NIGHT. SOME STAY FOR A WEEK. SOME NEVER LEAVE.
In town for a job interview, a young woman arrives at her Airbnb late at night only to find that it has been mistakenly double-booked and a strange man is already staying there. Against her better judgement, she decides to stay the night anyway, but soon discovers that there is much more to be afraid of in the house than the other house guest.
Going in blind definitely helps with embracing the madness of Barbarian.
The first act is a pretty solid and atmospheric creeper which makes the odd transition all the more baffling with contrasting cinematography and tone. Casting a known actor like Justin Long was a good choice and definitely helped ease the transition into the 2nd act.
Once I worked out what the film was trying to do with what seemed to be separate stories, I relaxed and went along for the ride, waiting for when these stories would all come crashing together; And boy, they did! The 3rd act was super fun and ridiculous and I loved it.
I think the overarching story was perhaps a little undercooked as we spent so much time getting to know different characters throughout the film, but that didn't detriment the final result too much as I spent most of the final act with my jaw on the floor.
In regards to an unexpected and bonkers modern horror, I'd compare this to Wan's Malignant, but it doesn't quite hit those heights of batshittery, but definitely belongs within that realm.
ORPHAN: FIRST KILL
THERE’S ALWAYS BEEN SOMETHING WRONG WITH ESTHER.
After escaping from an Estonian psychiatric facility, Leena Klammer travels to America by impersonating Esther, the missing daughter of a wealthy family. But when her mask starts to slip, she is put against a mother who will protect her family from the murderous “child” at any cost.
She's back! A prequel no one was expecting. A prequel no one asked for. Yet here we are, and most people aren't mad about it.
This movie is so wild and crazy - possibly even more batshit than the original; but that all comes down to how self-aware it is; sometimes to its detriment and other times to hilarious extent.
And if you didn't think they could out twist the first movie... Just you wait. Completely unhinged and ridiculous, yet completely entertaining for all the right reasons.
Orphan: First Kill is a prime example of camp, serving high quality performances from Isabelle Fuhrman and Julia Stiles - they understood the assignment and delivered fierce and menacing performances with a cheeky glint in their eye and wry smile from the corner of their lipsticked lips.
UNLOCK YOUR FEARS.
A young woman 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.