2022 is now over, and many of us are thankful for that. This year was a doozy for many of the people around me, and myself. Covid is finally becoming an afterthought, and I sincerely hope 2023 is a year of relief and thankfulness. Despite having some downright depressing moments last year, my fiance and I watched a WHOLE SHIT TON of horror. Some of these films I've already written about, and some I have not. You'll find that if I've written about the movie previously you can click on the image and it will take you to the articles. This list is comprised of mostly my opinions, and a dash of my fiance's input as well. Let's get into it:
10) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
David Blue Garcia / Netflix / R
I found last year's Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be a guilty pleasure. We watched it at the beginning of the year with our friends over some drinks, and I couldn't stay mad at the ridiculousness of it all. The original is one of my all-time favorite horror films, and I understand why diehard TCM fans hate this film. It's sacrilegious and I don't care. There are some scenes I just endear, and yes, the bus scene is one of them.
Parker Finn / Paramount+ / R
Smile is everything to be expected; creepy atmosphere, and psychological torment.
Yet I was slightly underwhelmed after it all. Once I went back and watched the short film that kicked this off I came into an appreciation of what director Parker Finn was trying to do. This is a great date night film, and looking back I was a little hard on it originally. I can get over the shotty acting and slippery premise, just keep those haunting visuals coming.
8) Terrifier 2
Damien Leone / Screambox / NR
I know what you're thinking, "How can Terrifier 2 outrank Smile?" Practical gory effects baby, I love em. Was the acting atrocious? Sure. Was the plot abysmal? Absolutely. Was Art The Clown a psychopathic murderer that I couldn't peel my eyes off of, even as he tortured his victims? You got it! There's so much to love about this tetralogy (that's like a trilogy but four). With Terrifier 2 Damien Leone further explores some of the lore that makes up this world Art occupies, and he does this through the experiences of our beloved protagonist Sienna (a sword-wielding badass who is destined to cut down Art The Clown). This movie offers 80's slasher fans some solace.
7) The Black Phone
Scott Derrickson / Amazon Prime / R
This film feels dirty and gritty in a way that most horror movies fail to do. The amount of abuse portrayed in this film is nearly unbearable. Yet once that ending comes and the credits roll you'll feel proud of the journey you experienced. Ethan Hawke is one of my all-time favorites, so seeing him portrayed as this monster was wretched. He puts this boy through so much trauma and hardship. The mask is menacing as well. Underneath all of this is a heartwarming story of redemption and the bond between siblings. I hated the ride, but I loved the thrill.
Jordan Peele / Peacock / R
What's not to love about this one? The dialogue is comical, making the characters so damn endearing. The sprawling camera work accents the setting. The story is intriguing, especially the way the film opens. Jordan Peele is a master in his class. This film should rank higher, but I found myself enjoying some of the other films on this list more. Perhaps it has to do with the social commentary aspect that feels oh-so redundant at this point. I quite enjoyed Nope, more than I thought I would... After all, there's a raining blood scene, that's so fuckin metal.
Ti West / Rent / R
This film is purely an exploration of character. Pearl is the prequel to the next film on this list, X. We learn about how the murderous farm hag from X came to be. There are heartbreaking moments, and delusions throughout. What piqued my interest in this film is the setting of 1918 rural America. There are small cars, french porno, and traveling troupes. I ate it up and can't wait to see what Ti West comes up with next.
Ti West / Fubo / R
X is the story of a couple of amateur film students throwing together an adult film in a rural farm home they rented from the elderly owners, Howard and Pearl. The year is 1979 and all Kid Cudi wants to do is fuck. The most extraordinary part of this storytelling effort is Mia Goth. Mia plays Max, a dancer/actress who wants her moment in the spotlight. But she doesn't just play Max, Mia also plays Pearl, both the younger iteration in the second film (Pearl) and the older iteration in the first film (X). Her acting is spectacular, and the idea of being hunted down by a saggy old woman is terrifying.
3) The Menu
Mark Mylod / HBOMax / R
I did not find The Menu horrifying, but instead, I found it to be hilarious. The exquisite Anya Tayler-Joy plays Margot, who finds herself wrapped up in a night of cuisine and murder. The premise is this: Chef Slowik presents his well-off guests with an itinerary to die for. It's ridiculous, it's strange, and I assure you that this film is anything but bland. That ending, chefs kiss!
2) Bodies Bodies Bodies
Halina Reijn / Rent / R
I expected nothing from this film, and then suddenly I was smacked in the face with authenticity. Pete Davidson has won my respect as an actor of some merit. We just watched Big Time Adolescence and he's great in that as well! Every character in this film feels genuine, almost like they were cast as the person they are, and that increases my enjoyment of this murder mystery exponentially. The twist in this film is so damn laughable, which may ruin it for some folks, but not me. Give me more of these films where we point at the stupidity that is being engrained into our younger generations.
Zach Cregger / HBOMax / R
Numbah one film of 2022 is Bahbarian. Look, man, I didn't want to put it this high, but after all the consideration and hype, and thought it just deserves it. The performances are spectacular. Zach Cregger's story is so deliberate and brilliant. I was turned off by the hype of this one at first, as I usually am, but then I couldn't stop thinking about it. This film folds in abuse, poverty, class relations, and sexism. The setting and tone are harrowing, but alongside charismatic actors, like Justin Long, the scenarios become nearly comical. The monster isn't the scariest, instead, she's vile yet sweet, a victim herself. The film leaves its viewers with a message worth repeating and that's why Barbarian takes the cake.