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The 8 Best Horror Movies of 2022

It's officially that time of year when we can each reflect on our favorite releases over the past 12 months, and I don't know about you… but I personally tend to gravitate toward the limitless potential of the horror genre for my own cinematic needs.

From the promising resurgence of box office classic face-offs between heroes and villains to several dark horse indie gems, 2022 had plenty of adaptive horror content worth watching, regardless of one's own threshold for scares. So if that genre fixation applies to you as well, or even if you're just interested in broadening your scary movie repertoire, we've officially got you covered.

horror movies of 2022
Bleeding Cool Presents: The 8 Best Horror Movies of 2022 | By Aedan Juvet


After the release of the sexually liberated horror film X starring Mia Goth, the fast-tracked prequel felt like a daring choice for A24 to commit to, but in hindsight, we're so thrilled that they did. In X, we vaguely discover a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-inspired backdrop with an unlikely and unexplained villainous duo, but Pearl bravely goes off the rails in its character study with a technicolor horror fever dream.

As the uncanny highlight of both films, Goth isn't afraid to follow her character's unique spiral to the fullest extent; however, out of the two films, Pearl particularly peels back the layers of a complex fictional murderer whose psyche is scarcely unveiled in her debut. Two viewings later, Pearl remains a stunning display of Ti West's conceptual horror projects and possibly his (and certainly Goth's) greatest work to date. If you have any doubts, refer back to her own boldly confident declaration where she screams, "I'M A STAR!"


At a simple glance, the glittery teaser trailer for the indie horror film Sissy might not appear to be a ruthless contender on a genre best-of list, but upon viewing, it is a very different film with strong characters, suspense, brutality, and a few enjoyable twists along the way!

Led by the Aisha Dee, who charismatically plays the titular character Cecilia (Sissy), the mildly successful social media influencer is invited on an unforgettable bachelorette weekend with a childhood best friend, where the true horrors then begin. Through cruel flashbacks and present social routines that carry over from adolescence to adulthood, Sissy spotlights the toxicity behind the new normal – but on the plus side, it gives us a masterful villain that we're actually unafraid to root for. Cecilia will always be an icon!


With each Jordan Peele horror film so far, there's officially an expectation regarding originality, so we just knew that his take on something as vast as aliens wasn't going to be straightforward whatsoever.

In Nope, Peele uses a hefty amount of anticipation leading up to the unpredictable reveal to keep things appropriately shrouded in mystery. The unveiling itself might require a second viewing to digest properly. There are also innately impressive performances to factor in with the well-rounded star Keke Palmer and the talented Daniel Kaluuya, with both carrying the emotional requirements of this unconventional sci-fi horror merger. Is anyone else still hoping for a spiritual successor or follow-up about all those eerie unanswered questions?


Maika Monroe stunned moviegoers and critics with her presence in the cult classic indie horror film It Follows back in 2014, but her 2022 return to horror titled Watcher is officially the role that has solidified her status as a fully capable scream queen.

Centered on a young woman (Monroe) who relocates to Bucharest with her husband (Karl Glusman) for his own business opportunity, she quickly begins to notice a lurking presence while the terrifying talk of a serial killer runs rampant. As her sanity comes into question in a country where she feels isolated, the film is presented as a nice arthouse-style slow burn that wraps up perfectly by the time everything comes to light (because, thankfully, no unresolved issues remain). The tense pacing itself is also a nice tonal touch to convey Monroe's overall helplessness, so where some movies take their time to deliver, Watcher benefits from the necessary build-up of paranoia.


We've been rather vocal about our adoration for the epic revival of the '90s slasher franchise Scream, so there's no way that the fifth chapter wouldn't work its way onto this list. Even more so when you consider that it has impressively overcome the fifth-chapter slump that long-running horror franchises typically receive without ditching any previous continuity. Legendary!

Not only did we get to see the all-important return of the ever-changing killer Ghostface, but reigning scream queen Neve Campbell also made her big return, along with Courtney Cox and David Arquette, who each provided the franchise with heartfelt returns that honor the massive Scream legacy by Wes Craven. The franchise's new blood, Melissa Barerra, and Jenna Ortega, also forged a new path for next-gen characters to become fully immersed in the timeless bloodbath, so there's no predicting how that will bleed into the next chapter. Now, we just wait for Scream 6, which is poised to be just as epic and even bloodier than ever!

Terrifier 2

Even if you have yet to (or don't plan on) watch the viral sensation Terrifier 2, you've likely seen the headlines about the flick causing the occasional barf session in theaters (big yikes). Now, you can watch from the comfort of your own home and within reach of your own toilet to cringe at the grotesquely gruesome death scenes and chillingly silent Art the Clown to find out what all the fuss is about. Spoiler alert: the online hype has some visceral legitimacy to its reputation, so consider yourself warned!

What makes Terrifier 2 stand out from others, along with its predecessor Terrifier, in particular, is that we are officially receiving a long-term protagonist who is willing to go toe to toe with the villain and may or may not be prophecized to do so. Only time will tell! Either way, we're fascinated to see where writer and director Damien Leone takes things for an unavoidable third installment.


Whenever a studio invests in a film with a designated and highly marketed scare or gag, there are always risks being taken that it'll lessen the outcome – but with Smile, there are plenty of rewards to optimize its reputation as a top-tier horror film of the year.

As we raved last month, Sosie Bacon shines in this grim story about loss, trauma, and of course, an unseen force that torments the leading lady without a hiccup for its entire duration. After earning more than $200 million on mostly positive word of mouth from moviegoers, Smile potentially put original mainstream horror flicks back on the map for heavy-hitter studios looking to further their catalog. All thanks to writer and director Parker Finn for visualizing (and consistently pursuing) this impeccable cinematic experience!

Bodies Bodies Bodies

A24's generational slasher-stylized satirical film Bodies Bodies Bodies is one of those rare films that masterfully carters to a Scream-inspired social commentary-seeking audience – yet inventive enough never to appear derived from anything other than the fascinating mind of director Halina Reijn, or writers Sarah DeLappe and Kristen Roupenian.

What appears to be out as a narcissistic buzz-word game of Clue (from a detached onlookers perspective) is a fun genre-bending offering for audiences seeking something outside of your traditional horror material. Stacked with a young cast who pivots between intense disputes and comedic hijinks, Bodies Bodies Bodies is a sharp-witted satirical horror film that, above all else, is extremely entertaining.

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Aedan JuvetAbout Aedan Juvet

A self-proclaimed pop culture aficionado with a passion for all things horror. Words for Cosmopolitan, Screen Rant, MTV News, NME, etc. For pitches, please email
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