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The Best Horror Movies of 2022

"Barbarian," "You Won't Be Alone," and "Bones and All" top IndieWire's list of the year's best horror. Plus, "Piggy," "Amok," and more.

The Best Horror Movies of 2022, including "X," "Mad God," "Nanny," "Terrifier 2," "Piggy," "Amok," "Resurrection," and more.

The Best Horror Movies of 2022, including “X,” “Mad God,” “Nanny,” “Terrifier 2,” “Piggy,” “Amok,” “Resurrection,” and more.

Courtesy Everett Collection/Gábor Osváth

Humanity is going to hell in a handbasket. At least, that seems to be the rearview consensus on 2022: a year that saw some things get better, a lot of things get worse, and the consequential uncertainty further taking over politics and pop culture.

Anyone reading this list knows horror movies mean some kind of catharsis. But as worldwide trends get more dreadful year over year, the thematic link between “our trying times” and the satisfaction we get from nightmares playing out onscreen has become stronger and more apparent. Now, perhaps more than ever before, scary movie fans can acutely consider why some new terrors captivate and excite, while others don’t or can’t.

Take last year’s inexplicable cannibalism trend: “Bones and All,” “Fresh,” “Resurrection,” all great movies that make our list. But why did consuming flesh consume our interest? And why did that subject matter so often intersect with sex? Sure, there’s no cannibalism in David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future,” but the film’s “sex is the new surgery” slogan certainly evokes similar feelings.

Or consider the “requel,” as coined by “Scream” (2022). Franchising has long been the bread and butter of the horror genre. It’s even a no-brainer for arthouse A24, which saw Ti West and Mia Goth deliver a double-header with “X” and “Pearl” just six months apart. But major spiritual revisitations — such as “Halloween Ends,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2022), and the aforementioned return to Woodsboro — play differently in a time when so much feels so cyclical, right? Heck, even Art the Clown is back thanks to Damien Leone and surprise box office smash “Terrifier 2.”

It’s these sort of nooks and crannies that make horror one of the most exciting genres to track and talk about all year long. It’s less of a rare treat now than it once was to imagine genre artists earning Oscar nominations, and we’re increasingly seeing bold new voices eager to spin scary stories. First-time feature directors Zach Cregger, Goran Stolevski, Chloe Okuno, Mimi Cave, and more competed for audience attention in a year that also enjoyed new releases from Jordan Peele, Luca Guadagnino, Alex Garland, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and more horror heavyweights.

Suffice it to say, business is good for things that go bump in the night. And that means we get to be picky. With a focus on innovation and variety, here are the 22 best horror movies of 2022. Honorable mentions, in no particular order, include Scott Derrickson’s “The Black Phone,” Hanna Bergholm’s “Hatching,” and David Prior’s “The Autopsy” from “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities.”

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