‘The Black Phone’ To ‘Fresh’: 11 best horror movies released in 2022 – Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur

The year 2022 has been quite an entertaining ride for movie buffs till now. With over half of it already behind us, it is time to look back at some of the major releases. And it was not just dramas, rom-coms, comedies or action that kept us hooked but the best and most thrilling horror movies too.
Consequently, content flooding the theatres and OTT platforms regularly makes it natural to miss out on some of the best ones. And speaking of horror movies, there are plenty of them including sequels, new instalments and indie movies comprising the staple tropes from the genre such as malevolent characters and bloody scenes, if not jump scares always, but interesting stories of course.
If you are a fan of the horror genre and are in the dark regarding which nail-biting scary movies are making viewers peek through their fingers, some of the best horror movies released in 2022 so far, are here to make your movie night more thrilling.
While there are many promising horror films which are yet to roll out this year, it is time to run through all those best movies that have kept viewers up all night and sent chills down their spine.
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Cast: Ethan Hawke as Grabber, Mason Thames as Finney and Madeleine McGraw as Gwen
Release date: 24 June
Synopsis: An adaptation of a Joe Hill short story of the same name, this nerve-wracking horror film is sure to terrify even the toughest horror fans.
Set in the 1970s, The Black Phone revolves around 13-year-old Finney, an extremely warm-hearted young boy, who is targeted by school bullies and tries to stay away from his abusive father after school hours. However, his sister Gwen has his back with her sharp tongue.
Their hometown faces a rough period as cases of missing children rises. While the residents name the mortifying serial killer ‘The Grabber,’ Finney becomes his latest victim. Finney is locked up in a sound-proof basement with a disconnected black phone through which he can talk to the spirits of The Grabber’s previous victims.
The film comes after Derrickson departed from Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and though it may not have jolting jump scares and ghosts lurking behind, brilliant performances by an incredible cast make the eerie atmosphere come alive. It is also the first film after Sinister (2012) which brings Derrickson, Hawke and screenwriter C Robert Cargill together.
Watch the film here.
Directed by: William Brent Bell
Cast: Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, Julia Stiles as Tricia Albright and Rossif Sutherland as Allen Albright
Release date: 19 August
Synopsis: If the very image of Esther brings back nightmares of the 2009 film Orphan, you must watch this new Paramount Pictures horror movie. This 2022 title is a prequel to the original movie and traces the origin of Esther — a young girl who breaks away from a psychiatric hospital in Estonia and takes on a new identity.
If you thought that this one won’t be as spooky as the previous film because you know how things would play out, hold that thought. Bell serves twists on the existing plot and takes the audience on a wild, terrifying ride.
Interestingly, Fuhrman was aged 25 at the time of filming this new movie, but Bell’s adept techniques and camera angles made her look younger than she appeared in the 2009 film.
The film received positive reviews from critics and surprised producers who did not anticipate such an overwhelming response.
Watch the film here.
Directed by: Ti West
Cast: Mia Goth as Maxine, Jenna Ortega as Lorraine, Brittany Snow as Bobby-Lynne and Kid Cudy as Jackson
Release date: 18 March
Synopsis: Released by A24, X revolves around a group of young filmmakers and the cast of an adult film, who are shooting in a rural Texas house belonging to an elderly couple. Soon, the group finds that their members go missing one by one.
Eschewing from the typical recipes of a slasher, this horror film takes a fresh spin on the trope and delivers the right gory and thrilling feels without going too overboard. Additionally, brilliant performances from the entire cast make it one of the best horror films from the A24 banner. According to Rotten Tomatoes, “X marks the spot where Ti West gets resoundingly back to his horror roots.”
Watch the film here.
Directed by: Chloe Okuno
Cast: Maika Monroe as Julia, Karl Glusman as Francis and Burn Gorman as Watcher
Release date: 3 June
Synopsis: Julia is a young actress who moves to Bucharest with her boyfriend but finds herself being constantly watched by a creepy neighbour. If dealing with this wasn’t enough, the city is haunted by a serial killer.
One of the best horror movies to roll out this year, Watcher marks Okuno’s first feature film and targets a common societal issue telling women that they are absolutely safe and need not overreact to minor problems.
The film may not have too many surprise scenes and abrupt cuts but it does make you wonder about every person you come across in real life.
Watch the film here.
Directed by: Rob Jabbaz
Cast: Berant Zhu as Jim, Regina Lei as Kat, Chen Ying-ru as Molly
Release date: 12 May (Streaming)
Synopsis: Asian horror cinema often depicts stomach-churning scenes of gore and zombie outbreaks quite vividly and The Sadness ticks all the right boxes.
Chaos and anarchy descend on the city of Taipei as residents turn into mass killers. In the wake of such a deadly viral pandemic, Jim and Kat are a young couple who seek to find each other. Violence, killing and massacre only seem to rise while the government and authorities remain complacent.
Among the most gruesome horror movies of 2022, The Sadness lives up to its name and is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, a trigger warning is also issued at the beginning for those who may not be able to endure watching all the slashing and blood.
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Cast: Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers, David Arquette as Dewey Riley and Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter
Release date: 14 January
Synopsis: The latest instalment of the Scream franchise, this 2022 horror movie is released 26 years after the first film rolled out and marks the continuing sequel to the sequence of events. While a new set of faces reprise the characters, horror fans are in for an action-packed thriller which brings back the Ghostface killer.
The town of Woodsboro is again under attack as the killer targets groups of teenagers and the town’s deep-buried past resurfaces. Jenna Ortega proves to be on a roll with the horror genre while the other lead actors do a commendable job as well.
Watch the film here.
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Cast: Kristen Stewart as Timlin, Viggo Mortensen as Saul Tenser and Léa Seydoux as Caprice
Release date: 3 June (USA)
Synopsis: Cronenberg’s latest foray into the realms of horror takes a dive into the perils of a dark future where man has blended with a synthetic artificial environment. Such is the power of science and evolution that the human body is shown to have undergone bizarre transformations and mutations.
This body horror flick shows Saul, a performance artist, openly displaying his ghastly organ metamorphosis while his partner, Caprice, surgically removes it on stage. Timlin is a National Organ Registry investigator who is wholly vested in the duo’s actions. Her findings and works lead her to a secret group that hatches an evil plan. As both the Registry and government take stock of the happenings in Saul’s shows, the man has to think about the most dreadful act.
Watch the film here.
Directed by: Mimi Cave
Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones as Noa, Sebastian Stan as Steve and Jojo T. Gibbs as Mollie
Release date: 4 March
Synopsis: Noa is a young woman who bumps into a handsome Steve in a grocery store. After a failed tryst with dating apps, she hits it off with him. However, on a romantic getaway, Noa finds out about Steve’s weird interests and tastes in food, something that rattles her fear.
While you might be reminded of Hannibal in parts, a refreshing new take on themes of gory eating makes it an intriguing watch.
Watch the film here.
Directed by: Halina Reijn
Cast: Pete Davidson as David, Chase Sui Wonders as Emma, Maria Bakalova as Bee and Amandla Stenberg as Sophie
Release date: 5 August
Synopsis: Another gem from A24 banner, Bodies Bodies Bodies follows a bunch of young adults in their twenties, who plan a maddening party at a rural family mansion. When a party game goes wrong, horrors become reality and fake friends and backstabbing come to light.
A brooding sense of dark humour underlines this horror comedy which takes a fresh take on themes of suburban vacationing, carefree partying and a sudden change of events that spiral out of hand.
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya as OJ Haywood, Keke Palmer as Emerald Haywood and Brandon Perea as Angel Torres
Release date: 22 July
Synopsis: Jordan Peele’s latest film is based on the lives of two siblings who run a horse ranch in California. They discover something wonderful yet sinister dropping from the skies. Alien threats get a thrilling touch in this film which sheds light on minority people.
Watch the film here.
Directed by: David Blue Garcia
Cast: Mark Burnham as Leatherface, Sarah Yarkin as Melodie and Elsie Fisher as Lila
Release date: 18 February
Synopsis: A sequel to the 1974 film of the same name, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a horror flick that may not give you goosebumps like the original but is downright spooky. It’s streaming exclusively on Netflix.
This slasher film shows Leatherface resurface from hiding after nearly 50 years and hunt down a bunch of young friends who unknowingly wreak havoc in his carefully-guarded shelter in Texas. What makes an infamous killer like Leatherface even more horrific? The fact that his mask is made of human skin.
Watch the film here.
(Main image: The Sadness/ IMDb; Featured image: The Black Phone/ IMDb)
Trinetra is an ardent foodie and bibliophile who writes about films, travel, food and lifestyle. As a writer and literature student, slam poetry and storytelling are her go to jam. When not working, Trinetra is busy looking for her next place to visit or binge-watching Instagram videos for travel inspiration.
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