Compared to the last few years of veritable stagnation in the film industry, this current year has a considerable treasure trove for film fans around the world. Boasting some of the most unique and original ideas to be released in years, the industry looks to be back in full swing after suffering from severe difficulties during COVID restrictions. As such, we have quite a substantial list for you all this year as we picked out our favourite releases that we reviewed in 2022.  

Grimoire of Horror’s Best Films of 2022

        1. Holy Shit!
        2. The Spine of Night
        3. Pussycake
        4. Burial
        5. New Religion
        6. MexZombies
        7. Satanic Hispanics
        8. Deadstream
        9. Alpha Male
        10. The Runner
        11. Saloum
        12. Piggy
        13. Incantation
        14. Hellraiser
        15. Tin Can
        16. Watcher
        17. Faye
        18. Pure Place
        19. Nocturna
        20. Evil Eye
        21. X
        22. Torn Hearts
        23. GIVE ME PITY!
        24. The Black Phone
        25. The Creeping
        26. Moon Garden

Holy Shit! Dir. Lukas Rinker

Holy Shit! (2022) Cover Photo Grimoire of Horror

True to its namesake, Holy Shit! Will certainly make you say just that. With its insane premise, pitch-black humour, and enthralling performances, this over-the-top comedy will certainly stir a laugh out of everyone – be it a belly laugh or a reflex to an uncomfortable situation–Don’t miss your chance to get down and dirty with Holy Shit! (Jim Cox)

The Spine of Night Dir. Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King

In the Spine of Night

Completely engrossing from start to finish, The Spine of Night is, by far, one of the best pieces of Western animation I have seen this year and a must-watch for those who enjoy dark fantasy. The film features an amazing cast of talent to voice its various characters, including the incredible Lucy Lawless as well as Richard E. Grant, Betty Gabriel, Patton Oswalt, and Joe Manganiello just to name a few. No stranger to the fantasy genre, Lucy Lawless’ performance is outstanding as the Tribal witch Tzor. (Jim Cox)

Pussycake Dir. Pablo Parés

Compelling from start to finish, Pussycake is a loving tribute to 80s monster movies that still accomplishes its own unique style successfully. The mix of captivating characters, a gripping soundtrack, and gratuitous gore equate to an enjoyably messy experience best experienced in a crowded cinema with fellow gore hounds. (Jim Cox)

Burial Dir. Ben Parker 

A spectacular piece of second world war cinema, Burial undoubtedly stands its ground in comparison to some of the most highly-regarded war films of the 20th & 21st century. With an incredibly interesting exploration of one of the remaining secrets of the war, an incredible performance from the entire cast, as well as a stunning level of cinematography throughout; Burial is an intrepidly gripping piece of cinema (despite the early revelation of its twist). The film is sure to hit all the right spots with war film buffs/history fanatics as well as fans of genre cinema. (Jim Cox)

New Religion Dir. Keishi Kondo

A masterclass in rising tension, this gripping tale of the degradation of society is visually delectable from beginning to end. With an amazing performance from the minuscule cast, gorgeous cinematography, and an unexpectedly explosive ending; New Religion blew all my expectations to rubble in a refreshingly remarkable way. Writer/director Keishi Kondo’s exhibition of skill and knowledge on his first feature-length feature is a near-on expert realization of this atypical story with such innovative visual and audio flair. (Jim Cox)

MexZombies Dir. Chava Cartas

MexZombies 2022 Toronto After Dark

An obvious passion project, MexZombies is an outstanding blend of coming-of-age comedy and zombie horror that represents its intended genres perfectly. With a brilliant cast, excellent performances from the young, rag-tag protagonists, and laugh-out-loud comedic moments; the film is a marvelous entry to a genre in need of fresh meat. (Jim Cox)

Satanic Hispanics Dir. Various

Satanic Hispanics is a wonderful rollercoaster ride through horror, gore, dark comedy, and a giant dildo sword. In all honesty, it is one of the best times I have had with an anthology in some time, and I can’t wait for others to see this and to be able to experience it all over again. If you get a chance to check out a screening, capitalize on it—you won’t regret it. (Adam Symchuk)

Deadstream Dir. Joseph & Vanessa Winter 

There is an obvious comparison in Deadstream to The Evil Dead, as it seems that filmmakers Vanessa and Joseph Winter drew heavy inspiration from the film–the monsters closely mimicking the famous ‘deadites’. Taking the 80’s cheese and filtering it through the found footage format is a recipe for a modern cult classic. It is crass, over-the-top, gory, and incredibly f***ing funny. (Adam Symchuk)

Alpha Male Dir. Igor & Katarzyna Priwieziencew

Alpha Male Review

Alpha Male is an unforgettable comedic gem, one that viewers will find themselves visiting over and over again. Its playful jabs at cultural issues are executed in a way to not isolate anyone but those it mocks and the comedy is unrelenting and intelligent. (Adam Symchuk)

The Runner Dir. Boy Harsher

The Runner Film Review

The experimental narrative is supplemented by an ethereal flow and color pallet – alternating between neon-drenched dives, scenic outdoor shots, and macabre scenes of bloodshed. As a visual experience, the idea that the film was made exclusively as a vehicle for the music is easily pushed aside – the balance of beauty and menace offering its own seductive appeal. (Adam Symchuk)

Saloum Dir. Jean Luc Herbulot 

Saloum Film Review

At the end of the day, the highest praise I can give this film is that is a blast to watch from beginning to end. Very little time is wasted on unnecessary dialogue or scenes. The twist is such a wild ride, but speaks to the first half of the film, utilizing the core themes of the story, so that even if it is jarring it emphasizes everything that has come before instead of overshadowing it. I also cannot overemphasize how fun the characters are, especially for fans of grittier films where we follow bad guys on a mission who ultimately have to face a bigger baddie. (Aubry Norman)

Piggy Dir. Carlota Pereda 

This is such an incredible horror movie that manages to be equal parts fun and unnerving. I gave it 4.5/5 stars for putting me in the uncomfortable position of realizing what a dirtbag I am for wanting the ending to go in a different and… darker direction (not that it isn’t plenty dark). I love a horror movie that ends on such a bleak or bizarre note that it burrows in your brain and lives there rent-free, like an intrusive parasite. (Aubry Norman)

Incantation Dir. Kevin Ko 

Incantation is an incredibly competent addition to both the Asian horror and found-footage catalogs. I’ve seen other reviewers state that it brings nothing new to the table, but I personally reject that sentiment as I believe that it is not a filmmaker’s obligation to be inherently innovative when they simply wish to entertain. The best way to enjoy this film, or any film for that matter, is to eliminate the expectation of breaking new ground. It perfectly caters to horror fans that enjoy their dose of supernatural entertainment with a family drama told entirely out of sequence. (Oki Covarrubias)

Hellraiser Dir. David Bruckner 

A reconfiguration of Clive Barker’s harrowing vision, Hellraiser (2022) is definitely one of the strongest entries that the franchise has seen in a long time. It works both as an introduction to the universe Barker created and a long-awaited resurrection of a series that I believe has yet to reach its full potential. (Oki Covarrubias)

Tin Can Dir. Seth A. Smith

Tin Can Movie Still

Seth A. Smith’s Tin Can is a confinement horror with staying power, managing to walk the audience through no less than seven different subgenres and delight them with delirious imagery, and a dazzling series of twists. One of the most ambitious and thought-provoking movies of the year, watching Tin Can feels like binging the latest season of Westworld, coupled with Come True‘s love for artful symmetry, The Wizard of Oz‘s Tin Man symbolism, and Annihilation‘s strange fascination with infinite growth and cells that never die. (Mihail Baltateanu)

Watcher Dir. Chloe Okuno

Watcher is one of the best films of 2022, a near-masterpiece that manages to be both respectful and decisive, containing a lot of homages but also a novel approach towards building dread and instilling a sense of unease in viewers. That it could kick-start a post-“woman in the window” sub-genre and perfectly illustrates the double culture-shock concept are its best achievements, but it also offers a superb Maika Monroe performance, together with one of the best ending shots in recent memory. Constantly toying with audience expectations and featuring a woman who sees a world in which she appears distorted, a world which gazes back at her with a tired eye but doesn’t ever believe her, the movie is also one of the best conversation openers of the first half of 2022. (Mihail Baltateanu)

Faye Dir. KD Amond & Sarah Zanotti

KD Amond and Sarah Zanotti’s Faye might be the must-watch indie horror of the year. Shot on an iPhone with a total crew of five people, almost entirely built around Zanotti’s go-for-broke performance, Faye is a one-of-a-kind tale of grief, a masterclass in overcoming budgetary restrictions, a deeply terrifying psychological horror, and another confirmation of the adage that comedy equals tragedy plus time. (Mihail Baltateanu)

Pure Place Dir. Nikias Chryssos

A Pure Place Review

Bringing the ‘Greek Weird Wave’ touch to German cinema is Der Bunker director Nikias Chryssos, who in his second feature film does at times leave the impression that he’s working with too many obvious sources of inspiration, but manages to overcome all weaknesses with a singularly brave, spectacular third act. A Pure Place is simply one of the year’s best, a film one should definitely not miss at the 2022 edition of the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Porto Alegre. (Mihail Baltateanu)

Nocturna Dir. Gonzalo Calzada

Nocturna movie still

“Nocturna” carves a place of its own as not only spellbinding cinema but a true masterpiece that manages to tick several genre checkboxes and certainly goes above and beyond when it comes to storytelling techniques, visuals, and immersion. All of this culminates in a truly terrifying experience and specifying which horror sub-genre it falls into would risk robbing viewers of the pleasure of discovering it by themselves, but let’s just say fans of Charles Dickens, Casares and Ocampo will be pleased. (Mihail Baltateanu)

Evil Eye Dir. Isaac Ezban

Evil Eye is not a perfect film, but any shortcomings are easily forgiven and soon forgotten. Ezban wears his influences on his sleeve, so the film feels familiar but never contrived. Comparisons to other Spanish-language dark fairytales like Pan’s Labyrinth are perhaps inevitable, but Evil Eye is distinct enough to stand alone. It interweaves a Grimm Brothers-style fairytale with a realistic story of abuse and familial responsibility, never missing a beat. A consistent aesthetic vision, practical effects, and strong performances combine to make Evil Eye a new favourite. (Isabelle Ryan)

X Dir. Ti West

X 2022 Ti West

There is a lot to love about X. Much more than a slasher, West imbues his film with plenty of good scares, a good cast and a genuine love of the medium. Even though the film takes place in 1979, it addresses contemporary issues such as millennials’ fear of aging. The performances are top-notch, the nudity is sexy, and kills are bloody and gory. Despite what the sheriff (James Gaylyn) says, X is more than “One Goddamned, fucked-up horror picture.” (Michael Williams)

Torn Hearts Dir. Brea Grant

Once the violence in the last act concludes, Harper’s earlier comment comes true as the men return to the story and exploit all the hard labor and harder sacrifices the women made. The grimness of the ending aside, Torn Hearts is an easy ride with well-written characters in a visually stunning setting with plenty of good, original music.  (Michael Williams)

GIVE ME PITY! Dir. Amanda Kramer

Subversive feminist filmmaker Amanda Kramer returned to this year’s Fantastic Fest with a bizarre journey into the dark soul of one woman’s struggle for identity.  Visually astounding, GIVE ME PITY! takes the form of a prime-time, Saturday night network television spectacular starring Sissy St. Claire (played with super-star power by Sophie Von Haselberg). GIVE ME PITY!  is a bold assault on the senses.  Led by a captivating lead performer, writer, and director Amanda Kramer takes the audience at home on a dark trip into the inner workings of Sissy St. Claire, a megastar in search of her own galaxy. (Michael Williams)

The Black Phone Dir. Scott Derrickson

The Black Phone Horror

There’s a palpable sense of helplessness running throughout The Black Phone as one of the most admirable aspects, which really adds to the tension. It’s helped hugely by such strong performances from a largely young cast, especially the two young leads, as well as writing that doesn’t sanitise the childhood experience. It’s nostalgic without descending into pastiche. Derrickson’s use of elements from his own childhood to flesh out characters and situations, whilst remaining authentic to Hill’s short story, give it a real sense of authenticity. (Anette Wilkinson)

The Creeping Dir. Jamie Hooper

The Creeping

The Creeping is an authentic, nostalgic ghost story that is well-paced and well-told. It has everything a child of the 80s wants in a film that is meant to evoke memories of our first scares. Hooper and his team hit the ball out of the park with this one, and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the big screen next. (Kate Dejonge)

Moon Garden Dir. Ryan Stevens Harris

A creative and emotional journey with a terrifying monster in hot pursuit, to see Moon Garden is to experience something truly special. The main takeaway as the credits roll is a persistent euphoria at having seen something the scope and scale of that which rarely comes along. The wonderful practical effects, supplemented by a wide range of animation instead of CGI,  powerful performances from all involved, and the rare raw emotion that it elicits with ease. As a stand-out even amongst Hollywood mega-budget movies, this is simply must-watch cinema on every level. (Luke Greensmith)

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