22 horror movies have received reviews in the first four months of 2022, according to Rotten Tomatoes. According to the math, that equates to one horror film every 5.5 days. Among those 22 films are some high-profile arthouse releases, several straight-to-streaming dreck, several foreign imports, and one of the best-reviewed movies of the year. They also include several big-budget studio reboots and/or sequels.
Horror fans can certainly read the following list slowly and try to guess which movies might have ranked high or low. Rotten Tomatoes scores shouldn’t be viewed as scientific proof of a movie’s quality because the approval rating only represents the percentage of reviewing critics who chose to give a movie a passing grade. Finding a movie with an extreme approval rating, such as one above 90% or below 10%, and reading the dissenting reviews, is an interesting intellectual exercise. That might provide a reader with a more comprehensive perspective and help them recognise the diversity of opinions among the horror-loving cineastes there.
Here are the horror movies that have received the best reviews so far in 2022, ranked by Rotten Tomatoes rating.
The top three
With a 96% approval rating, Ti West’s homage to guerilla filmmaking, “X,” is the best-reviewed horror movie of 2022. The story of “X” centres on a small group of aspiring Texan XXX filmmakers who have rented a remote rural cabin to film a particularly artistic adult feature. They are all, in a refreshingly articulate manner, discussing their careers in the porn industry and the beneficial effects that smut can have on society. This won’t stop an elderly couple who live nearby from glancing at them with suspicion and lust, and it certainly won’t help them when an elderly woman starts stalking them with sharp objects. In addition to paying homage to well-known stalk-and-kill slashers, West also wrote “X” as a love letter to the resourcefulness of independent filmmaking. Filming on the “X” prequel was already finished.
Goran Stolevski’s historical drama “You Won’t Be Alone,” starring Noomi Rapace, received a second-place rating of 93%. The movie, which is set in the nineteenth century, is about a young witch who murders a villager in the woods and then assumes their form to sneak into the community. The witch begins changing into a variety of villagers because she is not human and is now interested in learning more about the full range of human experience. The atmospheric investigation of identification may now begin!
“Hatching,” a Finnish creature film by Hanna Bergholm, came in third place with a 92% approval rating. The Finnish film “Hatching” tells the story of a 12-year-old girl (Siiri Solalinna) whose mother and home are immaculately tidy and organised. She follows her mother’s example and kills a wounded bird in the woods after realising she forgot to watch its egg. When she returns home to hatch the egg, she discovers that it is getting bigger and bigger. A terrible half-bird, half-person monstrosity that shrieks, spits viscous drool, and shares an odd psychic relationship with our heroine emerges from the egg once it is about three feet long. Her secret impulse to lash out at her mother quickly becomes difficult to suppress, and the bird soon begins to represent the wilder sides of her anxiety and puberty.
Four through six
Jane Schoenbrun’s “Were All Going to the World’s Fair,” a cyberthriller about a teen girl (Anna Cobb) who enters the ranks of The World’s Fair, allegedly the most terrifying online game ever created, comes in at number four with a 90% acceptance rating. It’s so terrifying that it’s said to make the player insane and possibly physically alter their body. The bodily horror in “World’s Fair” can be interpreted as a metaphor for gender dysmorphia, according to the (favourable) /Film review written during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and early reports indicate that it is also quite frightful.
The Irish movie “You Are Not My Mother” by Kate Dolan, about a young woman (Hazel Doupe) who discovers her mother (Carolyn Bracken) inexplicably vanished one morning, has an 88% approval rating. The mother then arrives in an equally mysterious manner, but she is now acting quite oddly. She is notable for being cheery, enthusiastic, and positive. Mother has already experienced depression. The Doupe character must figure out the reason for her mother’s actions. “Mother,” an Irish folklore-inspired horror movie, promotes optimism.
The movie “Scream” by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, which may have been the most extensively viewed on the list thus far, came in sixth with a 76% approval rating. It’s the fifth instalment of the awkwardly expanded “Scream” series, which debuted as a hipster meta-commentary on the slasher movies of the 1980s in the mid-1990s. By 2022, “Scream” had new horror fads to mock and parody, with legacy sequels masquerading as reboots being the most famous one. The criticism in this modern pile-on isn’t quite as insightful or compelling, but the scares are good enough, and “Scream” was popular enough to support a second instalment.
Seven through ten
The terrifying “Master,” a study of institutional racism in academia, by Mariama Diallo is currently at sixth place with a 74% approval rating. In it, Regina Hall plays a professor at a famous Ivy League university who continually uncovers proof that this institution hasn’t quite shed its racial symbology from the Civil War era. A teenage student whose dorm room was infamous for a suicide that occurred there years ago has a similar narrative to hers. Whether or if there is a supernatural element is secondary to how the primarily white school treats both of the main protagonists. Although it’s not particularly subtle, “Master” has a point.
Only the top seven films on Rotten Tomatoes have been certified fresh, meaning they have each received a score of at least 75% from at least five chosen top critics.
With only six reviews overall, the eerie German film “Luzifer” by Peter Brunner, which has a 100% approval rating, is technically ranked eighth (compared to “Scream,” which had 280). A solitary mother and boy (as well as a pet eagle) reside in an isolated cottage in the mountains in the movie “Luzifer,” which was created by director Ulrich Seidl. When a new tourist attraction is built nearby, it not only threatens their idyllic lifestyle but might also unintentionally let Satan out of Hell.
The Irish werewolf film “The Cursed,” which has a 74% acceptance rating, is a gorgeously shot story about a group of European colonialists who become infected with the werewolf virus after robbing and killing an entire Romani town. There are several spooky situations in which the creature hides out in the mist, just out of its victim’s field of vision. It looks like a werewolf you’ve probably never seen before.
When her mother is taken to the hospital in Damien Power’s “No Exit,” which is not based on the Jean-Paul Sartre play, a young woman (Havana Rose Liu) leaves rehab to reunite with her disapproving family. She learns that another tourist she’s staying with has kidnapped someone while stranded at a snowy roadside rest stop with no way to contact the outside world. She needs to identify who it is without raising any red flags. The setup is sound, but the steady burn fizzles out very quickly. Only 56% of people approve of it.
All of the movies on the list from number eleven through number twenty-two have approval ratings under 60%, which is considered “Rotten” by the Tomato criteria. The less-liked movies are “Studio 666,” a horror film in which the Foo Fighters play themselves, the ninth and latest instalment of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” series, an Alicia Silverstone-starring shark movie called “The Requin,” and the incredibly silly Netflix horror film “Choose Or Die” about a haunted text-based computer game.
The harrowing starvation thriller “A Banquet,” starring Ruth Paxton, was one of the greatest movies of the year and ranked 12th on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of recommended viewings. When she looks up at the moon at a party, a teenage girl who had witnessed the death of her own father a year earlier encounters a peculiar moment of spiritual rapture. She doesn’t want to eat after the experience. Her mother is naturally worried as she tries to figure out why her kid dislikes food. But instead of going downhill, the daughter maintains her weight for weeks and eventually months.
In “A Banquet,” eating disorders and food neuroses are examined, with a keen eye on the strange appeal and moral consequences of starving. It ignores psychology in favour of concentrating on divine encounters. It’s a strangely religious movie that’s also terrible. On the list, “A Banquet” ought to be far higher.