It’s hard to keep up with the amount of movies released each year, especially in an evolving genre like horror. We all know about the big-name, big-budget horror movies, sequels, and reimaginings released in 2022. Orphan: First Kill, Halloween Ends, Scream, and even the new Hulu version of Hellraiser. We saw all the trailers, knew when and where they’d be releasing, and let the anticipation build until finally getting to see them. But, what about the lesser-known horror movies released last year?
The following films haven’t gotten nearly as much hype, and you may not have even heard about them—but they’re out there, and many will keep you up at night! They’re well-made and possess their own unique style, from plot twists to writing choices. Here are my top three underrated 2022 horror movies, and where you can watch them.
This movie was a complete surprise to me. From the title and poster art I assumed this was a movie about cannibalism, but this was not your usual serial-killer-eating-his-victims movie. The fact that I hadn’t seen any opening credits didn’t register until about 30 minutes in when, as the trailer promised, my jaw dropped to the floor and stayed there. I was so impressed by the way the plot used certain tropes to its advantage without leaning too far into them. And no spoilers, but I love a happy ending.
I rate Fresh 8/10 amputated butt cheeks.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism
This movie, and the book it’s based on by Grady Hendrix, are pure 1980’s joy. They did an incredible job with the adaptation, with a few strategic changes that actually made it better. For example, the two main girls’ motto to each other in the book is “I love you dearly, but not queerly.” While this is a very 80’s thing to say, it would undoubtedly alienate some audiences. The movie script changed their BFF saying to “LYLAS,” short for “Love You Like A Sister.” It still gets the point across that they’re platonic besties, but it doesn’t discriminating against a whole group of people who might otherwise love this film. The cozy vintage feel crossed with the timeless concept of demon possession made for a funny, weird, and surprisingly realistic plot with fantastically three-dimensional characters.
I rate My Best Friend’s Exorcism 9/10 carnival dunk tanks.
Last, but certainly not least, on my list of underrated 2022 horror movies is Smile. The most unique thing about this movie was the lack of specific advertising and its complete absence from any streaming service until several weeks after its theatrical release. A pre-movie disclaimer explained that the creators of Smile wanted audiences to experience it the way horror movies were before the instant gratification of streaming on your phone or reading a spoiler-filled synopsis. After watching it in the theater (twice), I see why. My favorite thing about this movie was the last 20 minutes. My least favorite things were the gratuitous animal cruelty and excessive jump scares. This movie was very smart and it didn’t need to rely on the shock factor as much as it did. Except in the last 20 minutes; THAT shock was perfect.
I rate Smile 7/10 half-zipped body bags.