Best Horror Movies Released in 2022's Halloween Season, Ranked – MovieWeb

The 2022 Halloween season saw a surprising bounty of great horror movies being released from every direction, and these are the best of those films.
The 2022 Halloween season brought its fair share of frights and delights. The two months leading up to Oct. 31st brought a slew of new and original horror films for practically every kind of audience member. In addition to the up-and-coming filmmakers providing unique visions, fans also got to revisit some nostalgic characters like the wicked Sanderson Sisters in the Disney+ original film Hocus Pocus 2. Disney+ also released the hour-long Marvel Studios special presentation of Werewolf by Night, which was acclaimed by fans and critics for its unique vision and vintage style.
In addition to all the streaming shows and specials released this season, feature length theatrical films took the spotlight. A variety of films released in the 2022 Halloween season surprised audiences and brought new life into the horror genre, and these were the best.
While this franchise has seen its fair share of criticism from die-hard fans, director David Gordon Green has shown a commitment to completing his version of the Halloween saga in Halloween Ends. This conclusion of the reboot trilogy that follows John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween took the characters of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers in a very unexpected direction. Since its release over one month ago, director David Gordon Green has responded to the backlash from the film, telling MovieMaker:

It’s funny, when someone says, 'Build your dream house on this real estate using this title and these characters,' everybody is going to find a different little thing that’s meaningful for them and they’ll make it their own. That’s what I did. For every bite of backlash, you also get people that are thanking you for taking it to a new place and keeping it alive and full of love.
Say what you will about Halloween Ends, but it's undoubtedly surprising. Gordon Green is slated to helm the reboot/sequel hybrid to the classic film The Exorcist.
The first V/H/S, released in 2012, was one of the most original and well crafted found footage horror films since The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. It started an entire franchise including four sequels and a four episode miniseries. The latest in the franchise is V/H/S/99. What this installment captures is an element of realism most modern found footage films seem to miss. It feels and looks as if it was shot in the time period it was meant to take place in. The film showcases five stories featuring their fair share of scares, compiled into one very loose overarching narrative.
While playing as both a comedy and a horror flick, the found footage film Deadstream is the latest hit from the streaming horror platform Shudder. While the found footage presentation has been seen time and time again, directors Joseph and Vanessa Winter brought a fun bit of self-awareness to their movie (as they did with their closing installment in the aforementioned V/H/S/99. It is a rather simple concept, but its execution reminded audiences of what made the first film in Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead franchise so popular.
The latest remake of a popular classic horror film is Hellraiser from director David Bruckner. The standout, in addition to the incredibly realistic Cenobite make-up, was Jamie Clayton’s performance as Pinhead or The Priest. She brings a fresh take on the iconic character which earned a seal of approval from the original film's star Doug Bradley. Clive Barker, director of the first Hellraiser, had a say in the ongoing remake as he is credited as one of its producers, and his bleak, disturbing vision is certainly honored in this intense horror movie.
Related: How Hellraiser Compares to and Honors the Gruesome Original Movie
Wendell & Wild is the latest stop-motion horror flick from acclaimed director Henry Selick, who famously directed the classic films The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and James and the Giant Peach. The film is also produced by Jordan Peele, who is one of horror’s most visionary artists working today. The film’s supernatural elements, unique character design and colorful art direction makes it a great addition to the underrated stop-motion genre.
While there are some scares and more adult themes under the PG-13 rating, there are many laughs provided by demons Wendell and Wild (played by comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele). The overall lesson is rather mature, showing viewers a visual representation of overcoming one’s internal demons and memories.
Damien Leone’s Terrifier 2 was the surprise smash hit of the Halloween season. From the horrific fan favorite Art the Clown (played by David Howard Thorton), to the explosive use of practical effects, this film became the talk of the town. It is now, according to Variety, on the list of contenders for this upcoming Academy Awards. The film, with a nearly two and a half hour runtime, is being shown in theaters all around the country. There is an established lore that opens up the possibilities for continuing the universe in further feature length installments.
Smile delivered quite a bit of bleak scares throughout the Halloween season. The marketing alone was unique and unnerving. Performers attended various major league baseball games and sported t-shirts with the title of the film, while smiling creepily into the camera. The film brought a breath of fresh air in studio made horror films, with unique twists and turns and disturbing images. Director Parker Finn, who helmed two acclaimed short films prior to Smile, is a name to watch out for throughout the horror industry.
Related: Smile: The Horror Behind Trauma and Guilt
Barbarian was one of the films that kicked off the spooky season, and in quite a surprising way to boot. Similar to Smile, the film was brought to us by a major film studio, but presented itself as an independent horror flick. There are many unexpected turns the film takes the audience on. It also bends genres and is really secluded in its location. There is an unsettling nature to the film’s atmosphere that starts off with its star Bill Skarsgård. However, the film takes that uneasiness in ways the trailer barely even grazed upon.
While the film premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 21st, 2022, Speak No Evil arrived in the mainstream to kick off the spooky time of year. It had a slew of release dates in various countries and festivals, and was acclaimed by critics and those who viewed the film. The Danish made film serves as both a social commentary and a psychological thriller that shook audiences to their core. This experience is one of the more disturbing to come out this year and will leave a long-lasting impact on the viewer. Director Christian Tafdrup recently discussed the incredible response and accolades received by Speak No Evil, as well as the film's growing popularity on the streaming platform.
Ti West, director of X, continues his series of extraordinary horrors with its prequel Pearl. In X, the elderly property owners Pearl and Howard became fan favorite slashers in the genre. Pearl explores the method to Pearl’s madness and how she became the killer we were introduced to. Both films were released in 2022 and have been acclaimed by critics and fans of the genre.
Pearl is played by Mia Goth, who co-wrote the screenplay with West, brought this character to life in a way that allows audiences to understand why she is the way she is. West brought a dedication to the setting of 1918 and presented the film in a glorious and vintage way that almost looks as if it was made in that time period. West has revealed the next chapter to this story, a film titled Maxxxine that follows the protagonist of X, whichis coming soon.

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