2022 horror movie wrap-up: four films to watch before the spooky season ends

By Piper Sartison

Elm Staff Writer

After two years of limited theatrical runs and streaming-only releases, 2022 brought the wide theatrical releases of several acclaimed horror films.

According to an article published by The Wrap, “Don’t Worry Darling,” “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies,” “X,” and “Nope,” are a few of the releases considered to be the most captivating horror films of this year. Despite inhabiting the same genre, these films cover a range of different topics, each making for unique, thrilling movie-going experiences.

While “Bodies Bodies Bodies” and “X” were both released under the indie film distributor A24, the movies cover entirely opposite themes.

Halina Reijn’s “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is satirical take on the faults of Generation Z. Reijn cleverly employed social media as a weapon, sparking unnecessary drama between the characters. As petty disputes devolve into violence, the characters eventually realize that the true horrors were caused by their own mistakes.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, “X,” directed by Ti West, is one of the highest rated horror movies of 2022, earning a 94% critic rating. Despite the film’s adult content, its simple plot, relatable dialogue, and captivating ending make it accessible to a wide audience.

An homage to 70s slasher films like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “X” follows the story of a production crew for an adult film who are stalked by a murderous elderly couple. After the group begins filming, the plot unfolds, winding into disturbing scares and gory kills. As the sun rises on the scene of the crime, the film ends in uncertainty.

These A24 films grabbed the attention of viewers with their intensity, absorbing viewers in drama and suspense. However, the films lost their sense of originality when certain scenes reflected classic horror tropes.

Despite the lack of originality in “Bodies Bodies Bodies” and “X,” both productions remain captivating for viewers through their unique use of cinematography and thrilling acting.

“Don’t Worry Darling,” which has faced harsh criticism and low ratings, is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing horror film to come out of this year. The setting contains scenic palm trees, clear skies, beautiful costumes, and lovely homes.

According to Collider, the downfall of “Don’t Worry Darling” was its complicated,  unearned ending.

“’Don’t Worry Darling’ follows the assumed ending outline and has a potentially great conclusion but fails to provide enough information to leave the audience satisfied with where the story stops. This is primarily due to the fact that it doesn’t resolve its problems,” critic Alec Smith said.

The shining star of 2022’s horror scene is Jordan Peele’s “Nope.”

Produced by Monkeypaw Productions, the film is a blend of sci-fi, horror, and thriller, following the battle between two siblings and a threat that lies behind the clouds.

The film’s plot is supported by engaging dialogue and beautiful cinematography. Its thrilling scenes grab the attention of the viewer, with the suspense leaving many on the edge of their seats.

Also, the main cast — Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, and Brandon Perera — all delivered compelling performances. Kaluuya, who starred in Peele’s previous film “Get Out,” proved himself a master of horror acting in “Nope” delivering a magnetic performance.

Regardless of the plots of these films, each production featured an allegory about contemporary issues, ranging from patriarchal control over bodies to the threat of social media. While it’s not everyday that someone is chased by an alien or elderly axe murderers, the actual horror of these films is real life.

Throughout heaping amounts of suspension, violence, and death, the films mirror the terrifying reality that plagues viewers, making for a reflective movie-going experience.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo caption: Former Nickelodeon actress Keke Palmer showcased her star power in Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” in which she plays Emerald Haywood, the daughter of a Californian horse rancher. As the film progresses, Palmer shows her comedy chops, bringing levity to an otherwise tense film.

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