Horror Fuel’s Top 10 Film Festival Premieres of 2022

December 24, 2022

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Outstanding horror and horror-adjacent movies were in strong supply at film festivals this year, and whittling down my “best of 2022” list was no easy feat. Here are the selections on which I decided. Some are now available through digital, on-demand, subscription services, and physical media, while others are still making the rounds on the fest circuit. 

 

(1) Evil Eye (A Night of Horror)

Awash in the atmosphere, visually beautiful, and boasting terrific performances and superb set design, Mexican chiller Evil Eye — from one of my favorite directors, Isaac Ezban — is a dark fairy tale/folk horror outing that is woven together masterfully in its telling of a teen girl’s suspicions that her grandmother may be a witch.

 

(2) Skinamarink (Fantasia)

This goosebumps-inducing, lo-fi slice of fear-fare cinema became an instant year-end best candidate when I saw it for its Fantasia run in the summer. It induces the feeling of fright we had as children, which is no small feat. Go as cold as possible to Skinamarink and give yourself over to its eldritch atmosphere. 

 

(3) Speak No Evil (Sundance)

From my review: “Director Christian Tafdrup’s Speak No Evil (Gæsterne; Denmark/Netherlands, 2022) may be the most uncomfortable horror film in recent memory, as it puts social niceties, including acting “correctly” and politely, under a microscope and plays with the ideas of what horror is before delivering an absolutely harrowing third act . . . It may do for potential new friendships what Jaws did for keeping people out of the ocean.”

 

(4) Hatching (Sundance)

From my review: “It would be a shame to go into too many details here about Hanna Bergholm’s astonishing directorial debut Hatching, so suffice it to say that there are some amazing creature and body horror effects on the display of both the practical and CGI variety and that the film, scripted by Ilja Rautsi, delivers both a wickedly warped take on modern family drama and a large amount of creepy, mesmerizing fright fare. ”

 

(5) Mandrake (FrightFest Glasgow)

Bleak, mesmerizing, and filled with suspense and shocks, this Irish chiller sees a parole officer taking charge of a case nobody wants: a woman just released from prison who locals suspect is a witch. When two children go missing soon after her release, the mystery thickens. 

 

(6) Fresh (Sundance)

From my review: “Along with delivering witty social satire on modern sexual politics in the world of online dating and beyond, the film provides some of the most darkly funny cringe-inducing moments and deadly serious horror in recent memory.”

 

(7) Bunker (FilmQuest)

Reminiscent in the best ways of the classic The Twilight Zone TV series, Bunker involves a group of World War I American and British soldiers trapped with a German soldier in an abandoned German bunker after a bomb blocks their exit. Paranoia and cosmic horror abound in this independent chiller. Bunker is another film that viewers need to go into as cold as possible, as it is chock-full of shocks and surprises.

 

(8) Everyone Will Burn (Fantastic Fest)

From my review: “Gorgeous visuals, stellar performances, and splendid set pieces, including a variety of well-rendered kills, are just a few reasons to seek out this winner. Everyone Will Burn is a must-see for Euro and supernatural horror fans. ”

 

(9) A Wounded Fawn (Tribeca)

From my review: “Director Travis Stevens’ new feature, A Wounded Fawn, starts off in the world of high-end art and winds up in the depths of a serial killer’s mind, taking concepts from Greek mythology along for the entire ride. The result is a superb blend of supernatural and psychological horror . . . ”

 

(10) Something in the Dirt (Sundance)

From my review: “Something in the Dirt is so full of wild theories and sharp dialogue that it almost demands repeat viewings, but that isn’t a problem as the film captures the desperation and paranoia of modern American society in a thoroughly entertaining, mind-boggling manner.”

 

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