Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

Halloween is almost upon us, but there’s still plenty of time to cram in some scary movies to celebrate the end of spooky season. Many people have horror favorites they revisit every year, but 2022 has given us some horror genre gems. We’ve listed a few of our top choices for those seeking out new thrills and frights.

The House, Netflix
One of the very first movies released this year, The House was a delightful surprise when it came to Netflix. A stop-motion animated short film trilogy from different directing teams are all set in the same titular house. Part one, “And heard within, a lie is spun,” follows a family that moves into a house gifted to them by a mysterious benefactor. Part two dubbed “Then lost is truth that can’t be won” deals with a rat trying to flip a house that becomes infested by an odd couple. And “Listen again and seek the sun” closes out the series with the story of a post-flood world and the last inhabitants of the house. Themes of obsession, madness, wealth and happiness are tinted with subtle (and not-so-subtle) horrors throughout, from the grotesque to the psychological. The House is unsettling, and its effects linger with you long after it’s over.

Caitlin Stasey in Smile | Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Smile, In theaters
Smile is doing some of the most unique viral marketing since 1999’s The Blair Witch Project aired documentaries convincing us the found footage was real. Actors, wearing Smile’s signature disturbing smile, have been finding their way into sporting events, making it on camera and just staring creepily into our souls. This clever and effective campaign has successfully sparked interest in this story of trauma-turned-haunting.

Men, Video-on-demand
Alex Garland isn’t necessarily a “horror” director, but his films have always had horror elements: Ex Machina’s isolation, Annihilation’s body horror. One thing his movies all share is the sense of otherness taking over, usually violently. Men, his latest and most intentionally horrifying film, pushes isolation, body horror and otherness to the extreme. The movie follows Harper, played by Jessie Buckley, who goes on vacation after a tragedy, renting a cabin in an idyllic quiet village. She’s then beset on all sides by the village’s men (all played by Rory Kinnear), all of them threatening some kind of violence. And then the movie takes its Alex Garland existential third-act turn, and the body horror comes on strong. Men might not be for everyone (the ending may evoke more confusion than terror), but there is a hearty helping of dread and suspense throughout.

Prey, Hulu
Action horror might not always be your go-to for Halloween, but is there a movie that’s got cooler costume inspiration this year than Dan Trachtenburg’s Predator sequel/prequel? It also helps that Prey is bloody brilliant — emphasis on the bloody. The Predator comes to Earth searching for a suitable challenge. He finds all he can handle in the Comanche nation warriors who take up the fight, and the incredible young woman Naru who finishes it. Amber Midthunder is an absolute force of nature as Naru and gives an action warrior performance for the ages. Predator movies aren’t known for the scares, but they are paragons of gore and deaths, and Prey is full of exceptional kills. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Nope, Video-on-demand
Obviously, a new Jordan Peele movie makes any list of horror movies to see. Us and the Academy Award-winning Get Out have already become classics, and Nope continues to highlight Peele’s imagination as a filmmaker. Starring Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, Nope tells the story of a family of horse wranglers who discover a mysterious alien force in the skies above their ranch, and band together to take it on. A unique take on the painfully underrepresented UFO genre (for more, check out 2020’s The Vast of Night), Nope is a beautifully crafted movie throughout, with some truly horrifying imagery (that opening scene) and intensely suspenseful sections (without wishing to spoil… the barn). And Jean Jacket may go down as one of the most magnificent movie monsters of all time.

Barbarian, In theaters
Zach Creggar’s new horror feature Barbarian has been called “this year’s Malignant” by Collider and Slashfilm, which could be high praise or utter damnation, depending on how you felt about last year’s breakout hit. Barbarian, a story about a woman whose Airbnb stay becomes something wholly unexpected, had people buzzing from its first trailers. Starring Bill Skarsgård from the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It, Barbarian is sitting pretty with a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. You can still catch it in theaters at Northwoods and Citadel Mall. Trust us: Go see it.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.