I, like most of the horror community, was shocked by the recent success of one of my favorite horror movies of 2022. Skinamark. Why? Because these days, most new horror films with extremely low budgets and experimental narrative structure fail to achieve Blumhouse levels of attention and make 60 times their budget back at the box office.
There are indeed many hidden horror gems that get lost in the shuffle among the latest installments of classic horror franchises or Stephen King adaptations, for example, and struggle to find their audience. Sometimes all it takes is a die-hard fan of the genre to point viewers like you to the best horror movies you might not have seen, like these recent, quirky favorites.
Saint Maud (2020)
A young nurse from Wales (Morfid Clarke) believes that helping a terminally ill dancer (Jennifer Elle) find God is her key to spiritual redemption.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: Like many horror films of 2020 (for obvious reasons), not enough audiences got to see the A24-produced thriller St. Maudewhich brings breathtaking pacing and funny commentary on faith from director Rose Glass’ script.
Stream Saint Maud on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab).
Stream Saint Maud on Paramount+ (opens in new tab).
The Empty Man (2020)
An investigation into a friend’s missing daughter leads an ex-cop (James Budge Dale) to uncover a cult linked to a terrifying urban legend.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: Perhaps the most under-seen and underrated horror film of 2020 was this jaw-dropping comic book adaptation The Empty Man from writer-director David Prior, who went on to helm one of the best episodes of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities“The Autopsy”.
Stream The Empty Man on FuboTV (opens in new tab).
Buy The Empty Man on Amazon (opens in new tab).
The Watcher (2022)
A young woman (Maika Monroe) begins to have deadly suspicions about her voyeur neighbor.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: Director Chloe Okuno makes a stunning feature debut with the startling standout Shudder Observerfeaturing the modern day Scream Queen and Next up star, Monroe.
Shudder stream watcher (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Watcher on Amazon (opens in new tab).
A troubled man (Sean Harris), accompanied by his anxious doll, returns to his childhood home to confront his traumatic past.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: In a recent wave of comedians turned masters of horror (i.e. Jordan Peele, A barbarianZach Kreger), one such director who deserves more credit for such an achievement is British comic Matthew Holness, whose feature directorial debut, possumis a hauntingly visceral and uniquely moving nightmare.
I can stream it on Tube.
Stream Possum on Freevee via Amazon (opens in new tab).
A sheltered young woman (Zelda Adams) discovers that she has strange and dangerous abilities that her mother (Toby Poser) has tried to hide from her.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: Real-life mother/daughter duo Adams and Poser deserve a place among the best horror movies after their collaboration on Scream Queens Hellbender — an irresistibly inventive take on wizardry — as co-directors and co-writers, along with Poser’s husband, John Adams.
Pass Hellbender to Shudder (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Hellbender on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Soft and Quiet (2022)
An ordinary meeting between a group of women turns dark when its organizer, an elementary school teacher, meets someone from her past.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: Our very own Eric Eisenberg by name Soft and quiet one of his favorite films of 2022 without revealing much about the story, but horror fans who sought out writer-director Beth de Araujo’s feature debut praised its bold, unrelenting brutality and inventive narrative structure.
Rent (or buy) Soft & Quiet on Amazon.
A young girl unwittingly puts her demanding family in danger by hiding and caring for a mysterious egg in her room.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: Horror fans who sought out director Hanna Bergholm’s Finnish fantasy thriller Hatching have praised its strange, dreamlike imagery and clever symbolism.
Stream Hatching on Hulu (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Hatching on Amazon (opens in new tab).
There’s Someone In Your House (2021)
A group of high school seniors become the target of a masked assassin intent on uncovering their darkest secrets.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: With better publicity and perhaps a better-known cast, this fun, old-fashioned teenage slasher – based on the novel by Stephanie Perkins, There is someone in your house — could have been considered one of Netflix’s best horror movies before.
Stream There’s Someone Inside Your House on Netflix (opens in new tab).
A couple (Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg) become trapped in a desolate suburban neighborhood as part of an alien experiment.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: I believe twilight zone creator Rod Serling would be proud of co-writer and director Lorcan Finnegan Vivariumwhich is certainly the weirdest film starring Poots and one of the weirdest I’ve ever seen.
Stream Vivarium on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab).
We’re all going to the World’s Fair (2022)
A lonely teenager (Anna Cobb) begins to document the strange effect an online role-playing game seems to have on her.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: The almost found-footage thriller from writer-director Jane Schoenbrunn, We’re all going to the World’s Fairis a chilling and intriguing analysis of the Internet’s recent obsession with the cryptic genre of analog horror and urban legends known as “Creepypastas.”
Stream We’re All Going to the World’s Fair on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) We’re All Going to the World’s Fair on Amazon (opens in new tab).
A hot-headed internet personality (Joseph Winter) tries to win back his followers by live-streaming his experience in a supposedly haunted house.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: Co-written and co-directed by Winter with his wife Jessica, Deadstream is my personal favorite thriller released in 2022 and one of Shudder’s funniest horror comedies.
Stream Deadstream on Shudder (opens in new tab).
God of Food (2022)
An exploration of an underworld of apocalyptic ruins inhabited by monstrous creatures, seen through the eyes of a masked loner.
Why it’s a horror film worth your time: i would call Food Good one of Shudder’s best horror films, but this kaleidoscope of gritty, disturbing, otherworldly imagery with no sense of linear narrative from legendary stop-motion animator Phil Tibbett truly transcends the genre.
Cast Mad God on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Mad God from Amazon (opens in new tab).
Maybe if we can learn something from the success of Skinamarkhorror movies hidden gems like these still have a chance to become legendary classics.