M3GAN (2023) – Living Doll

Released: 12th January
Seen: 19th January

In 2019, thanks to some wild legalese that still makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, MGM released the film Child’s Play which was a remake of the 80s classic of the same name. The big thing that made the new Child’s Play different (besides it being bad) was that the doll was actually a robot with advanced AI that had violence programmed into it… it was dumb and not good in many ways but the fact that it was a feature-length version of the “Someone switched this thing to evil” gag from Treehouse of Horror instead of the possession story that we loved was a big reason why. However, the idea of a child’s toy that kills due to faulty AI isn’t a half-bad idea, it just didn’t work with the Child’s Play franchise but if someone smart were to take that idea and make it original, fun, maybe a little campy and not stupid as fuck then maybe we might have something.

Pleased to report, M3GAN is original, fun, campy and not stupid as fuck, we absolutely have something here.

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The Pale Blue Eye (2022) – Meh-dgar Allen Poe

Released: 6th January
Seen: 8th January

The Pale Blue Eye Info

Last year I reviewed a little film called Raven’s Hollow which asked the question “What if Edgar Allen Poe tried to solve a murder that would feel right at home in an Edgar Allen Poe story?” and it was quite OK, it was a good movie that did pretty much what you would hope a film might do with that basis and that was about it. Indeed in general the best thing that can be said about it is that apparently, it might’ve started a mild trend of films where Edgar Allen Poe has to deal with the messed up shit that is found in Edgar Allen Poe stories, which could be a fun genre to play in and while The Pale Blue Eye is certainly trying to do something interesting with the idea, it doesn’t quite do it right.

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The Invitation (2022) – RSVP-lease Stop Immediately

Released: 25th August
Seen: 9th December

The Invitation Info

It’s been said a few times that 2022 has just been a fantastic year for horror. It feels like every few weeks there’s another horror film coming out and a shocking amount of them have been absolutely incredible. From surprising microbudget hits like Terrifier 2 to major releases like Scream, horror this year has been on another level of quality the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. However, even in a year full of fantastic horror films there will always be a few major duds and it’s fair to say that The Invitation might be the biggest horror dud of 2022.

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Pearl (2022) – Xtroardinary

Released: 16th September (United States) WHO THE HELL KNOWS!? (Australia)
Seen: 6th December

Earlier this year the film X was released to critical praise and a pretty impressive box office for a super low-budget horror film. It’s easily one of the films that will be used in future when discussing how good 2022 has been for the genre. At the end of screenings of X was something very interesting, a trailer for a prequel called Pearl that had already been shot and would be released at some point in 2022. This is pretty impressive because original films don’t tend to get the ability to film back-to-back movies before the first film has even been seen, it was a gamble and a half but it was certainly exciting to think about. 

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Beast (2022) – Not Lion Around

Released: 24th August
Seen: 2nd December

Man VS Beast is possibly the simplest and oldest story type that exists and one that has certainly been a mainstay of cinema for years. From big-time blockbusters like Jaws to smaller-budgeted films like Crawl, putting a human being up against a ravenous animal is a pretty simple and effective way to create some decent horror. In the case of Beast the man is Idris Elba and the creature is a lion, so you pretty much know what the entire film will be from start to finish and it doesn’t really do much to deviate from the exact plot that you have already begun writing in your mind.

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Orphan: First Kill (2022) – Esther Begins

Released: 1st September
Seen: 2nd December

Orphan: First Kill Info

In 2009 the film Orphan was released to an audience who were there to learn the answer to one fateful question… “What’s wrong with Esther?”. The question of just what was going on with the young girl in the poster is the most notable thing about that movie, its shocking third-act reveal (which I have to assume you know if you’re curious about the prequel, but I’ll hold off on stating it explicitly until the third paragraph just in case) being the thing that elevated the original Orphan into something truly unique and memorable for anyone who saw it.

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The Menu (2022) – Eat Up

Released: 24th November
Seen: 27th November

When reading film criticism, one comparison you will often find is the critics comparing a piece of art to food. It’s so common that it’s basically a cliche, if you want to make fun of a critic you merely need to say something in a slightly upper-crust accent and compare whatever you’re talking about to a common item of food. For example “The painting’s colour palette is as vivacious as a freshly grown strawberry”, it means absolutely nothing but sounds just intellectual enough to work in most cases.

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In Search Of Darkness III (2022) – Going Out On Top

Released: 26th November
Seen: 26th November

In 2019 the first instalment of In Search Of Darkness came out and was a joyous celebration of 80s horror, albeit just a little bit on the repetitive side. In 2020 we got the second instalment of In Search Of Darkness which went even deeper into the glory of the 80s horror and started diving into the weirder titles that littered the shelves of the local video store, with a lot fewer repetitions to pad out the runtime. For a while, it seemed like that would be the end of it but fortunately not because In Search of Darkness 3 just released and it’s a fitting finale to one of the most fun 80s retrospectives ever.

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Men (2022) – Uggh, Men

Released: 18th August
Seen: 20th November

There’s been a strange trend recently of people pretending that horror films have never been political before roughly 2016. It might seem harsh to say they’re pretending but the alternative is to assume they’re just incredibly media illiterate. Horror as a genre has been political since the start and horror in film is regularly political, even if it’s incredibly subtle about it. 

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Smile (2022) – It’s Smile Time!

Released: 29th September
Seen: 16th November

2022 is turning out to be a fantastic year for horror, every month just seems to have another great horror flick for fans of the genre to enjoy. Not only has Horror as a genre been doing great, but the kind of horror that’s striking it big is so varied. Films like Terrifier 2, Barbarian, Scream, Hellraiser, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Nope and X are just a handful of horror titles that’ve come out this year and turned this into one of those years that horror fans will mark as a turning point for the genre. Smile is just another film to throw on the pile that we will point to in years to come when proclaiming 2022 to be one of the best years for horror in quite a long time.

Also, time to issue a content warning, this film deals heavily with ideas of suicide and mental illness and those will need to be discussed so consider this your trigger warning.

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