This article contains spoilers.
Trendy horror films such as horror 2 and barbarian proving that 2022 was a great year for horror fans, but most importantly it featured a cast of original and well-known characters, from good guys to terrifying villains, who have the potential to change the current horror scenario.
As usual, horror protagonists often undergo extensive character development in the face of brutal atrocities and terrifying events. 2022 features many different types of protagonists, from unreliable anti-heroes to innocent children, making the genre truly innovative.
10/10 Finney (The Black Telephone)
The black phone is one of the most popular horror releases of the year and stars Ethan Hawke as the terrifying “Grabber”, a strange serial killer who sees his method begin to crumble after kidnapping Finney, capable of dealing with the ghosts of Grabber’s previous victims to communicate.
The black phone is one of those horror movies where every time they hit the screen, a supporting character steals the show, with Gwen Blake, Finney’s sister, standing out as the film’s moral MVP. Finney isn’t that far behind though, especially considering how much he changes over the course of the film, from a quiet, shy boy to a young man who can assert himself and fight for his life.
9/10 pearl (pearl)
if pearl wouldn’t be so special if she didn’t have a film just for herself. Arguably one of the most terrifying villains of 2022 with her role in Xshe returns as the main character in the sequel pearlwhere viewers can finally witness the violent origin story of how Pearl went from being an innocent country girl to a merciless serial killer.
Different to X, viewers can’t help but root for Pearl, regardless of her obsessive desire to succeed and impulsive motivation to kill. Most importantly, Mia Goth gives this character her body and soul, which is what makes Pearl so frighteningly unique.
8/10 dr Rose Cotter (smile)
dr Rose Cotter is one of the easiest horror characters to pull off in a long time. Despite being haunted by traumatic events from her past, she is a competent doctor and caring wife, but falls victim to an evil curse with devastating consequences. Wasting no time in denying the entity that plagues her, Rose quickly uses her keen wit to understand the curse and find a way to counter it.
After countless victims of to smile curse, dr Rose came closest to defeating it for good after a ceaseless battle against her own sanity. Unfortunately, she faces an inevitable fate at the hands of the film’s terrifying entity.
2022 is a great year for Anya Taylor-Joy, starting with her mystical role in The Northman in to the witty Margot The menu, a horror comedy escalating into barbaric chaos. In the film, a small group of wealthy guests travel to a remote island to feast on a sumptuous menu at an exclusive restaurant where a renowned chef has prepared a few shocking surprises for each guest.
Margot is so easy to like because, aside from the film’s main antagonist, brilliantly played by Ralph Fiennes, she seems to be the only person among the guests who has the slightest trace of personality. Among the fools of the rich, Margot is the first to suspect something is wrong and the only one who can turn the game against the cook.
6/10 Maxi (X)
At the beginning of X, Maxine says, “I will not accept a life I don’t deserve,” and she lives up to those words perfectly. An aspiring actress surrounded by amateurs, she stands out as the most talented member of the group.
After all her friends are murdered by the hosts of her location, Maxine is the only one who manages to get the better of the aging couple who threaten her. She uses not only her wit but also her body, a gift and a curse that has sparked in Pearl her unattainable desire to be young again. The confrontation of protagonist and antagonist is priceless, especially considering how they mirror each other.
5/10 Laurie Strode (Halloween Ends)
Laurie Strode is one of the most recurring horror protagonists of all time. In various decades and 10+ films, she ran from Michael Myers, eventually killing him in the process or dying trying, then coming back and so on. in the Halloween endsLaurie Strode returned for one last duel with her nemesis, played by the legendary Jamie Lee Curtis, who brought soul to the character.
After a series of gruesome murders by Myers, in which one of the victims was her daughter, Laurie finally gets the better of the serial killer, punching him multiple times and throwing his body into a metal shredder. Last but not least, it’s also great to see Laurie finally living the peaceful life she deserves, definitely one of the horror MVPs of the year.
4/10 OJ & Emerald (No)
nope has two incredible protagonists and the truth is that one cannot live without the other. Emerald and OJ are two close siblings but completely different: Emerald is a spirited, up-and-coming artist with enough energy to light up an entire city. On the other hand, OJ is a reserved, cautious rancher and the first to notice that something evil is going on around his family canyon.
The two have unique chemistry and opposite qualities that are crucial in battle nope‘s fearsome villain, a bloodthirsty alien creature. Emerald is the brave, always ready to face danger in direct confrontation, while OJ is the watchful warrior, observing and analyzing the creature’s behavior to understand its weaknesses. Together, the two defeat a seemingly invincible, unknown force.
3/10 Noah (fresh)
Noa is the soul of Fresh, an unexpected thriller guaranteed to turn viewers’ stomachs. She is painfully relatable; a vulnerable but bright young lady searching for a meaningful relationship in a time awash with pointless dating apps and awkward meetings.
It’s unfair to accuse her of falling in love with the wrong guy, because pretty much anyone would have fallen for Steve’s charming manners without knowing that he’s actually a sadistic cannibal. Noa looks on the surface like an innocent, fragile woman, and she uses that to her advantage to turn the tables on Steve and free other victims from his evil imprisonment.
2/10 Tess (Barbarian)
All Tess wanted was a peaceful sojourn in Detroit while she looked for a job, but instead she found herself trapped in an underground maze of dark passageways inhabited by a giant woman who took her as her baby.
From start to finish, barbarian makes viewers aware that Tess is not safe in this house and initially hints that Bill Skarsgård poses a threat, but then reveals a much more deadly threat. Tess tries her best to help those around her and ends up being used like nothing and thrown away, although her good heart causes her to indirectly develop a bond with the film’s “monster”, and the mutual understanding and the Respect between them ultimately saves Tess’s life.
1/10 Naru (Prey)
Naru is probably the horror MVP of the year to start with prey as an inexperienced hunter, evolving into a deadly woman who can think quickly and use any weapon at her disposal to fight the various enemies that threaten her and her tribe.
In the end, Naru manages to outsmart the Predator, an evolved alien creature with a deadly arsenal, and turn the game against him, adapting to her predator’s abilities and behavior and proving that she is no longer harmless prey . Along the way, she faces the threat of foreign invaders and learns important lessons about family and unity, eventually saving most of her tribe from the dangers that surrounded them on all sides.
Next: 9 reasons why Prey is better than the original Predator