The 10 Best Thriller Movies of 2022

5. The Northman (Robert Eggers)

Sound the horns! Robert Eggers’ long-gestating Scandinavian epic about a prince-turned-berserk (Alexander Skarsgård) who vows to avenge the murder of his father (Ethan Hawke) and take his throne back from his treacherous uncle (Claes Bang), ranks as one of 2022’s most audacious titles.

Presenting the very same attention to detail, spotless historical accuracy, and immersive atmosphere that have become Eggers’ calling cards, “The Northman” is a breathtaking technical achievement billed by its own creator as the unique crossbreed between the brawny action of “Conan the Barbarian” and the cerebral introspection of “Andrei Rublev”. On many fronts, Eggers makes good on that lofty promise—conjuring up a wondrous and testosterone-fueled spectacle that has single-handedly inspired a new appetite for adult-oriented historical epics. Studio interference might have prevented it from reaching the historic heights of “The Witch” or “The Lighthouse”, but make no mistake; “The Northman” is action filmmaking of the highest order.


4. Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg)

It can feel a bit old hat to praise a director of David Cronenberg’s caliber, but to take the 79-year-old for granted would be to lose sight of the inimitable body of work he’s churned out in the past half century. In any case, we’re grateful to have the master of body horror still doing what he does best—making his audience squirm and look away in disgust—with “Crimes of the Future”, his first offering since 2014.

‘Surgery is the new sex’ is the provocative tagline of the Canadian’s latest nail-biter, set in a dystopian future where an eccentric performance artist (Viggo Mortensen) grows organs and takes them out in front of an audience as a bold act of artistic expression. It’s provocative, profound, and nauseating almost in equal measure, which means you should steer away unless you have the stomach for it. If you’re able to tune into the film’s wavelength, however, you’ll find an insightful meditation on the inevitability of transformation that suggests mankind has no choice but to embrace change in order to survive the hellscape it inadvertently created.


3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Rian Johnson)

The hotly anticipated follow-up to Rian Johnson’s murder mystery mega smash hit is one of this year’s purest delights. Propelled by yet another star-studded ensemble and the same cleverly misleading narrative engineering of its predecessor, “Glass Onion” drops us in the middle of a Greek private island where a new batch of filthy upper classers become prime murder suspects. Spearheading the cast are a murderer’s row of Hollywood A-listers including Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Kate Hudson and Daniel Craig, the latter of whom returns as Benoit Blanc, everyone’s favorite debonair sleuth-for-hire, who must follow a trail of clues to unravel the central mystery.

At once sturdy and intricately woven yet never overwrought or self-indulgent, “Glass Onion” is a sharp-witted and breezy whodunnit with enough twists and turns to satisfy any Agatha Christie aficionado. Further cementing his reputation as Hollywood’s foremost provocateur, Rian Johnson seizes the opportunity to leave no stone unturned and take a stab at everyone from the ultra-rich and media influencers to tech bros and bimbo models. In a crazy year where spoiled billionaires and crooked politicians take turns throwing tantrums online, no other film has felt better tuned into the wavelengths of modern discourse.


2. Nope (Jordan Peele)

There was never any doubt in our minds that a new film by trailblazing auteur Jordan Peele would bewilder viewers and take our breath away. His third directorial feature, the genre-blending sci-fi horror “Nope”, provided all the goods with the kind of cleverly constructed and wildly unpredictable summer blockbuster that are few and in between these days.

Reuniting with frequent collaborator Daniel Kaluuya and bringing Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun to the fold, the mastermind behind “Get Out” and “Us” cemented his status as one of the most intriguing voices in American cinema with a biting hit piece on show business disguised as a flying saucer popcorn flick. “Nope” juggles many themes at its fold—tearing at the very fabric of Hollywood and exposing how its meat grinder chews people up and spits them out, forever profiting from collective hysteria and desensitizing us to violence. But don’t let these heady themes and allegories turn you off—even at face value, Peele provides all the action thrills and hair-raising suspense one would expect to find in a glossy summer spectacle of this ilk.


1. Decision to Leave (Park Chan-wook)

Park Chan-wook’s darkly warped obsessions, jaw-dropping visual flourishes, and unmatched panache found a sublime expression in “Decision to Leave”, his latest offering since the 2016 and a sumptuous romantic crime procedural for which he deservedly picked up the Best Director prize from the Cannes jury.

A homicide case turns on its head as young but resourceful Detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) falls head over heels in love with the victim’s widow and prime murder suspect he’s been assigned to, the caretaker Seo-rae (played with cunning ambiguity and mesmerizing beauty by Tang Wei). Cribbing from all sorts of fatalistic erotic noirs (from to “Basic Instinct” to “Femme Fatale”) as well as Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal thriller “Vertigo”, the South Korean maestro places us right in the middle of the erotic tension that keeps burgeoning between these two would-be-lovers. Brimming with romantic intrigue, red herrings, double crossing, and unexpected twists, “Decision to Leave” feels at once a throwback to the femme fatale-led noirs of yesteryear and a thoroughly fresh and innovative thriller apt for our contemporary age.