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SYFY WIRE Fantastic Fest

The best horror and sci-fi films we saw at Fantastic Fest 2022

Here's a look at some of the best offerings from Austin's annual genre festival.

By Matthew Jackson
Hellraiser (2022)

Another Fantastic Fest — one of the premiere genre film festivals in the world — has come to an end in Austin, Texas, and as is usually the case with this event, it was a week packed with great movies. From experimental horror films to science fiction to pop culture documentaries and beyond, this year's festival really brought out the best in both new and established filmmakers, and even brought along a couple of great secret screenings to surprise audiences and build buzz for upcoming releases. 

I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time at Fantastic Fest this year, and while I didn't see everything the festival had to offer, I made it through several dozen different films, all of them wonderful in their own way. When it comes down to the best of the best, though, some stood out above the rest. So, from major upcoming horror releases to an unexpected joy of a documentary, these are the best genre films I saw at Fantastic Fest 2022, and when you can hope to see them for yourself.

All Jacked Up and Full of Worms

All Jacked Up

Arguably the best title of this year's festival, All Jacked Up follows a group of misfits with various fixations as they all discover the strange high they can get from ingesting literal, wriggling worms. Alex Phillips' film is weird from the very beginning, but by the end, it's transformed into pure, hallucinatory madness, in a very good way. 

Release date: Arriving digitally in November.



A horror story rooted in both Jewish folklore and budding romance, Gabriel Bier Gislason's Attachment follows two young women (Josephine Park and Ellie Kendrick) as they fall for each other, then fall into a strange living situation where one of them begins to transform. What follows is a satisfyingly dark, emotional journey with lots of folk-horror spookiness.

Release date: Coming to Shudder in 2023.

Blood Relatives

Blood Relatives (2022)

Funny, clever, and rooted in a wonderfully human relationship, Noah Segan's vampire road movie Blood Relatives is one of the festival's most pleasant rides, a journey between father and daughter that's at once unpredictable, scary, and moving. It's one of those movies that'll warm you up even while it chills you. 

Release date: Coming soon to Shudder.

Bones and All

Bones And All (2022)

Driven by phenomenal central performances from Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet, Luca Guadagnino's latest film blends the tenderness of Call Me by Your Name with the terror of Suspiria, and sacrifices nothing from either side of that spectrum to get what it wants. Haunting, romantic, and full of images both horrific and gorgeous that will stay with you for weeks after you see it, it's one of the year's must-see horror films.

Release date: In theaters Nov. 18.

Evil Eye

Evil Eye

A Mexican folk horror film centered on two sisters who begin to suspect something is very wrong with their grandmother, Isaac Ezban's Evil Eye is drenched in an eerie, timeless atmosphere, and could work as a straightforward haunted house movie with no more adornments. Then the third act comes, and the film kicks into horrifying, creature-laden high gear. 

Release date: TBD


Hellraiser (2022)

The festival's second major secret screening was David Bruckner's beautiful, gruesome new take on Clive Barker's legendary Cenobite mythos, and it absolutely does not disappoint. From Odessa A'Zion's work as a young woman who stumbles upon a strange puzzle box to Jamie Clayton's glorious reinterpretation of the Hell Priest, Hellraiser has such sights to show you. 

Release date: On Hulu Oct. 7. 



Michelle Garza Cervera's film about an expectant mother whose sanity begins to unravel the closer her baby gets is scary because it dares to look second thoughts about parenthood dead in the eye, and if it were only focused on that psychological torment, it would still be a great horror film. Then Cervera goes deeper, probing metaphorical, supernatural horrors behind the practical ones, and Huesera just keeps getting more and more disturbing, right up to its horrifying conclusion.

Release date: Coming in 2023.

Kids vs. Aliens

Kids Vs. Aliens (2022)

Jason Eisener's return to genre features did not disappoint, delivering a raucous, warmly funny, and visually thrilling good time with this story of a group of kids who find their neighborhood targeted by aliens. It's a blend of Attack the Block and Psycho Goreman, and it never lets up with its sense of wild fun.

Release date: Coming to theaters and on-demand in early 2023.

King on Screen

King On Screen (2022)

The story of Stephen King movies from the directors who made them, Daphne Baiwir's playful, insightful documentary will have something for everyone, from Stephen King newcomers who don't yet understand the full breadth of his pop culture impact to longtime superfans looking for some new bits of trivia. I've been a King fan for more than 20 years, and I still learned some things.

Release date: TBD

Living with Chucky

Living With Chucky (2022)

Directed by Kyra Gardner and inspired by her life growing up with Chucky the killer doll (her father is one of the character's visual effects wizards), Living with Chucky is a particular, intimate portrait of a pop culture phenomenon. Featuring interviews with Don Mancini, Jennifer Tilly, Brad, and Fiona Dourif, and many more, it's a film made with obvious warmth and love, and a wonderful look behind the scenes of a horror icon's long screen life.

Release date: TBD


Lynch Oz

Alexandre O. Philippe has made a career out of great documentaries that probe the depths of cinematic genius, and while no one may ever be able to explain David Lynch, this film does offer tremendous insight into one of our most enigmatic filmmakers, and one of the films that made him. Featuring segments narrated by Amy Nicholson, Karyn Kusama, David Lowery, and more, Lynch/Oz is a stunning peek behind the curtain of Lynch's particular cinematic obsessions, and will make you think about his entire filmography in a very different way. 

Release date: TBD

The Menu

The Menu (2022)

Mark Mylod's wickedly fun film about diners at an exclusive restaurant where the menu might just include their own deaths will win your over with its impish sense of humor. That sense of humor never lets up, but as the film pushes forward to ever-darker scenarios, what stays with you is its sense of foreboding, and its tightly controlled performances from Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Hong Chau.

Release date: In theaters Nov. 18.

Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters

Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters

Even if you're a longtime fan of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Kevin Konrad Hanna and Jim Demonakos' intimate film about the comics legend will leave you struck by the details of his creative journey. Rich, detailed, and full of amazing interviews with icons like Arthur Adams and Guillermo del Toro, Drawing Monsters is a portrait of a man who built the world he wanted to live in through no small amount of adversity and will leave you with a fresh appreciation of Mignola's work.

Release date: Limited festival screenings in October, wide release TBD.



Driven by phenomenal work from star Laura Galán, Carlota Pereda's Piggy is a brutal, deeply human film that will scare and shock you even before the first of the bodies starts to turn up. The story of a tormented girl in a village of bullies, it soon shifts into a thrilling, nail-biting journey into the heart of violent darkness, with an ending that kept me guessing right up until the final moments.

Release date: In Alamo Drafthouse cinemas Oct. 7, on-demand Oct. 14.

Satanic Hispanics

Satanic Hispanics

Produced by a diverse array of Latinx directors, writers, and actors, Satanic Hispanics is a bloody, often unexpectedly hilarious anthology film with a lot of heart and a final act that will leave your head spinning. What begins as the story of one man mysteriously surviving a massacre soon takes us through tales of vampires, ghost, demons, and much more, all building to a wild conclusion that makes it one of the year's must-see horror comedies.

Release date: TBD

Shin Ultraman

Shin Ultraman (2022)

The team behind Shin Godzilla returns to put their own spin on an Ultraman reboot, and the results are both unpredictable and surprisingly layered. Like Shin Godzilla before it, the film is a wild journey through kaiju battles galore, but also like Shin Godzilla, it's a deeper satire of government oversight, superpower saber rattling, and personal versus communal responsibility. Longtime kaiju fans should not miss it.

Release date: TBD

Terrifier 2

Terrifier 2 (2022)

Filmmaker Damien Leone returns to the world of Art the Clown for an ultra-long, ultra-bloody sequel that pushes the limits of slasher storytelling and gore effects for a bloody good time. Lauren LaVera is fantastic as the girl who must face off against Art's reign of terror, and of course Art (David Howard Thornton) and his wicked grin make a brutal return to form. It's not for everyone, but if ultraviolent slashers are your thing, Terrifier 2 will make your Halloween better.

Release date: In theaters Oct. 6.


VHS 99 (2022)

The found footage horror anthology is back and in fine form once again with this wild and creepy follow-up to V/H/S/94. This time around, the series tackles everything from riot grrrl music acts to college pranks gone wrong to one absolutely terrifying game show, all filtered through that distinctive VHS lens. It's another welcome installment in what might be our best found footage franchise at this point.

Release date: On Shudder Oct. 20.

Werewolf by Night

Werewolf By Night

Rendered in glorious black-and-white and shot with an infectious spooky energy that recalls the films of William Castle, Werewolf by Night is like nothing else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now, and at the same time it feels right at home in a constantly expanding world. The cast is wonderful, the monster effects are gruesome fun, and perhaps most importantly, it creates a world that I can't wait to revisit.

Release date: On Disney+ Oct. 7.

A Wounded Fawn

Wounded Fawn

Travis Stevens (Girl on the Third FloorJakob's Wife) returns with his most texturally and thematically ambitious horror feature yet. The story of a woman (Sarah Lind) caught in the trap of a vicious killer (Josh Ruben), the film opens with all the horrific tension you'd expect from such a scenario, then flips the script in glorious, unpredictable fashion, as the killer finds himself facing a mythologically inspired nightmare of his own making. Full of unforgettable imagery, it's like no other horror film you'll see this year.

Release date: Coming soon to Shudder.