2022 has been another strong year for horror movies, with many smaller, fairly low-budget films doing well at the box office. Any success story for films that aren’t part of a franchise is to be celebrated, and it’s great that many original horror movies have done so well.
Some of these successes have included The Black Phone, Smile, The Invitation, Bodies Bodies Bodies, and the Ti West double whammy of X and Pearl. And one movie that has been a sleeper hit is Barbarian, which has made over $40 million in the US, on a budget of $4.5 million.
Barbarian doesn’t have ‘big name’ actors – there’s Bill Skarsgård, best-known for playing Pennywise, and Justin Long (who is mainly known for making independent comedy movies and TV shows). The star is British actress Georgina Campbell, who has mainly worked in UK television. It’s impressive then, that word-of-mouth spread enough to make it a hit. It’s almost a shame, when it’s been doing so well in theatres, that it’s now available on HBO Max in the US.
In Barbarian, Campbell’s Tess turns up to an Airbnb in Detroit, only to find it’s been double-booked and Keith (Skarsgård) is also there. The film tackles themes of gentrification, and the Me Too movement (once Long’s character enters into it). It also gets pretty outrageous once Tess and Keith find a hidden door in the basement which leads to something unpleasant lurking in the dark. Barbarian is written and directed by Zach Cregger, whose only previous movies are independent comedies.
In terms of the worldwide box office so far for 2022 – Nope, Smile, The Black Phone and Scream are all in the top 25. They have made between $140 million and $170 million each, which is good going, especially as three of the four are not part of franchises.
2022 is a sign that horror movies are still going strong, and often make for some of the most profitable films, given their relatively low budgets. Check out our guide the best 2021 horror movies.