This article is part of our 2022 Preview, in which the FSR team is breaking down all of this year’s releases that we can’t wait to see. This entry focuses on the most anticipated movies of 2022.
Back in the old days — prior to the world-changing pandemic that is still ongoing — the most difficult part of assembling a list of the Most Anticipated Movies of any given year was narrowing the list down to a manageable size. In 2019 for example, the FSR team took a list of hundreds of planned releases and shaved them down to a lean list of 52, because we’re big believers in watching one new movie every week.
We did the same in 2020, but it wasn’t long before COVID showed up and exploded Hollywood’s release calendar, leaving us with a list of 52 movies that were supposed to have come out in 2020. And while a lot of them did eventually see theatrical or streaming releases, many were shelved. In fact, three of the films on our 2020 list appear on this very list for 2022. They also appeared on our list of 68 movies we were looking forward to in 2021.
Needless to say, the business of predicting the most anticipated movies of the year has been complicated by the newly-dangerous game of predicting which movies will actually come out in any given year. Either way, we really hope that this is finally the year in which we get to see that new Top Gun movie.
Despite the potential for world events and deadly viruses to upend the release schedule, we’ve bravely carried on our tradition with this, our list of the most anticipated movies of 2022. Presented in chronological order with a long list of TBA releases at the end, this list serves as our guide to the most interesting promised releases of the year, big and small.
We begin with three films that have already been released, including one that also made our Best Movies of 2021 list. How is that possible? Well, you see, we make the rules…
The Worst Person in the World (February 4)
Okay, so The Worst Person in the World is technically a 2021 release, but we don’t care; we love it so much that we decided to break the rules for it. The Norwegian coming-of-age dramedy premiered at Cannes last summer, where it took the festival by storm, earning lead actress Renate Reinsve an award for her stunning breakout role as Julie, and took home masses of overall praise.
This is the fifth feature film from director Joachim Trier, who has a particular talent for telling stories of young people finding their way in the idyllic yet challenging city of Oslo, Norway. The film trails almost-30-year-old Julie (Reinsve) as she impulsively follows the threads of relationships and career changes. It fits perfectly into the beloved Frances Ha-esque niche: a coming-of-age story about a character who has already come of age.
If you’re looking for a movie chock-full of heart-stopping romance, tough existential questions, and dazzling performances by Reinsve and frequent Trier collaborator (and general practitioner!) Anders Danielsen Lie, The Worst Person in the World is not to be missed. (Aurora Amidon)
Jackass Forever (February 4)
Alexa, play “The Boys Are Back In Town.” After a decade away from the big screen, America’s patron saints of recklessness are back to prove that getting older doesn’t mean growing up. The Jackass reunion promises cannon fire, celebrity cameos, and as many dangerous stunts as you can fit into a 90-minute run time. Jackass is an unabashedly dumb romp that delights as much as it makes you squirm. And after so many years away, having the Jackass boys back in a feature film feels like getting together with old friends. Stupid, irresponsible, lovable friends. (Anna Swanson)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (February 18)
It’s not controversial to say The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the most intense cinematic experiences you can have. Depending on who you ask, each subsequent TCM sequel has had diminishing returns — I will however fight to the death for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III — but we keep returning to each new chapter hoping we’ll get a film that reaches for the same full-throated horror layered into Tobe Hooper’s original arthouse shocker.
While previous sequels and reboots have attempted to reconnect the series to its roots, David Blue Garcia’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is going all-in on returning to the original timeline and introducing someone I didn’t know I needed: Old Man Leatherface.
What gives us hope that this sequel will hit the right tone? Because producer Fede Alvarez, director of 2013’s Evil Dead, knows a thing or two about updating famed horror IP for a new generation. It’s safe to say that for all of us Leatherface stans, our hopes are pretty high. (Jacob Trussell)
Studio 666 (February 25)
Horror-comedies can be tough to pull off, but while we’re guessing the Foo Fighters’ first foray into feature films will lean more comedic than horrifying, we’re also betting it’ll be a lot of fun. Dave Grohl devised the story — the band holes up in a mansion to record their latest album, but the home’s violent history catches up to them — and the combination of an R-rating and the supporting presence of Will Forte and Jenna Ortega suggests some highly entertaining frights heading our way. (Rob Hunter)
The Batman (March 4)
Fans of superhero cinema should be able to count themselves as blessed this year, as we’re all about to walk into a buffet of caped cinema, starting with Matt Reeves’ striking, gritty new Batman movie. In fact, it could be said that fans of superhero cinema are blessed in any year that will deliver a new Batman film. This one is of particular note, as it sees Robert Pattinson putting on the cape and cowl alongside a murderer’s row of talented costars — from Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman to Paul Dano as The Riddler to Colin Farrell (under several pounds of make-up) as The Penguin.
The aesthetic that Reeves and cinematographer Greig Frasier are bringing to the film feels fresh and interesting, the sonic landscape of the adventure will be defined by a score from Michael Giacchino, and at 175 minutes of runtime, there’s little chance that The Batman will leave us feeling short-changed. Grunge Batman, let’s gooo! (Neil Miller)
Deep Water (March 18)
Deep Water hasn’t even come out yet and it’s already pretty clear that the world isn’t ready for Adrian Lyne’s return to filmmaking. The latest from the patron saint of erotic thrillers was supposed to be released theatrically but has been delayed and will likely be pushed to a Hulu exclusive.
Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel and starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas as a married couple who begin playing deadly mind games with one another, I cannot think of anything I would rather see on the biggest screen possible. So, 20th Century Studios, I implore you: release this theatrically. Also, give it an Oscar campaign and give Lyne $100 million for his next one while you’re at it. (Anna Swanson)
X (March 18)
Believe it or not, House of the Devil director Ti West hasn’t made a horror movie since 2013. If the first trailer for X is any indication, though, his new project may have been worth waiting for. The film stars Mia Goth, Brittany Snow, Scott Mescudi (a.k.a. Kid Cudi), and Scream breakout star Jenna Ortega as porn stars attempting to shoot their new project at a rural Texas farmhouse. The property owner, unaware of the nature of their business, gives them an ominous warning about his sick wife. Soon, the night devolves into creepy encounters and bloodshed. X looks like an homage to ‘70s horror like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, yet it has a rollicking sense of style that’s all Ti West. (Valerie Ettenhofer)
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (March 22)
If you’re like me and you’re already semi-terrified of the internet, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is probably going to hit home. The feature debut from director Jane Schoenbrun follows Casey (Anna Cobb), a teenager who signs up for a role-playing internet horror game. Unsurprisingly, the game starts to infiltrate her life in frightening ways. The trailer hints at a torrent of terrifying scenes, not least of which include a character picking a gory blue scab off of their arm, a graveyard (which is never a good sign), and Casey unpacking a machine gun. The film made quite the impression when it premiered at Sundance last year, being lauded for its originality and downright scariness. So if you’re brave enough, make sure to keep this one on your radar. (Aurora Amidon)
Ambulance (April 8)
These days it can be easy to forget about what makes the work of Michael Bay so special in the first place. A seven-year detour through the cinematic adventures of popular toys from the 1980s can do that. And while the Transformers franchise has had its moments, it’s as important as ever for Bay to drop in with a one-off action banger to remind us what he’s all about. In 2013, he did it with Pain & Gain. In 2016, he did it (to a lesser extent) with 13 Hours. And now in 2022, he’s doing “Heat in an Ambulance” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Yaya Abdul-Mateen II as bank robbers romping through Los Angeles. The first trailer is electric, a reminder that when it’s on, there’s nothing quite like Bayhem. (Neil Miller)
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (April 22)
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if Nicolas Cage is in a movie, it’s going to be an entertaining one. But Nicolas Cage in a movie playing himself? That’s bound to be a downright force of nature. That’s exactly the premise of The Unbearable Weight of Talent, a new action-comedy by director Tom Gormican (That Awkward Moment). The film follows Cage as Cage, who is offered $1 million to attend one of his fan’s birthday parties. While there, he is forced to recreate some of his most iconic stunts, so we’re looking at nods to bonafide Cage classics such as Face/Off, The Rock, National Treasure, and a whole bunch of others from his iconic filmography. I don’t know about you, but I personally can’t imagine a more perfect premise. (Aurora Amidon)
The Northman (April 22)
There are few directors who have established themselves as modern-day auteurs as efficiently as Robert Eggers. Between The Witch and The Lighthouse, the director has both created and cornered the market on visually stunning period horror that runs at a fever pitch. Now, he’s back with The Northman, a historical epic whose star-studded cast includes Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, and even Bjork. The movie is billed as a historical epic, but the first trailer still features the stunning visuals, incredible sound design, and precise attention to period-specific detail that Eggers has brought to his horror projects. “Avenge father. Save mother. Kill Fjölnir,” Skarsgard’s lyrical to-do list says, and we’re on board to watch it all. (Valerie Ettenhofer)
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