The Most Underrated Movies Of 2022

Voting Rules
Vote up the films released in the last year that deserved more attention and acclaim.

The past year has brought us major hits, like Top Gun: Maverick, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Minions: The Rise of Gru. They've gotten enough attention, so it's time to turn to the slept-on 2022 movies. These are the films that deserved better than they got. None of them were even remotely close to being blockbusters. They didn't generate a ton of water-cooler talk. They didn't dominate the box office. They did, however, absolutely rule.

The most underrated movies of 2022 are of different varieties. Some are major studio releases that audiences ignored for whatever reason. Others are smaller, arthouse pictures that had trouble competing in a marketplace dominated by high-profile franchises. Still others bypassed theatrical release, debuting on streaming services where they struggled to get noticed. Whatever the reason, each of them deserves to be more widely discovered. The next time you're looking for something amazing to watch, check one (or all!) of them out.

Photo: Netflix / Neon

  • 1
    3,924 VOTES
    Photo: Lionsgate

    If you're even remotely afraid of heights, Fall will have you squirming and gripping the armrest of your chair for 107 minutes. Grace Caroline Curry and Virginia Gardner play adventure-seeking besties who decide to climb an abandoned 2,000-foot-high television tower out in the middle of nowhere. Upon reaching the narrow platform at the top, the ladder breaks, leaving them stranded way up in the air, with no means of getting down. They come up with ways to signal for help, most of which entail dangling from that platform. Fall seemed primed to become a late-summer sleeper hit, but audiences - presumably recognizing the premise was going to be viscerally intense - didn't materialize to any significant degree.

    That's a shame because this is one of the most harrowing cinematic experiences you will ever have. It works for two reasons. First, the illusion that Curry and Gardner are 2,000 feet in the air is totally convincing. You watch in constant fear of their characters plunging to their deaths. The other reason is that the actresses provide the concept with a human element. The friendship between these women is tested during their ordeal, and the stars bring that to life. Fall is such a non-stop nerve-rattler that it's impossible not to breathe a sigh of relief when it's over. 

    3,924 votes

    Available On:


  • 2
    4,772 VOTES
    The Adam Project
    Photo: Netflix

    Time travel movies are a dime a dozen, but The Adam Project finds a new twist. Ryan Reynolds plays futuristic pilot Adam Reed. He goes back in time to find his missing wife, but ends up in the wrong year. Instead of finding her, he encounters himself as a 12-year-old. Both iterations of Adam work together to get Big Adam back where he needs to be. The Adam Project is a Netflix release, so it's widely available. The big scope of it, which includes multiple extravagant action sequences, would have had a bigger impact theatrically, though. As such, it got some notice, just not as much as it probably would have with a splashy release to cinemas. 

    Reynolds is at his comedic best here, tossing off one-liners like the pro he is. The movie also wrings a lot of laughs from the idea of Adam interacting with his younger self. What really makes it tick, however, is the touching way it dives into who we are as kids versus who we are as adults. Older Adam has a chance to rectify some regrets he has from his past, especially in relation to how he treated his mother (played by Jennifer Garner). With a nice mix of laughs, excitement, and tenderness, The Adam Project is quality mainstream entertainment. 

    4,772 votes

    Available On:


  • 3
    1,500 VOTES

    One of 2022's best thrillers came and went from theaters in the blink of an eye. The Outfit stars Mark Rylance as Leonard, a tailor shop proprietor in 1950s Chicago. He finds himself in jeopardy when hotshot young gangster Richie Boyle (Dylan O'Brien) comes in one night, demanding that he stitch up a bullet wound. From there, Leonard is pulled into mob dealings involving rival gangs and incriminating audio tape. Conveying the movie's plot without giving away too much was a challenge, which may have contributed to audience apathy. The ads simply couldn't convey how efficiently the picture works. And despite being an Oscar winner, Mark Rylance is not a box-office draw. 

    The Outfit unfolds entirely within Leonard's shop, yet it never feels claustrophobic or stagey. Quite the opposite, in fact. The plot ticks like a clock, with one complication after another arriving to crank up the danger. Rylance is superb, quietly indicating how Leonard is perpetually thinking two or three steps ahead of the mobsters, while simultaneously preventing them from realizing that he's planning to outsmart them. Everything builds to a powerhouse ending destined to leave your jaw on the floor. Few thrillers in 2022 were as well-constructed as this one. 

    1,500 votes

    Available On:


  • 4
    1,598 VOTES

    If all you know of Aubrey Plaza is her comedic work, prepare to be blown away by her dramatic turn in Emily the Criminal. She plays Emily, a debt-ridden woman in need of quick cash who agrees to participate in low-level credit card fraud. It turns out that she's really good at the activity, leading the guy she works for (Theo Rossi) to give her increasingly risky tasks. It doesn't take long for her to get in over her head. A smaller company distributed the film, and because they couldn't advertise it as widely as the major studios promote their stuff, it got lost in the shuffle when it was released in August.

    Plaza's performance alone is worth seeing Emily the Criminal for. The actress thoroughly sheds the “weird” comedic persona that made her a star, effectively playing both the character's desperation and the undeniable thrill she gets from pulling off a scam. Story-wise, the movie builds suspense from the way Emily gets deeper and deeper into the credit card fraud business, putting her in both legal and physical danger. This is a fascinating picture about an aimless woman who finds purpose in life through committing crimes. 

    1,598 votes

    Available On:


  • 5
    1,395 VOTES

    Fresh starts off seeming like a romantic comedy. Unlucky-in-love Nora (Daisy Edgar-Jones) has a “meet cute” with plastic surgeon Steve (Sebastian Stan) in a grocery store. They begin dating, and he seems like the perfect man. Until she agrees to go on a weekend trip with him, that is. Steve, it turns out, is a total psycho with a rather disturbing meat-selling business on the side. Despite being acquired by Searchlight Pictures right before its Sundance premiere, Fresh wasn't given a theatrical release, getting sent to Hulu instead. Since not everyone has Hulu, a large section of the horror fanbase didn't have access to it.

    Without a doubt, 2022 was a banner year for the horror genre, and Fresh is one of the best entries. A whole lot of crazy, unpredictable things happen in the plot, guaranteeing viewers will be on the edge of their seats the entire time. More importantly, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan give first-rate performances, creating characters whose motivations and actions feel authentic. That has the effect of making everything else even more suspenseful. 

    1,395 votes

    Available On:


  • 6
    1,001 VOTES

    It's become a cliché to call thrillers “Hitchcockian,” but old Hitch would almost certainly have given a thumbs-up to Watcher. Maika Monroe plays Julia, a woman who moves to Bucharest with her boyfriend, due to his job. She has trouble assimilating to long days by herself in a strange country. Then Julia notices a strange man staring in their window from the building across the street and following her everywhere she goes. Since there's a serial killer out there cutting off the heads of his female victims, the guy's ubiquitous presence is even more off-putting. IFC Films gave Watcher a relatively wide theatrical release, but with virtually no mainstream promotion, it stalled out with a box-office gross of under $2 million.  

    Thanks to an effective performance from Monroe and atmospheric direction from Chloe Okuno, Watcher provides non-stop tension. A scene where the guy trails Julia into a cinema will especially give you chills. The story goes in directions you don't anticipate, which elevates it above other, similarly-themed thrillers. And as the creepy stalker guy, Burn Gorman radiates genuine menace. By the time Watcher is over, you might not have any fingernails left because you will have bitten them all off. 

    1,001 votes

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