13 great horror TV shows from this year that you probably missed – The A.V. Club

13 great horror TV shows from this year that you probably missed – The A.V. Club

Halloween month has already gifted us with Mike Flanagan’s newest drama, The Midnight Club, and AMC’s terrific Interview With A Vampire adaptation (not to mention the return of The Walking Dead). Plus, Guillermo del Toro just started serving up his creepy, A-grade Netflix anthology, Cabinet Of Curiosities, this week. While we pay special attention to the big TV shows that are released during the spooky season, 2022 had already been a pretty great year for the genre. From evil entities, vampires, and zombies to impressive international content, it’s been a delight to devour shows across various horror categories. And if you still need to catch up on them, it is, of course, the most wonderful time of the year to do so.

2 / 15
Stars: Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Park Ji-hu, Yoo In-soo, Lomon, Kim Byung-chul, Jeon Bae-soo
Number of seasons: 1
All Of Us Are Dead is perfect for those who don’t shy away from guts, blood, and chomping. That’s right: The South Korean drama is an all-out zombie show. But it’s also a smart coming-of-age series that asks, “What would happen if your high school became an entrapment zone for the undead?” A science experiment gone wrong turns Hyosan High School into a hotbed for zombies, and the students and teachers are stuck in there with no food or water while trying to escape. The 12 hourlong episodes keep the drama tense and engaging, balancing the gore with some hefty emotional arcs.
Yes, there are cliche tropes like bullying, sudden romances, gossip, and a class hierarchy that has never failed the high school genre (whether it’s The O.C. or Euphoria). Imagine throwing zombies into the mix. The result is utterly entertaining chaos. While AOUAD picked up steam when it dropped in January, the show has gotten lost in the streaming shuffle since then. Now is as good a time as any to binge it, especially as it’s been renewed for season two by Netflix.
3 / 15
Stars: Dina Shihabi, Mamadou Athie, Matt McGorry, Ariana Neal, Evan Jonigkeit, Julia Chan, Martin Donovan
Number of seasons: 1
Archive 81 is a well-crafted drama that pays homage to classic tropes—occult rituals, secret cults, found footage, haunted buildings—alongside an impressive original story. The eight episodes are filled with simmering tension and a gloomy, atmospheric vibe. The show follows video archivist Dan, who is hired to restore VHS footage shot in the ’90s by NYU student Melody. In the process, he uncovers unexpected ties to her, as well as the apartment complex she was investigating.
As mentioned in The A.V. Club’s review, Archive 81 can rope in even non-horror fans because of how it explores intergenerational trauma, and it boasts slow-burn scares that don’t rely on blood and gore. Created by The Boys’ Rebecca Sonnenshine (and very loosely inspired by a podcast of the same name), Archive 81 is an ideal moody Halloween watch. And thankfully, it (mostly) ends its story well, because Netflix doesn’t know when it has a good thing on its hands, and the streamer canceled the show despite high viewership.
4 / 15
Stars: Michelle de Swarte, Amira Ghazalla, Amber Grappy, Tanya Reynolds, Albie Hill, Sinéad Cusack
Number of seasons: 1
What is it about spooky babies? It’ll never get tiring to watch a tiny human suck the life out of someone, we guess. In this British horror comedy, 38-year-old Natasha unexpectedly ends up with a baby, dramatically imploding her hopes and dreams. This is no normal child, though, and its violent powers turns Natasha’s world upside down. As the show’s promotional materials put it: “She doesn’t want a baby. The baby wants her.” Balancing humor with horror is a fine line, and The Baby isn’t perfect at walking it, but it’s damn exciting nonetheless. The dry comedy shines just as bright as all the weird baby stuff, and de Swarte’s engaging work keeps things elevated.
5 / 15
Stars: Zackary Arthur, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Tio Briones, Björgvin Arnarson
Number of seasons: 2
The Child’s Play franchise has long rewarded us with a total treat by the name of Chucky, and the horror concept is perfect for serialized storytelling on the small screen. Chucky follows a menacing doll with the soul of a serial killer, delivering an exciting mix of slasher films, psychological horror, and coming-of-age—sorry, “coming-of-rage”—arcs. Set in Hackensack, New Jersey, the show centers on teen Jake Wheeler, the unfortunate new owner of the creepy red-haired figurine. Soon enough, he’s also the prime suspect in murders around town.
The show follows Jake’s efforts to fight off his homicidal tendencies, courtesy of Chucky’s influence, but it also unpacks classic small-town-high-school tropes that range from bullying to Jake exploring his sexuality. Chucky also dives into Charles Lee Ray’s upbringing to depict his rise as a notorious killer. It takes a couple of episodes to find its groove, but the series is a quick and fun binge. It’s available to stream on Peacock, and season two is currently airing on Syfy.
6 / 15
Stars: Andrzej Chyra, Barbara Liberek, Małgorzata Bela, Mateusz Górski, Stanislaw Linowski
Number of seasons: 1
Cracow Monsters is not for the faint of heart. The riveting Polish thriller unpacks paranormal mysteries tied to the country’s lore and mythologies in a slow-burn manner. Which is to say it’s much scarier than expected, in the best possible way. The eight-part first season follows Professor Jan Zawadzki, who teams up with some of his medical students to investigate the language of the dead and how they might communicate.
Zadwaksi isn’t the only titillating character because one of his recruits, Aleksandra Walas, has a past shrouded in secrecy after cheating death. It’s not surprising she’s involved in trying to figure out ancient Slavic folklore about what lies beyond this world. Are they ghosts? Are they demons? Or are they something else altogether? Cracow Monsters takes its sweet time unraveling the answers, but the journey—full of ambient lighting and atmospheric blues—is worth it.
7 / 15
Stars: Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, Michael Emerson, Andrea Martin, Christine Lahti, Kurt Fuller
Number of seasons: 3
The most apt way to describe Evil is “wonderfully weird.” Co-created by husband-wife duo Robert and Michelle King, the series is a visual spectacle anchored by nuanced storytelling and terrific performances. The CBS drama became a Paramount+ original in its second season, allowing the Kings to take advantage of the streaming benefits and present wild stories about science, spirituality, religion, sex, and monsters. (What a fun combination.)
The horror drama follows a priest, a psychologist, and a technology expert who work with the church. They must determine if their clients are receiving a miracle, a haunting, or if it is just human error causing them distress. Meanwhile, each of them suffers through an identity crisis about faith. And then there is Lost’s Michael Emerson, who delivers yet another bone-chilling and entertaining villainous performance. Is he just a psycho, or is he actually working for the Devil? Evil explores fundamental issues with odd humor, cynicism, lust, and fantastic writing, working as a procedural case-of-the-week drama just as well as it does in its serialized narrative.
8 / 15
Stars: Harold Perrineau, Eion Bailey, David Alpay, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Shaun Majumder, Ricky He, Elizabeth Saunders
Number of seasons: 1
Nothing is scarier than being trapped in the same place without an escape. From understands that terror, and it helps that Harold Perrineau has experience in this specific category thanks to his time on Lost. Epix’s sci-fi thriller has the energy of a Stephen King project as it unravels a unique story about a nightmarish town in middle America that traps anyone who enters it. The residents fight to stay alive, even if it means battling nocturnal creatures and the town’s secret history. Perrineau’s exceptional performance as Sherrif Boyd is the cherry on top of this horrifying cake.
From is a suburban nightmare, but it’s also about finding a community in the most unexpected places. While the narrative can sometimes feel uneven, the thrills don’t slow down. Ultimately, it’s survival horror drama that has only set up its promising storyline in the 10-part first season. Epix has renewed the show for season two, so thankfully we know the cliffhangers will have a payoff.
9 / 15
Stars: Mireia Oriol, Pol Monen, Álex Villazán, Claudia Roset, Javier Morgade as Roque, Nil Cardoner
Number of seasons: 1
Created by Sergio G. Sánchez, The Girl In The Mirror unpacks a classic story: A woman loses her memory after an accident and desperately tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to her. Amnesia is a common motif in horror tales, but TGITM keeps its narrative interesting thanks to a pulsating use of the supernatural and spirit world. The Spanish drama follows Alma, one of a few survivors of a bus crash, who wakes up in a hospital with no idea who she is or how she ended up here. A blend of horror and teen drama (a throughline in this year’s offerings, huh?), TGITM is as much a personal story of Alma’s coming-of-age as it is about uncovering her true identity through her memories—and potentially a ghost that’s visiting her.
10 / 15
Stars: Josh Brolin, Tom Pelphrey, Imogen Poots, Noah Reid, Lili Taylor, Lewis Pullman, Tamara Podemski, Kristen Connelly
Number of seasons: 1
Josh Brolin has had an exciting last few years, to say the least. He’s played MCU’s erstwhile Thanos, Cable in Deadpool 2, and Gurney Halleck in Dune. Yet his most inventive, quietly moving performance comes in Prime Video’s neo-noir thriller Outer Range. The show follows his Royal Abbott, a Wyoming rancher who discovers a black void in his pasture right after the unexpected arrival of a strange woman named Autumn. Abbott’s family is already going through a crisis—their daughter-in-law is missing—so these events only add fuel to the fire.
Outer Range is an interesting wormhole as it tackles family conflict in the style of a Western movie. It then brings in potential supernatural and otherworldly elements, creating a crawling but fascinating story along the way. It’s Twin Peaks-lite, but why must that be a bad thing? Prime Video has renewed the show for a second season, so there’s more Brolin goodness coming our way, too.
11 / 15
Stars: Jacob Batalon, Em Haine, Savannah Basley, Mandela Van Peebles, Georgia Waters, Ryan Jinn
Number of seasons: 1
Alright, admittedly, Reginald The Vampire is the least scary drama on this list. But it’s still an exciting new series that pairs perfectly with shows like Chucky. Led by Jacob Batalon, best known for his work as Ned Leeds in Marvel’s Spider-Man movies, the show features vampiric coming-of-age madness. Reginald is just your average fella who is killed by a stranger, Maurice, and finds himself turned into a creature of the night.
Now, Reginald has to figure out how to adjust to this bloody new lifestyle, fight enemies he didn’t realize he had, and tap into powers he only dreamed of having. Oh, and he also has a debilitating new crush, because some teenage problems never get old. In an era of vampire shows, from Interview With A Vampire to Netflix’s recently canceled First Kill, Reginald is a fun new entrant that’s ideal for fans of the genre looking for a good time.
12 / 15
Stars: Lauren Ambrose, Rupert Grint, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free, Tony Revolori, Sunita Mani, Boris McGiver
Number of seasons: 3
Apple TV+ has had an incredible year with original dramas, so understandably a hidden gem like Servant went relatively unnoticed. But this compelling show is absolutely worth the attention, not in the least because M. Night Shyamalan is the showrunner. Along with Tony Basgallop, they’ve helmed an intriguing horror drama.
The show follows Dorothy and Sean Turner, who opt to undergo “transit object therapy” after the death of their three-month-old son, Jericho. What does this mean, you ask? It means they use a “reborn doll,” pretending it’s their baby, causing Dorothy to suffer a psychotic break. So the couple hires Leanne as their nanny to take care of their “son,” which opens the door for mysterious forces to take over. The unsettling Servant features some electric performances, and even in its third season that aired this year, its central gimmick never gets boring.
13 / 15
Stars: R. Parthiban, Aishwarya Rajesh, Kathir, Sriya Reddy, Fredrick Johnson, Gopika Ramesh, Harish Uthaman
Number of seasons: 1
Prime Video has a splendid roster of Indian originals, most of which are crime dramas like Mirzapur, Paatal Lok, and the recent Hush, Hush. But the streamer hasn’t experimented much with horror. That changes with the Tamil-language drama, Suzhal: The Vortex. The show uses horror tropes to examine serious topics like childhood trauma, intergenerational fear, societal pressures, and conspiracy theories.
Set in the South Indian town of Sambaloor, the series follows a tight-knit community on the verge of the 10-day annual festival celebrating Mayana Kollai. However, a factory fire and subsequent kidnapping send everyone into a spiral that could break this town completely. Suzhal is a complex thriller that thrives on excellent performances and plot twists, the kind where pressing play on the next episode is almost out of your control.
14 / 15
Number of seasons: 1

If a straight-up horror drama isn’t your go-to for Halloween, perhaps Shudder’s excellent docuseries will do the trick. Executive produced by Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller, the four-part Queer For Fear explores the deep-rooted LGBTQ+ history in classic horror, from Oscar Wilde and Hitchcock to Universal Monsters and Bram Stoker. The goal is to examine how storytelling has evolved in the genre while parsing out how openly or slyly queer stories have been told in the process. It’s a fun, nuanced, eye-opening take, and Queer For Fear includes interviews with industry insiders and experts like Doug Jones, Karyn Kusama, Don Mancini, Oz Perkins, Lea DeLaria, and Leslye Headland.
15 / 15

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