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The Absolute Best Mystery Movies Of 2022

With the amount of misinformation swirling around us on a daily basis, it sometimes feels like we have to be detectives ourselves just to figure out which way is up — maybe this is why mystery films have become a tremendous comfort in recent years. After all, they offer clear solutions. By the end of most mystery movies, viewers know who to blame for the crimes. Even better, they usually see those guilty parties punished or, at least, the wronged receive some level of comfort.

In 2022, big screens and streaming services offered all manner of mystery films. Some were classic whodunnits where great detectives assembled the clues until it all made sense, letting the characters and the audience know who did what and why. Others masqueraded as slasher films or superhero adventures while remaining, at their heart, mystery fare.

Viewers were treated to mysteries with modern trappings like language dripping in social media terminology or investigations motivated by the desire to make a hit podcast. Some films featured protagonists dragged back into the game long after their prime, while others were kids just on the edge of adolescence. A couple were even about cartoon animals discovering the thrill of stopping a crime.

What all the films featured on this list share are clever, complex mysteries, strong performances, and compelling storytelling that holds the audience's attention. So, please, enjoy this list of the best mystery films of 2022.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

On a private island in Greece, tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) is hosting his annual birthday event for his friends, whom he calls the Disruptors. This group includes a fashion model turned designer who tends to tweet inflammatory statements in the name of speaking her mind, Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), as well as Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), the governor of Connecticut who's running for Senate as a different kind of truth-telling candidate. Other prominent characters are Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), a video game streamer turned men's rights advocate, and Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), the head scientist at Bron's Alpha Industries.

The longtime buddies are joined by Birdie's assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), Duke's girlfriend and fellow Twitch personality Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), former Disruptor and Bron business partner turned pariah Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), and, of course, famous detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a staged murder mystery party goes off the rails when someone is truly killed. Cut off from the mainland until morning, Blanc must find the truth lest more guests end up dead.

Arguably the most anticipated mystery film of the year, "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" proved more than equal to the hype. Writer and director Rian Johnson created another ensemble feature that is somehow both funnier and more pointed in its social and critiques than its predecessor. Even better, he did so while giving the audience a film that looked beautiful and boasted some of the most entertaining dialogue of any movie released this year.

Decision to Leave

Detective Jang Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) works in Busan. A married man, he nonetheless spends six days a week away from his wife, Jung-an (Lee Jung-hyun), who lives in a seaside village a few hours away. Isolated and exhausted, Jang begins to develop an obsession with the suspected murderer Song Seo-rae (Tang Wei), a Chinese immigrant whose older husband was discovered dead after either jumping or being pushed off a mountain.

In time, Jang determines that Song's husband committed suicide after discovering evidence linking him to corruption. With the case cleared, Jang begins seeing Song despite his marriage. As he falls for her, however, he begins to discover inconsistencies in her alibi, wrecking his faith in her, the case, and himself. When she re-enters his life a year later with another husband who soon dies under suspicious circumstances, can Jang overcome his passion for her to find the truth? Or will the case lead him further down the path of self-destruction?

"Decision to Leave" won Park Chan-wook the Palme d'Or for best director at 2022's Cannes Film Festival, and the film boasts his typical commitment to atmosphere and sumptuous images. Playing out like a classic film noir, the feature draws you into Jang's obsession and leaves you hoping he triumphs even as you can feel every step toward Song takes him farther off the path. Admittedly, it isn't Park's absolute best project, but even just very good Park is head and shoulders above most movies.

The Outfit

In mid-50s Chicago, Leonard Burling (Mark Rylance) is an English immigrant who owns a shop where he works as a cutter. He's not a tailor, he'll be quick to tell one and all who mistakenly refer to him as such. His only employee is Mable Shaun (Zoey Deutch), a young woman from the neighborhood who's anxious to get out and see the world any way she can.

Burling presents as a thoughtful, law-abiding man who understands that his business is doomed without local crime boss Roy Boyle's (Simon Russell Beale) approval. So the cutter makes the smart call and lets the gang hide money and receive messages at the shop to evade law enforcement detection. It works fine until Boyle's son Richie (Dylan O'Brien) shows up with a gunshot wound, talking about a rat in the organization. Who's the rat, and how does the FBI, as well as a rival crosstown gang, fit in?

Rylance is excellent as a seemingly meek man with a hidden talent for manipulation in "The Outfit." Deutch is an equal scene partner, mixing playful street smarts with a dawning realization that this may be one situation she can't talk her way out of. Johnny Flynn stands out among the crooks as Francis, a right-hand man who, if crime were a meritocracy, would be the heir to the Boyle crime family, not the comparatively hot-headed and slow-witted Richie.


Julia (Maika Monroe) and Francis (Karl Glusman) have moved together to Bucharest. While Francis has a job and familiarity with the language that helps him fit in, Julia feels isolated and alone. Only her neighbor Irina (Mădălina Anea) provides an opportunity for possible friendship. To make matters worse, Julia catches a man (Burn Gorman) watching her from an apartment building and becomes convinced he's stalking her. When news of a serial killer who decapitates his victims begins to spread, and Irina seemingly disappears, Julia feels more confident that the voyeur, the Watcher, is a threat and likely the local serial killer.

Chloe Okuno, solo directing her first full-length feature, has a gift for capturing the sense of isolation and dread that can come with being on your own in a foreign country where you don't understand the language. She also has a great sense of how to use geography to ratchet up the tension and confuse a viewer's eye.

She's found an excellent collaborator in Monroe who is quickly establishing herself as a kind of scream queen for the new era with her role here and in other films like "The Guest" and "It Follows." She sells Julia's fear but creates just enough doubt with her performance that the audience wants to cheer for her but isn't quite sure if she's actually correct. Beyond that, "Watcher" boasts one of the tensest and most satisfying climaxes of any film on this list.

Catch the Fair One

A film festival favorite in 2021, "Catch the Fair One" did not officially make its wide United States debut until February 2022. Years before the start of the film, Kaylee's (Kali Reis) sister Weeta (Mainaku Borrero) disappeared, likely kidnapped and trafficked. In the wake of that tragedy, Kaylee's life has spun away from her into addiction. Now in recovery, Kaylee continues to search for Weeta. After years without headway, she finally has a lead — the name of a local recruiter for one such trafficking ring. Allowing herself to be drugged and kidnapped, Kaylee infiltrates the ring in the hopes of finding her sister and punishing the people who took Weeta and many girls just like her.

It must be said that "Catch the Fair One" is a grim affair. However, it isn't just grimness for grimness's sake. The story, crafted by Reis with director Josef Kubota Wladyka, is intended to highlight the rampant issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). The National Crime Information Center reports that by 2016, 5,712 American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls had been reported missing (via Native Womens Wilderness). Additionally, the film highlights issues of poverty and addiction that continue to affect Native populations.

Reis, in her acting debut, proves a compelling protagonist for "Catch the Fair One." A boxer by profession, she brings excellent physicality to the role. However, when called upon to be still or reveal emotional depth, she repeatedly demonstrates she's more than equal to the task.


Ben Manalowitz (B.J. Novak) is a writer living his best life in New York City. Late one night, he receives a phone call from Ty (Boyd Holbrook), who identifies himself as Ben's girlfriend Abby's (Lio Tipton) brother. While Ben tries to object to this characterization, Ty reveals that Abby has died. Against his better judgment, Ben accepts an invitation to Abby's funeral in Texas.

Upon his arrival, Ben learns that Ty believes Abby didn't die of an accidental overdose but was potentially murdered. Intrigued, Ben thinks he can spin the investigation of Abby's death and Ty's insistence she was killed into a hit podcast. His producer back in New York, Eloise (Issa Rae), is initially skeptical but soon she too is swept up by the characters of Texas and some signs that Ty might be very right.

Initially something of an inversion of a comedy of manners, "Vengeance" slowly evolves into a full-blown mystery as Abby's death is revealed to be more complicated than even Ty seems to have guessed. Like "Glass Onion" and "Catch the Fair One," "Vengeance" has a lot more on its mind than just delivering an engrossing mystery. Meanwhile Novak, doing triple duty as a writer-director and as the star, impresses with his most mature role to date. Even more impressive is Ashton Kutcher's turn as Quinten Sellers, a small-town music producer with a gift for silver-tongued philosophizing. If Novak's performance surprises, Kutcher's absolutely stuns.

Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

Bee (Maria Bakalova) is in love. Her new girlfriend Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), a 20-something of privilege in recovery, has invited her to a weekend-long bacchanalia at her best friend David's (Pete Davidson) family estate. On the night they arrive, the collection of friends play the game that gives the film its title, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. Like Werewolf or Mafia, the players must figure out who the "killer" is while that player "murders" the other participants by tapping them on the shoulder. Unfortunately, old grudges surface after just one round, and the game soon devolves into several arguments.

Shortly after, Bee witnesses a guest bleed to death from a neck wound. With a hurricane killing the power and the rest of the friends forced inside by the wind and rain, the group must stay alive to determine who amongst them is a real-life murderer.

Animated by up-to-the-moment slang and Xennial concerns drawn from a story by Kristen Roupenian and a screenplay by Sarah DeLappe, the characters are delightfully difficult to like. Add in that "Bodies, Bodies, Bodies" is told with tons of style by director Halina Reijn in her first American feature, and you have a "And Then There Were None" style mystery that feels effortlessly of the time.


The fifth installment of the "Scream" franchise that resurrects the slasher films from the '90s and 2000s may not seem like an obvious choice for one of the best mystery films of 2022. However, if there's anything "Scream" has taught us, it is not to underestimate Ghostface.

Nearly 25 years after the original Woodsboro killings, someone has donned the mask of Ghostface yet again. This time, their targets are the legacy kids, the next generation of teens related to the 1997 victims, survivors, and even perpetrators of the original murders. As is usually the case, the central mystery is the identity of Ghostface, and it is well told. The script employs a couple of clever twists that lay down red herrings without completely eliminating the possibility that audiences might figure it out alongside the characters.

"Scream," has updated its themes for the next era. By bringing back Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) and pairing them with Billy Loomis' secret daughter Sam (Melissa Barrera), the film is able to explore questions of the dangers of nostalgia, fans' "ownership" of the films they love, and what people interpreting stories owe the creators that came before them. Yet, despite such heavy themes, the story still tells a limber slasher story thanks to the team behind "Ready or Not," directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, as well as writer Guy Busick with screenwriter James Vanderbilt.

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

A post-modern revisitation of the late '80s and early '90s Disney animated television series, this "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" casts John Mulaney and Andy Samberg as Chip and Dale, respectively. Except here, Chip and Dale are actors who starred in that series in a world where live-action and animated people and creatures interact every day, not unlike "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." Unfortunately, it all fell apart when Dale jumped ship for an attempt at solo stardom. As a result, the duo hasn't spoken in nearly 30 years.

That all changes when thugs abduct their former co-worker, Monterey Jack (Eric Bana). Teaming up to solve the case despite only playing detectives on TV, the two stumble upon a conspiracy involving foreign bootleg films, washed-up actors, and a corrupt police department.

As noted, "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" treads some of the same ground "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" did over three decades ago. However, whereas the older movie acted as film noir with a love of classic '40s and '50s animation, "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" plays out as a star-driven actioner grounded in Gen X and Millennial nostalgia for Saturday morning cartoon blocks. It's a joke-dense exploration of middle-aged regret and why it's never too late to fix a friendship that still manages to craft a fairly solid mystery. If you ever wondered why a just universe would allow "ugly" Sonic to exist, "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers" gives the only answer you'll ever need.

Confess, Fletch

Irwin M. "Fletch" Fletcher (Jon Hamm), a former investigative reporter of some renown, has recently returned to American shores. To help his girlfriend Andy (Lorenza Izzo), he's left her in Italy to try and track down stolen paintings that may well be the only thing stopping criminals from executing her abducted father. Unfortunately for Fletch, there's a corpse waiting for him at his rental, forcing him to also investigate the woman's murder to keep himself out of jail. That's the outcome Detective Griz (Ayden Mayeri) and Sergeant Monroe (Roy Wood Jr.) are pulling for, convinced the charismatic but frustrating journalist is every bit as guilty as he seems.

"Confess, Fletch" is as appealingly laconic as its titular lead, not so much racing from setpiece to setpiece but leisurely strolling while enjoying some self-satisfied wordplay. Hamm seems delighted to play Fletch, giving him a lead film role that finally feels like a good fit for his brand of charm. He captures both the character's cleverness and his tendency towards himboism with equal success. Beyond that, the supporting cast, which also includes Kyle MacLachlan as a germaphobe art dealer and Marcia Gay Harden as Andy's stepmother the Countess, give Hamm invaluable support. 

The Batman

Ask anyone with more than the bare minimum of knowledge about Batman, and they'll tell you that one of his spectacular attributes is that he's an excellent detective. For film fans, though, this is traditionally referenced more on the big screen than actually demonstrated. "The Batman" aimed to rectify that by telling a story that forced Batman (Robert Pattinson) into the role of a detective first and a superhero second. While this younger Batman does frequently have to collaborate with others to solve the Riddler's puzzles, the audience can see his evolution from a green crimefighter operating primarily on rage and instinct towards becoming the true Dark Knight detective.

Of course, when not matching wits with the deeply disturbed Riddler (Paul Dano), the film certainly made time for the Caped Crusader to show off his action chops. That was particularly the case when paired with or in pursuit of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, played with impressive talent by Zoë Kravitz.

Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and the Penguin (an unrecognizable but entirely game Colin Farrell) add color and depth as two of Gotham's more infamous gangsters. They're men with so many officials in their pockets that they get to play at being respectable. Frequently, they seem more above board than the people in City Hall that they bought or blackmailed into toeing the line, which helps make "The Batman" a compelling watch.

Enola Holmes 2

"Enola Holmes 2" sees the titular character (Millie Bobby Brown) hanging out in her own office in search of clients. Business is quiet until Mae (Abbie Hern) stumbles in, seeking help finding her missing sister Sarah (Hannah Dodd). As Enola works the case, she finds herself accused of murder by Grail (David Thewlis) and signs that Sarah's disappearance may connect to her older brother Sherlock's (Henry Cavill) greatest enemy.

While quicker and more antic than its predecessor, "Enola Holmes 2" seems a bit more surefooted. This is, in large part, due to Brown feeling more at ease in the lead role. While by no means bad in the franchise's initial offering, her performance has a greater lived-in quality. In "Enola Holmes," you could feel her playing the part. Now, she wears it comfortably.

Jack Thorne's screenplay linking the film's mystery to the real-life 1888 Match Girls Strike is a risky proposition, but it generally works. It takes Enola's commitment to her personal freedom and autonomy and grounds it in a historical context. The move also fits with her growing up. As Enola matures, she begins to see that there's more to be done than just ensuring that she's free to do as she wishes. There are plenty of other women who lack her talents and privileges that Enola could help improve their lot in life. It could be a bit much for a streaming crowd-pleaser, but "Enola Holmes 2" nails the dismount.

The Bad Guys

Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), and Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) have spent years establishing themselves as the number one criminal gang in the city, a team that consistently pulls off daring heists and gets away clean.

That ends when they attempt to steal the Golden Dolphin, a statue that has led more than a few other thieves to incarceration or worse. At the last moment, however, Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), the city's best person, speaks up for them. He claims he can turn them from criminals to functioning members of society in just a few months. Against her best instincts, Mayor Foxington (Zazie Beetz) releases the quintet into Marmalade's custody. Unfortunately, just when it seems to be working, a meteorite is stolen, and the Bad Guys are the only suspects. With no other option, they go on the run to solve the crime themselves and clear their names.

Animated with interesting stylistic flourishes, "The Bad Guys" takes the nature vs. nurture debate and turns it into a wrong-man heist thriller with anthropomorphic animals. Rockwell gives big Clooney in "Ocean's Eleven" energy as the group's leader, a guy who's always enjoyed being bad until he finds the rush of helping others might be even better than flawlessly executing a crime. Maron's Mr. Snake is another standout, covering up a fear of being alone with miles of biting sarcasm.


"Summering" is perhaps best described as "Stand By Me," but with a group of girl friends set in a vaguely current time. Those friends — Daisy (Lia Barnett), Dina (Madalen Mills), Mari (Eden Grace Redfield), and Lola (Sanai Victoria) — are 11 and staring down some significant changes. Days away from the end of summer, different school assignments that will separate girls loom large. The specter of adolescence isn't far behind either, another challenge that may separate the girls as they mature at different rates and begin to develop new and disparate interests.

Going to their shared hidden sacred space in the woods, where they display trinkets of their friendship as though they're religious relics, they come upon a dead body. Despite their individual fears, the girls decide to investigate who the man was and what happened to him. In doing so, the quartet seems to stir up ghosts — metaphorical and possibly otherwise — not the least of which is the fate of Daisy's missing father.

Shot through with a nonspecific melancholy for time slipping away that kids and adults can both feel acutely under the right circumstances, "Summering" is surprisingly dark. It commits to the investigation in a way that goes beyond what you might expect for 11-year-olds. The glimpses of the supernatural have an appealing unnerving air of threat to them. It's the rare film that both glamorizes childhood and taps into the risks we tend to gloss over as we age.

See How They Run

Sam Rockwell makes his second appearance on the list, this time in the live-action film "See How They Run." As the alcoholic detective Inspector Stoppard, Rockwell must team with Saoirse Ronan's Constable Stalker to solve the murder of American film director Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody). The louse had traveled to England to discuss how to adapt Agatha Christie's play "The Mousetrap," only to find that no such film adaptation can exist until it closes on the West End. So instead of making "The Mousetrap," he ends up dead in the play's prop room.

A meta-commentary of the whodunnit — thanks to it all unfolding against "The Mousetrap" — and a commentary on how we cannibalize tragedy for entertainment, "See How They Run" feels in danger of bursting open against the pressure of being overstuffed. Despite biting off a bit more than it can chew from time to time, though, the film keeps things moving with some attention-grabbing red herrings and a couple of surprisingly tense setpieces.

While Rockwell has to dim his charisma a bit to convey how lost he is to substance abuse and grief about the dissolution of his marriage, Ronan is more than equal to the task of picking up the slack. Her rookie isn't the best bobby, frequently leaping to conclusions too soon. However, she's also dogged and incorruptible, making difficult decisions without hesitation. Equally importantly, Ronan can make herself the butt of a gag without making the character herself a joke.