Some of the most highly regarded horror movies in recent years have come from the indie darling a24 horror movies.
Their movies stand out for the different approaches they take to the genre, which are frequently difficult and experimental.
The horror movies with the A24 stamp are largely memorable, reflecting on topics like family and trauma. And loss and the terrifying creatures that may lurk in our subconscious.
We are left with exciting new ideas bouncing around in our heads because they challenge the form and offer fresh visions.
You can argue that A24 has influenced the horror genre more than any other studio distributor. Or production company over the past ten years.
This legacy may also belong to Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions. But what makes A24 stand out is that it doesn’t have a set house style or formula for its filmmaker-driven indie releases.
However, when you hear the phrase “A24 horror movie,” words like strange, unusual, and unsettling come to mind. They frequently take their time to cook and are almost always met with positive reviews.
Here are some of the best a24 horror movies;
- The Hole In The Ground (2019)
- Hereditary (2018)
- Midsommar (2019)
- Lamb (2021)
- The Witch (2015)
- It Comes At Night (2017)
- Green Room (2015)
- The Lighthouse (2019)
- The Killing Of The Sacred Deer (2017)
- Under The Skin (2013)
- Enemy (2013)
- Saint Maud (2020)
- Climax (2018)
- The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
- Life After Beth (2014)
- The Monster (2016)
- In Fabric (2018)
- X (2022)
- Lamb (2012)
The Hole In The Ground (2019)
The Hole in the Ground, a short film by director Lee Cronin, tells the tale of a single mother (Seána Kerslake) who leaves an abusive relationship and relocates to the Irish countryside with her son (James Quinn Markey).
She suspects it might cause her son’s unsettling personality changes when she finds a sizable sinkhole in the dense forest close to her new home.
The movie’s atmosphere, which isolates a mother and child in a drafty old fixer-upper to effectively convey haunted house dread, was well received by critics.
The film is compelling overall, not least because of its chilling final scene, despite the poor special effects involving the hole, especially at its climax.
At the beginning of the 2010s, Kevin Smith a key figure in comedy and independent filmmaking in the 1990s. He had drifted away from studios in favor of attempting horror.
I wish I could say the outcomes were superior to Tusk, but I think this depressing attempt at body horror represents his best modern monster movie to date.
The finished movie is just as listless and rambling as a weed-fueled tirade, even though it was created as a joke on Smith’s Smodcast podcast.
Whether you want to call it “elevated,” “artsy,” or anything else. Ari Aster’s directorial debut has become a standard for a certain kind of horror. Regardless of what you want to call it, Hereditary is a superb first book and a suffocatingly oppressive story about a cursed family beset by grief.
After a startling shock scare of about 20 minutes, things only get worse before reaching an insanely horrific conclusion. After the agonizing misery and unease of the rest of the film, it almost feels like a release.
For her outstanding performance as Annie, the doomed daughter of the deceased matriarch whose passing sets in motion a series of events that are disastrous for her disgruntled son (Alex Wolff) and stoic husband (Gabriel Byrne). And strange daughter, Toni Collette, won numerous awards (though notably, she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar) (Milly Shapiro). A tale of family, tragedy, and unstoppable disaster, One of the top a24 horror movies this century is Hereditary.
In Midsommar, Florence Pugh (Black Widow, Fighting with My Family) plays a troubled young woman who travels to a summer festival in the remote Swedish countryside with a group of narcissistic American graduate students. The students must determine whether they are dealing with “cultural differences” or a criminal cult when they observe behavior that progresses from alarming to sinister.
Few scenes in any movie are as horrifying as the opening ten minutes of Midsommar. Especially given the way director Ari Aster stages it as it slowly becomes apparent. As a result, the remainder of the movie’s (lengthy) running time feels a little anticlimactic. Critics praised the filmmaking and acting, particularly that of Pugh. Who is undoubtedly headed toward becoming one of the greatest actors of her generation? Midsommar is particularly effective at revealing its horrors in the open, bright daylight of a place where the sun never sets. It’s one thing to frighten viewers with things that go bump in the night.
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Another short film with a few isolated characters takes place in a rural setting in Iceland. Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) plays Mara in the film. She and her husband Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Gunason) run a sheep farm. Also, The couple has lost a child, but in the manner of classic fairy tales. They are blessed with the unanticipated birth of a new one day. When Ingvar’s petty brother Pétur (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) unexpectedly shows up at their new idyllic home, the child is in danger.
The degree to which individual viewers buy the central conceit (not to be revealed here!). Which may seem comical to some, despite the solid special effects involving the horror and fantasy elements. Determines whether or not Lamb succeeds. Also, Lamb is a strangely moving fable about loss and regret, as well as the sometimes shocking measures parents take to protect their children for those who accept the premise.
The Witch (2015)
It’s important to understand that there is a witch in the woods to appreciate The Witch fully. When the crone sacrifices a baby to Satan, writer-director Robert Eggers emphasizes this early on by letting the audience see her scraggly and unholy shape. This indicates that the movie is playing for keeps and clears up any psychological uncertainty about what is happening.
The Witch is deeply concerned with engaging viewers in the daily routines and nocturnal dreads of 17th-century Puritans. It is permeated with a pervasive fear of supernatural beings that could contaminate your crops or reside in every bump heard in the dead of night. This is of the best a24 horror movies.
It Comes At Night (2017)
It Comes as Night, a Trey Edward Shults-directed film starring Joel Edgerton as a man attempting to stay alive with his family in the woods after a global plague breaks out. The family defends their territory while determining who they can trust and what might be lurking in the forest. This is typical post-apocalyptic action.
Although the story was somewhat thin overall. Critics praised the solid performances and the way the eerie setting evokes claustrophobia and paranoia. Even though the story world is compelling, the plot doesn’t move along quickly enough.
Green Room (2015)
Despite the absence of any supernatural elements, Green Room might be the eeriest movie on this list. The horrors that occur after punk band members witness a murder while performing at a tiny venue in the middle of the Oregonian wilderness are dramatized in the film. The local drug dealers and meth heads who practice white supremacy won’t let the musicians leave, so they’ll have to fight their way out.
Avoid this movie if you don’t like extreme violence. However, Green Room (directed by Jeremy Saulnier) is a taut survival story in a distinctive setting that boasts strong performances from Alia Shawkat. Imogen Poots and the late Anton Yelchin for those who can handle the graphic content. This is one of the best a24 horror movies.
The Lighthouse (2019)
The Lighthouse is steeped in the old ways of doing things, both as a piece of cinema and as a sea shanty of a story. You shot it in black and white and in a 1.19:1 aspect ratio, similar to what Fritz Lang used to shoot the Expressionist serial killer film M (1931). Robert and Max Eggers use nautical terminology when describing their characters. Especially Dafoe’s Wake, who resembles a corncob pipe with legs. However, Dafoe and Pattinson avoid becoming caricatures and instead revel in playing their Sisyphean roles.
Some might argue against classifying The Lighthouse as a full-throated horror because it is more esoteric and ambiguous than The Witch. However, the film’s eerie ghost story setup and increased use of cramped interiors and desolate exteriors beg to differ, as do the film’s concluding Lovecraftian excursions into madness.
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The Killing Of The Sacred Deer (2017)
A surgeon (Colin Farrell), his wife (Nicole Kidman), and their children are made to pay for the death of a man Farrell lost during surgery. Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos directed this relentlessly unsettling tale of supernatural revenge. Who was already known for his weird, surreal, and darkly satiric work before this or The Favorite went into full horror mode?
Furthermore, martin, the father’s son, portrayed by Barry Keoghan in one of the most unsettling performances in recent memory, is the catalyst for all of this. As the film progresses, Farrell and Kidman’s purposefully stilted acting in the early scenes reveals the flaws in their seemingly perfect family facade, making them equally unsettling. This is one of the best a24 horror movies.
Under The Skin (2013)
The loose adaptation of Michel Faber’s book by Jonathan Glazer is undoubtedly an odd creature. The movie took more than ten years to make and featured scenes with hidden cameras and several first-time performers. Stars Scarlett Johansson as a predatory alien who prowls the Scottish countryside. Picking up men, she lures them into a strange black liquid that consumes them.
It’s a convincing portrayal of humanity as seen through the eyes of an extraterrestrial. Complete with all its peculiarities, such as Tommy Cooper’s quirks and club girls’ kindness. And the utterly pointless act of a man trying to save his wife from drowning. Johansson is a revelation because she performs with authenticity and a deep sense of empathy while going unnoticed in her interactions with real people.
French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve made smaller, independent dramas and psychological thrillers before he took on science fiction epics like Blade Runner 2049 and the upcoming Dune. One of them was the movie Enemy, in which Jake Gyllenhaal played a dual role as two men who were physically identical but very dissimilar in temperament and personality.
Furthermore, the enemy is less of a horror movie and more of an exercise in neo-noirish surrealism. It is loosely based on the Jose Saramago novel The Double (who also wrote the horrifying novel Blindness). Villeneuve’s cold direction and Gyllenhaal’s two standout performances serve as its cornerstones as he deftly explores what it means to be a man, the male-female dynamic (while juggling the wives of two different men), and the nature of identity. This is one of the best a24 horror movies.
Saint Maud (2020)
A devout young nurse (Morfydd Clark) in Rose Glass’ feature film debut sets out on a mission to save the soul of her dying patient. She believes that God speaks to her directly (Jennifer Ehle). A rundown seaside town is a backdrop for Saint Maud, a psychological, religious. And body horror mashup that functions as hallucinogenic social realism.
The portrayal of Maud by Clark is excellent. Despite having a troubled mind and a frail build, Maud is a fierce warrior who works from the squalor of her home to carry out what she sees as God’s work. Amanda, a patient of Maud’s, celebrates her body even as it fails her while Maud punishes it for serving her spirit. Also, she will drink, smoke, and love her last moments as a former dancer.
One could make the case that each of Gaspar Noe’s five full-length movies. Including the contentious, I Stand Alone, Irreversible, and Enter the Void, has somehow been a horror movie. Even having sex is depicted as an often violent invasion rather than an expression of love in Noe’s films, which are frequently filled with nihilism, despair, and existential dread.
The climax is undoubtedly Noe’s most formal attempt at the genre. A group of dancers who have been isolated at an abandoned school experience adverse side effects from drinking punch spiked with LSD at a party after a rehearsal. Also, the wheels quickly come off as the gathered dancer are raped, beaten, and tortured. And kill one another throughout the terrifying, restless night, as is to be expected. This is one of the best a24 horror movies.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a wicked subversion of horror tropes that benefits from the less you know about its story. I contend it is the most underappreciated horror gem in A24’s discography. Let’s say that the movie is a triptych telling of a slow-burning march toward damnation. First-time author-director Oz Perkins seamlessly switches between the perspectives of Kat (Kiernan Shipka), Rose (Lucy Boynton), and Joan while focusing on three main characters (Emma Roberts).
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With Kat and Rose being the only two girls at their Catholic boarding school whose parents haven’t arrived to pick them up for winter break, it is simple to see how the first two intersect. Also, it’s not immediately clear how their extended weekend relates to Joan’s separate hitchhiking journey through a snowy region of America.
Life After Beth (2014)
If you go back after a relationship has ended, it will never be the same: Life After Beth, a zombie comedy about moving on, revolves around this idea. Zach, played by Dane DeHaan, is a young man who is distraught over losing his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza). But when she unexpectedly rises from the dead, something is just off. Is it a result that the relationship has reached its peak? Or is she morphing into an undead monster who devours human flesh? In either case, things can’t go on.
Also, a light comedy with an impressive ensemble cast (Molly Shannon, John C Reilly, Anna Kendrick, Paul Reiser). In 2014, Life After Beth debuted at Sundance.
The Monster (2016)
The Monster by Bryan Bertino is an odd choice for this list. If only because it is a creature feature with little to say other than “boo.” This may seem insignificant compared to other A24 horror films. But when The Monster works, its boo can be horrifying on occasion.
The Monster, which centers on a mother and daughter stranded at night on a rural road with a mysterious beastie trying to break into their broken-down car, could have been made as B-schlock in the 1980s. The reasons why it is superior are twofold: first, the film leans into its atmospheric use of shadows and silhouettes by cinematographer Julie Kirkwood. Who adheres to Steven Spielberg’s maxim that “less is more” in framing the monster; and second, there is the headlong dive into the unpleasant by Zoe Kazan. This is one of the best a24 horror movies.
In Fabric (2018)
The traditional horror movie tropes of vampires, zombies, werewolves, and masked killers have been avoided by A24’s films (mostly). As a result, the business has drawn talented individuals, such as British filmmaker Peter Strickland. He made this strange story about a haunted dress after his atmospheric films Berberian Sound Studio (2012) and The Duke of Burgundy (2014).
The article of clothing in question is a red number that moves from one owner to another while leaving a path of devastation and death behind it. Fortunately, Strickland frequently plays this for laughs, knowing that even the most ardent horror fan might lose patience with a sentient dress.
This slasher film, directed by renowned horror master Ti West (The House of the Devil, Triggerman), sees a group of young actors and filmmakers (including Jenna Ortega and Mia Goth) go to a spooky Texas farm to shoot a pornographic movie but end up fighting for their lives.
Also, no one should have been surprised that West was not interested in making a straightforward slasher movie, given his reputation as a horror expert. X is a veritable reference library to movies like Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. While critics praised the director for challenging our society’s fixation on youthful beauty, viewers felt the film’s cerebral themes kept it from being more viscerally frightful.
A terrifying place on earth is where the family and loss story Lamb takes place: rural Iceland. It’s a stunningly remote location where the isolation makes it so interesting. It depicts a farming couple struggling in silence with their grief after losing a child and leading a life devoid of any joy. Until they receive a surprise gift that breathes new life into the farm. The couple initially experiences joy, but they are blissfully unconcerned by a menacing presence encircling their house. It attempts to reclaim something, indicating that the gift might be a curse.