For those who don’t know me, I am very much into horror. I’ve always loved some of the best horror movies like Halloween, or newer ones that have graced our cinema screens. However, one studio that has absolutely been killing the game this last decade is A24.
From smaller, independent films to wide releases that have captured our eyes, A24 horror movies have almost become a genre of their own. Today, I'm going to rank the top twelve. If you’re a fan of horror, these are the films you have to watch from A24. And, even if you don’t like horror, you should give them a try.
12. Lamb (2021)
One of the latest entries into A24’s line-up is Lamb. This movie follows the story of two farmers in Iceland who discover something from their barn that shakes them to their core - a sheep, has given birth to a hybrid of a human and a lamb. But, this strange instance soon turns into a nightmare.
Lamb is a bit of a slower film, hence why it's number 12, but it has a special place in my heart. The story itself is intense with plenty of twists and turns, but what really gets it for me is the main character, Maria, played by Noomi Rapace. Her performance is chilling in the best ways and really captures the realities of a grieving mother battling with the dark forces at play. That, paired with the beautiful cinematography of the film, makes Lamb a winner.
11. In Fabric (2018)
Next up, we have In Fabric. This horror-comedy asks the question “what if clothing could be the source of all your troubles?” And, it takes that question and runs with it through its main character, a red dress that tortures its owners, one after the other.
In Fabric is number eleven just because I feel it doesn’t have the same horror atmosphere as most A24 films. Honestly, though, it doesn’t have to have it. In Fabric has its own moments of pure insanity and horror that make it a horror film, and it has so many that will make you jump up in fear, along with its interesting premise, and for that I put it at number eleven - even if the idea of a scary red dress is a little silly.
10. X (2022)
2022’s X is a great horror film starring Mia Goth and Jenna Ortega about a cast and crew who are gathered in Texas to film a porno. Soon, a killer starts to shake things up for the main players.
X is utter madness. Really, so much better than I thought it was going to be. I went into this film with zero expectations because I trusted that A24 would, at the very least, make a good horror film, but I didn’t expect X to blow me away as much as it did. It almost feels like an ode to slasher films of old with its major bouts of horror, blood, and intensity. X is not for the faint of heart, which is why it's at ten - it's almost a little too gory sometimes, but it's certainly a great horror film.
9. It Comes At Night (2017)
Don’t be fooled by the title - this isn’t a monster movie. It Comes At Night is a smaller tale about what a family does to survive during as a worldwide disease kills the rest of the world.
This film, in its entirety, focuses on the idea of what it’s like for humanity to be pushed to its breaking point, to where there’s this very slim line between sane and insane. This film isn’t a bloody one, but full of tension that will make you squirm in your seat. The only reason why I put it at number nine is that I feel some of the other films on this list work a little better at that idea of humanity slipping, which you'll see later on.
8. Saint Maud (2019)
Saint Maud was a film that deserved so much more attention than it got. This film tells the story of a religious nurse who starts to trust her faith too much and falls into delusions that she is meant to do many things because of her love of God - so much that it turns her down a horrible path of pain.
This film is slow in its ability to scare you, hence why it's at eight, as not a lot happens at first. It’s not trying to be overly flashy or bloody, but the eerie tenseness of what this woman’s faith has done to her is what makes this movie so good, and how it slowly tears her apart. It’s like the perfect movie to show the complexities of faith and how it can lead someone down a wrong path. Also, Morfydd Clark was freaking amazing as Maud. Seriously.
7. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (2017)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer stars Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in the story of a cardiac surgeon meeting a teenage boy who has a strange connection to his past. Through the friendship which grows, he brings the boy home to his family - and not long after, they begin to succumb to illness.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is such a fantastically well-written film, from start to finish. I have to give credit where credit is due and give it up to Barry Keoghan, because his part was the absolute best. He perfectly captures what it’s like for someone who is going through grief, but also seeking justice. Number seven feels like a good spot for this movie, because while the story is a little slow to start, the performances are some of the best in A24's horror films.
6. Green Room (2015)
Oh, you want gore? You want horror? This film is the one to watch. Green Room is a horror-thriller that follows a punk band that witnesses something they weren’t supposed to. This, in turn, leads to them getting captured by a group of Neo-Nazi’s, who plan to off these people one by one. Now they have to fight to survive.
I would rank this higher than six if the movie wasn't as gruesome as it is - there is such a thing as too much blood, but the difference between this and X is the brutal reality of the deaths in this movie makes this film so terrifyingly real. It feels like something that can happen. Oftentimes, horror films are snuffed out by impossible realities, such as mysterious ghosts or demons, but being captured, tortured, and killed? Yeah, that stuff happens in real life, which is what makes Green Room so scary.
5. Under The Skin (2013)
Agh, this movie literally does get under my skin. Under the Skin, starring the wonderful Scarlett Johansson, tells the story of a mysterious young woman who seduces men using her looks, but there’s more to her than just her pretty face.
Under the Skin is one of those films where Johansson should have been nominated for an Oscar. She was outstanding in this film. Not only that, but the story is genuinely petrifying. The whole point of Under the Skin is the idea of not really knowing who you’re with, whether that be a friend or a lover or even a family member, which is what makes her so scary in this film. The only reason I rank it at five is that sci-fi horror doesn't really fit in with a lot of other A24 films, but this one stands out.
4. The Lighthouse (2019)
Can we talk about how The Lighthouse was not nominated for Best Picture? Because it should have been. This film, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, tells the tale of two lighthouse keepers who end up succumbing to madness when a storm traps them on the island, forcing them to survive in ways they never thought possible.
While I wasn't the hugest fan of the art-style, which is why it's number four, The Lighthouse is still a masterpiece. Starring literally only Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson (besides two other small roles that aren’t featured as much), it gives them so much room to wow us with their performances and it is a sin they were not at the very least nominated for their work. The story is phenomenal as well, melding psychological and survival horror, creating a well-balanced experience that makes you feel uncomfortable in the best way possible.
3. The Witch (2015)
While Anya Taylor-Joy got famous from other big roles, I first saw her in The Witch. In this fantastic horror film, a family moves to an area that is hidden within the woods when their church banishes them. However, when an unknown evil entity begins to make their lives a living hell, they must rely on their faiths to survive.
The Witch, is what I like to call slow-burn horror. It doesn’t hit you in the face with blood or guts or anything gruesome, but it takes its time slowly trying to break you apart as you wonder who the heck you can trust, which is why it's number three. You never quite find out until the end what is causing this whole family to suddenly be tortured, but you’re questioning everything, and you almost feel like you’re going insane by the end of it. Only two other films can top the tension this movie creates.
2. Hereditary (2018)
You knew this would be ranked high. Hereditary, directed by Ari Aster, tells the story of a family who is hit with a tragedy, but while they are grieving, a mysterious force that has a connection to their past relatives begins to haunt them and tear apart their family from the inside out.
Let me tell you - it takes a lot to scare me to the point where I can’t sleep. I thrive off of this stuff because I know it’s very hard to get me to feel genuine fear from a film. However, Hereditary did that and more, and it deserves its number two spot here. From the spectacular performance by Toni Collette that should have been nominated for an Academy Award, to the brilliant practical effects to the story to even the score, it’s phenomenal in every way. And, that Hereditary ending, gosh, it sticks with you, doesn’t it? But, there’s one other film that I do think outdoes the others.
1. Midsommar (2019)
This film, man. This freaking film. It will be number one for a long time unless another A24 film can overtake it.
Midsommar, starring the amazingly talented Florence Pugh, tells the story of a young woman who has recently undergone a horrible personal loss and leaves with her boyfriend and his friends on a trip to Sweden to take part in a traditional festival that takes a deadly twist.
While both Hereditary and Midsommar are great films, Midsommar left me feeling some type of way. I was floored by Pugh’s performance, and truly feel unease in many of the scenes, from the flowers on her crown to the dancing to the usage of symbols and subtle gore. Even its moments of intense blood and horror are so beautifully done, like cutting out the music and sound so we can just focus on the death.
What really makes Midsommar so fantastic is that you feel as if you are the main character. Pugh takes us on such an intense emotional journey that by the end of the film, you almost feel as exhausted as her, and then the movie ends and you realize just how intense this film really is.
Midsommar is an experience unlike any other that will stun you from the moment you first start watching it. Truly the best A24 horror film, and one that needs to be studied over and over again.
This just makes me want to re-watch all these films again - and I think I’m gonna go and do that right now until the next A24 horror film comes out.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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