A24 is one of the leading independent film companies in modern cinema, with a stream of critically acclaimed and award winning movies under its belt. Formed in 2012, the company’s films have racked up a huge 25 Academy Award nominations already, including Best Picture wins for Moonlight in 2017 and Best Actress for Brie Larson’s performance in Room in 2016.
The company has also developed a real knack for producing and distributing compellingly intelligent and left-of-center horror movies, which will continue in 2019 with the release of The Hole In The Ground and Midsommar. With that in mind, here are the 10 best A24 horror movies, ranked.
10 THE MONSTER
The Monster was a low budget creature feature that A24 released in November 2016. The film had some serious pedigree both behind the camera and in front of it.
Writer/director Bryan Bertino scared the world with his 2008 home invasion shocker The Strangers, which starred Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, and lead actress Zoe Kazan charmed the world with her roles in indie dramedy’s Ruby Sparks and The Big Sick. The film told its simple story well, had strong performances and featured a creature design that was gross and horrifying. It might not live long in the memory, but it did its job well.
9 LIFE AFTER BETH
This 2014 comedy horror seemingly had all the requisite elements in place to make it a hit, but unfortunately it sank without a trace at the box office. The cast was dynamite, with Aubrey Plaza especially good as Beth, a jealous girlfriend slowly becoming a ravenous zombie.
Anna Kendrick was her usually sparky self as Erica, the subject of Beth’s jealousy, and Dane DeHaan admirably tried to keep the whole thing together as the put-upon Zach. The film also featured John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon and Paul Reiser in gut-busting supporting roles. All in all, it was a nice romzomcom alternative to the superior Shaun Of The Dead.
8 THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House writer/director Oz Perkins made this supernatural psychological horror film in 2015, although it didn’t receive a release through A24 until 2017. The film starred Lucy Boynton and The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’s Kiernan Shipka as two Catholic schoolgirls left behind at their boarding school, where the nuns are rumored to be Satanists, over winter break.
Emma Roberts also appeared in the film as an asylum escapee who might not be all she seems. The film is creepy and unsettling, with great performances from all three leads and solid direction from Perkins.
7 IT COMES AT NIGHT
This 2017 Joel Edgerton chiller was one of A24’s bigger horror hits, grossing $19.1 million worldwide on a budget of less than $5 million. It was buoyed by very strong trailers and some superlative critical reviews, which led to an excited audience of horror fiends watching it in theaters.
The ambiguity of the film’s plot left some frustrated, however. Writer/director Trey Edward Schultz refused to explicitly spell out the true nature of the infection the characters were hiding from and instead left a lot to the viewer’s imagination. For our money, this made the movie stronger and more skin-crawlingly unnerving than if we’d be given concrete answers.
6 UNDER THE SKIN
This Scarlett Johansson sci-fi horror movie made many critics ‘Best of 2014’ lists and also ranked 61st on the BBC’s ‘100 Greatest Films Of The 21st Century’ list. Johansson played an otherworldly being who preyed on men in the Scottish Highlands, seducing them and bringing them into a void filled with a liquid abyss.
It was extremely weird, which alienated mainstream audiences who watched it, but those who attuned to its wavelength found it to be a singular, harrowing and deeply frightening viewing experience. Defiantly an arthouse film, this one won’t appeal to everyone, but there is no denying its artistry.
Before he broke out with Sicario and Arrival, becoming one of the most acclaimed directors working today, Denis Villeneuve made this 2013 psychological thriller in his native Canada. It starred Jake Gyllenhaal, who would reunite with Villeneuve on Prisoners later that same year, and is a wonderfully disturbing film.
Functioning as a stealth horror film, the story centers on Adam, a college history professor, who begins to stalk actor Anthony, his exact physical doppelganger. The movie is shot with a sickly yellow-brown color palette and features some alarming and obtuse spider imagery that leads to a truly jolting final shock.
4 GREEN ROOM
Jeremy Saulnier has established himself in recent years as a vital voice in indie horror/thrillers, delivering a series of ultra-violent yet brilliantly made films like Blue Ruin and Netflix’s Hold The Dark. Perhaps his most critically lauded effort was Green Room, distributed by A24 in 2015.
It starred the late Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots as members of a punk rock band who find themselves in a life or death battle with a group of neo-Nazis after witnessing a murder in a remote nightclub owned by Patrick Stewart’s skinhead leader Darcy. The movie is brutal and hard to watch at times, but also impossible to look away from.
3 THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Director Yorgos Lanthimos is currently experiencing his biggest success with The Favourite, and fans of that movie should definitely consider checking out his previous film The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. The two films showcase the versatility of the director, as they are very different, yet both are imbued with his distinct off-kilter personal style.
Sacred Deer starred Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and a truly haunting Barry Keoghan as a mysterious teenage boy who befriends Farrell’s surgeon. The film expertly gets under the skin, ratcheting up the tension and never giving the audience easy answers as to what is really going on.
2 THE WITCH
The Witch was one of A24’s biggest horror hits and also one of their most divisive movies. The 2015 period horror was written and directed by Robert Eggers and starred Anya Taylor-Joy, and was marketed as one of the scariest films to come along in years.
Critics fully believed this, applauding the film’s slow-burn dread and masterful tone, but some audiences seemed to struggle with the lack of conventional scares and the archaic Shakespearean-esque dialogue. We agree, however, with horror icon Stephen King who said the movie was visceral, thought-provoking and that it scared the hell out of him!
Hereditary was A24’s highest-grossing film yet, making a cool $79 million worldwide on a budget of $9 million. In our eyes, the film deserved every cent it made and every piece of critical praise that was thrown at it, as it stands as a modern horror masterpiece. Featuring a stunning central performance from Toni Collette (who was robbed of an Oscar nomination), Ari Aster’s film begins as a portrait of a family in crisis and builds over time into a full-blown nightmare.
The script is sharp and incisive; the actors are uniformly great, especially Collette and young Milly Shapiro; and, crucially, it is genuinely frightening on a deeper level than most horror films.