Every A24 horror movie, ranked

With 'Lamb' out in cinemas now, we watched all 18 of A24's creepers – including the criminally overlooked one with Kiernan Shipka – and ranked them.

by Barry Levitt
|
13 December 2021, 8:30am

There’s something magical about A24 and film fans know it. While the independent production studio and distributor deals with a myriad of genres – Lady Bird, Mid90s, Moonlight, Uncut Gems and Minari are just a handful of their most sucessful projects – their greatest impact is undoubtedly in the world of horror. Typically offbeat, intelligent and slow-burning, their creepiest releases possess the remarkable ability to get under your skin and leave you in a cold sweat. Their latest film Lamb — set in remote Iceland and centred on a couple and a mutant sheep — does pretty much exactly that. But while the studio has a reputation for creating top-quality horror, there has been the odd dud. 

So, to save you from wasting your movie night, we’ve gone ahead and rewatched all 18 A24 creepers with the aim of deciding once and for all which are elite, and which ones they probably wish they never made. It’s important to note that we’re only talking about horror here, so you won’t find their thrillers or sci-fi offerings —such as Enemy, High Life and Under the Skin — despite the majority also being pretty disturbing in their own right.

This is every single A24 horror film, ranked.

18. False Positive (2021)

Finally, a film that answers the burning question: what if you made a film about a woman whose entire personality is wanting a baby? This dreadful riff on Rosemary’s Baby throws away any promise it had in its preposterous final minutes.

17. Tusk (2014)

A character in Tusk asks Wallace (Justin Long) to turn down the funny, but what’s lower than zero? Tusk is outrageously stupid and relentlessly annoying, and its third act seems to exist entirely for a terrible Johnny Depp cameo. I suppose it’s not that surprising since the whole film exists thanks to a Twitter vote.

16. Slice (2018)

This Chance The Rapper-starring movie about pizza delivery guys getting murdered has so little going for it you may as well order a Slice and stare at a blank screen instead.

15. The Monster (2016)

A film whose real horror is that hardly anything happens. The setup is neat: a mother and daughter are stranded on a remote road and tormented by a monster. Ultimately though, The Monster is a victim of poor marketing – the film is far more of a straightforward family drama than a horror movie. 

15. Life After Beth (2014)

A horror comedy that’s neither funny nor scary, Life After Beth is an atypical romance about Zach (Dane DeHaan), whose girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) unexpectedly dies, but comes back as a zombie. It runs out of steam and is poorly miscast – DeHaan is too sinister to play innocuous, and Plaza is too compelling for such a lifeless (pun intended) role. 

13. The Hole in the Ground (2019)

A pretty refreshing take on the evil-child genre, The Hole in the Ground has plenty of spooky imagery and has a few genuine scares. The first hour is engaging, but the film ultimately gets swallowed up by its own metaphors.

12. The Killing of A Sacred Deer (2017)

Right before Yorgos Lanthimos shot his Oscar-winning The Favourite, the director made The Killing of A Sacred Deer, his most prickly film yet and one which is inherently divisive. If you can roll with the deliberately stilted nature, you’ll find a chilling tale about morality (or, rather, a complete lack of it).

11. It Comes at Night (2017)

A nightmarish family drama comes to life in It Comes at Night. Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his family live in isolation as a mysterious disease ravages the world, and a family looking for help threatens their way of life. Haters will say it’s a dull bore but look deeper and you’ll find a chilling psychological study of people pushed to the limit.

10. In Fabric (2018)

A film that may as well have been called Attack of the Killer Red Dress, Peter Strickland’s offering is probably A24’s weirdest and most unique. While it loses its footing as it goes on, the film is a heck of a wild ride, and proof that Marianne Jean-Baptiste needs to be cast way more often. 

9. February (2015)

You’ve probably never even heard of February (The Blackcoat’s Daughter in America) as the film barely made a dime at the US box office, and never got a theatrical release in the UK. For those with patience, the film is a wicked slow burn. It offers a brilliant performance from Kiernan Shipka and a fabulously frightening atmosphere.

8. Climax (2018)

Cinematic rebel Gaspar Noé directed Climax, which begins as a rapturous explosion of dance before spiked drinks turn the evening into an unrelenting nightmare. An audiovisual orgy, Climax is electrifying, disturbing, disgusting, and unforgettable. A better anti-drug PSA doesn’t exist.

7. Saint Maud (2019)

Welsh actor Morfydd Clark stars as faith-obsessed Maud, in a performance that deserves to make her one of the most talked-about film stars of the decade. Saint Maud is a great example of sustained dread, and its phenomenal, shocking ending moves it up a few extra places.

6. Green Room (2015)

Possibly the most prescient of A24’s horror output, Green Room features a punk band in a vicious fight for their lives against a gang of neo-Nazis. The movie – starring Imogen Poots, Callum Turner and Alia Shawkat – provides the same electric energy you’d expect from a punk gig, and buckets of gore to boot. Come for the terror, stay for the perfect Patrick Stewart performance.

5. Lamb (2021)

Utterly beguiling, Lamb manages to take an absurd premise and turn it into an impactful look at grief and trauma. The rural Iceland setting helps add to the creepy atmosphere, Noomi Rapace is on top form, and director Valdimar Jóhannsson strikes an excellent balance between horror and heart.

4. The Lighthouse (2020)

Who’d have thought that a film about two people losing their minds at a remote lighthouse could be so funny? Deranged men, vengeful seagulls, and bodacious mermaids: The Lighthouse is a black-and-white, claustrophobic fever dream. All you’ll be able to think about afterwards is Willem Dafoe’s sensational line-reading of “Why’d you spill yer beans?”

3. Hereditary (2018)

Yes, we too are still reeling over the lack of Oscar nomination for Toni Colette, who delivers one of the decade's best performances in Hereditary. Her role as Annie is frightening, upsetting, funny, and hypnotic. Toni’s unforgettable – as are a number of jaw-dropping twists and turns. In terms of pure horror, it may just be the single scariest film A24 has made.

2. Midsommar (2019)

Ari Aster followed up Hereditary with a bigger and bolder sophomore effort. At a beefy 140 minutes (171 for the brilliant director’s cut), Midsommar is a horror epic and a film that won’t let you relax for a single disturbing, thrilling minute. So many scares in horror movies come in the dark of night, but Midsommar is a fantastic reminder that the daytime can be every bit as fucking terrifying.

1. The Witch (2015)

The film that catapulted Anya Taylor-Joy to well-deserved superstardom, few films make an impact as lasting as The Witch. Robert Eggers put his name on the map with this exploration of female identity and American folklore. The film perfectly nails A24’s brand of horror: smart, socially conscious and creepy af. The Witch, quite simply, is A24’s horror supreme.

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