Every A24 Horror Movie, Ranked
Here at Men’s Health we’re all about feeling alive. And is there any genre of entertainment that helps anyone feel more alive than the one where the threat of someone being knocked off is always right in front of you? We love horror, and we’re celebrating it this year with MH Horror Week. The following story is part of a collection we’ve curated celebrating some of our favorite films, TV shows, filmmakers, and performers in the genre. We hope you enjoy—and maybe find a few new scares along the way too.
You can find all of our MH Horror Week 2022 coverage right here.
ONE THING THAT both the Scream and Scary Movie franchises have done so well throughout their near 30 years of existence is collect and dissect trends within the world of horror movies. These are movies that have, organically within their worlds, talked about leaving a room by yourself, a killer coming back for one last scare, and watching some sort of video tape that might wind up killing you.
The late 2010s and early 2020s have been a bit harder to pin down, but if there’s anything really linking the horror world together—and sure, you could take a page out of Jamie Lee Curtis’ playbook and go with trauma, but what fun is that?—it’s the idea of a horror movie that rather than go for the near-slapstick jump scares and thrills that something like a Friday the 13th sequel may have gone for in the mid ’80s, goes for a real, cinematic, metaphorical, artistic feel. The villain isn’t necessarily a big scary guy in a mask with a machete—these are movies that know how to build tension in other, more subtle and nuanced ways.
And nobody in Hollywood has been more consistent at releasing these sorts of new-age horror films than A24. (Some might call their take on the genre “elevated horror,” but that’s not really a term we believe in, as it implies there’s something that needed to be “elevated,” and there have consistently been fantastic films in horror for nearly 100 years.) By our count, the company behind movies like Moonlight, Lady Bird, Uncut Gems, and Everything Everywhere All At Once has produced or distributed 26 horror movies.
Sometimes “horror” can be a tricky genre to draw lines around. We made some interesting inclusions on our list below—some that some might not agree with. A24’s first horror movie, in our eyes, was either Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy or the Scarlett Johansson-starring Under the Skin, both of which came out in 2014. If someone wanted, they could probably make the case that A24’s first real horror movie was 2013’s Spring Breakers. But that’s a conversation for another story.
Below, you can find our definitive ranking of all the scary, spooky, and upsettingly well-made horror movies that A24 has put out.
26. Woodshock (2017)
Look, something’s got to be last. Siblings Kate and Laura Mulleavy—who founded the popular fashion brand Rodarte and worked on the costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 Oscar-winning film Black Swan—gave directing a shot with Woodshock. The movie has an interesting premise, heading down Swan‘s psychological, surreal horror avenue—a woman who’s suffered a serious loss (Kirsten Dunst) starts taking a reality-altering drug, and things really start to pop off. Dunst, as always, is exceptional, but the movie doesn’t quite live up to its interesting premise. —Evan Romano
25. False Positive (2021)
Like Woodshock, False Positive has a lot going for it; a wonderful cast (Ilana Glazer and Justin Theroux play the film’s central couple while Pierce Brosnan plays their charismatic fertility doctor) and an interesting premise that clearly has a little bit of Rosemary’s Baby ambition. Unfortunately it doesn’t all come together, and the movie is less than the sum of its impressive pieces. Still, it’s always worth watching Pierce Brosnan do his thing, so there are worse ways you can spend your time. —ER
24. Life After Beth (2014)
Aubrey Plaza’s zombie flick works better as a sketch than a full feature film. Despite an impressive comedic cast including Molly Shannon, Paul Reiser, Cheryl Hines, and more, the movie isn’t nearly as memorable or enjoyable as A24’s more artful offerings. —Milan Polk
23. Slice (2018)
This one is kind of fun. Starring Chance the Rapper in his cinematic debut alongside Zazie Beetz, the story centers on a mystery surround the deaths of some pizza boys, and yes, a Werewolf is involved. The movie is directed by Austin Vesely, who worked with Chance on some of his music videos before—and Stranger Things fans will be excited to see Joe Keery hanging around in a supporting role. There are worse ways you can spend your 83 minutes. —ER
22. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2017)
As with basically every movie on this list, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is visually stunning and has a good cast with Emma Robers, Kiernan Shipka, and Lucy Boynton leading the way. It’s simple enough—a couple girls stuck at a boarding school during a vacation fight off an unknown supernatural force of evil—and it, for the most part, pulls it off. Emma Roberts has done a bunch of horror with the likes of Ryan Murphy and Wes Craven, and this is a more mature, slower-burn than any of it. —ER
21. The Hole in the Ground (2019)
Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin has landed the gig of making Evil Dead Rise, the next movie in director Sam Raimi‘s iconic horror franchise, and got it only after directing A24’s The Hole in the Ground. Cronin crafts a story around a family that moves to the countryside for some peace, only for things to get weird when a mother’s son comes near a mysterious sinkhole on the property. The movie isn’t exactly taking on uncharted ground—you’ve seen the ‘creepy kid’ movie before—but it executes very well.
20. Lamb (2021)
A chilling film, Lamb stars Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as a woman who takes in a human/lamb hybrid of mysterious origin. The unsettling movie takes a while to reel viewers in, and while it’s all well-crafted, it ultimately doesn’t deliver as many scares as higher movies on our list.—MP
19. Men (2022)
Director Alex Garland keeps upping the ante between movies—from his eerily stylish directorial debut Ex Machina, to his dreamily weird Annihilation, to his most recent, the hallucinatory Men. Jessie Buckley plays a woman who escapes to the countryside for some alone time after a traumatic relationship, only to find herself having one increasingly uneasy interaction after another with the town’s men—each played by Rory Kinnear with the aid of make-up, prosthetics, and CGI, adding another layer of peculiar foreboding for the audience once they wise up to the one-man-show. The movie culminates in a truly bizarre and grotesque final act that will leave you stunned. But after the shock wears off, the movie’s commentary on misogyny isn’t potent enough to make any lasting impact of its own.—Nojan Aminosharei
18. It Comes at Night (2017)
One tip before you watch It Comes at Night? Don’t watch the trailer. Not only is it just kind of generally better to come into these types of movies cold, but the It Comes at Night trailer was even more misleading than usual. Most audiences saw it before the first run of Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and the trailer seemed to promise a similar thrill ride; really, though, the movie is a slow burn about survivors at the tail end of a pandemic (sorry!) and the creeping sense of dread and paranoia that eats this small group of people alive. It’s worth checking out, but you can’t expect the thrill ride that the trailer seems to promise.
17. Tusk (2014)
All throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, writer/director Kevin Smith—best known for his Jay and Silent Bob characters and the connected “View Askewniverse”—was constantly teasing other genres while working on his other comedies/dramedies. A Superman movie infamously fell through, but Smith’s long-teased horror projects (a major left turn, considering his other work) ultimately did come through; Red State came first, but Tusk was truly an insane endeavor. Based on a hashtag from Smith’s podcast (you read that right), it’s honestly kind of a miracle that Tusk even exists—and the movie is 100% utterly out of control. If you can handle body horror, let that be all you know about this movie before going in. I kind of wish I could go back to the time when I didn’t know what this movie was about, just to learn it all again. —ER
16. Saint Maud (2021)
If you’re looking for a slow-burn horror that will give you a little bit of religious horror, a little bit of body horror, and a little bit of good old fashion redemption-hunting, while making you feel generally unsettled the entire time, look no further than the superbly-directed Saint Maud. Morfydd Clark just had a true breakout on TV in Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings series, The Rings of Power, but she showed her talents off just a few years earlier in this flick as a flawed nurse running for her past—and trying desperately to save the soul of her new hospice patient. If you can make it through the skin-crawling 84-minute runtime, Saint Maud has one of the most memorable endings of any movie on this list. —ER
15. In Fabric
This weird movie blends horror and comedy in a darkly-twisted tale about a red dress that haunts anyone who owns it. Kind of like an evil Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Anyway, In Fabric holds a strong Rotten Tomatoes score (it sits at 91% percent), and audiences will love it too if they’re in the mood for a surreal experience.—MP
14. High Life (2019)
The draw of High Life is the cast—with Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin (aka Outkast’s Andre 3000) and Mia Goth (who you will see again on this list) leading the way. But you’ll stick around for the direction of Claire Denis, who has a masterful handle on tackling moments of silence and dread in any realm—only in this case, it happens to be on board a space mission that’s hurtling toward a black hole. Pattinson spends much of the movie alone with an infant, and really proves something everyone who’s been paying attention has now known for a while: the man is one hell of an actor. —ER
13. Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
Dutch director Halina Reijn makes her English language debut with this send-up of the slasher genre billed as Scream for Gen Z. (Nevermind that the Scream franchise has now been revived with Gen Z actors.) Between the frenetic directing, a crackling script written by Sarah DeLappe, based on a spec by Kristen Roupenian (of, ahem, “Cat Person” fame), and a perfectly-cast ensemble, the movie hits every mark it lays down. It’s a zippy, entertaining ride that gets a lot of mileage out of a premise that boils down to “lmao Gen Z 💀”—the ideal popcorn flick, which is why it lands smack in the middle of our ranking.—NA
12. Enemy (2014)
Some may not classify Enemy as a horror movie, but guess what—I’m going to. The movie is a deep, mind-fuck of a story that follows Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who sees his double out in the wild, and has zero idea what the hell is going on. The thematics aren’t similar at all, but Enemy is basically director Denis Villeneuve’s Reservoir Dogs: a tight 90-minute story from a visionary director known for lengthy, sweeping, epics. And one list thing: when this movie ended, the first words out of my mouth as the credits began to roll were “Jesus Christ.” That’s got to count for something, right? —ER
11. Green Room (2016)
Green Room is a wildly funny and super violent slasher that earns a high spot on our list thanks to its simple but fun premise—a band ends up performing at a neo-nazi bar and winds up fighting for their lives after witnessing something awful—and exceptional cast. The late Anton Yelchin leads a cast that also includes Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart in a villainous role like you’ve truly never seen him before.
10. Climax (2019)
As a former dancer (albeit at an amateur level, but still, let me have this), I fully understand the commitment to the craft. With this movie, I fully understand this French troupe’s commitment to absolutely losing their minds after unwinding post-rehearsal with a bit too much LSD-laced sangria. Less horror and more deranged, director Gasper Noé does what needed to be done, making it so a viewing of this film from the couch is just as drug-induced and trippy as what’s happening inside that abandoned school. And what’s also worth a shout out: the bulk of the cast not only had no real acting experience prior to this film—dance experience, yes, if that wasn’t obvious—they were also given the creative freedom to take their characters on a journey as they saw fit. And in classic A24 fashion, someone gets set on fire. —Sean Abrams
9. First Reformed (2018)
First Reformed checks basically none of the surface-level boxes of what might come to mind when thinking of horror movies. Is there a monster? No. Are there ghosts? No. Are there grisly deaths? Um, well…
What made us really consider First Reformed for the list of A24’s greatest horror movies is the fact that legendary writer/director Paul Schrader is simply a master of slow-building, always-simmering, utterly-inevitable dread. Ethan Hawke, masterful in his portrayal of the optimistic (at first) small church Reverend Ernst Toller, gives one of his best performances, slowly letting viewers see his character lose it little by little after an encounter with an environmentalist shakes him to his core. Schrader has experience with horror—Taxi Driver has the same sort of slow-burn not-quite-horror-but-you-could-make-the-case vibe, and the man directed Cat People, which may not be the most memorable horror movie but did get an unforgettable David Bowie theme song. Regardless—First Reformed will leave you on edge and unsettled. And that’s a pretty ideal horror movie outcome. —ER
8. The Witch (2016)
Anya Taylor-Joy stars in her breakout role in The Witch, a spooky and suspenseful tale about a family of New England settlers who are beset by an evil witch. The film has the perfect mix of intrigue with an unsettling tone. You’ll want to keep watching, and won’t leave the edge of your seat the entire time. —MP
7. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
Anyone eager to see more of Eternals and The Batman star Barry Keoghan, can see him in The Killing of a Sacred Deer as a disturbing psychological horror villain. Colin Farrell stars as a doctor who is harassed by a boy (Keoghan) from his past, and tries his best to protect his family from the boy and a mysterious illness. The film has an excellent cast (Farrell stars alongside Nicole Kidman) and will make you think twice before letting a stranger get too close to your family. —MP
6. Under the Skin (2014)
A24 found its identity out the gate with early releases like Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, along with subversive social media marketing campaigns, but it was Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin that set the tone for the distributor’s approach to the horror genre. Glazer spent over a decade trying to develop the movie based on Michael Faber’s novel about an alien being who picks up hitchhikers to be sent back to her home planet as meat. Scarlett Johansson plays the alien, and the rest of the cast is rounded out by non-actors, some of whom were reportedly filmed on hidden cameras. The result is a hypnotic capital-F film that’s more about mounting anxiety than jump scares. (Or really any scares.) An auteur, an impeccable aesthetic, and a slow-simmering story: a combination that’s since been embedded in the DNA of the quintessential A24 horror movie. —NA
5. Pearl (2022)
Before 2022, writer/director Ti West hadn’t made a feature film since 2016, so it was surprising when, after the March 2022 release of his film X, A24 revealed that West—along with star and collaborator Mia Goth—had filmed a prequel to that film, Pearl, that was to be released only a handful of months later. Where X takes things in a Texas Chain Saw Massacre slasher direction, West has referred to Pearl as something of a demented, Mary Poppins-esque Disney movie—and that’s a pretty damn good description. Pearl isn’t really a slasher, but it tells you everything you need to know about one of Goth’s two characters from X, and while it’s clear that West doesn’t love jumps cares, he leaves enough chilling, visceral moments to leave you thinking about Pearl long after it’s one-of-a-kind end credits are done rolling.
4. The Lighthouse (2019)
Robert Eggers made his own tribute to classic monster movies with The Lighthouse—except, with the exception of a mermaid who may or may not even exist, the only monster in The Lighthouse is…other people. Robert Pattinson gives one of his best performances to date as one of two guys (the other being a very grumpy and very gassy Willem Dafoe) who are left maintaining a lighthouse for far too long. Eggers is obviously a master of his craft; The Lighthouse looks gorgeous, and while it’s definitely a slow burn, something absolutely bonkers happens just often enough to keep it from ever getting anywhere near boring.
3. X (2022)
A good old fashioned slasher is probably the biggest crowd-pleaser genre in the horror oeuvre. And X is just that. And while it keeps all of the conventions of the subgenre that people love—great characters, interesting set pieces and tension, and grisly kills—Ti West’s filmmaking is what sets the movie apart. Set in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, ’70s-inspired locale of South Texas, X follows a group of charismatic actors and filmmakers (Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, and Kid Cudi) who set out to make a low-budget but artful adult film—before, you guessed it, wild shit starts to happen. But every part of X is, simply exceptionally made, and West makes choices that will keep you in awe. A mid-film musical moment that you won’t forget separates the two parts of this story—but, as we mentioned in the write-up for Pearl, there’s more to come in the utterly unexpected X cinematic universe. Bring on MaXXXine in 2023.
2. Hereditary (2018)
Hereditary has it all: major scares, creepy mythology, and an unending sense of dread from beginning to end. The best way to go into Ari Aster’s feature debut is by knowing absolutely nothing, save for maybe a clip of Toni Collette screaming “I am your mother!” to get yourself hyped up. Hereditary is weird, shocking, and everything you could want in an artistic horror film. —MP
Six films in our top 10 A24 horror movies are by the same three directors; two for Robert Eggers, two for Ti West, and the top two slots are taken by the chief madman himself, Ari Aster. The buzz that surrounded Hereditary when it was first released was impossible to ignore, and it would’ve been fair to wonder around that time to wonder how a filmmaker only barely into his 30s could possibly follow such a movie up. Well, Midsommar—the gorgeous, bright, colorful, demented, twisted, cult break-up film—is how.
Led by an astonishing, star-making performance by Florence Pugh, there’s probably another world where Midsommar is a goofy road trip comedy. Here, though, it’s a horror, albeit one without jump scares or monsters. The horror here is all utterly atmospheric; after enough time passes, you kind of start to feel like you’re tripping on hallucinogenic drugs along with the characters. And then you’ll have the realization that everything in this movie could happen. Nothing is supernatural. Nothing is monsters. It’s just good old fashioned horror of man. When you’re watching Midsommar, you’ll probably go through the full ringer: you’ll cover your face, you’ll grimace, you’ll feel a major churn in your stomach, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to laugh a time or two. But when those end credits roll? It’s fair to guess that you’ll be smiling just like the movie’s protagonist.
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