Best films from A24 film production company

A24 is one of the most consistent film distributors when it comes to the quality and type of film they release. A24 has quickly become one of the most popular indie/arthouse production companies on the market, producing award-winning content in both film and television.

The Lighthouse (2019)

A film about birds, masculinity and Willem Dafoe’s flatulence, The Lighthouse is a good moment that is about two 1890s lighthouse keepers slowly losing their sanity while stranded on a remote New England island. The first is Dafoe’s Thomas, who runs the operation, and the second is Robert Pattinson’s Thomas, who works for him. Yes, both are named Thomas, and no, this is not an accident. This Robert Eggers short story written and directed is all about playing to the reliability of his characters. Shot in beautiful black and white, it creates a transport effect that captures the terrifying claustrophobia of being so completely isolated with nowhere to go. Both artists are fully committed and complement each other perfectly.

Even though Pattinson is ostensibly the protagonist, it’s Dafoe who gives the film some of the high points. He has a moment where his voice reaches heights unheard of in any of his previous performances, as he confidently sings a completely overwhelming monologue. With eyes wide and mouth open as far as he seems to go, it’s an absolutely fantastic performance. Perhaps it’s only rivaled by what preceded it when the two men are drunkenly arguing with each other, which consists of just saying “what” back and forth before Pattinson talks about having sex with a steak. I swear this all takes place in a movie that is still filled with plenty of spooky visuals and mythical monster hints. It’s among the most gloriously unbalanced tales you could ever hope to find.

X — The Mark of Death (2022)

A patient of a horror movie, Ti West’s explosive X is an experience that feels both grounded in its origins and infinitely creative in its gory execution. Set in the 1970s, it follows a group of aspiring porn creators who decide the best place to film their dirty movie is at an elderly couple’s boarding house on a remote farm. This turns out to be a colossal mistake, as obscenity connoisseurs end up stumbling upon more than they initially bargained for.

Central to this is a notable Mia Goth as the magnetic Maxine, whose powerful presence quickly earns her place as one of horror’s most memorable recent icons. As she begins to realize what’s going on around her, we’re thrust into an ominous and macabre final act that is one of the best endings to a horror movie in recent memory. Not only is it one of West’s best works, in everything from its evocative score to its meticulous framing, but it’s one of the best of the genre overall. It’s glorious and chaotic while being remarkably patient, creating one of the best moments you could have with a horror movie as magnificent as this one.

The Sacrifice of the Holy Deer (2017)

The most genuinely funny movie on this list, even those that call themselves horror comedies, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is screenwriter and director Yorgos Lanthimos creating some of his best work. Intentionally awkward but no less alarming, the film finds a tone that provokes humor and fear in equal measure. It centers on Colin Farrell’s Steven, a seemingly kind father who is taking care of Barry Keoghan’s Martin.

Martin’s own father has died and Steven has stepped in to offer support, even though he might be a little guilty as the doctor in charge of operating on him. Martin begins to torment the family, leaving Steven’s wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) wondering why their children Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic) must also suffer.

It’s a revenge tale that features a distinct director’s vision for telling stories that always seem a little off. This unique feeling manifests itself in everything from an awkward spaghetti-eating scene to when Steven tries to get guidance on which of his children he should allow to die. Much of the dialogue feels stilted, but not just in a monotonous way.

The conversations always feel like it’s a group of aliens discussing what it’s like to be a human. This is not a criticism, but a compliment, as it always leaves you wondering what the hell a character will do based on what he says. Inspired by Greek tragedies, it ends with a sacrifice made in a dark and absurd way, but no less impacting. Keoghan’s performance is worth seeing on its own, as he captures the obsession mixed with the grief of a boy who has lost his father and is seeking justice. With many beautifully framed shots, even occasionally from above, it all feels like we are casual observers of a runaway train that is doomed to crash.

At Nightfall (2017)

Now let’s move on to what might be a more divisive choice. It Comes at Night is a big movie dirty by a deceptive marketing campaign. Even though the title itself might have been a little misdirected, although it makes sense when read as being about paranoia, the trailer was the nail in the coffin. People expected a monster movie when it certainly isn’t. Instead, it’s a much more interesting view of the fear and isolation that can drive people to commit monstrous acts. Writer-director Trey Edward Shults was coming out of the micro-budget family drama Krisha with something totally unexpected but completely fascinating. It is a tension-filled study of humanity when taken to the absolute breaking point.

What pushes all the characters to their limits is their fear of each other and, in the world of the film, of the disease they can carry. All people in this world are traumatized and this informs all of their actions. The film is pitch-black tonal and visually, often relying on the darkness of the scene to heighten suspicion of what is happening. By the time the tragic conclusion ends, her emotions are almost completely fried. There’s a final scream that still echoes inside my head from the sheer agony it conveys. When I saw it in theaters, someone started sobbing uncontrollably. Everything wears you down completely with the final scene alone. It’s a dark, masterful portrait of our worst selves.

Hereditary (2018)

Before showing that Hereditary is outside the top five on this list, know that it could easily be much higher. The feature debut that made writer-director Ari Aster one of whom everyone wanted to see more, the film is a haunting tale that inverts the script on many common conventions of the genre. It stars a fantastic Toni Collette as Annie, the mother of a family who suffers a tragic loss. It’s a deadly and terrifying look at how family trauma plays out in painstaking detail. There is horror to be found in every corner of their home, as it becomes increasingly clear that their lives are doomed to suffer for the rest of their time.

If you consider yourself someone who admires horror, you’ve probably seen this. However, for the sake of those who didn’t, suffice it to say that the ending takes quite unexpected twists that caught some off guard. It still all works as a cohesive whole, especially when the precise visuals are so terrifying in how they resemble the models Annie creates in the spirals of her grief. Colin Stetson’s score, with the final use of ‘Reborn’ in particular, perfectly complements the art displayed amidst the tragedy. It’s a tough watch, with moments of unimaginable pain, yet it all makes for powerful work.

The Witch (2015)

The Witch is a period horror film set in 1630s England about the panic and mania that sets in in a family when the youngest son disappears and disappears into the eldest daughter’s watch. The film is written and directed by Robert Eggers, who collaborated with A24 on The Lighthouse, and does a great job of capturing the look and feel of 1630s England while still delivering a truly frightening film.

Fans love to debate which Robert Eggers movie is the best, but both of these collaborations with A24 are truly unique and enjoyable. The witch was not nominated for any Oscars, but it did provide audiences with their first glimpse of a leading role for actress Anya Taylor Joy.

Ex Machina (2014)

Ex Machina is a sci-fi/psychological thriller about a young programmer who is selected to participate in a revolutionary new experiment involving extremely human artificial intelligence, created by a genius technology developer. The film is written and directed by Alex Garland, who continues to release well-received high-concept sci-fi content, and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander.

It’s an amazing modern sci-fi movie with great acting and stunning effects. The film received nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Visual Effects and ended up taking home the award for the latter.

The Farewell (2019)

The Farewell is a comedy-drama about a Chinese family who discover their grandmother has little time to live and hide it from her so they can reunite and celebrate their life with her, but the celebration is disguised as a family wedding.

For such a sad concept, the film has some truly funny moments thanks to the incredible performances by Awkwafina and Shuzhen Zhao, who steals the show as the family’s naive grandmother. The Farewell is full of endearing characters and is written and directed by Lulu Wang, who many felt was snubbed by an Oscar nomination for her work on the film.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut Gems, directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, is a crime thriller about a fast-talking jeweler in New York City who uses a rare opal in an attempt to trick people into paying off his debts. The stress and anxiety of the movie is high as one bad decision after another leads to dealing with gangsters, NBA players and art collectors.

Uncut Gems stars Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner in one of his few dramatic performances. Many fans felt that Sandler should have received an Oscar nomination for his role in the film and were shocked when the film did not receive a single nomination.

Minari (2020)

Minari is a drama about a Korean-American family who travel to Arkansas in the 1980s and start a family farm. The film is directed by Lee Isaac Chung and is a visually stunning portrait of what it means to be an immigrant family in the 1980s and the resilience it takes to build a home.

The film boasts incredible performances from the entire cast, but standout performances delivered by Steven Yeun and Yuh-Jung Youn are in the film. Minari has been widely loved by A24 fans and film critics since it was released and received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress that year.

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