pearl getting ready to kill

The 9 Best A24 Horror Films, Ranked

So many great films that ranking them was overwhelming!

When folks talk about A24 as an entertainment company, most of us think about their horror releases. At least those of us self-proclaimed horror nerds do. Even though they were only founded in 2012, which in the grand scheme isn’t as long as other companies, they’ve helped bring forth some of the best horror movies since the 2010s. Just imagine the horror world without A24’s horror catalogue! I don’t want to either.

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There are quite a few A24 horror films, some of which I haven’t seen yet or don’t consider to be the best. In regard to the ranking, I’m focusing on the best of them and am ranking them by how good their endings are. Call me a weirdo (I am but that’s not super important right now) but endings can make or break a movie sometimes. After all, as Supernatural once said, endings are hard.

9. Midsommar (2019)

Dani wearing her May Queen outfit
(A24 and Nordisk Film)

Plot: “The film stars Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor as a dysfunctional couple who travel to Sweden with a group of friends for a midsummer festival, only to find themselves in the clutches of a sinister cult practicing Scandinavian paganism. “

– A24

Grief is a powerful and destructive thing and having your partner (plus his shitty friends) be unsupportive, that sounds like hell. Of course, everything goes to bonkers town because of the cult. And Dani (Florence Pugh)’s shitty boyfriend gets his just desserts. I do have a lot of issues with this film, especially with how it’s very much white feminism in a lot of ways. And the ending is mainly intriguing because of Florence Pugh’s performance (plus that May Queen outfit is fucking gorgeous) and the visuals. Which is why it lands at the bottom for me.

8. Men (2022)

harper walking and seeing a man in Men
(A24 and Entertainment Film Distributors)

Plot: “Harper retreats to the countryside to be alone in the wake of a tragedy, but her unease at the town’s leering and uncannily similar men grows into a fully fledged nightmare as her arrival awakens something primal in the forest.”

– A24

Let me start by saying this film has some gorgeous scenery, and to have disturbing events take place in the middle of nowhere? Chef’s kiss. Unfortunately this movie suffers from being too on the nose, with an ending that’s more shock inducing than anything else. A horror movie about shitty and creepy men can be? With a core focus like that, there has to be more to say than the obvious. Though the performances are top notch, the visuals are so striking and disturbing, and there’s a genuine capturing of the fear that arises when men follow you.

7. Hereditary (2018)

annie freaking out in Hereditary
(A24)

Plot: “When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited.”

– A24

Some things aren’t what they seem, and in this movie, that rings extremely true. The reason this is lower on the list is that it went the typical route. Especially with that ending (which isn’t all that shocking). There aren’t quite as many surprise twists as I’d like, but the acting and scares make up for any of the downsides. If anything, Toni Colette’s performance (that dinner table scene, am I right?) is what people remember the most. And those final 10-20 minutes are absolutely bananas. Even if the movie doesn’t do a lot for you for the full run time, there’s still something to take from it.

6. Saint Maud (2021)

maud "floating" in Saint Maud
(A24 and Studio Canal)

Plot: “Maud is a reclusive young nurse whose impressionable demeanor causes her to pursue a pious path of Christian devotion after an obscure trauma. Now charged with the hospice care of Amanda, a retired dancer ravaged by cancer, Maud’s fervent faith quickly inspires an obsessive conviction that she must save her ward’s soul from eternal damnation, whatever the cost.”

– A24 and Studio Canal

This film is full of “oh shit” moments and that’s a positive note. Horror movies that involve religious fanatics are bound to go disturbing places. And Saint Maud (2019) certainly goes there with its ending especially. This movie doesn’t do everything you’re expecting, which is essentially a story involving possession. Mental health is explored in such an interesting way throughout the film. Plus, we get queer folks that are allowed to just be. And that ending is so shocking that the imagery may stick with you for a while.

5. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)

kat in The Blackcoat's Daughter
(A24 and DirecTV Cinema)

Plot: “During the dead of winter, a troubled young woman (Emma Roberts) embarks on a mysterious journey to an isolated prep school where two stranded students (Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton) face a sinister threat from an unseen evil force.”

– A24

So criminally underrated that it earned its spot this high on the list. Letting a horror movie with Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka flop was a big mistake. This is a gem that people might write off due to the low box office numbers. Yet, the reality is that it’s perfectly eerie and makes you second guess what’s really going on. It has that capability to deeply affect folks emotionally, just like psychological horror is supposed to do. And the ending is actually quite tragic when you take into account the themes. It deserves to be mentioned more often when talking about A24’s horror catalog. 

4. The VVitch (2015)

thomasin feeling delighted in The VVitch
(A24 and Elevation Pictures)

Plot: “In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer, his wife and their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin, the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy and Jonas suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan’s faith, loyalty and love to one another.”

– A24 and Elevation Pictures)

This is one of those movies that requires more than one watch. In fact, I didn’t love it right away myself. But now it’s truly a revelation (not to mention Anya Taylor-Joy is such a delight) especially where feminist horror is concerned. It’d be easy to dismiss this as a simple, supernatural horror film. Yet, it’s much more than that and that fucking ending is so dark and glorious! There’s a very deliberate message about independence, religious constriction, sexuality, and so on. Overall this is supernatural done right because—let’s face it—sometimes slow burn is worth it. 

3. Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

sophie, bee and emma in Bodies Bodies Bodies
(A24 and Stage 6 Films)

Plot: “When a group of 20-somethings gets stuck at a remote mansion during a hurricane, a party game gone very, very wrong ends with a dead body on the ground and fake friends at every turn as they try to find the killer among them.”

– A24 and Stage 6 Films

There’s so much that’s brilliant about this film and it certainly is a neon nightmare for the characters. Having a bunch of friends, who barely like each other, be forced to figure out a mystery is truly delightful. Obviously there’s a lot of social commentary, laughs, and some decent bloody moments. Is it what people would consider a traditional horror movie? No. It’s very much a dark comedy horror film and there’s nothing wrong with that. Horror isn’t always monsters, ghost, killers in masks etc. Expand your mind and enjoy a bunch of chaotic people run around a mansion. And don’t spoil the ending for yourself because it’s so damn clever. Which is part of the reason it’s high on this list!

2. X (2022)

church mouse screaming in X
(A24)

Plot: “A group of actors sets out to make an adult film in rural Texas under the noses of their reclusive hosts, but when the elderly couple catches their young guests in the act, the cast finds themselves in a desperate fight for their lives.”

– A24

How many original slashers exist in the world? Not as many as there should be. We do love long-running slashers franchises, but it’s nice to get fresh takes on the subgenre. Plus, when was the last time sex work was highlighted like this in horror? Not to mention the inspiration from iconic slashers like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The cast is stacked, the plot is delightful, the final girl twist is perfect, the ’70s aesthetic is perfect, and the gore is awesome. It’s hard not to love the ending and the triumph for bad bitch Maxine (Mia Goth).

1. Pearl (2022)

pearl smiling creepily in Pearl
(A24)

Plot: “Trapped on an isolated farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the watch of her mother. Lusting for the glamorous life she’s seen in movies, Pearl’s temptations and repressions collide.”

– A24

Delightfully twisted and the perfect origin story for Pearl (Mia Goth). After seeing her in X (2022), many questions arose as to how she became so murderous. And we all love women as villains (it really depends on how you look at it to be honest) in their own story, right? At least I do. There were so many disturbing moments in the movie (the extended smiling at the end was improv!) and as a horror fan it’s a lot of fun to see original horror be bold. Thus earning it a rightful spot at the top with its bonkers as hell ending!

Other recommendations that folks may enjoy:

  • Green Room (2015)
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

(featured image: A24)


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Author
Image of Vanessa Maki
Vanessa Maki
Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.