Independent entertainment company A24 has built a reputation for producing and distributing some of the best films of the past decade. Their grounded dramas like Moonlight, Lady Bird, and Minari are critical darlings, while offbeat flicks like The Lobster, Good Time, and Under the Silver Lake have inspired rabid cult followings.
But the general public might know A24 better for their controversial, arthouse horror films.
Much like the horror classics of the ‘60s and ‘70s, these movies use the popular genre as a setting to explore disturbing concepts and complicated themes. They don't need cheap jump scares or CGI monsters to creep you out, focusing instead on building an unsettling atmosphere through psychological dread.
While this approach alienates mainstream horror fans who want something more traditional, the controversy is a testament to the talent and ambition behind these films.
What scares you is subjective, but there’s no denying that these films feel like personal stories made by filmmakers with unique voices. Whether it’s demonic possession, deadly cults, or a sexy alien invader, you can count on an A24 movie to give a tried and true concept a unique spin.
10. Saint Maud
Saint Maud takes a big swing by portraying religious extremism as a type of demonic possession. After a traumatic incident sends young nurse Maud towards the cross, she’s assigned to care for a dying atheist. To atone for her past, Maud takes it upon herself to save her patient’s soul from eternal damnation but goes too far when she tries to control every aspect of her life.
The film tells us very little about Maud’s backstory, relying solely on Morfydd Clark’s talents to fill in the gaps. She plays the young nurse somber and rigid, a fragile loner one minute and a sinister zealot the next. And when Maud tries to jump back into her old hedonistic lifestyle, Clark's frail, awkward body language reveals the girl's emotional scars.
Rose Glass’s steady direction reflects Maud’s twisted perspective. The dark, grimy cinematography makes the setting look like hell on earth, and the uncomfortable sound design gets under your skin.
he film rides the line between gritty realism and horrific fantasy, using classic demonic possession imagery like convulsions and floating bodies to depict Maud’s broken mental state.