Independent film company A24 has spawned some of the most mind-melting, psychological, psychedelic and jaw-dropping horror of the past decade. Some notable directors within the A24 sphere include Robert Eggers, Ari Aster and Alex Garland, who have created recent classics such as “Hereditary” or “The Lighthouse.” These films have distinguished themselves from run-of-the-mill horror flicks with their layered, impeccable production of forward-thinking aesthetics and refreshing spins on classic tropes. For those looking to continue a scary movie streak after Halloween, here are my five favorite A24 horror films.

5. “Midsommar” (2019)

In “Midsommar,” a group of Americans visit Sweden to partake in local pagan summer festivities. The viewing experience perfectly corresponds to the psychedelic sub-theme throughout the movie, transporting viewers into a nightmare. The breathing environment of rural Sweden is filled with beautiful flowers and colorful Swedish decorations, which is subtly juxtaposed against gory and disturbing pagan rituals flowing with psilocybe-induced hallucinations. The film falters most, however, in its hollow plot and unsatisfying ending. Regardless, “Midsommar” is still a great pick for anyone looking for a horror movie with a rich visual palette.

Grade: C

4. “The VVitch” (2015)

“The VVitch” is Robert Eggers’ first major film and captures his master style of the period piece thriller. The film takes place in 1660s New England, an era teeming with intense religious fervor and anxiety. “The VVitch” tells the story of a family that is banished from their colony and must fight to survive the rough winter. Eggers brilliantly fulfills the Christian paranoia of the time by introducing the element of Satanic possession. The movie also adapts real language from 17th-century English colonies and transcripts from actual witch trials, giving it a remarkably genuine feel. This movie is great for people who are into exceptionally accurate period pieces or anyone that prefers their horror with notes of Satanically-possessed children. 

Grade: B

3. “Hereditary” (2018)

Ari Aster’s breakout film, “Hereditary,” is a horror masterpiece. Injected with the occult, Satanic spiritualism and ritualistic sacrifice, this movie beautifully builds tension through insidious symbolism and foreboding imagery. The acting conveys a tangible feeling of darkness, depression and dread that drags you down with the characters. The ending also packs a real punch, which left me shocked yet oddly satisfied. 

Grade: B+

2. “Ex-Machina” (2014)

I already know what you’re thinking: “Ex-Machina” isn’t scary, why is it on this list? Although this film isn’t necessarily frightening in a traditional sense, the lingering existential crisis you go through after watching it is jarring and scary in its own right. “Ex-Machina” revolves around a computer programmer and a billionaire tech CEO who observes and experiments on artificial intelligence robots. This film confronts many existentialist themes and questions, such as what it means to be human, what is the self and what makes us real? This movie isn’t just mind-blowing conceptually, it also features stunning visuals. The surreal fusion between the organic surrounding nature and beautifully designed tech-mansion echoes the clash between natural and manmade. “Ex-Machina” is subtle, minimal and ontologically frightening. 

Grade: A

1. “The Lighthouse” (2019)

“The Lighthouse” is set in the late 1800s and documents two lighthouse keepers on a small island off the coast of Maine. What follows is a legendary movie on all fronts. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson give some of the most riveting performances of all time. The production choice to film on 35mm black and white film with a nearly square aspect ratio recreates a classic 20s thriller feel. As in the “The VVitch,” Eggers employs historically accurate dialogue for 19th-century sailors, pulling language directly from sailors’ diaries at the time, and employing New England sailor dialects. “The Lighthouse”’s grandiose monologues, abstract symbolism and layered actions make this film easily rewatchable and open to multiple interpretations. I’m coming up on my sixth viewing, and each time I’m more mystified and entranced than the last. “The Lighthouse” is not only my favorite A24 thriller but also my favorite movie of all time and an awe-inspiring cinematic achievement. 

Grade: A

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Jeffrey Rosen (23C) is a writer who is interested in music and movies. Some of his interests include (but are not limited to) British humor, the Grateful Dead and silly things. Contact Rosen at