A24 is a production company founded by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges in 2013. With movies like Uncut Gems (2019) and Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) to its name, A24 has become one of the biggest production companies going!
Here are our favourite A24 films:
Today, a positive belief exists that through personal growth and choice, we can break the generational traumas of our relatives. In Hereditary, this idea is played with more sinister, supernatural undertones. While an uneasy presence of cultists and demonic rituals circle the central characters of Hereditary, the emotional battle Annie (Toni Collette) has with her family is something that rings uncomfortably reminiscent for viewers who have complex relationships with their relatives. While themes of possession and a greater evil slowly emerge, scenes where Annie screams her hatred for her son or shares childhood traumas in therapy sessions, bring greater feelings of unease and horror than in scenes deliberately designed to shock with gore. Hereditary is a clever supernatural horror, and it plants the seeds that some demonic presence is looming in the background and distracts you by toying with the idea that maybe grief is leading its characters into madness. By the time the true villains appear, the family is at such a point of psychological collapse that the viewers embrace the inevitable doomed fates of its characters with acceptance.
A24 have become renowned by aesthetically appreciative film lovers for their trademark endings, characters achieving enlightenment or a greater state of being through horrific circumstances, breaking into laughter and smiling at something far beyond the camera. You pity these characters, yet when Peter is finally crowned the Prince of Hell after the awful upbringing he experienced and the death of his family, you can’t help but wonder whether this fate might be for the best, even if it was without choice.
Barry Jenkins’ second feature, Moonlight, may be A24’s most popular and most acclaimed film due to its infamous last-minute Best Picture win at the 2017 Oscars – and deservedly so. As Jenkins has continued to prove himself as one of the strongest directors currently working with subsequent projects like If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), Moonlight laid the groundwork for so many different, essential puzzle pieces in cinema’s current culture – not only was the film’s representation of a gay black teenager important, but it also helped to push A24 further into the spotlight and secure its position as a distribution company helping to promote important voices.
The film is one of stunning beauty on all fronts, from its gorgeous Nicholas Britell score to its cinematography by James Laxton, which bathes the world in blues, to its emotional perspective, which empathises with every character on screen and seeks to understand them all. It’s a ground-shaking film, full of intense emotion and subtly crafted storytelling. It appears as if it came from a director with decades of experience when it was only the second film he had directed.
Under the Skin (2013)
Long before A24 became a household name through the monumental successes of Moonlight (2016) and The Witch (2016), it may be a surprise to learn that they helped distribute some highly-regarded features in its earliest years. This includes the likes of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers (2013), Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy (2014), and, I hereby declare, one of contemporary cinema’s greatest achievements, Jonathan Glazer’s film Under the Skin (2013).
Bolstered by an unexpected yet utterly absorbing performance from Scarlett Johannson, Under the Skin is one of those indescribable yet indelible cinematic experiences that leaves you simultaneously in shock, horror and awe. Within its darkly erotic, twisted shell lies a blinding density of terror, beauty and pathos rarely touched upon in most other films of its kind – literally and figuratively stripping away and unveiling the very core and essence of our humanity. Under the Skin transcends all easy categorisation, from its deeply unsettling ‘unadorned’ vérité filming style, compelling us by the staggeringly beautiful imagery of unadulterated terror and discomfort into voyeuristic complicity, to Mica Levi’s brilliantly menacing, visceral score that is as creepily stunning as it is hypnotic.
Jonathan Glazer’s cinematically pure, minimalistic direction is adorned with a philosophical and poetic essence, and depth is seldom achieved in both horror and cinema. Under the Skin’s deeply personal nature is the finest proof the most terrifying thing in horror is not monsters or the paranormal but, in fact, the self. It is, without doubt, horror at its finest and most psychologically and emotionally potent. An impeccable masterwork, to be sure.
Denis Villeneuve’s 2013 psychological drama is a perplexing puzzle that drops the viewer right into the psyche of a tired History lecturer, his actor look-a-like. It is also the film responsible for the Jake Gyllenhaal running meme!
The plot is inspired by Jose Saramago’s 2002 novel, The Double/The Duplicated man. As the title suggests, Enemy follows Adam Bell and Anthony Claire (both played by Jake Gyllenhaal) as they discover they look exactly the same! The two swap lives, and a confusing tale of affairs, terrible sunglasses, and creepy spider appearances ensue! We continue to follow the story until Helen, Anthony’s girlfriend (Sarah Gadon) says, “How was school today?” to the WRONG character!!!! The audience starts to question everything; Which character is real? Has anyone really swapped lives? Is Anthony dead? The denouement of Enemy is one of the most chilling and intelligent endings I’ve ever seen in a movie, and leaves you pondering the movie for a long time after!
Enemy, like many A24 films, is absolutely littered with symbolism. I love A24 films because they feel like a riddle the audience must figure out; You are never just a passive viewer! A24 films challenge you to reassess your ideas of life, yourself, and the world, making A24 films a piece of art!