10 recurring signs in horror films A24

Stars At Noon is now in theaters and offers another engaging story from A24. As divisive and controversial as the company’s other films in 2022, it triggers a series of discussions about how A24 has its own style, especially when it comes to horror.

A24 has achieved brand status due to the uniqueness of its films, and to be sure, most of its horror films share a similar approach. That’s why they have attracted a legion of fans interested in experiencing a new horror experience every time.


If there’s one thing all A24 horror movies have in common, it’s a tendency to never give viewers easy answers. Sometimes viewers have no idea what’s going on in the film, as is the case with The Killing Of The Sacred Deer, where things escalate in a terrifying way with no explanation of what’s behind it. disturbing events.

The ambiguity factor is often at its best when it comes to the endings of these films. A24 wants fans to chew on what they just saw and reflect on the various hidden symbolisms and clues, leading to a fantastic post-viewing experience as things gradually begin to settle according to their interpretation.

dark atmosphere

Whatever the A24 movie, each of them has a special atmosphere to offer. Often cold, eerie and disorienting, the atmosphere almost feels like that of a character from history, from the haunted house of Hereditary to the mysterious island of The Lighthouse. The setting and the atmosphere it conveys manipulate the characters to act as they do, as if guided by external forces they cannot understand.

Instead of resorting to cheap jumpscares, A24 horror films turn to their dark atmosphere; liminal spaces and empty farmlands that hide terrifying secrets. Even in Midsommar, a film that takes place entirely during the day, it stands out as one of the film’s most effective horror elements.

Realistic character drama

The unknown in A24’s horror films represents a simple narrative device in their narrative arcs, something inherently tied to their psyche, or a chilling discovery that adds an extra layer of drama to a well-established story. In Midsommar, for example, the protagonist’s actions can be understood thanks to the focus on his painful past.

Another good example is Lamb, a typical A24 movie where most of the story centers on the harmful relationships between its three characters, who are linked by the main couple’s lamb-human hybrid. The only reason the film hits so hard once it starts to get weird is because of the gripping family drama that takes the story to a point of no return, offering viewers not only a chilling conclusion, but an end as well. melancholy and revolting.

Strong lead performance

The first thing that comes to fans’ mind when asked about an A24 horror movie will likely be a face. There is a tradition in the horror genre of not focusing too much on good performances and instead paying attention to the film’s general vibe or fears, but this doesn’t apply to A24 movies.

Instead of being reduced to mere screaming queens, major film interpretations like Hereditary, Midsommar, and Pearl have distinctive character psychology to adhere to and certain mannerisms that can only be effectively conveyed to the screen when led by legendary actors like Toni Collette, Florence. Pugh and Mia Goth.

Disruptive formulas

A24 films generally don’t specialize in the genre and reject the horror formula in favor of their own original approach. A good example is X, a film that clearly pays homage to the low-budget exploitation slasher of the ’70s, while remaining true to its original characters, most notably Pearl, one of the best and most original villains of 2022..

Men, released earlier this year, is one of the weirdest A24 horror movies because it ends up in a completely different place than it started. The way the story goes from a slow-burning thriller to a gruesome horror movie is equally shocking and fascinating, showing great genre modulation from A24.

Psychological dilemmas

A24 horror movies tend to rely on evil. The concept of yin and yang applies to almost all of their films with no inherently bad or completely good characters. There’s always a clever dilemma, a controversial decision, and in the end, fans shouldn’t be surprised if evil triumphs.

Movies like Under The Skin and The Witch offer chilling studies of characters on the other side of the coin; where religious restrictions are damnation and a life of sin means freedom. Plus, fans can’t really judge these characters because, no matter how controversial their psychological dilemmas are, their cleverly constructed psyche justifies most of their questionable actions.

The horror genre is known for being a genre focused on graphics, horrific or exploitation. A24 discards all those obvious horror elements in favor of a chilling narrative made of suggestive details, symbolism and metaphors about the human condition that often make their horror films look like nothing.

Metaphors are crucial to the kind of discussions these films try to generate. What does the lighthouse represent? Is the green man of men the embodiment of the protagonist’s repressed desires or the haunting presence of the guilt that consumes her? A24’s metaphors aren’t just thrown in there, they’re the crucial elements that separate the narrative’s surface from its evocative horror elements.

Style over substance

Fans may wonder, “Is The Lighthouse’s black and white cinematography really necessary?” or “How many X exploit scenes did we really need?” but these films wouldn’t be the same without the elegant choices that make them so different from other modern horror films.

For some, choosing style over substance can easily backfire, causing distraction and straying away from the film’s main plot, which explains the parting reactions to Men and It Comes At Night, but it’s also why fans of these movies especially love them.

Outbursts of violence

The most dangerous characters in A24 movies are those who seem harmless on the surface but are clearly nervous. A24’s tendency to rely on psychological horror is a smart move to pursue engaging character construction; they seem ordinary but are gradually overtaken by insanity, guilt or shame.

The way A24 copes with these extreme emotions always leads to impulsive outbursts of violence that take viewers out of their comfort zone as the films remind them that this is a horror movie. At this moment, the characters turn into something completely uncertain, the narrative reaches its peak of tension. Instead of using relentless violence, A24 horror films randomly insert violent instances to reach the climax of each of their characters.

Horror as a vehicle

There is always someone who will watch a recently announced A24 horror movie and wonder if this time it will “really” be a horror movie. Terms like “post-horror” or “high horror” are really bad for the genre, but the vast majority of A24 horror movies are not true horror movies. In these films, horror is the common force that holds the characters together or brutally separates them.

Horror is just a narrative tool: a vehicle to get straight to the point without taking the easy road. The truth is, A24 can insert elements of horror into any type of narrative, from the offbeat satirical style of Bodies Bodies Bodies to the gruesome analysis of human behavior in High Life. There is always a gap to explore, the possibility of turning a seemingly innocent storyline like a punk rock concert in Green Room into a nightmare struggle to survive.

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