By Maia Venuti
At the start of this year, I offhandedly made a comment to my friends about how I think that this year is going to be the most successful year for A24, which is an independent film studio. As of September 2022, A24 has released eight films so far, and by the end of this year, they will have released 15. They have always made great movies, but this year is different. This year, they released something for everyone to enjoy, from children’s movies to campy slashers. I want to take a look at some of the eight films that have been released thus far to show the incredibly successful year that A24 had.
“After Yang” (2022)
“After Yang” was released on March 4 and is a science fiction movie starring Colin Farrell. The story is about a young girl whose beloved robot, Yang, breaks down, so her father searches for a way to repair him. On his journey, he grows closer to his family, reconnecting with his wife and daughter. The film received an 88% reviewer score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 68% audience score. I was shocked to see that A24 was releasing a movie more targeted at families and children but was pleasantly surprised at how well they did. Kids movies are so challenging to do well because they should not only be fun for the kids. They should also be a good watch for the parents who also have to watch the movie, and this film is fun for everyone. “After Yang” is truly a great film, and I’d recommend it to anyone who needs a light and low stakes movie.
Director: Ti West
“X” is a slasher horror film that was released on March 18. Set in rural Texas circa 1979, a group of young actors set out to make an adult film at an old farmhouse owned by elderly reclusive hosts renting out rooms. When said hosts catch the actors performing lewd acts, pandemonium ensues, and it becomes a fight for their lives against their crazed hosts. It is the first movie in a two part series, with the second part “Pearl” (2022) being a prequel, showing the origin story to the antagonist in “X.” The film was incredibly well received, as per Rotten Tomatoes, “X” earned a 94% reviewer score and a 75% audience score. I agree more with the 94% reviewer score as I thought the film was incredible. As a huge horror fan, I always get so excited whenever A24 releases a horror movie because I think horror is their strong suit, and they really nailed it. Ti West took so many classic tropes and completely spun them on their heads and made something incredibly unique.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2022)
Directors: Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is an adventure/sci-fi movie that was released on March 25. It follows a laundromat owner who finds herself needing to save the world with her newly found powers after an interdimensional rupture occurs, sending her on a crazy journey spanning across the multiverse. Without a doubt, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is the most popular, highest grossing and best received film from A24’s entire filmography, earning a 95% reviewer score and an 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. I think it is one of the most unique films to ever be released because there was absolutely nothing like it before, and there will never be something like it again. This was such a step outside of A24’s comfort zone, and it was incredibly refreshing to see as a long time A24 fan. The cinematography, visual effects, and editing was beyond perfect, and I think Marvel should probably take some notes because A24 beat them in their own game.
Director: Alex Garland
“Men” is a horror film starring Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear and was released on May 20. The film is about a young woman who, after a personal tragedy, moves to the English countryside. However, someone or something is watching her every move, which makes what was once a looming threat into a full fledged nightmare. “Men” received a 69% reviewer score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a shocking 39% audience score. I loved how simplistic the antagonist was: being simply a man. Based on my own experience, this made the film much scarier because the threat of this happening to a woman in real life is incredibly real. There is some controversy over “Men,” with many men saying they felt offended by the title and topic. However, I have noticed the only men getting triggered over this film are the ones who are being portrayed by the antagonist and don’t like seeing their own behavior demonized. I liked this movie, and I think it sent an important message despite the controversy.
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” (2022)
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is a children’s comedy movie that came out on June 24. The film is about Marcel, a one inch snail, who is found by a documentary filmmaker that decides to film Marcel and eventually help little Marcel and his grandmother find their family. One of their best received films, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” received a 99% reviewer score and a 92% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This film was absolutely precious. Marcel is so cute and is such a fun and lovable character that immediately hooks you. Again, A24 made a children’s film and has successfully made it a fun movie for not only kids but adults watching, too. I would watch it again in a heartbeat; it is just a nice, easily digestible plot, and nothing is too high stakes.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” (2022)
Director: Halina Rejin
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a slasher horror comedy movie that was released on August 5. It is about a group of friends who decide to have a get-together during a hurricane, but when they decide to play a game known as bodies bodies bodies, things take a dark turn. As per Rotten Tomatoes, the film got an 85% reviewer score and a 69% audience rating. “Bodies Bodies Bodies” was exactly what a horror comedy should be. When it wanted to be funny, it was hysterical, and when it wanted to be scary, it was beyond terrifying. The writing for this film was the best portrayal of Generation Z in film thus far. I have never seen writing that not only was incredibly accurate but also did not feel patronizing towards Generation; it just felt real. The way the story so quickly goes off the rails, and the plot twists, made watching it so much more fun.
Overall, A24 has had a spectacular year. They made their highest grossing film this year, they did not receive a reviewer score under 50% on any film and they will have made 15 films by the end of December. As a years-long fan of A24, seeing their success this year has made me so happy, and I look forward to the future of A24 and how they will continue to raise the bar in years to come.