Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What makes A24 movies special?

Most of us seek out new movies by genre or actor or filmmaker. Every now and then, though, a production studio emerges that demonstrates a certain quality or POV that makes them a go-to for film fans. Blumhouse, the horror studio behind hits like Get Out and The Purge franchise, is one such company, and the still relatively young A24 is yet another. If A24 rings a bell, that’s because you’ve probably seen its striking, colorful logo flash before a number of prestige films, from the Oscar-winning Moonlight to buzzy flicks like Lady Bird, Hereditary, Eighth Grade, and The Florida Project. If it’s an A24 movie, it’s probably good (or it’s Swiss Army Man).


Karsten Runquist’s latest video essay does it’s best to dig into what makes A24 films so special, with the YouTuber looking for a thread that connects a studio renowned for releasing everything from drama and comedy to horror and sci-fi to, well, Swiss Army Man. There’s no thematic connection, nor is there a narrative one; there is, however, an empathetic gaze offered to specific groups that are often ignored by mainstream filmmaking. This approach exudes a particular kind of authenticity, offering filmgoers a glimpse at modes of life that are underrepresented and, as such, incredibly refreshing. Part of the power of Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade, after all, is that he actually filled his movie with eighth graders. If it had made been made by Sony, we would’ve ended up with Chloe Grace Moretz as Kayla.

Watch the full essay above, and then visit our A24-packed list of the year’s best films so far.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.