Elevated Horror

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The "Elevated Horror" film, and the "A24ification" of the genre.

An analysis of the trend of "elevated horror", and how A24 curates and establishes the pillars of this trend through the films it chooses to purchase. There seems to be a school of thought that is under the impression that films like The Babadook, Hereditary and The Witch (which could all be considered as familial "drama" films masquerading as horror) are refreshing because horror has been "devoid of thematic resonance" in the past and the genre is having a resurgence of some kind. Important to consider that all of these filmmakers seem to hold horror at arm’s length, stating in interviews that they weren’t trying to make a horror film and that they see their work as a "family drama" or some other derivative and cliched response.

  • I like your focus on the familial aspect, as I believe I've seen analyses that have touched upon the family trauma aspect of recent horror, such as The Haunting of Hill House. When it comes to the "devoid of thematic resonance" part, the movies mentioned, especially Hereditary, are very influenced by other horror films. It makes me wary when certain directors treat the label "horror" as anathema, as if they're too good for it. It's like when people label certain films as "thrillers" because "horror" would be too "demeaning." Horror films aren't suddenly meaningful; they have often had thematic and symbolic resonance, but those who claim certain films are "horror but meaningful and different" (and I'm not directing this toward you, and you acknowledge the derivative nature of these takes) feel like they're people who generally dislike or don't watch horror and need to rationalize that the films they do like are different because, hey, I hate horror, so if I like it, it mustn't be horror! – Emily Deibler 5 years ago
  • This is a really important topic to consider at the moment. I think your point can even be extended beyond A24. For instance, whether Get Out is a horror film or a 'family drama' is still up for debate online (much to my and director Jordan Peele's frustration). Interesting that Texas Chainsaw isn't included in these people's ideas of what constitutes a 'family drama'... – Kate 5 years ago