Ari Aster is an American writer and director, best known for his incredible horror movies Hereditary and Midsommar. With each new movie, he proves himself more and more to be a horror genius; his films discuss many different themes and create disturbing surreal nightmares that will leave you awake for days.
Ari Aster Movies List
Ari Aster has directed 11 movies in total. Three are feature lengths and eight, the majority of them, are short films.
Hereditary is Aster’s feature directorial debut and the movie that made everyone fall in love with him. After Ellen’s death, who was the matriarch of the Grahams, the family members start to be haunted by an unknown presence. The family drama is mainly centered around Annie Graham, a miniature artist who didn’t have the best relationship with Ellen, her mom, and attends a support group to deal with her grief. After an unexpected event shakes the whole family, Annie starts getting the help of Joan, a medium and friend of her mother.
Toni Collette as Annie is incredible in it and expresses the sadness, distress, and dread perfectly. One thing greatly presented in Hereditary that Aster uses in many others of his works, mainly Midsommar, is the building of tension. He uses it to corner you into a fearful state before you even realize it.
After losing her entire family (in one of the most nerve-racking scenes of the film), Dani travels with her boyfriend and his friends to Sweden for a summer festival. What was supposed to be a fun trip and a chance for them to study as anthropologists quickly becomes a test to see who can adapt to the unusual lifestyle and traditions of the people there.
Midsommar is praised for being a horror movie almost entirely composed of bright scenes, without needing to use the dark to instill fear. It’s able to do that thanks to Aster’s manner of building tension discussed before. With the use of shots and framework to create strangeness and make you unsettled, you will fear what might happen even if the characters are in broad daylight. Not to mention, the movie also has moments made specially to shock and leave you more disturbed, like the cliff scene.
Another horror movie that gives a similar feeling, even though it doesn’t have a lot of themes in common, and it’s not by Ari Aster is The Menu, an incredible and unsettling 2022 flick starring Anya Taylor-Joy.
Beau is Afraid (2023)
Beau is Afraid is Aster’s newest horror flick set to arrive in theaters on April 21, 2023. It’s described as a “zonky nightmare comedy” in which Joaquin Phoenix plays Beau, an extremely anxious man who finds himself on a surreal and supernatural journey while trying to get home to his mother. The movie was previously titled Disappointment Blvd, so if you were sad you couldn’t find anything new about it, don’t worry. It’s another great pick for the most anticipated horror movies of 2023.
Herman’s Cure-All Tonic (2008)
Aster’s first short movie follows Harold, a pharmacist who sells his abusive dad’s product and struggles to deal with the requests and criticism from his clients. It feels amateurish, but it’s an interesting piece that shows many of the skills Aster is famous for.
The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011)
It’s Aster’s most popular short film and another great mix of family drama and horror. The Strange Thing About the Johnsons is a dark domestic satire about trauma and relationships, and it went viral when it came out because of its controversial themes.
Aster’s strangest movie ever, Beau (2011) is probably a great inspiration for his newest movie, Beau is Afraid. It sees Beau trying to leave his house to see his mother, but when his keys are stolen, surreal and upsetting events start to disturb the already neurotic man.
TDF Really Works (2011)
The best part is realizing the man who directed MIdsommar and Hereditary also made a fake advert for a toy called… “Tino’s Dick Fart.”
A mother unable to imagine herself leaving without her son makes him sick to delay his departure for college.
It follows the protagonist’s privileged life and her inability to come to terms with her reality. While you can find similarities in style, like the camera work, it’s a chance to see a director famous for his horror movies trying to create a comedy.
The Turtle’s Head (2014)
Like Basically, it’s another comedy short directed by Ari Aster. This time, it explores toxic masculinity by following a womanizing detective developing a strange medical condition.
C’est la Vie (2016)
In his last stab at comedy, Aster directs the story of a homeless man telling the viewers about his life and what he wants out of it (the ending moments of his monologue being the best of the whole short). He also uses editing to mix a few more shocking scenes with the comedic monologue.
- This article was updated on January 11th, 2023