10 Great Recent Movies That May Become Future Cult Favorites

Hop on Fandango near Halloween and you’ll likely find a midnight screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Follow Greg Sestero on social media and you’ll likely see posts about the latest Q&A screening of The Room. Add a quote from The Big Lebowski to your Tinder bio and see how many messages you receive. These movies are cult classics; they’ve managed to develop a large following after years of positive word-of-mouth and theatrical rereleases.

Cult followings tend to take some time to develop, but once an audience has been found, you’re bound to hear about it. This leads us to the following list. Below, you’ll find ten recent movies that have what it takes to earn a cult following.

Cult classics are hard to define. Some people claim that a movie must be commercially unsuccessful in order to earn the label, while others simply call anything with a rabid following a cult classic. In order to draw attention to more obscure movies, we’ll be focusing on the former definition. While the latter definition is by no means objectively incorrect, movies like Barbie and Pearl have already been showered with attention.

While there is no concrete criteria, the films below all tend to target a very specific audience. This very specific audience might, in theory, begin talking to like-minded individuals, eventually bringing in countless cinephiles who will spread the word. Keep in mind that this list is anything but exhaustive. That being said, these ten entries seem destined to be discussed alongside movies like Jennifer’s Body and Clerks.


1. Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

Josh Greenbaum’s offbeat buddy comedy gives Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo an opportunity to be unabashedly off-the-rails. The co-stars, who also wrote the movie, inject so much personality into a subgenre of comedies that has grown substantially more stale as time passes.

The basic set-up is simple. Two middle-aged friends who have never left their hometown decide to go on vacation to Vista Del Mar, Florida. Friends going on trips is nothing new in the comedy world. Just this year, we’ve gotten everything from Joy Ride to Vacation Friends 2. However, most of those movies rely heavily on raunchy laughs. That’s not the case here.

Much of the charm is derived from the childlike innocence of the main characters. Barb and Star are not out doing cocaine and going to strip clubs. They’re just trying to navigate a world that’s completely foreign to them. The fish-out-of-water trope isn’t exactly novel either, but the way it’s handled here is surprisingly fresh.

It helps that the film never feels predictable. Not once will you be able to guess what happens next in Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar, and that’s because it has no interest in telling a conventional story. These kinds of movies tend to follow a nearly beat-for-beat narrative structure, but in this case, there’s no telling what will happen next.

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a comedy that dares to be different. Its pride in its own weirdness is beyond charming, and it’s hard not to fall in love with the two oddball protagonists.


2. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (2020)

Junta Yamaguchi’s directorial debut is a heady time loop movie that immediately brings to mind similarly low-budget experiments like One Cut of the Dead. Like the aforementioned movie, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes uses its shoestring budget to tell a tightly constructed story that effectively brings new life to a popular subgenre.

Running at only 71 minutes, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes makes sure that every second counts. It immediately transports viewers into its seemingly innocuous setting, only to quickly pull the rug and reveal its unconventional conceit.

Basically, in a small Japanese cafe, the workers discover that there is a computer monitor that shows viewers what will happen two minutes into the future. When the characters learn that they can face screens toward each other, they find out that they can create a Droste effect, which allows them to see further into the future. This leads to various revelations and conflicts, resulting in a movie that never reveals its hand.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a gleefully quirky sci-fi comedy that tells its story so efficiently that it brings shame to other blockbuster time travel flicks. Its initial simplicity makes way for something far more idiosyncratic, and the final product is an essential science fiction feat.


3. Bullet Train (2022)

Bullet Train, directed by David Leitch and released in 2022, has all the makings of a future cult classic. Fresh off of Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw, Leitch got the opportunity to distance himself from blockbuster mega-franchises. By doing this, he managed to give viewers something that feels a little messier and less factory-made. Bullet Train is without a doubt a flawed movie, but it’s a flawed movie that is bursting with heart.

This adrenaline-fueled action flick focuses on Ladybug, an enigmatic hitman played by Brad Pitt. Pitt’s quirks, moral ambiguity, and determination allow him to stand out as a character that viewer’s won’t easily forget. Cult classics are so dependent on memorable characters, and without someone like Pitt, Bullet Train easily could have been dead on arrival.

Still, it’s hard to talk about the film without mentioning its premise. Like Snakes on a Plane, Bullet Train transports viewers into its claustrophobic setting and lets loose. The titular train ultimately feels like a character of its own. It forces its characters to duke it out in close-quarters, and the resulting action sequences are stunning.

Maybe it’s not as polished as John Wick or as funny as Nobody, but Bullet Train is still a blazing fast rollercoaster that mostly does what it sets out to do. Leitch has proven time and time again that he has a knack for movies like this, and Bullet Train further proves that argument.


4. Last Night in Soho (2021)

Edgar Wright’s first foray into the horror genre was a financial disappointment that failed to garner the same level of critical acclaim as Wright’s past projects. Given the success of Baby Driver, you’d think Last Night in Soho would have been a runaway hit, but people simply didn’t give it the time of day. Generally speaking, contemporary audiences tend to rank it below Wright’s greatest hits, and while that’s absolutely fair, it still seems odd to ignore it entirely. Last Night in Soho is no Shaun of the Dead, but it’s nevertheless a visually striking throwback to old-school thrillers.

Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy are hypnotic as the pair of dual protagonists. If there’s one thing propelling this movie forward, it’s Ellie and Sandie. The two characters steal every scene they’re in, and it’s not just because they have the most screen time; they’re just that fascinating.

Meanwhile, Wright’s screenplay is a little rocky, but it still manages to touch on relevant, taboo topics. In spite of some tonal inconsistencies, Last Night in Soho addresses the #MeToo scandal with a reasonable amount of elegance. When it does get a little too ambitious, it still remains engaging, and that’s good enough.


5. Malignant (2021)

James Wan has helped create some of the most commercially successful horror franchises of all time. In particular, his work on The Conjuring universe has been remarkable. That being said, there is one valid complaint that has been leveled against him; his horror features are too conventional. The Conjuring, Insidious, and Saw are all successful horror franchises, but they aren’t exactly genre-defying. Malignant, however, is a different beast.

Wan’s latest horror feature is completely batty compared to something like The Conjuring. It harkens back to the days of giallo cinema, but it takes inspiration instead of copying from a template. This is a product straight from screenwriter Akela Cooper’s brain; it’s filled with gruesome imagery and bizarre narrative beats that seem completely out-of-place in a theatrically released horror movie. Wan’s ability to bring this chaos to life is admirable.

His willingness to go against the grain has, no surprise, left some viewers feeling like they stumbled into the wrong movie. Still, there are bound to be countless horror fans who can appreciate the tonal shift.