10 Best scary movies with powerful female leads

10 Best scary movies with powerful female leads

WRITTEN BY: CARLY GOETZ

Scary movies are great, but let’s face it, the classic scary movies making girls look weak, annoying and pathetic are overrated and annoying. What better way to watch a horror film than to watch one that screams feminism?

It’s time to give credit to some sick scary movies that lead with women.

“The Witch” (2005)

This movie is about a Puritan family who deals with some unknown forces beyond their understanding in the small farm they reside in, and it is quite possible that some of these forces might come from their minds.

This movie is different from other typical scary movies, because this develops a solid build of dread and restraint that keeps you at the edge of your seat and trying to figure out the puzzle — unlike the predictable movies. 

This film will bring the investigator side of you, but don’t let your imagination haunt you too much.

“The Babadook” (2014) 

The Babadook is extremely popular and well-done. It is an Australian psychological film, and it was considered one of the best reviewed films the year it premiered.

The storyline is about a widow, Amelia Vanek, as she copes with being a single mother, and the terrible threats from the Babadook, a creature that permeates their lives. 

This movie is mostly praised for its moving story and great commitment to true, genuine horror. 

“The Descent” (2005)

With a nearly entire female cast, “The Descent” is a classic British horror that is undeniably great.

It is based on six women who go on an adventurous cave expedition that goes terribly wrong. This movie is loved for its strong performances and taut, claustrophobic atmosphere that it presents. 

However, if you’re looking for the true scare, watch the British version, because the American one has a different ending due to the original being “too dark.” This female-driven movie presents genuine horror that is addicting and beats the petty, sexist stereotypes of women. 

“The Others” (2001)

“The Others” is enticing, female based, and a greatly acknowledged horror film. 

This movie is about a single mother caring for her two children in the aftermath of World War II, and she is quite convinced that the house is haunted. 

Not only is the story centered on a female lead, but the director is also Spanish-Chilean. This movie was filmed and directed by director Alejandro Amenabar, and was the first English Language Film to win Best Film at the Goyas (the Spanish equivalent to the Oscars). 

This movie is gothic and psychological, and gives a psychanalysis on the female side of it all. It is sure to leave you scared. 

“It Follows” (2014)

This movie is an original, thought provoking, tense and terrifying film that will keep you biting your nails and feeling a shadow creeping right behind you.

It is about the supernatural forces that arrive after one girl has a sexual encounter. “It Follows” is thrilling and the tension in the film is bound to keep you creeped out to the max. 

“Carrie” (1976) 

“Carrie” is an all-time classic horror movie. It is about a teenage girl, Carrie White, who is raised in a very strict, religious home, and is constantly bullied at school. 

Eventually, the story gets creepier when everyone is unaware of her special powers, which she gains as she becomes a “woman.” She seeks revenge on those who have wronged her, and with her powers, there is no limit to her physical capacities as her revenge takes the best of her. 

This movie is bloody and gory and makes quite an interesting storyline of a poor, bullied girl battling her first period — only heightened to the extreme. 

“Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

“Rosemary’s Baby” is an excellent and influential female-led horror movie. 

The main character, Rosemary, learns that she is pregnant under some bizarre circumstances, and eventually grows paranoid and suspects that there is a cult haunting her baby. 

Not only is it terror-filled and suspenseful, but it was also selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry and is regarded by many as a classic. 

“Us” (2019)

If you haven’t seen this movie, you are truly missing out.

In this “Us,” the protagonist, who is the mother of a family, is played by Lupita Nyong’o.

Nyong’o plays two parts and, metaphorically, she is tied to the plot’s development. On a family vacation, the family is separated by doppelgängers and is comprised of many entangling symbols, which only make this terror film even better. 

This will keep you up at night, and you will love the movie more each time you watch it with all the hidden information you missed the first time. 

“Midsommar” (2019) 

Not quite your usual scary or horror movie is the creepy and unsettling movie “Midsommar.”

This one may be lengthy, but do not let that stop you from watching. On one crazy trip to Sweden, a girl accompanies her boyfriend and his best friends. They explore an odd family with interesting traditions, and throughout the film, the female protagonist battles her unending grief.

The weirdness of the family evolves from creepy to disturbing, but it is certainly entertaining.

“Midsommar” also has many hidden messages that you surely won’t catch the first time, so it will leave you watching it again and again, finding new clues with each viewing. Take a chance on this out of the ordinary film that will have you questioning your sanity. 

“Halloween” (2018)

Lastly, “Halloween” finishes us off with the strong female twist to its previous film. 

This film has a vivid dedication to portraying horror through the female lens. In this movie, three generations of women come together to fend off the horror icon Michael Myers. 

This movie was the highest-grossing film in the “Halloween” series, the highest-grossing slasher film and was also the highest-grossing opening with a female lead over 55 years old. 

The “Halloween” series is iconic and really shows women on top. 

The film industry typically depends on female stereotypes that are often offensive in attempts to be considered “funny.” 

These films listed, in opposition, empower women through horror, and they embody the virtues of bravery, inner strength and courage that women possess. 

Women are strong and fearless, and these 10 amazing horror films that are female-led are worth seeing for not only the thrill, but also for the feminist activism that they portray.

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