For the past 8 years, the month of February has been home to the Women in Horror Month initiative created by Hannah Forman, Editor-in-Chief of Ax Wound Zine. To help support and promote females within the horror genre, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 horror films directed by women that you can currently stream on Neflix. So do yourself a favor and add all of these movies to your queue, set aside a full day, grab some popcorn, and indulge yourself with these incredible horror films directed by insanely talented women.
5. “The Babadook”
Directed by: Jennifer Kent
Synopsis: A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
Why You Should Watch: Jennifer Kent came out swinging with “The Babadook” and it took the horror world by storm. Whether you love the film or hate it, it has cemented itself as one of the most talked about horror films in recent years. Not only was the film directed by a woman but it also featured a strong performance by actress Essie Davis and brought to light the struggles of motherhood and having to raise a child on your own.
4. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour
Synopsis: In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.
Why You Should Watch: This is one of those films that never seems to have any bad press surrounding it. Like “The Babadook“, it also has a strong performance by a female lead in actress Sheila Vand‘s The Girl. This is the only film on the list that I haven’t seen and I know that I must remedy that soon but from all the praises that I’ve heard about it, I can only assume that it’s a fantastic watch.
3. “The Invitation”
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Synopsis: While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.
Why You Should Watch: I know, I know. This is one of those films people either love or hate and I’ve received backlash in the past for putting this film on my top 10 of 2016. Regardless, I still think it’s a powerhouse of a movie with terrific performances from everyone in the cast. It’s a slow burn and it definitely takes awhile before the action really starts to play out, but once it does the payoff is so worth it. The last five minutes of this film are chilling and it makes you question if you really those that are close to you.
Directed by: Antonia Bird
Synopsis: In a remote military outpost in the 19th Century, Captain John Boyd and his regiment embark on a rescue mission which takes a dark turn when they are ambushed by a sadistic cannibal.
Why You Should Watch: “Ravenous” is such a badass film and why more people don’t know about this movie is beyond me. The film has everything from cannibals to the legend of Wendigo, with a touch of humor and mountains of gore. Add in an all star cast that includes Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette and Jeremy Davies and you have yourself one hell of a horror movie expertly directed by Antonia Bird.
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
Synopsis: A newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night.
Why You Should Watch: I literally can’t say enough good things about “Honeymoon.” This has to be one of my favorite movies that’s currently streaming on Netflix and one of the few that has been able to keep my entire attention from start to finish. There are moments that are incredibly chilling and the chemistry between the couple (played by Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway) is palpable and intense as we watch them go from happy newlyweds in love to a couple engulfed in a chaos of terror and confusion. I can’t urge you enough to check out this film, it’s a definite much watch for any and all horror fans!
I would also like to make two special mentions, as both director Sarah Adina Smith and Axelle Carolyn are involved in horror anthologies that are currently streaming on Netflix. In “Holidays“, Sarah Adina Smith’s segment “Mother’s Day” follows a woman who can’t stop getting pregnant and finds herself involved with a coven of barren witches after attending a strange ritual. It’s definitely a disturbing short, one that made me want to never ever get pregnant. In “Tales of Halloween“, Axelle Carolyn’s segment “Grim Grinning Ghosts” follows a young woman that is haunted by a malevolent spirit. Her short is masterfully done with an ending that will stay with you long after it’s over.
Now go out and help spread the word about these talented directors and do your part to help support Women in Horror all year long!