Female revenge horror movies pack a real punch. While you would expect men to get revenge, women are not thought of as being violent or capable of the fighting and brutality involved in getting revenge. But that's not true. Women often want revenge every bit as much as men do, and when the crimes committed against them are bad enough, they will. These are some of the best and favorite female revenge flicks, other than I Spit On Your Grave (2010), released 13 years ago this month. Read more: Problematic Films: In Defense Of I Spit on Your Grave.
Revenge is a great modern female revenge film. Written and directed by French filmmaker Coralie Fargeat, it stars Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, and Guillaume Bouchède. Lutz plays Jen, a woman who is sexually assaulted by a friend of her married lover, and her boyfriend does nothing to help her. He tries to cover it up and slaps her when she gets angry. When the men decide to get rid of her, she runs. Jen is a gorgeous and sexy woman whom they have clearly underestimated and who will never give up. The film is sunblasted with great cinematography and even greater kills of the men who totally deserve what they get.
Ms .45 (1981)
Abel Ferrara's Ms .45 is one of the female revenge classics; it is the tale of beautiful deaf/mute Thana, a seamstress in the fashion industry, who is hit on by men constantly and sexually assaulted twice in one day. It's too much for her mind, and she snaps, killing one of the men. After that, she takes the gun from the dead man and goes on a mission of vengeance during long New York Nights. Watching Thana destroy evil men always warms the heart while breaking it, and the actress who plays Thana, Zoë Tamerlis, went on to co-write the script Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant. Read more: Revenge Makes For A Killer Dish In Horror Short The Recipe.
Violation is a truly disturbing film, and the revenge is horrifying in its carefully rendered detail. It is a very effective example of how women are gaslit after a sexual assault by family and friends, which adds another unpleasant layer of evil to the story. Miriam (Madeleine Sims-Fewer), who also wrote and co-directed the film, is assaulted by her sister's husband, Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe). The film will stay with you for a long time, playing on in your memory. It's not revenge as entertainment, it's revenge as punishment.
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Even though the victims don't accomplish The Last House on the Left's vengeance, it remains a landmark in the subgenre. It was Wes Craven's feature film debut and had such a nasty and sleazy crew of criminals who sexually assaulted and murdered the two young women. The reaction of Mari's parents is understandable when they find her body and realize the people they have taken into their home are her killers. It is still a controversial film. Sandra Peabody and Lucy Grantham star as the two young women, Mari Collingwood and Phyllis Stone, and David A. Hess, Fred Lincoln, and Jeramie Rain star as their merciless killers. After the two girls' deaths, it is up to Mari's parents, played by Eleanor Shaw and Richard Towers, to pay them back. Read more: Review: The Last House on the Left (2009).
La Llorona (2019)
La Llorona, co-written and directed by Jayro Bustamante, is a Guatemalan film that uses the legend of La Llorona, or the crying woman, to tell the story of the Guatemalan genocide of the Indigenous Mayan Kaqchikel people. The genocide, the Silent Holocaust, was an extraordinarily cruel pogrom carried out by the U.S.-backed Guatemalan government. During the genocide trial of dictator Enrique Monteverde (Julio Díaz), he has a heart attack and must be taken home. His wife Carmen (Margarita Kenéfic) has no sympathy for the Indigenous women who have accused her husband of crimes against humanity. A new maid, Alma (María Mercedes Coroy), becomes the focus of Enrique's lust and fascination, as the placid woman may hide a secret. The film is equally as hard-hitting as the others on this list but more lyrical and with a magical reality that doesn't tone down the horror. Read more: Unmasking The Past.
The Woman (2011)
The Woman, directed by Lucky McKee and co-written with Jack Ketchum, differs from many of these revenge films. The Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh), a feral cannibal, is captured by the father of a family, Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers), and he tortures her and sexually assaults her in the name of civilizing her. The family has secrets that are even more horrifying, as The Woman is not the first woman they have abused or assaulted. It also stars Angela Bettis, Lauren Ashley Carter, Carlee Baker, and Zach Rand. The revenge comes when Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter), the pregnant daughter, and Belle (Angela Bettis) release The Woman from her prison.
Ravage, formerly known as Swing Low, is about a nature photographer who witnesses a murder and then is caught by the perpetrators and sexually assaulted. Harper (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) is an adamant and inventive agent of revenge and gets the better of her captors by virtue of her intelligence. The movie also stars Bruce Dern, who plays a despicable patriarch but still makes the film better whenever he is on screen.
The Virgin Spring (1960)
The last thing that you might expect on one of these lists is a film by Ingmar Bergman, but here's one that fits on the list. The Virgin Spring is the film on which Wes Craven based The Last House on the Left. Bergman's version is not as sordid as The Last House on the Left is, but it is the originator of the plot and delivers a similar horrifying wallop. It is the prototype of the entire subgenre and is based on a Swedish ballad, Töres döttrar i Wänge. Instead of David Hess' sleaze, you get Max Von Sydow's towering performance of rage and grief. It's every bit as frightening as Last House but in a more heartbreaking and subtle way.
M.F.A. is the story of shy Noelle (Francesca Eastwood), a master of fine arts student who is lured to a party and sexually assaulted. Directed by Natalia Leite and written by Leah McKendrick, the film tells the story of Noelle's revenge, which inspires her creatively and inspires her to continue to punish evil men on behalf of her fellow female students. It also stars Clifton Collins Jr., Leah McKendrick, Peter Vack, and David Huynh.
Black Christmas (2019)
Black Christmas is the second remake of the beloved holiday slasher made by Bob Clark. The film, directed by Sophia Takal and written by April Wolfe, takes the story differently. In the film, Riley Stone (Imogen Poots) is coping with the aftermath of being sexually assaulted by the Delta Kappa Omicron fraternity president, and her friends are being murdered. Is there a conspiracy of men on campus? Do Riley and her Mu Kappa Epsilon sisters have to get revenge? That's a good question, and you must watch the film to find out. It also stars Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O'Grady, Caleb Eberhardt, and Cary Elwes.
The Nightingale (2018)
The Nightingale is a rarity, a period female revenge horror film starring Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, and Damon Herriman. It was directed by Jennifer Kent, who also directed the horror favorite The Babadook. There are two different people seeking revenge in this tale set in Tasmania in 1825, on the eve of a war between the Indigenous peoples of Tasmania and the colonial British army. Clare Carroll, an indentured servant who sings beautifully, is sexually assaulted by the British detachment, Lieutenant Hawkins, who kills her family. She is joined on her quest for vengeance by an Aboriginal man named Billy, who has his reasons for vengeance: the murder of his family. It's bleak and brutal.