When people look back to the horror movies they have seen before, they often remember the female lead for being merely eye candy for the screen, or worse, they hardly even recall a girl being in the movie. This is because she may eventually end up getting killed or continue to play second fiddle to the male lead.
Luckily, not all movies under the horror or thriller genre have fallen under that stereotype. There have been numerous films in recent times that feature women as strong, three-dimensional characters. It does not matter if they turn out to be the psychopath killer or if they become the ever popular “final girl.” What is important is that these type of female leads stray away from the norms, and there isn’t anything more entertaining than that.
So here in ExploreTalent, we have rounded up the most popular horror films with memorable female leads. From witches to a mother protecting her child from a sinister being, know what movies made it to the list below.
1. The Witch (2016)
The horror movie set in the seventeenth century was critically acclaimed and praised for its memorable cast and fresh story line. It follows a religious Puritan family who have been living peacefully in a rural area when they are tormented by evil beings beyond their control.
Placed in the spotlight here is their child Thomasin, the family’s only daughter. She is accused of witchcraft after the family experiences terror after terror. What makes Thomasin so memorable is her innocence, she leaves audience asking themselves “Did she?” or proclaiming that “Sshe couldn’t have!” Either way, The Witch is a cinematic masterpiece and it is one of the best new horror films of this generation.
2. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
A Tale of Two Sisters has often been regarded as the most terrifying horror movie that Asia has to offer. The movie’s theme ranges from horror to a rather chilling psychological conclusion. It takes after a typical fairy tale, featuring an evil stepmother but instead of crying in a corner waiting for a prince to save them, the two sisters formed a strong bond and were all set to do anything to stop their stepmother.
3. The Descent (2005)
This British horror-adventure film follows a group of women who are trapped in a cave system only to be terrorized by flesh eating humanoids incapable of any form of reasoning. It isn’t just the horror factor that makes this movie so memorable, but it’s the story line itself since it does not involve the quest to be the sole survivor but the innate need to trust each other in order to get out of the cave. The movie may place women in stereotypical roles such as the victim, the anti-heroine, etc., but it does provide a good narrative and action sequences at the same time.
4. The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook may have not done well in its native Australia, but when it opened in 2014’s annual Sundance Festival, the critics were raving about it. The best thing about this film is that it not only provides a strong female lead in the form of the child’s mother, it also avoids common horror movie stereotypes like gore and jump scares. Instead, it explores on things such as what is real or what can merely be regarded a child’s imagination. It also gives emphasis on the reality of raising a problematic child on your own, and regardless of their strained relationship, the woman continues to protect him from the sinister creature.
5. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Director Sam Raimi made a triumphant return to the horror genre after introducing the world to the very popular Evil Dead movie series. He also made sure to replace his male lead for a female one for Drag Me to Hell. The movie stars actress Alison Lohman as Christine, a loan bank officer who finds herself being cursed by a gypsy woman she rudely insults to get ahead in her job.
Drag Me to Hell is full of gore, guts and horror, all of which translates to an almost comical movie. Nonetheless, Raimi’s take on the horror genre once again did not disappoint and went on to become both a critical and commercial success in the box office.