Every October Limelight Magazine focuses its attention on horror films. This year, we decided to rank our favorite 31 horror movies directed by females. While Hollywood is still predominately male driven with its offerings, women are increasingly making a name for themselves in the horror genre, especially during the past decade.

Despite the critical praise and positive audience response to many of the films on this list, most of these female directors don’t have same name recognition in the genre as John Carpenter, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Brian DePalma, and George A. Romero or even more contemporary male directors like Mike Flanagan, Eli Roth or James Wan.

What these female filmmakers have done is tip the horror movie genre upside down by offering a different perspective for the viewer. In the stomach-churning Revenge, for instance, French director Corlalie Fargeat takes the rape-revenge formula to a whole new level with the multi-layered performance from lead actress Matilda Lutz.

As film critic Christy Lemire noted in her positive review of the movie on, Revenge is “intense and often excruciating to watch, but it’s also extremely satisfying as it allows us to live vicariously through a woman who delivers payback and then some to the men who viewed her as disposable. Fargeat displays a masterful balance of tone and pacing, as well as a super-stylish visual flair and a heightened ear for sound design. Revenge is shocking but not gratuitously so; surprisingly, it ends up becoming a feel-good tale of a woman enduring a series of horrific abuses and triumphantly coming into her own.”

It should be noted that we have not seen every horror movie directed by a female but we’ve definitely tried to see as many as possible. By our most recent count, we’ve seen close to 100 and this list could easily change as we view more films. However, this is what we came up with and we hope you take the time to check these films out.

  1. The Babadook (2014) – Directed by Jennifer Kent

  1. Raw (2017) – Julia Ducournau

  1. Revenge (2018) – Coralie Fargeat

  1. The Invitation (2015) – Karyn Kusama

  1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2015) – Ana Lily Amirpour

  1. The Lodge (2019) – Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala

  1. The Nightingale (2019) – Jennifer Kent

  1. Near Dark (1987) – Kathryn Bigelow

  1. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) – Lynne Ramsay

  1. Pet Semetary (1989) – Mary Lambert

  1. You Were Never Really Here (2018) – Lynne Ramsay

  1. American Psycho (2000) – Mary Harron

  1. Rust Creek (2019) – Jen McGowan

  1. Prevenge (2016) – Alice Lowe

  1. Goodnight Mommy (2015) – Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala

  1. M.F.A. (2017) – Natalia Leite

  1. Sea Fever (2019) – Neasa Hardiman

  1. Honeymoon (2014) – Leigh Janiak

  1. Slumber Party Massacre (1982) – Amy Holden Jones

  1. In My Skin (2002) – Marina de Van

  1. Rabid (2019) – Jen Soska & Sylvia Soska

  1. The Ranger (2018) – Jennifer Wexler

  1. Tigers Are Not Afraid (2019) – Issa Lopez

  1. American Mary (2012) – Jen Soska & Sylvia Soska

  1. Chained (2012) – Jennifer Lynch

  1. Sorority House Massacre (1986) – Carol Frank

  1. Relic (2020) – Natalie Erika James

  1. Evolution (2015) – Lucile Hadzihalilovic

  1. Trouble Every Day (2001) – Claire Denis

  1. Jennifer’s Body (2009) – Karyn Kusama

  1. Soulmate (2016) – Axelle Carolyn

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