30 Woman-Friendly Horror Movies for the Thrill-Seeking Feminist

23 of 29


Inside, Image via BR Films/La Fabrique de Films

Sub-Genre: Home Invasion

What it’s about: After suffering a very personal tragedy a few months before, expectant single mother Sarah is making preparations for her upcoming birth. A mysterious woman comes to her door and asks to use her phone to call for help. Sarah becomes suspicious, refuses to let her in, and calls the police. But when the officers arrive, they find no trace of the woman. They simply assure her that she is safe and promise to return throughout the night to check on her. But when Sarah investigates further, she becomes more and more disturbed. And when the woman makes another appearance, Sarah finds out exactly what she wants.

What makes it feminist: Inside was actually born of the French filmmakers’ desire to subvert the paradigm of a male killer stalking a female victim. Realizing that not many horror movies tell the story of a woman fighting a woman, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo extrapolated on that to come up with the motive for the mysterious woman in the film. Their awareness of the politics of this choice is very evident, because the women are never portrayed stereotypically. Both are depicted as highly competent as they fight for the thing they both want the most.

But even more feminist is the revelation of what they have in common. Both victim and villain share an unimaginable grief with each other – one that is inextricably tied to an event in their past. This realization complicates the “innocent good girl” and “evil bad girl” archetypes. When the audience learns how their pasts are linked, they come to see that they have been unfairly judging both of them. The woman deserves some of the compassion we have for Sarah. And Sarah deserves some of the horror we’ve saved for the woman. Though it’s not enough to flip the audience’s loyalty, it shows that the stereotypes are just insufficient for these women, and all women.