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

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Hush, Screencap via Blumhouse Productions/Intrepid Pictures

Sub-Genre: Slasher/Home Invasion

What it’s about: Maddie is a young, deaf-mute writer who lives in a small house in a rural area. One night, a man in a blank white mask with a crossbow is lead to Maddie’s house by another victim of his. When the man realizes that Maddie can’t hear the victim’s cries for help, he concludes that she must be deaf. He thinks of various ways to terrorize her, expecting her to be an easy target. Maddie is left with three choices: escape, hide, or fight back.

What makes it feminist: Maddie’s deafness is a major aspect of this movie. In terms of fighting the killer, it’s a major hindrance for her. Not only can she not hear him, but she can’t hear herself; she sometimes doesn’t know when she’s making noise. But throughout the course of the attack, Maddie learns how to use her deafness to her advantage. The man trying to kill her relies so much on a sense that she doesn’t need to rely on. So she is able to use the ones she can to outsmart him.

Women in horror movies are frequently either totally helpless and hysterical, or fully competent fighting final girls. Many times, there is no in between. But Hush showcases a woman who is both freaked out and strategically intelligent. Not just a woman, either, but a woman with a handicap. People who have deafness and other disabilities are stigmatized as weak and worthy of pity. That’s why the man felt he could kill Maddie so easily. But Hush works in quiet ways to dispel those stigmas, and to empower the woman at the center of the story to fight her way out.