These Spine-Chilling Horror Movies Featuring Female Protagonists Are Not For The Faint-Hearted


If your idea of a chill night is a horror movie marathon with friends or just huddling together with your cousins during a sleepover and exchanging scary stories, then you and I are well on our way to becoming friends. A sucker for horror tales (told better by my mom always)had me sitting wide-eyed, absorbing the chilling details to later discuss during recess time with friends. More than the scares, it was that underlying mystery that had me curious about these stories that had travelled all the way from Garhwal to my classroom in Delhi. Many fictional books and ghost stories later, I finally stumbled upon some of the scariest horror movies I have ever seen that have the added incentive of great performances by actresses.

The Silence Of The Lambs

The first horror movie to win Academy award in all five major categories, The Silence of the Lambs has nothing to do with lambs and a rather lot to do with cannibals. Jodie Foster shone in her role as Clarice Sterling, a young FBI agent investigating a serial killer on the loose who skins his female victims alive. She takes help from a former psychiatrist-turned-cannibal serial killer and the two form a symbiotic, albiet teetering on the edge of weird, relationship in which he gives her clues to find the killer.


The movie does not rely on traditional methods of scaring the audience. So no jump scares or anything. What is does instead though, is delve into spine-chilling themes of sexual violence and feminism and dialogues that are delivered in a manner that could make one shiver. The movie is not for the faint-hearted.


Florence Pugh moves to a secluded creepy place and lives in supposedly utopian conditions until there comes a time when she realises that it is actually a cult.

Midsommar is as creepy as it can be. The writer, Ari Aster described it as, “a breakup movie dressed in the clothes of a folk horror film”. Dani, the film’s protagonist while having a hard time coping with the death of her entire family and a strenuous relationship with her boyfriend, decides to accompany him to a midsummer festival. The rest is for you get scared about, NO SPOILERS HERE.


Dubbed as one of the best horror films of 2019 and featuring stellar performance from Florence Pugh, this one is scary, but perhaps not in the way traditionalists would like. If you’re looking for some heavy folk horror that a will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, Midsommar is the perfect choice.

P.S. It’s the movie that gave us the famous Florence Pugh pout.

Rosemary’s Baby

Mia Farrow’s short stint as Frank Sinatra’s wife might have gotten her the role in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby but it was her acting that made her stand out as a character that would go down in horror history. The movie follows a pregnant lady who suspects that there are some seriously sinister things happening to her, initiated by her neighbours. The movie is based on a 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. A satanic cult, a terrible husband and a baby who is literally the antichrist make for a movie that is sure to give you goosebumps.

The Exorcist

Ellen Burstyn’s performance as the concerned mother of her possessed child in the movie that shocked everyone is only one of the many reasons one needs to watch The Exorcist. The movie starts slow but soon proves itself to be a scary masterpiece that will haunt you in your sleep (and real horror fans know that when that happens, the movie is truly good). The movie’s disturbing visuals left me scarred but also made me read the novel that the movie is based on. Also that neck turning scene? If you know what I am talking about, obviously the movie was good.


One of Toni Collette’s best performances, Hereditary is the definition of good filmmaking that uses the full potential of the main character. When her daughter dies in a freak accident that breaks apart her whole family, Annie Graham finds peculiar ways to cope with her loss. She holds a seance that eventually leads her family to destruction and the resurrection of a pagan god. That happens sometimes when you intentionally invite an occult member to your house. Put that ouija board down.


Yes, the movie is as weird as it sounds. I remember watching the movie after someone told me that it was the scariest thing they had seen in a long time. While the fans of conventional horror may not find the movie their cup of tea, it is definitely a movie you don’t want to miss out.


A modern day retelling of the Bible, Mother! will strike many chords with all the girls who have ever been with a guy who is a total jerk. Add a little horror and gore to the mix and you have a scary movie that will make you rethink everything you believe in. The soft earthy visuals at the start of the movie are merely the quiet before the storm that is about to occur. Jesus makes a brief cameo and leaves the screen pretty fast (TW: A LOT OF BLOOD).


Jennifer Lawrence plays the symbolic character of mother nature who has to bear the tortures of human beings. Her husband, who is literally God, represents a specific type of man, the man who will take from you until you don’t have anything more to give and then replace you with a younger girl he deems perfect. Now that’s scarier than any jump scare.

The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s treatment of Shelly Duvall during the filming of one of the most popular horror movies can only be described by one word, abusive. She was berated on set, with the director calling her, “a waste of everyone’s time” and telling everyone on the set to ignore her needs. The famous baseball scene took a record setting 127 takes, which left the young actor with bruises on her palms from holding the bat for so long. The result of this treatment, according to Shelly was seen in her raw and haunting performance as the tortured wife of a mad writer going through a writer’s block accompanied with severe cabin fever.

The movie based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name rose to such fame that it is still considered one of the scariest movies of all time. The credit goes to Shelly Duvall’s realistic performance as Wendy Torrance and Jack Nicholson’s terrific portrayal of Jack Torrance. A must watch for those who like all things scary.

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