Teens play a crucial role in the horror genre's fanbase, and there's no shortage of top-notch teen horror movies tailored for them. With the horror genre encompassing various sub-genres, teen horror stands out as one of the most popular.
These films often revolve around young protagonists battling for survival against terrifying serial killers, monsters, ghosts, or other classic horror foes. While targeted toward teenagers, these movies also have a wide-ranging appeal that transcends age boundaries. So, get ready to immerse yourself in these 10 best teen horror movies and discover stories that captivate both teens and horror enthusiasts alike.
#1. Heathers (1989)
Heathers takes a twisted approach to portray the teenage experience through the eyes of Veronica Swayer. Initially, Veronica (played by Winona Ryder) finds herself entangled in the popular and malicious clique known as the Heathers. However, as she becomes disenchanted with their actions, she forms an unlikely connection with the mysterious and dangerous JD (played by Christian Slater). Together, they engage in a series of pranks targeting the popular students, but these seemingly harmless acts soon escalate into a chaotic spree of murders.
The film's sharp and memorable dialogue has made a lasting impact on both horror aficionados and those less inclined toward the genre. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater deliver exceptional performances, infusing their cynical characters with dark humor that cleverly satirizes the challenges faced by teenagers. With a brilliant script, a talented cast, and the skillful direction of Michael Lehmann, Heathers grabs your attention from the very beginning and holds it until its explosive and unforgettable finale.
#2. Scream (1996)
Scream revolves around high school student Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell) and her group of friends, who find themselves targeted by a mysterious killer donning a Halloween costume called Ghostface. With a self-aware and satirical tone, the characters in Scream possess knowledge of real-world horror films and openly discuss the tropes and conventions that the movie cleverly subverts.
Following a decline in popularity, horror experienced a resurgence with Scream's modern take on the slasher subgenre. This film is arguably the most iconic teen horror movie of all time, leaving a lasting legacy. Released in 1996, Scream spawned five sequels and influenced a new era of horror films that pay tribute to the original while putting their own spin on the genre. Its impact continues to be felt in the world of horror cinema.
#3. Ginger Snaps (2000)
Ginger Snaps revolves around teenage sisters Ginger (played by Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (played by Emily Perkins), who share a dark interest in capturing images of death. When Ginger is bitten by a deadly werewolf on the night of her first period, she undergoes a horrifying transformation. With Halloween and another full moon approaching, Brigitte races against time to find a way to save her sister.
Ginger Snaps is a feminist cult classic and a standout entry in the menstrual horror movie subgenre. Unlike other films like Teen Wolf (1985) that use lycanthropy as a metaphor for adolescence, Ginger Snaps offers a unique and feminine perspective. The film explores the bloody death of girlhood and the emergence of a monstrous form of womanhood, creating a powerful and thought-provoking narrative.
#4. Final Destination (2000)
Final Destination follows the story of high school student Alex Browning (portrayed by Devon Sawa), who has a chilling premonition of a plane crash before a trip to Paris. After he and a group of students are removed from the plane, they narrowly escape a tragic fate. However, their relief is short-lived as they soon discover that death is hunting them down, one by one, in mysterious and gruesome ways. With their lives hanging in the balance, Alex and his remaining friends must join forces to outrun death and attempt to alter their destinies.
While Final Destination may have received mixed reviews from critics, it's important to embrace the movie's entertaining and somewhat absurd nature. Don't take it too seriously and instead, enjoy the thrilling and suspenseful ride it offers. The film's blend of creativity, shock value, and dark humor adds to its unique appeal, making it an enjoyable watch for fans of the horror genre.
#5. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane offers a thought-provoking narrative that serves as a cautionary tale against objectification and the dark consequences of teenage obsession. This unique take on the slasher genre introduces us to a group of high school students who become captivated by the enigmatic Mandy Lane, setting the stage for a twisted and deadly game.
What starts as an innocent high school setting quickly takes a chilling turn as the boys in Mandy Lane's orbit meet their gruesome fates at the hands of an unknown killer. While some viewers have praised the film for its surprising plot twists, others have found the storyline to be somewhat predictable. Nevertheless, the movie skillfully navigates the boundary between a conventional high school film and a gruesome horror tale, offering a blend of unexpected twists and disturbing murders that will appeal to horror enthusiasts.
#6. Warm Bodies (2013)
Jonathan Levine's adaptation of Isaac Marion's novel, titled "Warm Bodies," offers a fresh and comedic twist on the classic Romeo and Juliet tale, set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. Nicholas Hoult shines as the introspective and lovelorn zombie named R, whose inner thoughts expose his yearning for companionship. Enter Julie, played by Amanda Palmer, a living girl who captures R's heart and sparks an unlikely romance between their contrasting worlds.
While "Warm Bodies" leans more towards the romantic and comedic aspects rather than intense zombie horror, it successfully entertains audiences and gained a dedicated fanbase. With its witty storytelling and playful take on the revitalized zombie genre, the film follows in the footsteps of Edgar Wright's "Shaun of the Dead," introducing zombie-themed fiction to a broader audience while offering a crowd-pleasing experience.
#7. It Follows (2014)
David Robert Mitchell's supernatural film, "It Follows," revolves around Jay, a young woman who becomes the target of a relentless and enigmatic entity after a loved encounter. As she encounters increasingly disturbing events, she turns to her friends for support in finding a way to break the haunting curse.
While lacking excessive gore, "It Follows" captivates audiences with its ability to generate suspense and keep them on the edge of their seats. The film's atmospheric quality is enhanced by its impactful soundtrack, adding an extra layer of tension to the narrative. Although not without flaws, the characters in "It Follows" feel authentic and relatable, further immersing viewers in the story.
For those seeking a different kind of horror experience, one that relies more on building tension and creating an unsettling atmosphere, "It Follows" offers a unique and engaging option. Its ability to evoke genuine fear without relying on excessive gore makes it a standout entry in the supernatural horror genre.
#8. The Babysitter (2017)
McG's horror-comedy, "The Babysitter," available on Netflix, tells the story of 12-year-old Cole Johnson, who uncovers a shocking secret about his attractive and seemingly perfect babysitter, Bee. As he witnesses Bee and her friends engaging in a satanic cult ritual, Cole must rely on his intelligence and resourcefulness to survive the night.
With a talented cast that includes Bella Thorne, Samara Weaving, Ken Marino, and Hana Mae Lee, this Netflix original delivers an exhilarating and enjoyable narrative set against an enticing 80s backdrop. The film successfully blends elements of slasher horror and comedy, providing plenty of comedic moments and creatively entertaining kills. "The Babysitter" strikes a balance between thrills and laughs, making it a fun and lighthearted choice for Halloween viewing, especially for those who prefer their horror films on the less terrifying side.
#9. Summer Of 84 (2018)
"Summer of 84" is a gripping coming-of-age story that follows a group of teenage friends on a quest to uncover the truth behind a string of missing boys. When a clever teenager convinces his friends that their friendly neighborhood police officer might be a serial killer, they set off on a summer filled with adventure and investigation.
Drawing inspiration from the lighthearted detective fiction of the era and the popular 'Kids on Bikes' subgenre, seen in hits like Stranger Things, "Summer of 84" takes a darker turn than most coming-of-age tales. This film has made a significant impact on the teen horror niche, captivating audiences with its suspenseful storyline and skillful execution.
#10. There’s Someone Inside Your House (2021)
"There's Someone Inside Your House" is a teen horror flick based on Stephanie Perkins' gripping novel. Follow Makani as she moves to a small town in Nebraska, only to find herself trapped in a nightmare. As her classmates are hunted down by a masked killer, Makani joins forces with her peers to unveil the truth and stop the gruesome murders before it's too late.
In the Halloween season, indulge in the perfect blend of slasher thrills and cozy horror. Drawing inspiration from the 90s slasher style, this film offers a well-crafted narrative that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It stays true to the spirit of the original book, earning praise from fans for its adaptation. While it may have its flaws, the likable characters, expertly crafted suspense, and intense gore create an immersive and unforgettable experience. However, it's worth noting that some viewers feel that it falls short of their expectations.
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