My Favourite Horror Movies Directed By Women

It’s International Women’s Day this week, and, in the grand tradition here at No But Listen, I’d like to celebrate it by talking about horror movies.

In the world of movies at large, women are still grossly underrepresented behind the camera, comprising just 24% of cinematographers, editors, and directors in 2022 – actually less than the year before. There’s still so, so much ground to be made up for women in the film industry, and supporting and watching work by women is a great place we can start as viewers to change that.

And, honestly, if you’re not watching a lot of horror movies by female directors, chances are you’re missing out on some of the best horror films ever made. The Babadook, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Raw, Saint Maud, American Mary, Jennifer’s Body, Baise-Moi, The Love Witch, Titane, Nia DaCosta’s Candyman – a true horror movie education is not complete without the work of women.

Which brings me to my list! While there are plenty of brilliant horror films by women that have made it into the mainstream, I’d like to talk about a few that have gone a little too far under the radar for my liking. Let’s get into it!

Prevenge – Alice Lowe

Alice Lowe is a mainstay in British horror in front of the camera, but Prevenge, her directorial debut, might just be my favourite part of her career. Following a pregnant woman as she takes revenge on those she deems responsible for the death of her child’s father, it’s got a surreal tone that swerves between black comedy and downright horror, packed with memorable visuals and a killer (literally) central performance from Lowe herself.

The Wind – Emma Tammi

The Western is a genre that’s ripe for crossover with horror, but few films have pulled it off as well as Emma Tammi’s The Wind. A chilling, bleak tale of a family trying to build a settlement in the sweeping emptiness of New Mexico. It’s deliberately evasive with it’s storytelling, but the tale it does craft is profoundly unsettling and a credit to ghost story genre as a whole.

Relic – Natalie Erika

A grade-A metaphor horror, Relic twists its environment into endless halls full of nightmarish, unfathomable horror as a way to delve into the dementia destroying the central family’s matriarch. A carefully-constructed movie that builds to an unforgettably disturbing third act, Natalie Erika’s criminally underrated familial masterpiece will burrow deep into your psyche and never, ever get out.

Bingo Hell – Gigi Saul Guerrero

Seeing Gigi Saul Guerrero’s insightful cameos in a bunch of horror documentaries finally led me to checking out Bingo Hell. Part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse series, the unique setting – of a small community invaded by a mysterious and seemingly demonic bingo hall – and central conflict is the exact right blend of gossipy and gory. Guerrero skilfully blends pulpy horror with a social conscience, all built around the compellingly horrible villainous performance from one of horror’s most delightfully off-putting stars, Richard Brake.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair – Jane Schoenbrun

As if I haven’t talked about this movie enough already. Jane Schoenbrun’s brilliant World’s Fair takes the online ARG experience and turns it into a deeply compelling and even profoundly moving delve into the adolescent loneliness of a teenager searching for connection online, all anchored by a brilliant performance from Anna Cobb as the movie’s central focus. Inventive, unique, and incisive, it’s a horror movie for the internet age in all the best ways possible.

Censor – Prano Bailey-Bond

Prano Bailey-Bond’s ethereal exploration of grief, loss, and the splatter film industry is everything you want it to be and more. Led by an untouchable Niamh Algar, it follows a film censor in the 1980s after she seemingly discovers her missing sister in one of the movies she’s reviewing. Neon-soaked, strange, and completely unpredictable, it toes the line between reality and fiction in an impossibly compelling narrative.

Nanny – Nikyatu Jusu

Nanny is the kind of movie that’s going to go down in horror history – Jusu became the second-ever black woman to win the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes last year for her debut feature, and it’s deservedly developing the kind of buzz that this arthouse masterpiece deserves. Set in New York and following the story of a Sengalese immigrant (Anna Diop) as the lines between reality and nightmare are blurred while she attempts to earn enough money to bring her son to America to live with her. Jusu teases out the shatteringly sad story without flinching, and a uniquely woozy, unsettling tone permeates the whole film.

What are some of your favourite horror movies directed by women? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more stuff like it,  please consider supporting us on Ko-Fi. You can check out more of my work on my personal blog, The Cutprice Guignol!

By Lou MacGregor

(header image via IMDB)

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