Written by Shannon McGrew
Though Women in Horror Month may be coming to a close, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to celebrate and promote the talented women within the horror genre. Last week, I gave you my list of the 5 Female Directed Horror Films Streaming on Netflix and this week I present to you Part 2: 10 Female Directed Horror Films Streaming on Shudder.
10. “She Wolf”
Directed by: Tamae Garateguy
Synopsis: “She Wolf” is a serial killer who traps her men in the subway in Buenos Aires. She seduces, has sex with them and kills them. But one of those men is a police officer who is investigating her crimes. Running away from him she meets a dealer with whom she starts a relationship. This romance unravels a war between her three personalities: the monster woman, the sensual woman and the human woman who can still love.
Why you should watch: It’s a female serial killer! Do you know how rare that is? Tamae Garateguy has been directing films with a heavy emphasis on violence and sex since she co-directed the 2007 “Upa! Una Pelicula Argentia.” Since then, her films have gone on to win several awards in Toronto, Bifan, and SXSW.
9. “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears”
Directed by: Hélène Catte and Bruno Forzani
Synopsis: Following the disappearance of his wife, a man finds himself on a dark and twisted trail of discovery through the labyrinthine halls of his apartment building. Led on a wild goose chase by cryptic messages from his mysterious neighbors, he becomes entangled in a hellish nightmare as he unlocks their strange fantasies of sensuality and bloodshed.
Why you should watch: If you love Giallo films, then “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears” is going to be right up your alley. Hélène Catte, known for co-directing the horror/thriller “Amer”, has been writing, producing, and directing with her partner Bruno Forzani since 2001. “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears” is a film that will make you feel as if you are on a journey through a violent dreamscape; once you are sucked in, you won’t want to leave.
8. “The Midnight Swim”
Directed by: Sarah Adina Smith
Synopsis: Spirit Lake is unusually deep. No diver has ever managed to find the bottom, though many have tried. When Dr. Amelia Brooks disappears during a deep-water dive, her three daughters travel home to settle her affairs. They find themselves unable to let go of their mother and become drawn into the mysteries of the lake.
Why you should watch: Any body of water uncharted can lend itself to being mysterious; add in a ghost story, a disappearance, and estranged half-siblings and you’ve got yourself a sordid tale. Though this film has a found-footage quality and lots of symbolism throughout, it stands on its own as being a unique tale that you’ll want to dive head first into. Director Sarah Adina Smith has been taking the genre by storm not only with “The Midnight Swim” but also with her short “Mother’s Day” which was part of the horror anthology “Holidays” and the announcement of her upcoming film “Buster’s Mal Heart“.
7. “México Bárbaro” (“Dia de los Muertos“)
Directed by: Gigi Saul Guerrero
Synopsis: On the night of ‘Dia De Los Muertos,’ the women of the strip club ‘La Candelaria’ seek revenge on those who abused them.
Why you should watch: It’s about strippers kicking ass and seeking revenge, why wouldn’t you want to watch it? Gigi Saul Guerrero is an up and coming director in the horror genre and has made waves in the industry with her short films “El Gigante” and “Madre De Dios,” which were produced by Luchagore Productions, a company that she is a co-founder of. “Dia de los Muertos” is part of the Mexican horror anthology, “México Bárbaro”, that focuses on terrifying Mexican traditions and legends.
Directed by: Catherine Fordham
Synopsis: After a fight with her boyfriend, a woman simmers with anger as she walks through Brooklyn’s threatening streets. She is attached, and discovers her fiercest self. The following morning, bruised but transformed, she purges and cleans.
Why you should watch: There’s always something incredibly satisfying when a woman is able to get back at her attacker. In Consommé, we are able to see this retribution through flashbacks which lead up to the delicious climax. Fordham has a designer eye in the way she directs and I hope in the coming years we see more from her within the horror genre.
Directed by: Axelle Carolyn
Synopsis: Widowed Audrey retreats to an isolated Welsh cabin after a failed suicide attempt, to recuperate. Still haunted by the tragic death of her husband and struggling with her psychosis, she begins to hear strange noises.
Why you should watch: This is a beautifully tragic ghost story that deals with the loss of a loved one while look for hope in the supernatural. The film itself is very atmospheric and it’s hard not to be drawn into the story, especially when it turns sinister. Axelle is also an author, producer and actress and since her directorial debut has gone on to direct the short “Grim Grinning Ghosts” for the Halloween anthology, “Tales of Halloween.”
4. “The Stylist”
Directed by: Jill Gevargizian
Synopsis: Claire is a lonely hairstylist with an unnerving desire to escape her disappointing reality. When her final client of the evening arrives with the request to look perfect, Claire has plans of her own.
Why you should watch: Everything about this short is terrific. The acting is superb with an engaging storyline and enough blood and gore to keep horror fans appeased. Jill Gevargizian first burst onto the scene in 2014 with her horror short “Call Girl” and since then has been directing, producing and writing many shorts including “The Luhrmanns” for the 2016 Women in Horror Month Massive Blood Drive PSA.
3. “Dearest Sister”
Directed by: Mattie Do
Synopsis: A village girl travels to the Lao captial, Vientiane, to care for her rich cousin who has lost her sight and gained the ability to communicate with the dead.
Why you should watch: Mattie Do is quite literally Lao’s only horror director and her latest film, “Dearest Sister,” is the 13th feature film to be produced in Lao’s history. Mattie has said that she uses horror to convey messages about women’s roles and social issues and “Dearest Sister” is a perfect example of those themes. The film is a slow burn, but the ending packs quite the punch while also shining a light on the cultural stereotypes seen in societal class systems.
Directed by: Izzy Lee
Synopsis: Detective Diane Olmstead arrives on the scene of a body with a mysterious egg sac. A clue leads her to Innsmouth, where she meets a seductive and horrific fate in the form of Alice Marsh.
Why you should watch: It’s a Lovecraftian short film directed by a woman. That should be enough right there. In all seriousness, rarely do we see a re-telling of a Lovecraft story from the female perspective and I think that indie director Izzy Lee was able to capture that in a way no other director has been able too. Izzy has been writing, producing, and directing short films since 2013 and has been making a name for herself in the indie horror genre with shorts such as “Postpartum” and her upcoming “For a Good Time, Call..”
1. “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Directed by: Lynne Ramsay
Synopsis: Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
Why you should watch: This is one of the most unsettling films I’ve ever watched and it’s a film that will stay with you long after it’s over. There are no creatures or supernatural entities, instead it’s a chilling account on how disturbed and dangerous someone can be. Though the subject matter is difficult to swallow, the cinematography and art direction is absolutely breathtaking and the acting and directing is top-notch. This is an unapologetic film that’s tough to watch but one I think needs to be viewed. In the end, it’s a perfect example as to how some humans can be the worst kind of monsters and how real life has it’s fair share of horror.
There are so many talented women directors out there whether they are on this list or not. Let this be a jumping off point, but make sure you delve deeper into Shudder’s catalog to see more films from female horror directors that include Briony Kidd, Emily Hagins, Julie Delpy, Madeline Paxson, the Soska Twins, and more.