10 Best Coming of Age Horror Movies

Coming-of-age horror movies find an entertaining way to say what we're all thinking: growing up can be hellish.

Coming Of Age Horror

5. Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifers Body

High school was the fucking worst. But it would have been made infinitely worse if you had been the sacrificial virgin for a band of devil worshippers wanting to become rock gods. If only we could all have had the agency and demonic powers of the titular Jennifer (Megan Fox) in Karyn Kusama‘s now-classic Jennifer’s Body. While the rest of us contend with deepening voices, awkward hair, and overnight growth spurts, Jennifer has to come to terms with her changing bodies thirst for blood and the strain it’s putting on her bestie (Amanda Seyfried). But while puberty is body horror in and of itself, Kusama’s film doesn’t shy away from laughing at the inanity of growing up, doing something with her characters that John Hughes only wished he could have done: make them feel real. (Jacob Trussell)


4. Let the Right One In (2008)

Let The Right One In

Oskar is a 12-year-old kid living in the suburbs of Stockholm with his mother. His jerk classmates bully him relentlessly and he spends his evenings picturing what it would be like to get revenge. Eventually, he befriends a cute neighbor girl who is…different. Spoiler alert, she’s a vampire. She not only helps him get the revenge he desires in brutal fashion — that pool scene, oh my — but she teaches him about love and life. This is not only a kick-ass vampire movie, but it’s a wonderful story about the trials and tribulations of growing up. (Chris Coffel)


3. The Witch (2016)

The Witch

Robert Eggers’ directorial debut is one of the best horror films of the decade, and much of its power comes from its refusal to shy away from complicated portrayals of womanhood. And I’m not talking, “she’s kind of bad but kind of cool!” type of faux-complication, but rather the lines between empowerment and imprisonment, between body and soul, and between naturally maturing and being forced to grow up. There are two adult female characters in the film. One is the protagonist Thomasin’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) mother, a stalwart, pious, gray-faced woman (Kate Dickie). The other is the witch in the forest, who presents herself as a gorgeous, raven-haired young woman (Sarah Stephens) whose red cloak calls to mind vitality and sensuality. If you do want to keep it simple, they’re the Madonna and the whore, or the familiar and the other. Throughout the film, Thomasin experiences the familiar pains of growing up — gaining responsibility even as she loses trust, her body suddenly becoming the center of attention — and they lead her down an unorthodox path. She has two choices that ultimately narrow to one, and in the end, her future hinges on a question, some form of which every young woman must contemplate: “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” (Valerie Ettenhofer)


2. Ginger Snaps (2001)

Ginger Snaps

Puberty is a curse! Ginger Snaps is one of the best, if not the best, menstrual horror films out there. And for that, it truly deserves to be on this list because there ain’t no coming of age bloodbath like a literal coming of age bloodbath. And yeah, sure, Carrie exists, but does it have WEREWOLVES WHO FUCK? It does not! A Canadian classic about two suburban Ontario sisters dealing with the grotesque realities of being a horny goth kid in the early 2000s, Ginger Snaps is a monstrous little film about sexual awakenings, growing apart, and a distinctly female teenage experience. Throw in some truly righteous practical werewolf work and a beastly amount of bodily fluids and you’ve got yourself a classic. (Meg Shields)


1. Carrie (1976)

Carrie

Carrie is nothing if not a classic and relatable coming-of-age tale: hormonal changes, prom dates, exacting revenge on those who have wronged you while covered in gallons of pig’s blood… all the usual high school experiences. To quote Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, it’s also a great period film. Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic novel has been hugely influential on the horror genre, but even removing the film from its own legacy, it is a sublime horror movie that delights and terrifies as much today as it did in 1976. All facetiousness aside, Carrie also does capture high school experiences with a deft understanding of just how cruel kids can be. All the more reason to enjoy watching them get their just desserts at the hands of our eponymous anti-heroine. (Anna Swanson)

Red Dots

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Val is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance writer, TV lover, and cheese plate enthusiast. You can find her @aandeandval wherever social media accounts are sold.