5 high school revenge movies that depict hell as a teenage girl

5 high school revenge movies that depict hell as a teenage girl ...

They walk down the school hallway in a slow motion, perfect outfits, hair that falls in the draft. No one crosses them, because crossing them would result in certain death or worse, death of social status. Everyone hates them. Everyone wants to be them.

Each generation has a film dedicated to the beautiful mean girls from high school. They have more bite than in cozy come-of-age stories or nostalgia-fueled come-of-age films, and often, the girls are out for blood, be it social sabotage or literal murder.

This subgenre has a great time with the stereotypes of teenage girlhood, especially when it comes to design choices. These films are united in iconic fashion and specific visual palettes that play with popular aesthetic conventions of their respective time periods. They give an edge and strength to things typically associated with diminutive girlhood, such as bold lipstick, pink mini skirts, or red scrunchies.

The most catastrophic and devastating relationships these girls have with each other are their saving grace and ultimate failure, and that thread joins the more over-the-top elements with grounded relatability demon-posed best friends arent exactly common, but toxic best friends who put others down to climb over them.

Do Revenge from Netflix is a welcome departure from the genre. In honor of these black comedy groups that are open about revealing the dark side of high school popularity, weve selected some quintessential classics from the canon of brutal teenage girls.

Heathers (1988)

Heathers, the film that started it all, became a cult classic despite not even paying half its price. It was intended by writer Daniel Waters to portray how the media sensationalized teen suicides in the 1980s, and to be a darker interpretation of high school life in the 1980s. (Hello, John Hughes.) While that may have been controversial, Winona Ryders' agent encouraged her not to take the role she envisioned for children at home.

Heathers follows Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), the fourth member of the Heathers' ruthless mean-girl clique, because she believes helping them forge hall passes and excuse notes is better than being their target. But soon Veronica discovers herself covering up a string of bodies and disguised them as suicides. The remaining two Heathers deal with a vacuum of power.

Heathers is notable for being the only example on our list that has a male character play a significant role in the cliques' downfall, and she eventually extends a hand to her former friend Martha and the more sympathetic Heather.

Heathers is now available to stream on Tubi and Prime Video.

The Craft (1996)

The Craft is a supernatural horror film, not a dark comedy, and technically, it isnt about popular girls as much as it is about mean girls (don't worry, we'll get to Mean Girls in a minute), but it's worth mentioning because of how literal the hell the idea of a teenage girl is, and because of the amount of attention to the inner dynamics of the friend group in question.

The Craft follows a group of teenage witches who learn powerful magic in order to venge on those who have wronged them and gain what they want out of life. Their friend group eventually splits and splinters and devours itself alive. Like many of the others on this list, its a group of four girls three who already know one another and a new interloper who disrupts existing relationships.

What about the iconic and specific visual palette? It's Catholic school uniforms, mixed with some trad Goth elements. It's nice to have an entry that accepted counterculture elements.

On Paramount Plus, The Craft is available for viewing.

Jawbreaker (1999)

If the other Heathers accidentally killed their Queen Bee and tried to cover it up, Jawbreaker would happen in Heathers. Rose McGowan plays a ruthless mean girl who bribes dorky Fern (Judy Greer) into giving her a terrible makeover, even inducting her into the popular group. While Julie (Rebecca Gayheart) falls out of favor with the other Heathers.

Jawbreakers' visual palette is bold and over-the-top, complementing Courtney's outrageous actions in order to maintain her status as the most popular girl in the school (and blame Liz's death on someone else). Meanwhile, Julie develops a strategy to expose Courtney's involvement to the whole school on prom night. (Big school dances are another recurring theme in these films)

Jawbreaker is available to rent on Prime Video and YouTube.

Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls are not a laughing stock, but it is a game of daring. Cady's new friend Janis (Lizzy Caplan) sees this as an opportunity to eliminate Regina once and for all. They devise a strategy for Cady to infiltrate the group and destroy Regina. But the more time Cady spends with Regina, the more she becomes a certifiable mean girl.

Mean Girls' complex revenge plot, wacky verbal insults (and also the fact Regina is hit by a bus) all fit this list, from the original Heathers skirt that Regina wears to the school empty hallways (a similar scene plays out in Jawbreaker).

Mean Girls is now available for Netflix users to watch.

Jennifers Body (2009)

Many of these films flirted with sapphic subtext, whether it's Ferns obsession with Liz Purr or Cadys obsession with Regina George. Jennifers Body embraces the inherent homoeroticism of being obsessed with the most popular and beautiful girl in school, or in this case, also having the hottest girl be infatuated with you.

Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and popular Jennifer (Megan Fox) may not have much in common on the surface, but they are the best of friends. One night, a skeevy indie band kidnaps Jennifer and uses her as a sacrifice for a demonic ritual, but it doesnt quite work, and Jennifer wakes up with a hunger for flesh.

Jennifer's already toxic friendship with Needy starts to unravel, and she's left alone to sabotage and eat boys. The intensity of Jennifer's friendship with Needy is enough to sustain it. Needy is the only person for whom Jennifer refuses to kill, but also the person her most desire to destroy.

Jennifers Body is now available for streaming on Prime Video.

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