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Here Are 20 Teen Vengeance Movies for Your Petty Heart

Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke in Thoroughbreds. Photo: Claire Folger/Focus Features

This weekend, Thoroughbreds opens in theaters, and if you walk out of that movie about two teen girls plotting the murder of a despotic stepdad and find your hunger for teen vengeance unabated, we have oh so many movies for you. And we’re not talking about measured, John Tucker Must Die–style revenge. We’re talking about hexes, blood debts, elaborate psychological traps, and people paying the iron price for their trespasses. And who better to deliver fatal justice than raw, petty, unbalanced teens? High school can be a real bitch, but so can these adolescent cheerleaders, witches, assassins, mutants, outcasts, and pretty little liars (but no Carrie, because do you even need us to tell you to watch Carrie at this point?). Here are 20 peachy-fucking-keen teenage revenge dreams.

The Craft (1996)

An epic of teen vengeance for the emo set, the goth kids, the Neve Campbell hive, and weekend Wiccan warriors. A quartet of high-school outcasts come together to form a coven so that they may fulfill their earthly desires — and get revenge on the people who have made their lives hell. Fairuza Balk! Robin Tunney! Skeet Ulrich! Oh, my!

Hanna (2011)

Saoirse Ronan’s Hanna did not ask for this quest to avenge her father, but she was raised in rural Finland to be a self-sufficient assassin should the day ever come when he died and she had to fend for herself. Out in the developed world for the first time and with a vindictive American intelligence officer hot on her heels (a southern-fabulous Cate Blanchett), Hanna has to kill to survive, and to make sure her father didn’t die in vain.

The Machine Girl (2008)

Ami (Minase Yashiro) is just a teenager, but it’s her job to look after her younger brother, Yu (Ryosuke Kawamura), since their parents both killed themselves in shame after being accused of murder (whoa!). Ami’s life changes, however, when Yu and his best friend are bullied to death by the son a Yakuza gang leader, and she sets out to avenge him by killing off the entire criminal organization. One girl versus an army is a tall order, but the playing field is leveled when she replaces one arm with a machine gun. Surprise!

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Before Peter Jackson became the ambassador of Middle Earth, he made genre thrillers in his native New Zealand. Heavenly Creatures stars Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey (in their first feature-film roles) as two teen girls with outsize imaginations who develop an obsessive bond. As their relationship intensifies, they start feeling oppressed by the world and their parents, who are trying to separate them, and lash out violently to ensure they can stay together. The movie is based on the real Parker-Hulme murder case in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1954.

Heathers (1988)

In this high-school-hellions classic, Winona Ryder’s Veronica is getting revenge on the dreaded Queen Bee Heather Chandler for herself, but also for all the oppressed high-schoolers who had ever come before her. But what happens when Veronica hooks up with J.D. (Christian Slater), the new bad boy in school with a massive chip on his shoulder? Well, you end up on a vengeance spree targeting pretty much everyone. Thirty years later, this movie is still so very.

Stoker (2013)

South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s only English-language movie is an American Gothic kind of horror story where almost everyone seems to want revenge on everyone else, but for our purposes, we will focus on Mia Wasikowska’s troubled India Stoker. After India’s father dies in a car wreck she is left with her spiteful mother (Nicole Kidman) and her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who appears after a lifetime of estrangement and says he is staying with them indefinitely. There is so much murder and so many icy exchanges in Stoker we won’t spoil it by spilling everyone’s motivations, but this beautifully shot thriller is an exquisite revenge art piece.

The Beguiled (2017)

Sofia Coppola’s onscreen teens always seem to be rebelling against something — the law, their parents — and in this adaptation of the 1971 original, Coppola’s girls in gossamer are quietly at odds with everything from their prim and proper headmistress (Nicole Kidman) to the oppressive norms of the antebellum South to their stifled hormones. This isn’t a blood-soaked story of retribution. It’s something softer, but just as deadly, and every single pretty blonde in Beguiled will have to dirty her hands to protect their home from a Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) whose presence starts ripping their wearing seems apart.

Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

This 1980s slasher treasure should be a widely heralded revenge classic, but it’s sadly been limited to conversations among Those Who Know. Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson) has a birthday coming up, and for some reason her rich and pretty group of friends start dying off one by one. The murder innovation in this movie produces some classic kills, and the climactic final scene is a disposable-teens tableau not to be missed. No spoilers for the labyrinthine revenge plot here. Just watch.

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

A classic of the teen-screams genre, Sleepaway Camp must be considered one of the great long-con vengeance plots of all time. Sensitive, introverted Angela (Felissa Rose) and her outgoing cousin and protector Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) head off to Camp Arawak, where the bullies start getting picked off in gruesome fashion. Think you know where it’s going? You kind of do, but also definitely do not. If you still haven’t seen this classic, it’s one of the great twist endings of all time.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2013)

The strangest thing about Mandy Lane is that it took seven years to get released after it was made — even though it’s pretty good! Amber Heard plays the titular Mandy, an outcast turned popular girl who got hot over the summer and is now pursued relentlessly by her classmates. But membership in the popular-kids club has its benefits, and Mandy ends up at an isolated ranch house to party with the cool kids for a weekend. Then, as so often happens, people start dying. But who does vengeance truly belong to in this story? Better watch and find out!

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer (Megan Fox) didn’t ask to be turned into a succubus by a shitty rock band passing through her town that needed to make a blood sacrifice to be rewarded with fame, but that’s the hand she was dealt. So now she’s ripping through her community, taking out one of humanity’s true scourges: hormonal teen boys. This Karyn Kusama– directed, Diablo Cody joint didn’t get the respect it deserved when it debuted in 2009, but you can make that right by honoring this paean to the beauty and horror of best girlfriendships in high school. Are you a Jennifer or a Needy (Amanda Seyfried)?

Hard Candy (2005)

Ellen Page can act until she’s 80 and Hard Candy will stay one of her top-five performances of all time. As Hayley Stark, Page stages her own version of To Catch a Predator when she engages with an adult man named Jeff (Patrick Wilson) online who eventually asks her on a date and invites her over to his home. But Hayley is over-performing her underage naïveté to set Jeff up for a big, painful wake-up call that includes hours of torture both emotional and physical. Beware the hard candy, creeps.

The Loved Ones (2009)

Australian director Sean Byrne’s first feature is a roaring good time if you love extremely bent high-schoolers out for petty vengeance. Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy) is an extremely needy young woman, and after her prime pick for prom, Brent (Xavier Samuel), turns her down, her loving daddy stages a dance in their home that Brent will attend whether he wants to or not. Would you believe this isn’t Lola’s first time mishandling rejection? She’s got a whole scrapbook of disappointing suitors, so don’t piss of this princess, because she’s got a toolbox full of ways to make you pay.

Jawbreaker (1999)

In a way, all the stars of Jawbreaker are out for vengeance. After the collective queens of Reagan High accidentally kill their best friend, Liz Purr (Charlotte Ayanna), the cover-up plan exposes cracks in the group that pit devilish Courtney (Rose McGowan) and her lackey Marcie (Julie Benz) against Julie (Rebecca Gayheart), the only one who really cared for Liz after all. Judy Greer is on hand as Fern Mayo, the only witness to the crime, and so is Pam Grier as the hard-knocks detective who just knows these girls have something to hide. But can the only remaining good teens topple the dictator and win one for decency? Live it. Learn it. Love it. And find out.

All Cheerleaders Die (2013)

Almost everyone has an ax to grind in All Cheerleaders Die, including the emo girl who’s pissed at her girlfriend (Caitlin Stasey as Maddy) for ditching her to join the cheerleading squad, the sociopathic football star whose girl cheats on him with Maddy, and Maddy herself, who’s playing them all to avenge her dead friend. Things really get crazy, though, when the core group of cheerleaders are run off the road and killed by Terry the psychotic jock (Tom Williamson). And you just know this walking-dead spirit squad isn’t going to let their murders go unavenged.

Mutant Girls Squad (2010)

Mutant teens deserve vengeance, too. Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) is a target of bullies at school, but she doesn’t realize that she descends from a clan of superpower-endowed mutants called the Hiruko. Shortly after she learns the truth, though, anti-Hiruko soldiers raid her home and kill her family, at which point she falls in with a mutant rebel faction. It could be just a straightforward revenge movie from there, but of course Rin must decide whether she is a Hiruko separatist who wants to subjugate humans, or a progressive who wants the societies to live peacefully — an age-old struggle.

The Pit (1981)

In this Canadian horror film, young misfit Jamie Benjamin (Sammy Snyders) has only one friend, his stuffed bear Teddy. And when Jamie finds a pit in the woods filled with monsters he calls Tra-la-logs, Teddy suggests he feed his tormentors to the carnivorous creatures. Oh, Canada.

Tormented (2009)

For a little variety, here’s one for the teen boys out there. In this British slasher comedy, deceased unpopular boy Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) comes back from the dead to get vengeance on the people who made his life hell. The main question here is: Do you want to see a ghost torment a high-school hotshot played by Alex Pettyfer? Yes, you do.

Wild Things (1998)

Bless John McNaughton for giving us Wild Things, the movie where Bill Murray plays an ambulance-chasing scumbag attorney — and Kevin Bacon gives viewers the whole show despite the “no full-frontal nudity clause” in his contract. Wild Things starts with a hot teacher (Matt Dillon) being accused of raping two of his students, Suzy (Neve Campbell) and Kelly (Denise Richards). Then there’s a trial, alliances, betrayals, class warfare, crocodile wrestling, and yes, a threesome. We won’t say why all those things happen or in what order, but there’s a yarn chart to be made about all the vengeance happening in this movie.

The Crush (1993)

Before she was Cher in Clueless, Alicia Silverstone was Darian Forrester in The Crush, her feature-film debut. Darian is a precocious 14-year-old girl who develops a dangerous obsession with the young journalist (Cary Elwes) who has just moved into her family’s guest house, and she endeavors to ruin his life in all manner of ways when he rebuffs her sexual advances. Of course, “It was all the Lolita’s fault!” is an extremely problematic premise (she’s! 14!), but Silverstone deserves applause for her commitment to going full Glenn Close in this Fatal Attraction for teens.

Here Are 20 Teen Vengeance Movies for Your Petty Heart