There’s the tried and true cliché of “man versus nature” in many horror films, but what about women? So many horror films focus around women battling violent men, but what about their battles with the natural world?
This week, we focus on five movies where the main character is a woman and the main threat is water. Everything from isolation to drowning, these films show the rising danger (pun intended) that water presents and how smart, resourceful women deal with it. Let’s dive into our 5 Underseen Indie Horror Movies: Women & Water Edition!
The Dark Below (2015)
One minute, she’s comfortable in her home. The next minute, she is trapped underneath the frozen surface of a lake in the dead of winter. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, she has to figure out how to survive and escape the ice while also avoiding the serial killer who is stalking her from above the ice.
The Dark Below is a no-frills survival thriller at its most effective and most basic. Lauren Mae Shafer is excellent in the difficult and extremely physical central role.
12 Feet Deep (2017)
Some of the most frightening horror films revolve around the simple things in life that go a little bit wrong, and the terror spins out from there. In 12 Feet Deep, two sisters swimming in an indoor pool facility are trapped in the pool over a holiday when the employees put the heavy fiberglass cover across the pool surface.
The movie splits the danger between the in-pool survival and the threat from outside as a character becomes aware of their presence and decides to taunt rather than help them. This single location thriller makes the most of its claustrophobic concept.
A woman who reluctantly goes on a boating cruise with a small group of friends finds herself on a deserted cruise ship when a storm throws their boat off-course. The ship isn’t as empty as it first seems, and she ends up fighting for her life as a masked killer hunts and kills them one by one.
A brilliant location for a slasher film becomes even more fascinating and complicated with several impressive twists that keep the story folding back on itself in interesting ways. Director Christopher Smith also directed the deeply entertaining horror-comedy Severance.
From the writer/director and acting team behind They Look Like People, The Siren is a quiet and moving tragic love story revolving around a mute man moving to a small lakeside cabin, a widowed man seeking vengeance for the loss of his husband, and the mysterious and possibly supernatural woman they both encounter.
The film is beautifully shot, its haunting score made up of mostly female voices, and the story is simple but effective in its focus on character details over plot machinations. It fits nicely alongside other great tragic horror romances like The Fly and Spring.
The Beach House (2020)
A college couple heads to their parents’ vacation home on the beach, intending to spend time together alone but instead having an impromptu party with an older couple at the house. Meanwhile, there is a strange glowing near the shore.
The next morning, they couples find out the true origin of the strange glowing, as they encounter an odd fog front and creepy aquatic creatures that slowly destroy their sanity and their bodies.
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