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BIPOC women in horror

BIPOC Women take the lead // a Netflix Horror List

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I got so excited when Alma and Dalia told me their next podcast season would focus on Women In Horror. Firstly, I love Nightmare on 5th St. Secondly, I live to celebrate women in horror. And lastly, I’ve had an idea for a Women of Color-led horror list sourced from Netflix. So, of course, I am living my best life with this list where BIPOC women take the lead!

While we often sleep on Netflix‘s Horror selections, they are sort of killing it when it comes to WOC-led horror. Some of these are underrated gems. Others are instant classics. Of course, a few are pretty meh because not everything can be great. However, all of them have at least one WOC driving the action and giving us life. Whether they are the final girl, a new favorite villain, or a badass icon in outfits I would kill for, they are all worth celebrating. I hope you find at least half as many new favorites on this list as I did! 

Anaconda (1997)
Terri Flores, Played By Jennifer Lopez
A “National Geographic” film crew finds themselves fighting for survival against the world’s largest snakes. I have not watched this movie since I was a kid because I hate snakes, and this one was way too damn big. However, my baby brain also acknowledged that Jennifer Lopez was a badass. As a kid seeing the woman who played Selena turn around and tag team a menacing snake with Ice Cube in the Amazon stuck with me. Jenny From The Block drove home so that we could have multitudes.

The Call (2020)
Seo-yeon, Played By Park Shin-Hye, and Young-sook, Played By Jeon Jong-seo
A woman gets a phone call from a woman living 20 years in the past. The Call is one of my new favorite Netflix finds, and it gave me a new favorite horror villain. Shin-Hye and Jong-seo are AMAZING in this movie and keep it grounded amid the fantastical. The final girl works through a lot and actually fights to save herself and her mom. Jong-seo is delightful with every turn of her character, and I lived for her performance. 

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)
Deena Johnson / Sarah Fier, Played By Kiana Madeira
Netflix dropped a trilogy nodding to the R.L. Stine series that raised most of us. It is still serving YA fiction vibes, but Madeira is the overall lead. Each installment is pretty long, packed with awesome needle drops, and not afraid to get a little (or a lot) bloody. Even if it is not the trilogy for you, seeing a young woman of color fight the Shadyside big bad heals something.

His House (2020)
Rial, Played By Wunmi Mosaku
A refugee couple finds that the horror is not over when they arrive in England. This movie is the most underrated movie on the list. Mosaku deserved all the awards for her portrayal of a grief-stricken woman trying to navigate her trauma. This movie is possibly the best movie to hit Netflix, and so many people have not made time to watch it. Stop reading this article and fix that now if you are one of those people. It is sad, it is haunting, and it is very creepy.

No One Gets Out Alive (2021)
Ambar, Played By Cristina Rodlo
A woman must stay in a horrific boarding house as she tries to make the American Dream a reality. I love that the movie tackles immigration and how hard this country makes it for others to succeed here. I love horror that takes a stand and is on the right side of an argument. I also cannot wait to see what Rodlo does next because I think she is one to watch. Come for the creepy boarding house and stay for someone who might be a breakout star.

The Old Ways (2020)
Cristina, Played By Brigitte Kali Canales
I put this movie off because I thought it was a direct-to-video mess but happily had to eat my words. It came out of the gate swinging at identity, intergenerational trauma, and owning all of the parts that make us whole. Watching Cristina’s arc left me wanting to cheer, and I had to stop myself from clapping during a line right before she puts her demon in its place. Canales’ co-star in the film is Andrea Cortés as Miranda. So we get two badass WOC at the end of this movie.

Revenge Of The Pontianak (2019)
Mina, Played By Nur Fazura
This movie upset me and belongs in the “Good For Her” canon. Mina is a Pontianak because men are the worst. I am happy she returned for vengeance, and I am ecstatic that this movie is good. Not only does Mina get her revenge on this whole town, but she does it in excitingly dramatic ways. Mina also does it in gorgeous outfits. The only thing better than a badass villainess is one that serves looks as she comes for the men who wronged her. Get into this one immediately.  

Sweetheart (2019)
Jenn, Played By Kiersey Clemons
There are not nearly enough Black final girls in horror, let alone survival horror. Here we get a beautiful lead that is having to learn how to survive the creature trying to eat her on an abandoned island. Full disclosure, this is a movie where I like the actor more than the movie. I do live for the ending battle where Jenn creates a fire circle and decides to put an end to this mess. 

There’s Someone Inside Your House (2021)
Makani, Played By Sydney Park
Netflix was really about giving us Black girl-led YA horror last year. Which is something that I can get behind. If you like your horror a little more palatable for the family, this one is here for you. I hear it is a fun time for the youth, and they deserve horror too. I also think we’ll see more of Sydney Park, and that is something else I can get support.

Umma (2022)
Amanda, Played By Sandra Oh 
Amanda lives a life based on fear and trauma responses because of an abusive childhood. What she thought she escaped turns up on her doorstep when her mother’s ashes and possessions are delivered. Obviously, Sandra Oh is the reason for every season. However, this movie gives something to those of us who have complicated relationships with our parents. The fact that it achieves something quite a few of my first counselors failed at while doing it for the PG-13 audience is a miracle. 

Under The Shadow (2016)
Shideh, Played By Narges Rashidi
An unhappy woman finds herself fighting a malevolent presence in her home after her husband leaves. The backdrop of this movie is a 1980s war-torn Tehran which cranks the tension up even further. Seeing this woman realize that her home is no longer safe as she tries to shield her daughter from various awful incidents is heartbreaking. Also, I love that her daughter, Dorsa (played by Avin Manshadi), is involved in the action. Seeing a young Brown girl also drive this one sparks so much joy for me! 

So, yeah. These are a few movies currently streaming on Netflix that have WOC front and center. If your favorite is not on here, drop me a line at @misssharai on Twitter in case I have not seen it. Also, check out Season 4 of Nightmare on 5th St. (coming soon) because you know their selections will be almost as awesome as their conversations about them. 

// If you’re into lists, check out this one where we share some classic horror picks, that are FREE!

About Post Author

Alma

Horror is kind of my thing. I consume so much horror that it leaks into my dreams and creates the most uncomfortable sleep paralysis episodes. Just ask the shadow man at the end of the bed, he’ll tell you. I don’t consider myself a professional critic, mainly because I don’t get paid, but I do enjoy discussing horror with anyone who will listen.

Author

  • I am a writer, podcaster, and aspiring candlestick maker. I am one-half of the podcast 'Nightmare on FIERCE Street', one-third of the 'Blerdy Massacre' podcast, and one-eleventh of aoas_xx’s 'The ALTER Tapes'. I am also a contributing writer at 'Dread Central'.

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