This year feels like a new dawn for women in horror. In 2021, for the first time in the 75-year history of the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Palme d'Or prize not only went to a horror film – the first ever to win the award – but also marked the only second ever female director to be honoured, the last being 28 years ago.
And Julia Ducournau’s electrifying and twisted Titane is an utterly unhinged celebration of everything that the genre can be: a head-splitting nightmare of serial killers, nauseating gore, and sex with motorised vehicles.
Back in 2018, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions (Halloween, The Purge, Paranormal Activity) drew criticism for claiming: “There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror.” But since then, there have been a wave of new female voices worldwide, bending the genre's hackneyed clichés to expand and redefine what a horror film can be, often offering previously unseen vantages into the female experience.
From #MeToo ghost stories, nightmare alternate universes, and murderous mind-controlling waitresses, here are the best horror movies from 2021 directed by women, ideal for your Halloween fright night…