August 10, 2022

Hellbender is a horror-thriller about lonely teenage girl Izzy (Zelda Adams) who discovers she comes from a long line of powerful evil witches, a dark past that her mother (Toby Poser) tries to keep secret. When Izzy develops a taste for the intoxicating power of her newfound witchcraft, she treads down a path of discovery and death that has no return.

Directed and written by the filmmaking family collective The Adams – Zelda Adams, Toby Posey, and John AdamsHellbender is sure to have horror fans talking with its unique and frightening tale as a coming-of-age folk horror movie.cHere is a list of 7 coming-of-age occult-horror movies like Hellbender that film fans will enjoy.

Related:How ‘Hellbender’ Demonstrates Low-Budget Horror’s Explosive Creative Potential

The Witch

Image via A24

The debut film of acclaimed filmmaker Robert Eggers, The Witch is a 2015 period supernatural horror movie that centers on an English settler family in 1630s New England. Banished from a Puritan colony over a religious dispute, the family of five – among them teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) – relocate to a space near a secluded forest where they build a farm. Soon supernatural forces begin to tear the family apart, with Thomasin a target of seduction from the dark evil living in the woods.

One of the best-reviewed films of 2015 that brought the concept of “elevated horror” to the mainstream, The Witch also featured the breakthrough role of Taylor-Joy whose performance was one of many highlights in an incredibly well-crafted, slow-burn exercise of terror that went against the jump-scare theatrics of the horror landscape. Delving into themes of religion, the nature of evil, and especially a young woman’s yearning for independence that is used as a tool of temptation by a dark supernatural entity, The Witch is occult coming-of-age horror at its finest.



Image via A24

Ari Aster’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Hereditary, Midsommar is an unsettling folk horror that stars Florence Pugh as Dani, a college student who, in a bid to overcome a recent trauma, travels with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) to a rural mid-summer festival in Sweden that is held every 90 years. Dani’s search for meaning instead becomes a violent and surreal baptism into the practices of a dangerous pagan cult, within which she becomes ensnared.

A daylight horror movie where under the sunny veneer lies a dark and trippy descent into a Nordic pagan hell, Midsommar also marks a demented coming of age story for an emotionally abused and battered woman who finds solace and insanity within a cult upon which violent ritual is its bedrock. Pugh is terrific as Dani, delivering a powerhouse of a performance that ends with one of the most iconic images in modern horror history.

Related:Every A24 Horror Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

Ginger Snaps

Image via Motion International

A vital entry in the werewolf movie sub-genre that holds strong feminist themes, biting dark humor, and a frightening dose of supernatural horror, Ginger Snaps stars Katherine Isabelle and Emily Perkins as Ginger and Brigitte, teen sisters obsessed with death who get more than they bargained for when Ginger is attacked by a werewolf. Soon Ginger undergoes a transformation that brings with it grizzly, bloody consequences.

Directed by John Fawcett, Ginger Snaps especially works in its direct correlation between lycanthropy and puberty, taking the werewolf movie into a feminist, progressive direction, which also results in a successful teen film satire. As the title character, Isabel portrays both the burgeoning sexuality and savage violence that her character’s transformation triggers, resulting in a monstrously good turn in a cult horror classic.

The Old Ways

Image via Netflix

Taking a different approach to the demonic possession sub-genre, The Old Ways stars Brigitte Kali Canales as Cristina, a journalist born in Mexico yet raised in the United States. When she returns to her hometown to research a story about tribal culture, Cristina is kidnapped by locals who believe she is possessed by a demon.

Directed by Christopher Alender, The Old Ways delves into the rare territory of bruja culture in its supernatural tale of possession and ritual in Mexico, where a spiritual war between the forces of good and evil takes place. Key to the film’s success is Canales’ portrayal of a young Mexican American woman reclaiming her Latina heritage through a life-changing experience where the ghosts of her past clash with the demons of today.

Related:The 40 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s


Image via Amazon Studios

Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s Gallo classic Suspiria is on its own merits a nightmare-inducing supernatural thriller of little comparison. Dakota Johnson stars as Suzy Bannion, an aspiring dancer who travels to the prestigious Markos Dance Academy in West Berlin, Germany. There she makes an impression upon choreographer Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), who is also a part of a coven of witches that control the academy.

Wonderfully and frustratingly unique in its depiction of horror that goes well beyond genre rules, Suspiria is filled with all matter of symbolism and an incredibly strong sense of horror that bubbles under the surface and threatens to take hold at any moment. Key to the film is Johnson’s portrayal of Susie’s sexual awakening, which is especially felt throughout the film’s well-choreographed dance sequences that projects the magnetic aura and power of femineity that feels almost supernatural.

Jennifer’s Body

jennifer's body
Image via 20th Century Fox

Written by Juno scribe Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama, the polarizing horror-comedy Jennifer’s Body stars Megan Fox as Jennifer, a popular high school cheerleader who, through an occult ritual, becomes possessed by a succubus and begins feeding on her male classmates. It is up to Jennifer’s nerdy friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) to stop her.

Although receiving negative to lukewarm notices upon its 2009 release, Jennifer’s Body has recently undergone a retrospective that has seen many label the film a “forgotten feminist classic” that was marketed incorrectly. Regardless, the film succeeds as a sharp and violent horror-comedy that benefits from Cody’s edgy writing and Fox’s impressive lead turn as a man-eating seductress with an insatiable appetite.

Let the Right One In

Image via Canal+

A moody, bloody, and surprisingly tender vampire tale, Let the Right One In tells the story of a young boy named Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) who becomes best friends with his new neighbor, 12-year-old Eli (Lina Leandersson). He soon finds out that Eli is a vampire, and in a bloody twist of events their bond deepens leading Oskar to make a decision that will change his life forever.

Director Tomas Alfredson creates a creepy, eerie atmosphere throughout Let the Right One In that is further fueled by the winter chill, dread, and isolation of its Swedish location. The films true strength, however, lies in its lead actors, especially young Kare Hedebrant, who in his feature film debut embodies his overlooked, bullied Oskar with haunting maturity beyond his years.

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