Revenge Horror Movies

Explore the darker recesses of horror with our comprehensive viewing guides for horror sub-genres.

We know they say revenge is a dish best served cold, but in our area of expertise (horror movies. Obviously.) it's often swift, violent, and—at least in Drag Me To Hell (2009)—fiery hot. If it's the protagonist getting it, horror-movie-world vengeance can be really, really satisfying. Villains always have it coming, usually in some major way. But sometimes, what they do to deserve it isn't easy to stomach. We're not saying you should or shouldn't watch I Spit On Your Grave (1978), but if you can tolerate it, the brutal justice the protagonist metes out is awesome.

Seminal revenge classic Last House On The Left (1972) is similar: tough to watch, but the payoff is glorious if you're patient. This unspeakable-evil/savage-comeuppance style of revenge horror is likely the oldest form of revenge movie, going all the way back to the inimitable Freaks (1932). Sometimes, the main character is super good at revenge. For instance, in Kuroneko (1968) the vengeful spirits are so skilled that they decide to move on from revenge to straight killing random people. Characters like this may wake up to find they've become a worse monster than the one they were fighting, like in Korean crime horror masterpiece, I Saw The Devil (2010).

But the average horror movie vengeance-seeker isn't a professional. Often, they're just a young woman or poor father in the wrong place at the wrong time as in 2003 double-revenge mindfuck Oldboy. Innocence is no excuse though: one should be careful not to get too caught up in retribution, even if it's justified. You don't want to end up with a huge bodycount and nothing to show for it, like Carrie (1979).

Now, that isn't to say all revenge is just. In Pumpkinhead (1988), the gross overreaction that sparks the plot is pretty much the whole point. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) centers around the ghost of an evil child-murderer who himself was killed in retaliation... but for us, the uncontested queen of the “way crazy over-the-top psycho revenge” style has to be Audition (1999). Who is Asami? What exactly is she getting revenge for? Why did it have to be needles?

Have you seen all of these movies? You must be one cold son of a bitch. If you don't mind we'd love it if you hang around and take the time to rate them. We're not trying to cross you, we swear, but—if you've got a second, please, browse through our collection, see if anything jumps out at you. Just don't hurt us.

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Revenge Horror Movies

Highest Rated: Freaks (1932)

Lowest Rated: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

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