Sarah Kirk says these horror movies are the best to watch with friends.
There is nothing better than an evening of horror films, huddled close with friends under warm blankets with snacks and maybe a glass of wine. If you’ve had a long week or just want to enjoy a horror movie, these 10 films will be just the remedy you need to relax and enjoy yourself. Teen horror has become hugely popular, with young audiences jumping at a chance to be scared in a safe environment. When I think of the quintessential "teen scream," my memories revert to watching my first horror films at sleepovers.
The films featured relatable, young characters, creating nostalgia for those that watched the films in theaters while still holding some excitement for younger audiences discovering them for the first time. This list of movies shares a common appreciation and admiration. The coming-of-age teen screams, while cheesy at times, have an attractive pull and never get stale. Invite over some friends, make a little popcorn on your stove top, and prepare for scares and laughs.
Every horror buff knows the reference, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Wes Craven, director of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), is also the creator of Scream (1996). The popularity generated a list of sequels with Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011), and Scream (2022). The film centers around Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends, who receive creepy phone calls from a stranger with a startling and disturbing voice. Matthew Lillard’s performance as Stu Macher is one of the film's defining successes. Scream exudes 90s teen nostalgia, and its epochal status makes it a prime example of a sleepover film. Scream is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
A girls' slumber party is perfect for a witchy, female-centered film like The Craft (1996). Even with its release over 20 years ago, it remains a teenage classic. Sarah (Robin Tunney) moves to a new school for a fresh start. There, she meets three social outcasts: tough Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True). Each deals with individual hardships that plague their identity.
The Craft dissects topics like toxic female relationships, abuse, racism, bullying, and body image through the lens of its characters. The girls bond over witchcraft and use it to empower each other and get revenge on those who do them harm. Soon, their magic spells become too intense and dangerous. Consumed by power, Nancy threatens their friendship bonds and makes Sarah her new target. The Craft is relatable to many young teen girls and women for its take on witchcraft and the socialization of femininity and girlhood. The Craft is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
When it comes to teen horror, one must mention the film Heathers (1989). Winona Ryder plays sardonic Veronica in this dark comedy cult classic. Ryder is funnily scathing, contributing to the oddly pessimistic charm of the film. Director Michael Lehmann and writer Daniel Waters develop a nihilistic, candid, and witty film with the most misanthropic characters. Veronica must navigate The Heathers, the most popular clique in the school. They’re composed of three beautiful girls named Heather, who enjoy the superficial charm and obnoxiously shallow minds. They invite Veronica into the group, but her commitment is wavering due to her interest in J.D., played by 80s heartthrob Christian Slater.
J.D. and Veronica bond when murders begin, and the duo conceives a plan to take revenge on The Heathers. This film comments on the superficiality of the popular girl group—it’s quirky with brutally honest dialogue. This facet of the film, coupled with the intense cynicism and plans for vengeance, makes for an exciting watch at a sleepover. Heathers is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Sleepaway Camp (1983), written and directed by Robert Hiltzik, spawned six entries since its release. The camp is rife with teenage angst and home to a killer. It's a frantic ordeal of a summer camp experience with blatant thoughts on gender roles and transparent references to prepubescent sexual rapacity. Sleepaway Camp begins when Angela (Felissa Rose) moves in with her aunt (Desiree Gould) and cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) after the death of her family in a tragic boating accident. Ricky and Angela attend Camp Arawak for the summer. Like any other teen slasher camp film—think Friday the 13th (1980)—a killer is on the loose committing violent and gory killings. With its shocking plot twist, this film is intended to get people talking. 80s slashers like Sleepaway Camp are great for sleepover watching because of the shock value, twists and turns, and gory yet creative deaths. Sleepaway Camp is streaming on Peacock.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) is the definition of teen campy horror comedy. Countless teen vampire films have been made since its inception, like the successful Twilight (2008–2012) franchise. Buffy is a regular girl from LA turned vampire hunter. Buffy Summers (Kristy Swanson) lives the dream life of a teenage girl until everything suddenly changes. She commits to her new role as a vampire hunter and finds friendship with Pike (Luke Perry). Buffy and Pike combine their powers to defeat Lothos (Rutger Hauer), an evil vampire. Buffy is a breath of fresh air in the teen horror genre because she is a fighter, not the stereotypical female victim. The casting of legendary Donald Sutherland is another reason to watch. The film is a 90s horror comedy filled with energetic fun and over-the-top slayings. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is currently available on Amazon Prime Video.
“A toast…to us, to our last summer of immature, adolescent decadence.” Scream (1996) screenwriter Kevin Williamson and director Jim Gillespie make a summer movie blockbuster hit great for summer sleepovers. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) emphasizes its foreboding atmosphere, psychological distress, and dread the characters experience. Teens Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Barry (Ryan Phillippe), and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.) brim with hormones and enjoy a summer that seems to last forever. They discuss the urban legend of the hook man but little do they know the fisherman's story will come back to haunt them.
One night, their actions have consequences, and their lives change from that moment. Reality hits them like an oncoming truck. Emotional turmoil boils within each of them as the audience witnesses their personalities learn to cope with the consequences of that hideous night. I Know What You Did Last Summer is 90s teen nostalgia infused with scares and psychological torment. Don't let the hook man come for you. I Know What You Did Last Summer is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Sleepover films must include the 2000s horror parodies. Scary Movie (2000) is about a group of teens being stalked by a masked killer after they accidentally run over someone with their car. Cindy (Anna Faris) must survive while the absurd horrors continue. This horror parody alludes to popular teen horror films like Scream (1996), and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). The sequels reference films like The Exorcist (1973), Poltergeist (1982), and The Ring (2002). The Scary Movie franchise provides comedy, horror references, and a sense of nostalgia. The ridiculous absurdity of these films is a break from real-world horrors. Scary Movie is streaming on HBO Max.
Joss Whedon, writer of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), and Drew Goddard co-wrote and directed an original and horror trope-filled film with The Cabin In the Woods (2011). Five teens: Dana (Kristen Connolly), the virgin or good girl; Curt (Chris Hemsworth), the athlete; Jules (Anna Hutchison), the hot cheerleader; Marty (Fran Kranz), the stoner; and Holden (Jesse Williams) head to a remote cabin for vacation. Little do they know they will soon experience horrors perpetrated by experiments for curiosity and science. The blend of horror and science fiction makes a terrifying and invigorating watch for a sleepover. It’s a deep-dive analysis of the horror genre while also managing to fall into the teen genre. The Cabin In the Woods is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Every horror fan knows Jason Vorhees and the Friday the 13th (1980) classic. Sean S. Cunningham creates a staple horror film that has become ingrained in the horror genre and popular culture surrounding it. Jason is said to have drowned at Camp Crystal Lake in 1957. The following year, two murders occurred. After their deaths, the camp reopens, but something worse happens–an unknown murderer mercilessly slays counselors left and right. Is Jason alive and back for revenge? The atmosphere is evocative because it brings viewers back to 80s summer camp vibes and teen culture. It’s exhilarating to play Friday the 13th at a sleepover with friends to see the infamous Jason Vorhees hockey mask on the screen. While aspects of the film may be graphic and overdone, it’s a bucket list movie everyone needs to cross off their sleepover list. Friday the 13th is streaming on HBO Max.
This film might be the one you want to watch if you and your friends want to scare yourselves. This girl's night turns bloody. A patient escapes from an asylum and is out on the prowl with a power drill and ready to kill. It's the definition of a teen horror slasher film with overdone acting, but hey, it is the 80s. This film is a guilty pleasure, cheesy, teen horror flick. Blood, comedy, fun, and entertainment are lumped into one film. If you like gruesome, gory deaths and a killer on the loose with an abundance of suspense, The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) is the one for you. Go ahead with your sleepover, but be careful of a crazy lunatic killer—he might come for you. The Slumber Party Massacre is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.