Women, Vengeance and the Fear of Rejection in Horror/Thriller Genre

The fear of rejection can be a crippling state experienced by many. It’s often a reflection of the inner self, a perfect breeding ground for self-criticism, anxieties, the inability to focus or be alone and be in an environment openly conversing due to the fear of being questioned or judged by society.

Fear of rejection, in the matter of relationships however, throws up so many other complexities.

Being a woman, I can certainly account for all of the times those niggling questions creep up in my mind when embarking upon a new relationship or rendezvous with a potential life partner. For both women and men, there’s been many a possibility and liaison, but just how many of these have we struggled with due to these kinds of fears?

Common thought-processes which often regurgitate in women/men can be:

‘I’m too scared to call as I’ll seem desperate,’

‘I want to tell him/her I love them but I’m scared they won’t feel the same,’

‘I love him/her but he/she will run away if he/she knows just how I feel!’

‘He/she hasn’t called yet. They’re not interested in me so I’m just going to forget about it all and move on,’

All of which just reveal how insecure we are with ourselves.

If you’re more of an impassioned feeler-type, then the curse of empathetic-empath qualities may kick in, especially if you feel as hard as you give. Or that the need for love outweighs that of self-respect.

But when faced with fathomless disappointment, the possibilities for a woman scorned can in some instances appear internalised. However, through the passage of time (not too much), emotions can eventually turn outwards. Boundaries disappear into a black abyss beyond imagining. And through the turmoil, a woman can become blinded by an urgent need for justice, where the focus is so strong that the ultimate goal of vengeance must be sourced.

This week’s blog is dedicated to movies where women have sought vengeance due to being rejected, and not rape-based vengeance either. Movies where women have been knocked back by the lovers/partners they entrust with their feelings, invest their time in, lust over and in some cases love. But there are also some cases where they are psychotically obsessed with their ‘love.’

One woman’s love is another man’s/woman’s fuck.

One woman’s love is another man’s/woman’s fear and inability to love back or commit

Ones woman’s love is another man/woman’s possession

We could go on!

The violent and unpredictable actions of woman can only be explained by the basis of the insecurity, which thus reveals just how far the trigger of the disappointment reaches. And the lack of self-love, where acting out is the only way of feeling even if that feeling of liberation is short lived.

Enjoy my Fear of Rejection movie list!

The Lure (2005)


Based in the 80s, this musical tells the tale of two mermaid sisters called Golden (Michalina Olszañska) and Silver (Marta Mazurek) who leave the ocean to join a rock band in a small town.

Silver falls deeply in love with Mietek, the bassist of the band, and even gives up her tail by surgery removal and has her legs done so that she can become more human.

Unfortunately, Mietek can’t see past her fishiness and, eventually leaves her for someone else. But there’s also a catch, because if Mietek marries someone else, it means she’ll turn into foam. After all of the sacrifices Silver has taken, the inevitable happens. Golden seeks her revenge upon her sister’s death in a deserved blood-bath.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Su-mi (Im Soo-jung) returns home to her family home after being in a psychiatric hospital for some time. She reunites with her father, wicked step-mother Eun-Joo (Yum Jung-ah) and younger sister Su-yeon (Moon Geun-young).

Tensions rise as its revealed that Eun-Joo is in fact abusing Su-yeon and isn’t very nice to Su-mi either.

Their father (Kap-su Kim) refuses to believe or trust in his daughters, and what’s more rejected their biological mother who hung herself due to discovering that he was having an affair with Eun-joo who was in fact their sick mother’s nurse.

There’s rejection on all parts here, their father rejecting his daughter’s mother and having an affair with the nurse, him then rejecting his daughters needs for attention and love. Then there’s the rejection of the truth from Eun-Joo who’s jealous of her husband’s daughters, going so far as to harming one of them fatally.

Although vengeance is sought by the end of the film, this is based more on perceived wrongs warped by deep trauma. When it is revealed exactly what happened we are left with the question, is the rejection or fear of it built upon assumption. Is the narrative we apply to an event central in how we move upon it in the future. In this Su-mi’s narrative causes her insanity, placing blame on others while rejecting the truth, and building her psychosis upon a few key elements. Moo-hyeon Bae’s relationship with Eun-joo is seen by Su-mi as him rejecting the love he had for her ill mother, while there is much more. Eun-jun helped her father come to terms with his wife’s illness, it’s natural for love to blossom when such emotion is brought into play.

Prevenge (2016)

Pregnant Ruth (Alice Lowe) goes on a killing spree encouraged by her unborn child, who she’s convinced is talking to her and supporting her in her rampage. Her reasons for this are made clear by the end, but to start with, she starts on her mission to kill all of the people involved in her late partners death which resulted in a climbing trip.

With some incredibly comical and disturbing scenes, this unique horror-thriller wraps up nicely at the end giving some reason to Ruth’s madness and even slight compassion for a woman with child who was massively scorned. The other side of the penny is that Ruth’s fear of rejection could actually derive from the rejection of the child.

LOVE (2015)

This isn’t actually one of my favourites Gaspar Noé movies, although apparently features the first 3D ejaculation shot in film history…

In this story, couple Murphy (Karl Glusman) and Electra (Aomi Muyock) decide to spice things up in the bedroom by having a threesome with their neighbour Omi (Klara Kristin). But Murphy decides to continue their liaisons without Electra. However, Omi soon discovers that she’s pregnant. When Electra finds out, she’s devastated and leaves Murphy.

Two years pass, and Murphy appears to be in a living hell, trying raise a screaming child and stuck in a marriage with Omi he wished he wasn’t in. He starts to reflect back on his relationship with Electra, unearthing painful truths and realising just how much he fucked up and loved her despite their hedonistic, erratic but passionate relationship. A call from Electra’s mother reveals that she’s been missing for three months, and it seems to trigger memories and a much-required closure that perhaps never happens.

Sometimes the best revenge is silence. Electra may have disappeared, but she certainly cut off ties with Murphy leaving him in a messy state after she left.

In this film, all parties are victims of rejection. Electra rejects Murphy without a trace and Murphy rejects Omi in his marriage. He also rejects himself by wallowing in the hell he’s made, unable to rise above his turmoil.

Death Becomes Her (1992)

Although referred to as a fantasy comedy film, I class this one as comedy-horror because there are some funny but yet grotesque body-horror scenes in this movie.

When plastic surgeon Ernest (Bruce Willis) leaves his writer wife Helen (Goldie Hawn) for a beautiful actress named Madeline (Meryl Streep), Helen goes insane and ends up in a psychiatric hospital.

Many years later, and still obsessed with Madeline and Ernest who are now married, she sets upon plotting her revenge.

Throwing a party for her book launch with Madeleine and Ernest attending, Helen appears slim and youthful. Madeline is jealous in an instance.

But she soon finds out that the secret to Helen’s youthfulness is an immortality potion.

The strain of this three-way reveals itself, when Madeline and Helen realise that keeping their body is a lot harder than they imagined. The two women drive Ernest near-insanity before demanding that he takes the potion himself to keep young so that he can look after them forever with his surgeon and mortician skills.

Had Ernest not rejected his loving fiancé Helen, he might not have ended up with two neurotic women, almost driving him to death. An unconscious revenge perhaps, but it did drive him crazy.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is an introverted young woman who’s bullied, ostracised and rejected by the majority of her school peers. Attacked for being different, and socially awkward, Carries’ experience at school is just another unpleasantly she has to suffer. At home, she has to face abuse from her overbearing religious mother, Margaret (Piper Laurie), who constantly berates her. Unbeknown to her peers, she has telekinetic abilities which are unleashed by the end of the film.

Carrie is a classic victim who seeks revenge on the rejection and humiliation she’s endured. With her powers raging relentlessly, by the end of the movie, she destroys everyone and everything in her path before finally dealing with the matters at home.

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Dan (Michael Douglas) is a successful married lawyer, who has an affair with an editor. Although this arrangement is meant to be a no strings attached affair, Alex (Glenn Close) becomes obsessed with Dan when he tries to end their relationship. Dan should’ve chosen his affair more cautiously (or not one at all), for this rejected soul refuses to accept no for an answer. Disillusioned and confused by her rejection, she sets upon stalking Dan’s family, with every action to destroy his family proving just as terrifying as the next. Performances by Glen Close, Michael Douglas and Anne Archer are some of the best violent and terrifying fight sequences I’ve seen.

Obsessed (2009)

When a work colleague named Lisa (Ali Larter) tries to seduce married-man Derek (Idris Elba) at his work place, he immediately refuses her advances. Still hell-bent on getting Derek’s attentions, Lisa tries to seduce him in his car, then later she drugs him, and the next day appears naked in his bed after attempting suicide.

It’s too much for his wife Sharon (Beyonce) to bear, so they separate, although months later they reconcile. But Lisa appears again, this time entering their house and causing hell for them both. She won’t give up until she has Derek.

There’s some great ‘Oh no she didn’t!’ psychologically twisted scenes, especially the scene when Lisa scatters rose petals on Derek and Sharon’s marital bed and waits for him…

The Loved Ones (2009)

Brent is a troubled young man, wracked by guilt from the trauma brought about by the death of his father in a car accident. He becomes increasingly distance and emotionally isolated, but in all of this he has his rock, Holly his girlfriend.

However, this doesn’t sit well with Lola another girl who wants Brent for herself.

When he rejects Lola’s request to accompany her to the school dance, she gets her father (a man dealing with some very strange issues), to kidnap Brent. At her home Brent is tortured and incapacitated by Lola and her father. But Lola has done this several times before.

But instead of taking it Brent fights back, his desire is to live and take revenge after its revealed that Lola was tangentially responsible for the car accident that killed his father.
This is pretty much a film that amalgamates notions of Misery and Wolf-Creek, exploring ideas of obsession and brutality. Even the visual cue that she carves her initials into her chosen obsession with a fork, leaves you scratching your chest.

Nurse 3-D (2013)

Abby (Paz de la Huerta) is a nurse at a prestigious hospital by day and a serial killer by night, hunting down men who cheat on their wives and girlfriends. This is something she takes sadistic pleasure out of while justifying her actions, claiming to be a hero saving other women from these predatory men.

Danni (Katrina Bowden) is a trainee nurse new to the hospital and in a relationship with a paramedic named Steve. Abby becomes obsessed with Danni and goes out of her way to make Danni fall for her.

When Danni ultimately rejects Abby’s advances by seeking solace in the arms of her boyfriend, Abby snaps. Abby, enraged begins a protracted campaign of fear and undermining Danni’s mental state. Slowly revealing her dark side with videos of her murdering a number of people associated with Danni. She even manipulates the police investigation, claiming that Danni is unhinged and obsessive.

When the truth finally comes to light Abby goes on a psychotic bloodbath, slaying anyone in the vicinity.

Thanks for reading all!

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