8 Movies With Manipulative and Evil Female Villains

Updated on July 30, 2019
poppyr profile image

Poppy lives in Enoshima and likes to read novels and play video games, especially open-world RPGs.

Some say that a great movie is only as good as its villain. No matter the genre, there is nearly always a "bad" or "evil" character or group of characters whom we love to hate. These can range from those who want to take over the world to the dark and power-hungry to those who are just hopelessly misunderstood.

We see both men and women play evil parts. Even in the very first Disney movie released in 1937, we saw the evil queen, Snow White's stepmother, engage in sorcery and murder to get what she wanted. 1939's The Wizard of Oz, too, showed a female villain who wanted to hunt down and murder the sweet Dorothy.


What is really frightening is a woman who is not only in-your-face evil like the Wicked Witch of the West or Snow White's beautiful yet deadly stepmother, but one who is clever enough to twist facts, plant evidence, and win the trust of people around them to get her victim (often a man) to take the blame.

Here are three movies I've watched recently where the female antagonist was crafty and manipulative, something that reflects, unfortunately, what some real women are like and can get away with. They're all great thrillers that I highly recommend, though keep in mind that none of them are suitable for children.

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1. “Unforgettable” (2017)

Katherine Heigl plays Tessa, the jealous ex-wife of Julia's (Rosario Dawson) fiance, David (Geoff Stults). When they move into David's home and enjoy joint custody of David and Tessa's daughter, Lily, Tessa's jealousy leads her to do the unimaginable.

I've enjoyed some of Katherine Heigl's performances in comedies such as The Ringer and The Ugly Truth, so I was interested in seeing her as a villain in a drama thriller. I thought she did a great job of playing the crazy ex, and this movie definitely deserves more recognition.

2. “Knock Knock” (2015)

Knock Knock stars Keanu Reeves as Evan, a devoted husband and father who is left home alone for the weekend. Two pretty young girls (Ana de Armas and Lorenza Izzo) appear at his doorstep one night, asking if they can use his phone to get in touch with the host of a party they're headed to. Slowly but surely, the teenagers get comfortable in Evan's house and lead him down a dark and dangerous path of pedophilia and torture.

The two girls in this movie were terrifying. There's something insanely creepy about pretty and innocent looking teenagers who turn out to be crazy and evil, be able to laugh at torture, and even make light of death. Despite its relatively low rating on IMDb and the like, I enjoyed this movie a lot. The girls' behaviour went from playful and mischievous to extremely dark and dangerous very quickly, and they had poor Evan (Reeves) under their control, leaving him powerless to escape.

3. “Obsessed” (2009)

Derek Charles (Idris Elba) has just moved into a new house with his wife (Beyonce Knowles) and his son. A new temporary assistant at his workplace, Lisa (Ali Larter) develops a weird obsession with him, and what begins as flirtatious looks turns into something more creepy such as stalking and worse. She won't take no for an answer and she's looking to have Derek as her own by any means necessary.

I just got done watching this movie on Netflix and it really exceeded my expectations. Beyonce did a great job as the fearless and sassy wife and Lisa was a scary character who could be sweet and flirty one second and angry and spiteful the next. She is a complete lunatic and I won't be forgetting about her in a hurry.

Admittedly, the plot is very similar to the aforementioned Unforgettable, but if you're into this type of movie, why not give it a try?

4. “Misery” (1990)

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Misery tells the story of Paul Sheldon (James Caan), a middle-aged author who finds himself in a dire situation after a car crash. The accident injured his legs, and he was found by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who takes him home and feeds him painkillers instead of taking him to hospital. She also happens to be a huge fan of his books.

When she finds that he has killed off her favorite character, her true nature comes out and she demands he writes a sequel. What will happen if he doesn't?

Misery is a chilling horror and Annie is a genuinely terrifying character. I also recommend reading the book.


5. “Amnesiac” (2014)

Amnesiac is about a man who loses his memory in a car accident. When he wakes up, his wife greets him, but he doesn't remember her. She dotes on him yet something seems slightly off... the way she looks at him, gently urges him to stay in bed and rest, and her odd secrecy about the basement.

Kate Bosworth does an excellent job of portraying the beautiful yet unnerving "doting wife" character. I won't be forgetting this tense thriller anytime soon.

6. “Every Secret Thing” (2015)

Every Secret Thing jumps between the past and the present, and in the former two little girls kidnapped and killed a baby. After their stint in juvenile prison, both girls return to their hometown only for another baby to go missing. Do either of the two young women, both with a different side to their story, have anything to do with the new missing child?

I spent most of this movie trying to work out which (if either) of the girls did it, and it was great to see Dakota Fanning still acting now that she's grown up. This chilling movie received mostly positive reviews and is recommended to those who enjoy tense thrillers.

7. “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017)

A rather more lighthearted movie on this list is the brilliant sequel to 2015's Kingsman: The Secret Service. The baddie in Golden Circle is Poppy Adams, portrayed by Julianne Moore.

Poppy longs to rejoin normal society with all the money she's earned from drug pedaling. As well as wanting to legalize all drugs, she also doesn't mind throwing people who fail her into meat grinders or setting her deadly robodogs on her enemies. Just shows what can happen when rich means insane psycho.

Kingsman: Golden Circle is a fantastic action-comedy and Julianne Moore did an amazing job!


8. “You Get Me” (2017)

This movie takes high school romance to another level. Heartbroken over his breakup with his girlfriend, Tyler (Taylor John Smith) spends a wild night with Holly (Bella Thorne). Things get dark fast when she develops an obsession with him, even transferring to his high school to mess with him. How far will it go?

Bella Thorne did a great job at portraying the mentally unstable Holly, who would stop at nothing to make Tyler hers. Great acting and surprising moments take this above and beyond your typical high school film.

Although most women in the world are normal and kind people, there are unfortunately some females out there who can cleverly twist reality to suit them and even pin blame on others.

These characteristics were cleverly woven into these five films and the actresses did great jobs of making us absolutely hate them! Which movie do you think you'll check out first, or have you seen any of them already?

© 2017 Poppy


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    • Laura335 profile image

      Laura Smith 

      2 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Of the three, I've only seen (and read) Gone Girl, and I've never seen a villain quite like Amy. I think it's the way she's presented as one thing and then becomes another is what makes the story compelling. She's not just manipulative towards men but with anyone who stands in the way of her desired existence. When you can freak out both sides of the audience, you've earned your place as a worthy villain.

    • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Enoshima, Japan

      Hope you enjoy them!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      I look forward to watching these movies. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Enoshima, Japan

      The movie is really good too, Rosamund Pike did a great job.

    • AlexisG profile image


      2 years ago

      I haven't watched the film based off "Gone Girl" yet, but I have read the book. Amy is as manipulative as I'll get out and Gillian did a great job portraying her originally as someone you sympathize with and later despise.


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