12 '90s Teen Thrillers That Still Give You Chills To This Day
Fact: The '90s were filled with amazing teen thrillers. From high school-set noirs to psychological tales of teens running from crazed killers to sci-fi treats, the teen thrillers of the '90s were exciting, often amusing, and plentiful. They are also still very much in demand. I mean, Cruel Intentions still has such a passionate cult following, NBC is turning it into a TV series. If you are still as enamored with the twisty tales of your youth as NBC is, then it is time to rewatch your old school favorites (and maybe even discover a few you missed).
There is no bad time to indulge in the delicious evil of Sarah Michelle Gellar's Cruel Intentions character Kathryn, or marvel at the insanity of literally everyone in the film I Know What You Did Last Summer . Not every thriller has aged well, but they are all crazy entertaining, and perfect for wiling away a rainy spring afternoon. So make some popcorn and find a snuggly blanket to ward off the inevitable chills you will be facing when you remember how creepy Urban Legend was — it's time for a '90s teen thriller marathon. Trust me, you are not going to regret spending an evening with any of these classic films.
1. Scream (1996)
Watching the original Scream skewer classic slasher movie tropes will never get old. Add in Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox as two totally badass women, as well as a final reveal that remains gasp-worthy to this day, and you really can't go wrong with this movie.
2. Cruel Intentions (1999)
Full of delicious upper-class backstabbing and dark bets between step-siblings, Cruel Intentions is all about the sinful goodness of the characters' deceit. The queen bee of the movie is Kathryn (Gellar), who is the kind villain you love too much to bother to hate. Gellar has never been better on the big screen.
3. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Gellar first starred with Ryan Phillippe and her future real-life husband Freddie Prinze Jr. in this story about a quartet of friends who decide to conceal their hit and run. Of course, this movie belongs to Jennifer Love Hewitt, who is determined not to become one of the Hook Man's victims. A snappy script and a plethora of '90s stars has kept this slasher film from losing its bite over the years.
4. Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)
OK, this movie stars Helen Mirren as the teacher from your darkest nightmares, so it had to make the list. While she could have phoned her performance in given her stature, she totally goes for broke as the terrifying Mrs. Tingle. The movie's thrills come more from waiting for her to get loose than they do from wondering if the students who have taken her hostage will be found out.
5. The Craft (1996)
Light as a feather, stiff as a board — The Craft straddles the line between horror and thriller with ease. A witchcraft tale where no one can be trusted and a group of young women are equal parts scary and intriguing, this movie will never stop being a total thrill ride.
6. Urban Legend (1998)
If you've never seen this movie, prepare to learn a whole bunch of new urban legends that'll for sure freak you out. If you have seen it, then settle in for an evening of gory scares that will still make you jump (and cringe).
7. The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Much more serious than most of the other movies on this list, The Virgin Suicides builds unease right from the start. The movie is psychological in nature. There are no masked killers running amok here — but that doesn't mean it's any less scary. It just lets life be the villain.
8. Wild Things (1998)
If you can figure out where this movie is going, you are an actual genius, because it has more twists than your average roller coaster ride.
9. Hackers (1995)
This movie has all the '90s stars your heart could ever desire: Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Jesse Bradford, and Matthew Lillard all star in this tale of a high school hacker who finds himself framed for extortion. While it looks a little dated, the subject matter is eerily modern.
10. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Kate Winslet's first film is a disorienting masterpiece. The two girls at the center of the story can't help but steal your heart, but there is something much darker going on. Even more unsettling is the fact that the movie is based on a true story.
11. The Faculty (1998)
For some reason, scary high school teachers became an actual trope in the '90s — and even Mrs. Tingle isn't quite as horrifying as the teachers in The Faculty. Watching the teens (including Josh Hartnett!) unravel the mystery of why their high school has gotten so strange is as engrossing as it is fun.
12. Disturbing Behavior (1998)
The Stepford Wives meet high school in yet another story of strange things being afoot among the faculty of a high school. This one has Katie Holmes raging against the machine though, so you are definitely going to want to figure out why so many of her grunge-loving classmates are randomly turning into total do-gooders.
Enjoy these '90s thrillers now, and be thankful that you don't have to go to school and worry about your teacher being an alien after watching them.
Images: Columbia Pictures; Giphy (12)