21 Movies 'Riverdale' Fans Should Watch If They Can't Get Enough Drama
To watch Riverdale (writer: Britta Lundin) is to be obsessed with Riverdale. The CW's dark take on Archie comics is an absolute sensation, and once it gets you hooked, it's not letting you go. But, alas, no one can watch all Riverdale all the time, even if you are one of the rare fans who actually enjoy Archie's storylines. In your off-time, here are 21 movies to watch if you love Riverdale that will almost make you feel like you're watching a spinoff. Almost.
There are a few things that make Riverdale so addictive: the hotties (Archie may be boring, but fans could watch him jog shirtless any day), the high school relationship drama (Bughead forever), and, of course, the murder. All these Riverdale-like movies have at least one of those three key ingredients, and many explore similar themes about coming of age, mental health, and teen sleuthing. (Oh, and the murder thing.) Granted, not all of them do it with the same rate of shirtlessness, or the same extravagant dialogue, but they come pretty close. So, once you've exhausted yourself watching Riverdale Season 1 for the fifth time on Netflix, take a break with one of these 21 movies to watch — hell, you can watch them all and pretend it's just another night of TV marathoning.
Heathers (first assistant director: Mary Ellen Woods) is really the OG Riverdale. It has the murder, the girl gang (the Heathers are basically murderous River Vixens), the weirdo (shout out to J.D. the original Jughead), and, most importantly, the expert comebacks and over-complicated dialogue teens in Riverdale seem to excel at.
Watch if your fave frenemies are: Veronica and Cheryl
2. 'Mean Girls'
Mean Girls (writer: Tina Fey) is a lot like Riverdale, just with less boys. Instead of focusing on a group of guys and girls, Mean Girls is really, well, just about the women. It's also similarly stylized, but instead of going towards the dark side, Mean Girls is more parody inclined.
Watch if your favorite character is: Cheryl
Election (production designer: Jane Ann Stewart) is perfect for those of you who can't get enough of Betty's Type-A personality and actually enjoyed the Ms. Grundy storyline of Season 1. Not only does Election star another passionate blonde (Reese Witherspoon), it also features an inappropriate student-teacher relationship.
Watch if your favorite character is: Betty
4. 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
I Know What You Did Last Summer (key makeup artist: Bonita DeHaven) has all the murder Riverdale fans could ever want. It's also got a bit of that detective element to it, and clueless hotties standing around.
Watch if your favorite character is: Archie
5. 'Sugar & Spice'
Sugar & Spice (director: Francine McDougall), about a team of cheerleading BFFs who rob a bank to support their pregnant team member, is lowkey probably Veronica and Kevin's favorite movie of all time. It actually plays out like one of their master plans, and is an all around underrated gem.
Watch if your faves are: Veronica, Josie, or Kevin
Scream (costume designer: Cynthia Bergstrom) is a classic teen horror film, so if you have been totally entranced by Season 2's Black Hood mystery on Riverdale, then this murder mystery is perfect. Bonus: Fans will spot a young Skeet Ulrich (aka FP Jones).
Watch if your favorite storyline is: The Black Hood
7. 'The Edge of Seventeen'
The Edge of Seventeen (writer/director: Kelly Fremon Craig) is definitely a more realistic portrayal of high school than Riverdale, but if what you relate the most to in the show are the high school moments, then it's a perfect movie to watch. The film explores several themes similar to Riverdale, notably that of changing friendship, first love, infatuation, and, of course, parental conflicts.
Watch if your fave storyline is: all the normal high school stuff
Swimfan (editor: Sarah Flack) is what Dark Betty would eventually become, if she fell in love, became psychotic, and, you know, tried to kill people. It's the story of a boy you cheats on his girlfriend with a woman who is so obsessed with him, she begins to stalk him and, eventually, threaten violence against him and his girlfriend.
Watch if your favorite character is: Dark Betty
9. 'Bring It On'
Bring It On (writer: Jessica Bendinger) is basically a lighter version of the Northside vs. Southside rivalry in Riverdale. Instead of gangs, Bring It On has cheerleaders, and instead of actual murder, the movie has cheerleading competitions.
Watch if your faves are: Cheryl and Josie
10. 'The Spectacular Now'
The Spectacular Now (production designer: Linda Sena) is actually eerily close to a Bughead story: a boy who is a bit dangerous, but sweet, falls in love with a nice, authentic girl, has trouble with an alcoholic father, and eventually messes up big time. It's basically Bughead Season 1, back when everything was simple and no one was having secret conversations with a murderer.
Watch if you ship: Season 1 Bughead
Cry-Baby (art direction: Delores Delux), a dark comedy musical about a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and his love for a good girl, is probably one of Jughead's favorite movies.
Watch if you ship: Season 2 Bughead
Brick (first assistant director: Kristin Mente), The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson's first feature film, is very Riverdale. It's a heightened reality, film noir take on a teenage boy who gets in over his head when he investigates the disappearance of his girlfriend.
Watch if your fave storyline is: Who killed Jason Blossom?
13. 'The Craft'
Ever watch Riverdale and think, "This show would be way better if there were no dudes in it"? Then you might want to check out The Craft (casting: Pam Dixon), a dark high school story about a group of teenage witches. Bonus: The Craft also features Skeet Ulrich circa 1996.
Watch if: you don't care about Archie or Jughead, but dig FP
14. 'Cruel Intentions'
Cruel Intentions (costume design: Denise Wingate) is what I would imagine would happen if Cheryl actually ruled Riverdale High. In other words: constant sexual chaos.
Watch if: you still think Cheryl and Jason totally hooked up
O (editor: Kate Sanford) takes Shakespeare's Othello, sets it in a 2001 private high school, adds in hot young actors, and, boom, creates the perfect Riverdale inspiration.
Watch if: you can see Archie turning into a psycho murderer
16. 'Pretty Persuasion'
Pretty Persuasion (costumer: Marta Villalobos) is a sort of dystopian high school drama in which a 15-year-old turns her world upside down by accusing a teacher of sexual assault.
Watch if: Cheryl is your spirit animal
17. 'Paper Towns'
A bit on the lighter side, Paper Towns (set decoration: Summer Eubanks) is an innocent coming of age story about a boy who chases his longtime crush across state lines. It's the kind of movie a slightly less traumatized Betty could totally star in.
Watch if: you share Betty's Nancy Drew streak
18. 'Never Been Kissed'
Riverdale could use a little more romantic comedy vibes. Never Been Kissed (co-screenwriter: Abby Kohn) mixes the compassionate rom-com take on high school with a slightly inappropriate student-teacher relationship and journalism. So, it's basically Archie and Betty's Season 1 storylines combined with a dash of sunshine.
Watch if: you wish Riverdale would lighten up
19. 'Drop Dead Gorgeous'
Love Vernoica and Cheryl's tongue and cheek narcissism? Then Drop Dead Gorgeous (writer: Lona Williams), about a beauty pageant-turned-murder-site, is definitely what you want to watch on your night off.
Watch if you ship: Veronica and Cheryl
20. 'White Oleander'
White Oleander (writer: Mary Agnes Donoghue) is about a mother who kills an ex-lover and her daughter left to pick up the pieces. Basically it's what will happen when Alice Cooper finally snaps and kills Hal.
Watch if your fave pair is: Betty and Mama Cooper
21. 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'
Fans of Riverdale can all agree that one storyline that's been tragically underserved on the show is Betty's mental health. If you're one of those fans who wished the show would delve a little deeper into Betty's problems with anxiety and self harm, then The Perks of Being a Wallflower (editor: Mary Jo Markey) might give you the hope that, one day, they actually will.
Watch if your favorite storyline is: Betty's anxiety
May you enjoy your Riverdale withdrawal movie marathon as much as Jughead announcing to the world what a "weirdo" he is.