A definitive ranking of teenage witch movies, in order of badassery

YouTube/ A24 Films

If you’ve seen last month’s The Witch (if you haven’t, you should, it’s gorgeous and terrifying), you know the “witch” of the title is most likely referring to Thomasin (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), although there are hints that other characters might be witches, too. Thomasin is beautiful, and smart, but like many teenagers, proud and defiant. When she’s accused of witchcraft, she’s not entirely sure that she is NOT a witch. Her Puritan quickly family turns against her and her entire world seems to cave in on itself. But she weathers it all with complete badassery.

The movie is getting all kinds of attention for its moody cinematography, great acting, historical accuracy, and creepy story (not to mention some truly terrifying scenes). But there are other exceptional teenage witch movies out there, featuring witches who could (just maybe) give Thomasin a run for her money in the badass department. No Googling necessary, we have gathered them for ye here. Without further ado the top teenage witch movies, in order of badassery.

1. Nancy Downs, The Craft (1996)

Fairuza Balk In 'The Craft'
Getty Images/Columbia Pictures

Played by the excellent Fairuza Balk, Nancy is the coolest goth chick in school, and also happens to be the ringleader of a small coven of witches. When a new girl comes to town, the coven bands together to wreak mayhem, and Nancy’s powers increase.

2. Abigail Williams, The Crucible (1996)

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Getty Images

Winona Ryder plays the young woman who, in 1692, whipped Salem Village into a frenzy and caused one of the darkest chapters in American history. She’s cunning and clever, resourceful but disloyal. She might be good to have around in the Zombie Apocalypse to fight off monsters, but don’t turn your back on her because you never know what she’ll do next.

3. Mary Warren, The Sisterhood of Night (2014)

Sisterhood ofNight
Freestyle Releasing

With names and accusations that call to mind the Salem Witch Trials, this movie follows a group of teenage girls who find that cyberbullying can have deadly consequences. Georgie Henley joins an excellent cast, and plays Mary Warren, a creative, outspoken student who decides to reject the social media drama at school and create a secret society that inspires ugly gossip.

4. Carrie White, Carrie (1976)

Carrie
Wikimedia Commons

This Brian de Palma horror film is a well-loved classic. Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a painfully shy girl whose mother (Piper Laurie) is crazy. If that’s not enough, Carrie learns she has telekinetic powers (translation: she can move things with her mind). After Carrie is a victim of a cruel prank at school, one student decides to befriend Carrie and fix her up with a prom date. And then, as they say, all hell breaks loose.

5. Witch, The Seventh Seal (1957, Sweden)

Maude
AB Svensk Filmindustri

Young actress Maud Hansson plays a witch who is tortured and condemned to die, in a powerful scene towards the end of this unusual but highly-acclaimed film about Death’s showdown with a Medieval knight (Max von Sydow, who you’ll read more about in a minute). This movie is for those nights when you’re feeling alert enough for subtitles and want to check one more “classic movie” off your list.

6. Regan MacNeil, The Exorcist (1973)

Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair in The Exorcist
Getty Images/ Bettmann

Regan (Linda Blair) is a 12-year-old girl possessed by a demon whose actress mother (Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn) desperately hires an exorcist to help her. Max von Sydow plays the exorcist, a priest who has tangled with the demon in the past. The film builds slowly to a terrifying climax, and can be hard to watch. Regan was thought to be practicing witchcraft because she was using a Ouija board, but it turned out to be much, much worse.

7. Lena Duchannes, Beautiful Creatures (2013)

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Warner Bros.

Lena, played by the excellent Alice Englert, learns she is descended from a family of witches, and her crush on a local hottie is causing some problems. Will Lena prove herself powerful enough to fight the factions of witches trying to destroy her?

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