- Horror movies sometimes feature children as unlikely heroes who defeat monsters and villains.
- This premise can be fun, but it can also undermine the scariness of the villains.
- Some notable examples include The Gate, The Babysitter, and Cobweb.
While many horror villains have disappointing deaths, it is still pretty egregious that some monsters are defeated by literal children. Child characters occupy a strange space in the horror genre. Most of the time, even the darkest genre offerings won’t kill off children. Mainstream horror movies typically avoid killing multiple child characters as this subject is too much for even the most intensely bleak movies, but this results in a lot of horror movies simply ignoring kids’ existence. Children are rarely found in slasher movies, and while they show up a lot in supernatural horror movies, this is usually so that they can be haunted, possessed, or both.
However, children can sometimes be the unlikely heroes of horror movies. This can be a fun premise, with young characters possessing the skills to take down villains that leave their adult counterparts stumped. However, this also often results in horror villains being beaten way too easily since any monster that a child can defeat can’t be all that dangerous. There are a handful of horror movies whose seemingly formidable villains are killed by children, but this doesn’t always work. Sometimes, it proves how tough the young hero is, but it can also do the opposite and end up acting as evidence that the villain wasn’t scary in the first place.
10 The Demon In The Gate (1987)
This ’80s horror movie proves a demon is no match for a rocket-wielding kid.
The Gate is a wild combination of Amblin-esque kids fantasy and gruesome, Italian-inspired horror. When a pair of young boys accidentally open a portal in their backyard, all Hell literally breaks loose as demons come flooding out of the titular gate to the underworld. Initially, the ensuing chaos feels like something from a Joe Dante movie, but things take a turn into Lucio Fulci’s territory when the demons prove they mean business. The boys battle demonic doubles, humans disintegrating into tiny monsters, and eventually a gigantic two-story demon that the 12-year-old hero kills with a rocket launched from a battery-powered toy.
The Gate is available to stream on Prime Video, Freevee, Plex, Tubi, Vudu, AMC+, and The Roku Channel.
9 Bee In The Babysitter (2017)
This horror-comedy’s eponymous villain is beaten by her young charge.
- Release Date
- October 13, 2017
- Robbie Amell , Hana Mae Lee , Bella Thorne , Judah Lewis , Samara Weaving , Andrew Bachelor
The Babysitter is a throwback to the gory horror comedies of the ‘80s, and the movie doesn’t shy away from some seriously bloody deaths. When the 12-year-old Cole discovers that his babysitter, Bee, is a monstrous Satanist with supernatural powers, he is forced to stop her and her friends from sacrificing him to the devil. After a lot of chases and some nasty deaths for Bee’s accomplices, Cole kills Bee by driving a car through his house and into her. While she returns in the sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, this death is still a nasty end from a surprising source.
The Babysitter is available to stream on Netflix.
8 The Parents In Cobweb (2023)
This horror film sees its young hero defeat his abusive parents.
- Release Date
- July 21, 2023
- Samuel Bodin
- Lizzy Caplan , Woody Norman , Cleopatra Coleman , Antony Starr
- 88 Minutes
In the ensuing brutality, the sinister villains of Cobweb are successfully dispatched by a small child who uses his considerable intelligence to take them down.
Cobweb is a criminally under-seen horror movie about Peter, an eight-year-old boy who becomes convinced his parents are hiding a dark secret. The twist ending reveals that his parents are not the biggest threat in the movie, but they are both abusive monsters nonetheless. As such, it is a shock when they sit down to dinner one night, and it becomes clear that Peter has poisoned their soup. In the ensuing brutality, the sinister villains of Cobweb are successfully dispatched by a small child who uses his considerable intelligence to take them down.
Cobweb is available to stream on Hulu.
7 The Werewolf In Silver Bullet (1985)
This Stephen King adaptation ends with a child defeating a werewolf.
- Release Date
- October 11, 1985
- Daniel Attias
- Terry O’Quinn , Corey Haim , Gary Busey , Everett McGill , Megan Follows
- 95 minutes
Silver Bullet is based on the novella of the same name by Stephen King. Like many of Stephen King’s stories, the movie follows a young hero as he encounters a seemingly impossible paranormal phenomenon. The paraplegic boy enlists his sister in his attempts to hunt down the killer behind a string of recent murders, only for the pair to realize that the local reverend is responsible and is secretly a werewolf. In the end, Marty shoots the werewolf in the eye with the titular silver bullet, saving his sister and the town in the process.
Silver Bullet is available to stream on Max.
6 The Aliens In A Quiet Place (2018)
John Krasinski’s sci-fi horror movie pits a child against sound-sensitive creatures.
While most children who beat horror movie villains are forced into their heroism by unexpected circumstances, the 12-year-old heroine of A Quiet Place has a pretty solid justification for her moment of ingenuity. A Quiet Place’s Regan spends most of her life living in isolation with her small family after Earth’s human population is mostly wiped out by monsters with hyper-sensitive hearing. A small band of survivalists, the Abbotts need to be resourceful, resilient, and ruthless to make it in the movie’s pitiless world. As such, it is believable when Regan realizes her hearing aid can stun the alien monsters, making A Quiet Place‘s ending a mercifully happy one.
A Quiet Place is available to stream on Paramount+ and FXNow.
5 The Grand High Witch In The Witches (2020)
The Roald Dahl adaptation sees Anne Hathaway’s villain outsmarted by a kid.
- Release Date
- October 22, 2020
- Robert Zemeckis
- Jonathan Livingstone , Anne Hathaway , Morgana Robinson , Chris Rock , Simon Manyonda , Charles Edwards , Eurydice El-Etr , Stanley Tucci , Eugenia Caruso , Octavia Spencer , Codie-Lei Eastick , Zeke Taylor , Jahzir Bruno
- Adventure , Comedy , Family
The remake of The Witches sees the movie’s main villain fall victim to her hubris as much as the hero’s machinations. In this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel, the hero Charlie is turned into a mouse by Anne Hathaway’s Grand High Witch after he stumbles upon a witch’s convention. However, Charlie uses this to his advantage as his mouse form makes him harder for the witches to catch. Charlie tricks the Grand High Witch into drinking the wrong potion, thus turning her into a rat and allowing Charlie and his companions to feed her to her cat.
The Witches is available to rent on major VOD platforms.
4 The Grabber In The Black Phone (2022)
This Joe Hill adaptation ends with a killer losing to his young would-be victim.
The Black Phone
- Release Date
- June 24, 2022
- Scott Derrickson
- Ethan Hawke , Mason Thames , Brady Hepner , James Ransone , Jordan Isaiah White , Jeremy Davies , Jacob Moran , Madeleine McGraw
- 102 minutes
The Black Phone is a grim, dark horror movie about a lone boy’s attempts to escape the basement lair of a serial killer known only as the Grabber. For much of the movie’s runtime, it seems as if the 13-year-old Finn will never outsmart or overpower his captor. However, in the closing scenes, the kid resourcefully uses the discarded remnants of his many earlier escape attempts to subdue the Grabber before Finn strangles the killer with a phone cord. It’s not pretty, but this desperate move does win him his freedom in The Black Phone’s ending.
The Black Phone is available to stream on Peacock.
3 Jack Frost In Jack Frost (1997)
Jack Frost’s titular serial killer’s downfall comes from a child’s bright idea.
Jack Frost is a horror-comedy about a serial killer who becomes a murderous snowman after his DNA is fused with a snowstorm in a freak accident. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, but Jack does commit some surprisingly gruesome murders during its brisk runtime. Technically, the hero’s son, Ryan, isn’t the one who pushes Jack into a tank of antifreeze in the end. However, the boy inexplicably putting antifreeze in his father’s oatmeal is what allows the sheriff, Sam, to eventually defeat the seemingly unstoppable snowman.
Jack Frost is available to stream on Prime Video, Freevee, Peacock, Plex, Pluto TV, Crackle, Tubi, Vudu, Hoopla, and The Roku Channel.
2 Pennywise In IT (2017)
Stephen King’s infamous clown is taken down by a gang of preteens.
The Losers Club defeats Pennywise by facing their fears.
The 2017 IT ends with Pennywise the Dancing Clown taking Beverly hostage in the sewers, prompting the rest of the Losers Club to rescue her. Although Pennywise returns in IT: Chapter Two, the kids well and truly defeat him in this face-off. Armed with baseball bats and brazen confidence, the Losers Club defeats Pennywise by facing their fears and beating up each of the unsettling forms that the monster had taken in earlier encounters.
IT is available to rent on major VOD platforms.
1 Jason Voorhees In Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Even the Friday the 13th franchise’s Jason has been defeated by a child.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter
- Release Date
- April 13, 1984
- Joseph Zito
- Kimberly Beck , Peter Barton , Crispin Glover , Corey Feldman , E. Erich Anderson , Barbara Howard , Ted White
- 91 Minutes
In Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Jason Voorhees goes up against numerous partying teens and murders them without breaking a sweat. This is par for the course for a Friday the 13th sequel, with most of the movies in the franchise following this formula. However, instead of the Final Girl defeating the killer in the end, Jason Voorhees is beaten to death by a 12-year-old boy. The kid might be obsessed with movie monsters, but he doesn’t hesitate to crush Jason’s skull with a machete when the horror icon is unmasked and unprepared.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is available to stream on Max.