Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Stoker

Macall Polay/Fox Searchlight

So why are today's leading ladies at their most alluring when they are scaring the crap out of us? Early this year in Mama, Jessica Chastain was a goth gal who probably shouldn't ever be anyone's mom. Especially when it comes to forest-dwelling kiddos who cling to a ghost.

Then there's the upcoming wicked Evil Dead with an almost unrecognizable Jane Levy (Suburgatory) soaked in mud, blood,and much worse. When she explains "You're all gonna die tonight," we trust she knows her Book of the Dead backward and forwards. (Mostly backward.) They aren't all pure evil, though, Halle Berry is the star and hero of The Call, playing a 911 operator who helps a kidnapped young woman. Here are the women that had us cheering (and kind of freaking) out at the box office.

1. India Stoker, Stoker: On India's (Mia Wasikowska)18th, birthday her father (Dermot Mulroney) dies in a horrible accident. Then an uncle (Matthew Goode) she never knew existed arrives to change things up...with murder! Nicole Kidman plays India's unhinged mom. Meanwhile, the boys in school have given India the nickname "Stroker." Something was bound to snap. At the center of Korean director Park Chan-wook fractured world, Wasikowska manages to be both unnerving and relatable. Maybe the biggest thing to learn is that you can't keep giving her the same schoolgirl shoes every year and not expect some sort of retaliation.

Spring Breakers


2. Brit and Candy, Spring Breakers: The coeds (Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens) begin by holding up a Chicken Shack with water pistols, but soon they're packing real heat. Their goal: keeping up their spring break shenanigans. What's most scary about them is the way they shame and ridicule anyone who gets in their way.

Halle Berry, The Call

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

3. Jordan Turner, The Call: Seen the commercials? Then you know, Berry won't be in that chair for long as 911 operator Jordan Turner. In her line of work you can't make things personal, but when a madman plans to kill another young girl (Abigail Breslin) on Jordan's watch, things get more than personal. Almost a mash-up of Criminal Minds and Silence of the Lambs, the jolts here are way over-the-top, but highly engaging.

Rooney Mara, Side Effects

Barry Wetcher, Open Road Films

4. Emily Taylor, Side Effects: When Emily (Rooney Mara) is charged with a horrible crime, is the new prescription her doctor (Jude Law) prescribed to blame? Is Emily merely a victim? Either way, Rooney is the queen of tiny-framed femmes with icy stares.

Evil Dead, Jane Levy


5. Mia, Evil Dead: We would read the Necronomicon (aka Evil Dead's The Book of the Dead) out loud right now if that meant we could see the Evil Dead remake before it hits theaters on Friday, April 5. We've watched that red band trailer over and over. We just can't stop! The normally sassy Jane Levy sounds more than a little off when she whispers, "You have to get me out of her. Right. Now." Also not at all subtle "They're gonna gethcha, not another peep, get you in your sleep!"

Do these actresses give you goose bumps? Or are you rooting for them no matter what? Sound off in the comments!

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