What to Watch and Read If You Can't Get Enough of 'Yellowjackets'

Check out these titles if you need more of the supernatural and unhinged teenage girls in your life.

yellowjackets on showtime, yellowjackets soccer team
Showtime

With its plucked-from-the-'90s adult cast and their inspired teen counterparts, teases of cannibalism, thrashing theme song, and nostalgic needle drops, Showtime's Yellowjackets quickly became our first TV obsession of 2022. But now that the first season of the series has ended, leaving plenty of questions open for the already greenlit Season 2, a hole the size of a bear heart has come for our Sunday nights. In honor of Yellowjackets' unruly spirit, we sought out akin movies, books, music, and other shows to plug the void. Though we've left off Riverdale (demented teen drama) and Lost (iconic survivalist series), all of our recommendations feel like they've tapped from the same vein as Yellowjackets, whether they're about teen girls breaking bad, feral women, high school sports, or surviving plane crashes. When you're finished screaming about the Yellowjackets finale, turn to these essential and deep-cut titles.

nicole kidman in the beguiled
Focus Features

The Beguiled, dir. Sofia Coppola (2017)

Two other Sofia Coppola movies more directly chronicle teen girls—The Virgin Suicides and The Bling Ring, both fantastic—but The Beguiled is the Coppola jewel that shares the most DNA with Yellowjackets. Coppola shifts the focus of the 1971 film, based on Thomas P. Cullinan's novel of the same name, to prioritize the interior lives of the few inhabitants still residing at a Virginia girls school during the Civil War. Nicole Kidman is the prim headmistress who agrees to house (and, in the movie’s hottest scene, bathe) a convalescent Union Army corporal (Colin Farrell). The institute's pent-up schoolteacher (Kirsten Dunst) and her students (namely Elle Fanning) fall for his devilish charms, resulting in a contest of wits that turns murderous. —Mathew Jacobs

The Blackcoat's Daughter, dir. Osgood Perkins (2015)

The fractured timelines and supernatural shenanigans of The Blackcoat's Daughter, an austere horror mood-piece from director Osgood Perkins (yes, the son of Psycho star Anthony Perkins) make this an ideal come-down from the more frenzied plotting of Yellowjackets. Kiernan Shipka plays a young student at a snowbound boarding school waiting for her parents to pick her up for winter break; in a different story, an older girl (Emma Roberts) hitches a ride with a couple haunted by grief. The mechanics of how the different narrative threads come together matter less than the chilly, unnerving tone, complemented elegantly by restrained performances from the gifted young cast. —Dan Jackson

The Craft, dir. Andrew Fleming (1996)

Whether or not there's actually anything supernatural going on in Yellowjackets, its witchier elements owe a lot to '90s classic The Craft, another terrifying tale of teens girlbossing a little too hard. When new girl Sarah (Robin Tunney) befriends her school's gang of social outcasts, the quartet decides to actually start practicing the witchcraft their fellow students have always accused them of. But when the lure of dark magic threatens to tear the group apart, the girls have to decide which is more worth it: the magic that binds them together, or their own lives. —Emma Stefansky

chiara aurelia in cruel summer
Freeform

Cruel Summer, Freeform (2021–present)

What could have been your standard Freeform teen drama, which is not an insult, ended up being a compellingly acted and written psychological thriller. Set over three summers in the early '90s, the show follows the dovetailing paths of Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) and Jeanette Turner (Chiara Auriela)—two opposite high schoolers—one blonde and popular, the other a braces-wearing outcast. Kate disappears one day, kidnapped, not to return until a year later, as a shell of herself. During her disappearance, Jeanette has taken over Kate's life, down to dating her boyfriend—and it becomes apparent that Jeanette has had some hand in Kate's disappearance. Much like Yellowjackets, Cruel Summer examines the ways in which teen girls can be cruel to one another to the most extreme end. And don't worry—its great '90s soundtrack also has a pivotal Mazzy Star moment. —Kerensa Cadenas

Dare Me, USA (2019–2020)

USA’s Dare Me, based on Megan Abbott’s novel of the same name, is about high school cheerleaders who become entangled in a series of dark secrets after a new coach, who used to be a hot-shot cheer star, comes in to take over their squad. Like Yellowjackets, this show becomes embroiled in dangerous scandal after scandal. There's sadistic bullying, infidelity, obsession, and murder! It veers more into the teen soap territory more than Yellowjackets ever does, and is often very melodramatic, but it's a similar rare portrayal of women's friendships at their nastiest. Trust us: You'll be rooting for the Sutton Grove High squad just as much as the Yellowjackets. —Sadie Bell

Heathers, dir. Michael Lehmann (1989)

When it comes to stories about high school girl gangs gone bad, Heathers is the blueprint. A direct rebuttal against the sunshine and rainbows in teen movies of the era, this story focuses instead on the dark underbelly of the high school experience. A clique of croquet-whacking, lunchtime poll-giving mean girls made up of three Heathers and one Veronica (Winona Ryder) is thrown into disarray after an epidemic of supposed teen suicides actually caused by a misanthropic emo boy (Christian Slater) who wants to destroy the school and expose the dreariness and terrifying monotony of teen life for what it is. —ES

melany lynskey in heavenly creatures
Miramax Films

Heavenly Creatures, dir. Peter Jackson (1994)

Yellowjackets' very own adult Shauna, Melanie Lynskey, made her film debut in Peter Jackson's pre-Lord of the Rings film, adapted from a true story about schoolgirl friends in 1950s New Zealand whose obsession with one another turns violent. Lynskey plays outcast Pauline Parker whose world is brightened by the arrival of Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet), a confident transplant from England. Pauline and Juliet quickly become infatuated with one another and the fantastical and brutal storybook world they invent. But when their parents start worrying about their relationship, they go to extreme measures that result in murder. Jackson brings Juliet and Pauline's fictional universe to life with his knack for prosthetics and CG, but it's Lynskey and Pauline's intensity that makes Heavenly Creatures a must watch for fans of girls on the edge. —Esther Zuckerman

Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder (2021)

For more on feral women, look no further than Rachel Yoder's stunning debut novel, Nightbitch, one of our favorite books of 2021. Remember when Shauna carves up that rabbit she found in her backyard? Or when Taissa started sleepwalking and eating dirt? There's a lot of that energy in Nightbitch, which is also getting made into a movie courtesy of Amy Adams. In brief, a stay-at-home mother, who left a successful career in the art world to take care of her son, thinks she's turning into a dog, sprouting hair and the suggestion of a tail and roaming her suburban neighborhood at night. But the book is so much more than its logline, a gorgeous and funny audit of motherhood and all of its joys, headaches and mundanity, and ends on a beautifully euphoric redemption. —Leanne Butkovic

The Novice, dir. Lauren Hadaway (2021)

There's nothing potentially supernatural going on in Lauren Hadaway's The Novice—nor is there any likely cannibalism—but this tense film about a striver trying to make her college's varsity crew team certainly shares themes about the brutal lengths girls will go to thrive with Yellowjackets. In an astounding performance, Isabelle Furhman is Alex Dall, an obsessive student who believes she has to push herself to the brink to achieve, making her hands bleed as she pushes to beat records far beyond her skill level. She makes it her goal to add rowing to her list of accomplishments isolating her peers with her unrelenting and unsympathetic focus. —EZ

christina ricci in now and then
New Line Cinema

Now and Then, dir. Lesli Linka Glatter (1995)

One of the many thrills of Yellowjackets is how it makes incredible use of former '90s stars, one of which being Christina Ricci, who we haven't seen in a major leading role for several years. She may be known for her work in gothic titles like Sleepy Hollow and The Addams Family, which helps to inform the way she manages to walk between misunderstood and freaky as Misty Quigley, but Ricci has also done excellent work in more heartwarming '90s favorites like Now and Then. A sunny look at how impactful girls' friendships are, it finds four women who are still close well into their adulthood as they reflect on a special summer from their adolescence. It's essentially the perfect summer movie about girlhood—even having elements of the supernatural—and will leave you missing the kids you used to run to when you were sad or ride bikes with when you were a teenager. —SB

Picnic at Hanging Rock, dir. Peter Weir (1975)

This Australian New Wave film directed by Peter Weir, based on a 1967 book by Joan Lindsay, similarly follows a group of teenage girls who disappear. Set at a private girls' school in Victoria, Australia on Valentine's Day in 1900, it follows their day trip to a geological formation known as Hanging Rock. When a group of girls decide to continue to hike up the rock, they inexplicably fall tired and into a trance, and later disappear, seemingly into thin air. An eerie, strange tale, you may not find answers to the mystery at hand like you do in Yellowjackets—but it is a beguiling allegory for femininity, the death of innocence, and sexual repression. It's also hauntingly beautiful, and its influence on filmmakers like Sofia Coppola can't be overstated. —SB

"Popular," Pom Pom Squad (2021)

Nada Surf's "Popular" soundtracked a lot of my junior high experience, when I was maybe a bit too young to understand what half of it meant, but I knew being popular seemed very important. The great thing about Yellowjackets becoming a core part of my personality is that I've been revisiting many of the songs that have appeared on its excellent '90s soundtrack. This, in part, is how I stumbled upon Pom Pom Squad's cover (with vocals from Nada Surf's own Matthew Kaws) of "Popular," which includes a shot-for-shot video remake with lead singer Mia Berrin playing all the roles. It's a perfect update for a song that's been lodged in my brain for more than two decades—plus, it takes on all the feminine angst that Yellowjackets has in spades. If you need more of that vibe, check out Pom Pom Squad's debut album Death of a Cheerleader immediately. —KC

keanu reeves in river's edge
Island Pictures

River's Edge, dir. Tim Hunter (1986)

In addition to boasting both one of the most moving early performances by Keanu Reeves and one of the most unhinged later performances by Dennis Hopper, River's Edge is a classic in the "teens pushed to the brink" micro-genre. Like a heavy-metal gloss on Stand by Me, which came out the same year, River's Edge follows a group of kids dealing with the fallout of their friend murdering his girlfriend and the brutal disposal of her body. Where a show like Yellowjackets turns up the volume on the violence, emphasizing the bloodshed and the broken bones, River's Edge is a more grounded story of psychological horror, one that burns its way into your brain like a lit cigarette placed against the skin. You can picture Natalie bringing a VHS copy to a sleepover and freaking out the whole team. —DJ

Saint Maud, dir. Rose Glass (2021)

If stories about female prophets gone mad is more your style, Rose Glass's modern-day Joan of Arc arrives in the form of hospice nurse Maud (Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism after a past traumatic experience helped her find religion. She becomes obsessed with her charge, a terminally ill former dancer whose soul she believes she must save—by any means necessary. Co-starring a magnificently caustic Jennifer Ehle and one very photogenic cockroach, Saint Maud is a cautionary tale against listening to the voices in your head, no matter how angelic they might sound. —ES

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)

Blackmail? Check. Weird rituals? Check. Murder? Check. Donna Tartt's epic and beloved novel covers a lot of the same territory as Yellowjackets, just sub a soccer team for classics majors and the wilderness for a liberal arts college. The protagonist Richard Papen is an outsider at the Northeast institution where he arrives for college, but quickly falls in with a glamorous group that worship at the altar of a classics professor. If your favorite part of Yellowjackets is people killing to cover up their crimes and the vague mysticism, this book is for you. —EZ

Thelma, dir. Joachim Trier (2017)

Thelma is an unsettling Norwegian thriller about a college freshman (Eili Harboe) who, before leaving home for the first time, lived a sheltered life with her religious parents. At school, she develops a crush on a female classmate (Kaya Wilkins), prompting a bizarre psychokinesis that has her questioning everything she thinks she knows about herself. Directed by Joachim Trier, who recently made the beautiful romantic dramedy The Worst Person in the World, this is a haunting study in identity formation that doubles as a rich exploration of budding queerness. —MJ

evan rachel wood in thirteen
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Thirteen, dir. Catherine Hardwicke (2003)

If you think the girls in Yellowjackets are scary, wait until you see Thirteen. There may not be any cannibalism here, but this indie from Catherine Hardwicke (which she co-wrote with then teenager and star Nikki Reed) is as brutal a look at adolescence as they come. The film follows 13-year-old Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) as she befriends her rebellious classmate Evie (Reed), who introduces her to drugs, petty crime, and sex. With a rare screenplay from an actual teenager and strong performances from the young leads, it's a standout teen movie about the complexities of feeling like nobody understands you when you're young and depressed. Similar to the way Yellowjackets makes a horror show out of being a teenage girl, it'll make you glad you'll never have to be 13 again. —SB

Thoroughbreds, dir. Cory Finley (2018)

One of 2018’s most delicious movies, Thoroughbreds combines the high school intrigue of Heathers and the bewitching psychodrama of Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke play suburban teenagers who used to be best friends and reunite under strange circumstances, after which they hatch a devious murder scheme best left unspoiled. The film heralded the directorial debut of Cory Finley, who went on to make HBO’s Bad Education, another dark comedy about upper-class misdeeds that’s worth your time. —MJ

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry (2020)

If you ask me, a former member of several high school girls' sports teams, there simply aren't enough stories about the dynamics of high school girls' sports teams in the world. In that sense, Quan Barry's mid-'80s-set novel We Ride Upon Sticks is a perfect palate cleanser for Yellowjackets, about a mediocre varsity women's field hockey team in Danvers, Massachussets—the true home of the Salem Witch Trials—who get into witchcraft to turn their losing streak around and win nationals. (It seemingly works, but some not-so-great things start to happen.) Nobody gets stranded in the deep wilderness, luckily, but there is a wild rager in the woods, inter-team drama, and plenty of clever pop-cultureisms throughout (ie. a notebook that kicks off their dabbling in the spirit world is adorned with Emilio Estevez). And where Yellowjackets hints that something greater could be afoot, We Ride Upon Sticks wants you to believe in the supernatural forces seemingly aiding the girls to victory, even when there's enough evidence to convince you that the magic is all in their heads. —LB

The Wilds, Amazon Prime (2020–present)

For some fans of Amazon's The Wilds, the breakout success of Yellowjackets might sting a little. Why didn't tastemakers flip for this similarly Lord of the Flies-inspired show in the same way? But there's little to be gained by pitting the two series against each other: They each have their own way of attacking the well-worn tropes of the survival narrative, using some of the same structural devices as Lost to tell stories of trauma, guilt, and forgiveness. Created by writer Sarah Streicher, The Wilds also tracks the aftermath of a plane crash, but in this scenario the group of young women were heading to an "empowerment retreat." It's a heart-on-its-sleeve show that also retains a spiky sense of humor while unraveling its many mysteries. —DJ

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