10 Best Whodunit Slasher Movies to Watch Before ‘Scream VI’

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10 Best Whodunit Slasher Movies to Watch Before ‘Scream VI’


Slasher movies fall into two camps: those where the villain is an iconic killer that everyone knows (Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street), and those where the killer is a mystery, leading both the characters and the audience to try and guess their identity. Scream falls into the latter category, as each sequel has a fresh face(s) underneath the Ghostface mask, ready to try and make their own mark on this legendary franchise.

With Scream VI premiering on March 10, now is the time to get in the amateur detective mood by marathoning other whodunit slasher movies. While Scream remains the queen of this sub-genre, there are several more slashers that nail this formula. From 80s classics to more modern fare, the following movies will keep you guessing until the mask finally comes off.


10 ‘Valentine’ (2001)

Image via Warner Bros.

When a group of women begins receiving threatening gifts for Valentine’s Day, they suspect they may be coming from a boy they bullied back in school. Soon enough the culprit steps up their game as they begin killing the women and those close to them, causing the group to suspect each of the men in their lives.

Unfairly derided as a Scream clone at release, Valentine is a slasher that flew under the radar but has gained a greater appreciation in recent years. Its Cupid mask-wearing killer is genuinely creepy, while its focus on an adult friend group sets it apart from similar films that focus on a crew of teenagers. While it does not offer the most surprising conclusion, Valentine does serve up some memorable kills.

Watch on Tubi

9 ‘Cherry Falls’ (2000)

Brittany Murphy and Gabriel Mann in Cherry Falls
Image via Focus Features

Everybody knows that the key to surviving a horror movie is to abstain from sex and stay a virgin, right? Well, Cherry Falls turns that overdone horror movie trope on its head as its killer begins targeting virgins among the teenage population, causing the young residents of its Virginian town to turn sex-crazed as they try to stay alive.

The film centers around high school student Jody (Brittany Murphy), a virgin who is dealing with relationship troubles with her boyfriend alongside the threat of death. Cherry Falls‘s unique concept and self-awareness help to set it apart from other teen slashers, and it remains an underrated and overlooked entry in the genre.

8 ‘Urban Legend’ (1998)

Natasha Gregson Wagner driving while a killer hides in the backseat in Urban Legend
Image via TriStar Pictures

When a college campus begins to be stalked by a hooded killer, student Michelle (Alicia Witt) realizes the murderer is offing their victims using famous urban legends, such as the one where a killer is waiting in someone’s backseat. Together with a cast of recognizable faces that includes Jared Leto and Joshua Jackson, Michelle tries to unmask the killer before she becomes their next victim.

One of the most notable post-Scream slashers to arrive in the late 90s, Urban Legend is an entertaining watch thanks to its creative kills and talented cast. Even Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, stars as a professor, while Loretta Devine steals every scene she is in as campus police officer Reese.

7 ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ (1997)

Freddie Prinze Jr and Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What You Did Last Summer
Image via Columbia Pictures

When a joyride ends with them running over a stranger, a group of drunk teens decides to dump his body and never speak of it again. Somebody knows what they did, however, and one year later they begin to receive threatening messages about their crime. Soon enough, those responsible begin to be murdered.

The most famous Scream ‘clone’ thanks to the involvement of Scream creator Kevin Williamson, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a quintessential 90s slasher thanks to a cast that is representative of that era, which includes Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar. While it does not hit the heights of Scream, it is still cheesy fun as the friends try to unmask the one tormenting them.

Watch on Netflix

6 ‘April Fool’s Day’ (1986)

Deborah Foreman as Muffy/Buffy St. John in April Fool's Day
Image via Paramount

Jumping on the bandwagon of slasher movies set on holidays, April Fool’s Day follows a group of college friends as they vacation on a remote island getaway. Prepared for a weekend of partying, they soon find themselves at the mercy of an unknown assailant as more and more of the group go missing.

Those who enjoy Scream‘s black comedy should get a kick out of April Fool’s Day as it never takes itself too seriously, while it shows surprising constraint during its death scenes. While other 80s slasher movies tried to outdo each other with gore, April Fool’s Day instead tries to create genuine mystery as its characters try to piece together what is happening.

Watch on Starz

5 ‘Friday the 13th’ (1980)

Kevin Bacon laying on a bed in Friday the 13th
Image via Paramount

While everyone knows that Jason Voorhees is the big bad of the Friday the 13th franchise, the original film contains a mystery element as the assailant is kept off-screen during the kill scenes. As a group of fresh-faced teens arrives to volunteer at Camp Crystal Lake, they soon fall victim to this hidden killer.

Trying to cash in on the Halloween hype, Friday the 13th is not as well-made as that classic, but it is still an enjoyable slasher movie. The likable cast of teens includes Kevin Bacon in an early role, and as they are savagely murdered one by one, it creates a tense atmosphere as the killer circles them in the dark woods.

Watch on Prime Video

4 ‘Happy Death Day’ (2017)

A masked murderer creeping up Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day
Image via Blumhouse

Providing a fresh take on the Groundhog Day formula, Happy Death Day follows college student Tree (Jessica Rothe). When she is murdered by a masked stalker, Tree finds herself starting the day anew, doomed to die and repeat the same day over and over again until she can stay alive long enough to unmask her assailant.

The movie begins with a long list of suspects as Tree mistreats those around her, but Happy Death Day provides a nice helping of character development as Tree grows as a person through the ordeal and begins to appreciate her life and those close to her. Paired with a great performance from Rothe and a nice helping of humor, Happy Death Day makes for a great horror comedy.

3 ‘My Bloody Valentine’ (1981)

A miner holding up a screaming woman in My Bloody Valentine
Image via Paramount Pictures

When a group of teenagers decides to break their town’s ban on Valentine’s Day by partying inside a mine, they draw the ire of a maniac in mining gear who brutalizes them with a pickaxe. As the teens are chased further into the tunnels, the town’s mayor and police chief attempt to unmask the one responsible.

A cult classic slasher movie from the 80s, My Bloody Valentine is often lost among the era that gifted us Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Horror fans will argue that it is one of the best slashers of that time period, and its cult popularity led to a remake in 2009, which itself is a gory good time.

Watch on HBO Max

2 ‘Black Christmas’ (1974)

Olivia Hussey looks cautiously out her window in Black Christmas
Image via Warner Bros. 

As their college campus begins to be deserted courtesy of the Christmas break, a sorority house full of girls who stayed behind begins to be tormented by strange phone calls. As the calls escalate into murder, the girls turn to the police for help, who patrol outside as the killer begins to stalk them inside.

While Halloween is often praised as the earliest template for the slasher genre, Black Christmas predates that film by four years and remains just as influential. While it never quite achieved the same mainstream popularity as its peers, Black Christmas is a cult classic and is often labeled one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

Watch on Peacock

1 ‘Identity’ (2003)

John Hawkes, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, and John Cusack in Identity
Image Via Sony Pictures Releasing

When 11 strangers find themselves stranded at a remote motel thanks to severe rain, they decide to hunker down and spend the night and wait out the storm. That proves difficult, however, as the reluctant guests begin to be murdered one by one, before they eventually realize the one responsible lurks among them.

A modern take on Agatha Christie‘s classic And Then There Were None, Identity is an intelligent murder mystery that keeps viewers guessing until the very end. It is one of the best examples of the whodunit trope in the horror genre, and a must-watch for anyone who loves a bit of mystery alongside their murder.

NEXT: The Best Slasher Movies of 2022


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