Teen Thrillers and the Evil Bisexual Girl

"Soul Survivors""Wild Things"

The road to hell is paved with bisexual teenage girls. At least, that’s the lesson gleaned from Hollywood in the last few years.

The teen movie is a money-making machine in Hollywood. From Grease and Back to the Future in the 80’s, to American Pie and Scream in the 90’s, to the post-millennium teen movie spoofs Scary Movie and Not Another Teen Movie, teen movies generate millions of dollars in Hollywood and are well-known for influencing the values, opinions, and trends of the teenagers who watch them.

While many films aimed at teenagers push the envelope on a number of social issues like class (Pretty and Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful) and interracial dating (10 Things I Hate About You and Save the Last Dance), they also play it safe by consistently focusing on white, middle-class, heterosexual teenagers in familiar environments (school, suburban after-school get-togethers, the prom, etc.).

There are notable exceptions such as Kids and All Over Me, but these tend to be indie flicks with limited distribution, or movies about teens for an adult audience.

The teen psychological thriller is just one subset of the overall teen genre, but one which provides some of the most interesting commentary on teenage culture and society. This group includes films like Final Destination, Disturbing Behavior, and New Best Friend, and is not be to be confused with teen slasher films like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, which revolve around direct fear tactics like chasing and stabbing while the teen psychological thriller plays on the more subtle themes of deception, betrayal, and belonging.

And while the plotlines might vary, you can always count on a lot of sex and sensuality thrown in, which is where the Evil Bisexual Girl comes in. And like the Lone Black Guy in the suspense films of the 80’s and 90’s, you know right away the Evil Bisexual Girl is going to come to a bad end.

The Evil Bisexual Girl first appears in 1998’s Wild Things, in which Neve Campbell as Suzie and Denise Richards as Kelly make out in between stabbing each other in the back (literally and figuratively). A complicated plot involving a high-school guidance counselor (played by Matt Dillon) accused of rape manages to make every character seem shady and unsavory – so in this sense, Kelly and Suzie’s back-stabbing bisexuality fits right in.

While lumping bisexuality in with murder, prostitution, rape, drug abuse and greed pretty much defines the stereotype, this movie does stand out from the others in this group in that there is no “innocent” girl being corrupted here – since in Wild Things, no one is innocent, period.

But if Wild Things introduced the theme of manipulation, 1999’s Cruel Intentions took it to new heights. A teen remake of Dangerous Liaisons, the story involves Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar), her step-brother Sebastion (Ryan Phillippe), and the manipulation of two innocents played by Selma Blair and Reese Witherspoon.

Flirtation with bisexuality is very minor in this film – occuring when Kathryn “teaches” Blair’s character how to kiss – but is clearly one of the tools Kathryn uses to manipulate other girls. That is, when she’s not seducing her stepbrother, getting high, or generally plotting the downfall of mankind.

The In Crowd debuted in 2000 (and then faded quickly into cable television oblivion) with the story of poor girl Adrien (Lori Heuring) trying to fit in with the rich country-club crowd set, led by Susan Ward’s Brittany. All is not as it seems, however, as we discover that Brittany is hiding a dangerous secret which is known by only her friend Kelly (Laurie Fortier), who is in love with her.

How does Brittany ensure Kelly’s silence? By seducing her, of course, and then killing her.