What is it about the horror genre that has us intrigued? Maybe for some it’s the fun of jump scares, maybe you’re the oddball who enjoys murder and mayhem. For me personally, it’s the complete and utter distraction from real life atrocities and complete existential dread.
I can actually relive the complete onslaught of fear after watching The Blair Witch Project. The concept of being lost in the wild/woods/tall green grass is a feeling I have trouble shaking for days (if not weeks) after the actual viewing.
But what lingers on is the determination and undying will to survive of the Final Girl. From Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween to Neve Campbell in Scream, I’m here to remind you of the most notable Final Girls and if they could survive the trials and tribulations of serial killers, masked murderers, unknown paranormal phenomena or sometimes just aliens, you can make it through today.
Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) – Scream
Wes Craven managed to create the ultimate final girl with Sidney Prescott. Bloodied but never broken, she was born and bred to always be the last one standing. She survives one Ghostface only for another to creep up. This happens through a trilogy series and a remake, and puts her at the top of the list for me.
Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) – I Know What You Did Last Summer
“What do you want from me?!”; the iconicized line from the movie, parodied through memes and pop culture references isn’t the only reason why I choose Julie James as a top final girl. As her friends drop like flies around her, Julie is resourceful to the very end making her a definite survivor of times.
Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) – Alien
Sigourney Weaver made her mark as the only female survivor in a sci-fi movie. Her massive performance in the movie franchise made her only the third horror actress in history to be nominated in the best actress category at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes. Surviving aliens is no easy feat and has immortalised her character who continually appears in comics, animated series and video games.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) – Halloween
Laurie Strode is indeed the first ever Final Girl. I think my favourite part of her character arch is how through the franchise we see her grow from a survivor to a complete badass who has come to terms with her past. Willing to risk all the fight off Michael Myers. With Halloween Kills officially out, I know what series I’m ready for this Halloween.
Crystal Creasey (Betty Gilpin) – The Hunt
Not your typical slasher film or final girl. Crystal comes prepared from the start. Mistaken for another, drugged and kidnapped, she’s thrown into a purge type situation where its kill or be killed. Luckily for her, she is very adept at killing. The final fight of this movie is what has made me watch it thrice. Her absolute will to survive above all else is what makes her a total killer queen to me.
Lena (Natalie Portman) – Annihilation
Trapped in a beautiful, unusual and disturbing dimension. Lena is taken through the not so regular trials of a horror film. Fighting mutated animals, friends and her extremely dead ex, Lena finally has to escape into the real world by facing what I still sometimes assume is herself. What’s scarier than looking at yourself in the mirror?
Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Sally isn’t your typical final girl who fights back physically. Its her endurance and lasting power through all the tortures and torments of Leatherface and his demon family. The final scene is the clincher, with Sally driving away in a truck with Leatherface brandishing his chainsaw in the background. Just the beginning of one of the most prolific horror franchises in history.
Thomasin (Anya Taylor Joy) – The Witch
Again not a slasher film, but cannot take away from the new updated Final Girl. Based in the 17th century, Thomasin is punished, abused and accused of dark magic by her family. The sad confrontations in this movie (apart from the religious story line) is that the family is isolated because of the father. The time old tale of patriarchy vs. the witch comes to a head with Thomasin killing her mother in a fit of rage forcing her to join a coven of witches.
Grace Le Domas (Samara Weaving) – Ready or Not
Taking the fear of new in-laws to a whole new level, Grace is married into a family of blood thirsty maniacs. Surviving traps and literally dodging bullets, Grace is the quintessential final girl. The blonde girl in a white dress makes her mark in the final girl hall of fame with the ending scene, where her blood curdling screams turn into manic laughter as she realises that she’s still alive.
Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly) – The Cabin in the Woods
I believe the entire point of this movie was to fight every stereotype of horror movies. Albeit a wonderful and great watch, we see the “first to die” usuals, the stoner and the nice girl survive way into the third act. By the final act we see Dana pull out her actual gun and be not so nice, killing her friend and ensuring her survival.
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