The Beauty of Final Girls In Horror Movies


Courtney Chase Molloy via WordArt

Final girls mature throughout their respective movies, and, in seeing this growth pan out throughout the film, the audience gets to appreciate and root for their successes and accomplishments.

What do you think of when you hear the word “horror”? Perhaps what comes to mind is haunted houses and jumpscares, or maybe even the general atmosphere of the Halloween season. It could be the scary movies that keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Whatever the scenario may be, the rise of the final girl archetype in horror movies is what makes the genre so entertaining, as they are at the forefront of several successful and memorable horror movies, and are sometimes even more iconic than the villain(s) themselves.

According to Wikipedia, the final girl is defined as “a trope in horror films (particularly slasher films). It refers to the last girl(s) or woman alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story.”

It’s a deep-rooted trope in horror and slasher flicks that, of course, ends the same for the character, hence the descriptor “final girl.” However, how it has been approached in different plots and adapted to fit different time periods has made the trope distinctive to each character the archetype is presented in.

Many recognizable female characters fit the final girl archetype. One of the earliest examples of a final girl is Sally Hardesty, the lone survivor in the 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some more well-known and legendary final girls include Sidney Prescott in the Scream franchise, Laurie Strode in the Halloween franchise, Grace Le Domas in Ready or Not, Erin Harson in You’re Next, and Tree Gelbman in Happy Death Day.

So what makes final girls so different from the rest of the cast? Well, they typically have the odds stacked against them when directly facing off against the antagonist, leaving audience members in awe when they manage to survive the horrifying ordeal they had to face.

Final girls are the pinnacle of memorable horror and slasher movies that have built their franchises around the iconic trope. They are one of the most important characters in the horror genre and are often the protagonist in horror films. Final girls embody the elements of horror in ways other characters wouldn’t even come close to trying to mimic.

Love interests and friends are more often than not unreliable characters when compared to the final girl. Final girls are easily the most dependable characters in terms of survival and trustworthiness. They are also extremely remarkable, especially in their development, going from ‘just another ordinary girl’ to being one of the most prevalent characters in their respective movies.

Grace Le Domas embodies the essence of the final girl exceptionally well. At first, Grace is just an ordinary girl who ends up marrying into a wealthy family. Later on in the night, she is forced to do whatever is necessary to survive while her in-laws attempt to catch and kill her in a ritualistic and deadly game of hide and seek. (Searchlight Pictures)

Some other characteristics of a final girl consist of a woman, or girl, that is able to make wise decisions, who can typically think on the spot during life-and-death situations and are shown to be resilient and brave throughout the course of the movie. They have the intelligence and bravery to outsmart and outmaneuver even the most clever and strong antagonists for the sake of their survival.

Final girl-centric movies can be watched anywhere at any time on various streaming platforms. Take the time to watch a final girl in action and appreciate the stamp that the archetype places on the horror genre. You’ll find them to be worth the watch.