We all love a final girl, and are fully clued in on the iconic females the genre has presented to us over the past 40 plus years. Out colourful and tough array of fem fatals have influenced horror cinema and its leading ladies for what they are today, and are as hugely influential as the antagonists themselves. With the obvious likes of Halloween's Laurie Strode, Scream's Sidney Prescott and Alien's Ripley, they are held as the genre's finest and with good reason, but let's give the other women on the back burner some respect also. Such final girls in the list below deserve the peddle stool in contemporary cinema like the legends before them, and bring just as much to the table, arguably even more.
Here is my top 10 list of final girls who deserve more credit, and who in fact are already or will be hugely influential in shaping the contemporary leading lady in horror movies to come.
8. Maddie (Hush)
Maddie is incredibly street smart, using every other one of her sense to her advantages. I mean the bitch turns it out! The strongest asset is that we see her struggle, and we watch as she crumbles under the attackers sadistic games, yet she doesn't let this stop her, and uses household items that one wouldn't normally associate with a survival device, but she still makes it work. It's a deaf woman who survives a home invasion against a masked invader, need I say more seriously?
7. Miss Caroline (Little Monsters)
Little Monsters is a blast, and brings a little bit of something new to a zombie sub-genre that has seen better days. The best thing about this is arguably the enigmatic Lupita Nyong'o who plays the brilliant Miss Caroline, a teacher who helps her young class of children survive during an apocalypse. Miss Caroline is on this list simply for the sheer determination, and most of all patience when it comes to being straddled by an entire class of children when surrounded by flesh eating zombies. This has never been done before for a character, nor one who can remain hilariously playful during such a difficult time, brilliantly managing to keep her teacher head screwed on tight even when on some zombies lunch menu. What a gal!
6. Jay (It Follows)
Jay does what many females in horror films have never done before; lived to tell the tale after having sex in a horror film. Jay unfortunately get herself into the most unconventional of situations, and is stalked by an entity that attaches to you and is passed on if you have sex with that one particular person. The concept here is unbelievably clever, and a fresh twist on such an overused genre trope that has our final girl Jay constantly on the move to escape the entity. Whilst the teens idea to get in a pool surrounded by electronics is not the sharpest, Jay's persistent strength to keep on the move and persevere shines here, and her willingness to carry this around when many would be so quick to throw others in front to save themselves. She's an honest, layered character who is willing to carry on without letting this fear weigh her down, even if it does mean passing it on to a companion for some moral support. Can you blame her?
5. Trish (Jeepers Creepers)
Jeepers Creepers remains one of my favourite horror movies of the 00's, and even went on to spawn a hugely entertaining sequel and a "lets forget it ever happened" third. One of our first stand-out final girls of the early 00's was Trish, for the quick yet sharp sense of humour, mixed with her tough yet human demeanour that lets her courageous side shine come the third act. The best part here is that she goes through a complete 180 transition from the start to the finish, following classic final girl tropes often presented as fearful and cautious around the first half. Once the half way mark hits Trish really comes through, and to her detriment leaves brother Derry on the chopping block. Whilst this isn't great for him, she completely turns it around, and the Creepers doesn't quite have a taste for her bravery and selflessness after she offer herself up in return. For a creature who loves the smell of fear, a bad bitch like Trish just doesn't quite tickle his tastebuds like the rest, and for a supernatural monster with wings for her to make it out alive is pretty amazing. Let's hope Jeepers Creepers 4 does Trish some justice please.
4. Grace (Ready or Not)
Here enters the bride to be we didn't know we all needed; Ready or Not makes a star out of Samara Weaving, who already proved her chops in the genre with The Babysitter and even Ash vs. The Evil Dead. The difference here however is that she does something completely unique with Grace, a fun-loving, charismatic and tough as nails bride who's durability and pain threshold is like none other. The bitch goes through a lot, all whilst wearing a wedding dress which is certainly not the attire for a red wedding. Grace of course comes out on top, and she is (literally) the one who has the last laugh, lighting up a cigarette drenched in her in-laws blood and guts, which is a good look when you're arguably the baddest bitch to come out of 2019.
3. Cecilia Kass (The Invisible Man)
The Invisible Man stunned us all for being such a well-crafted, simplistic yet hugely suspenseful little Blumhouse flick that has made a modern horror star out of Elizabeth Moss, who's performance is arguably the strongest aspect of the entire film. Her portrayal of Cecilia is powerful and taut, as we endure her painful struggles right up to the final scene. The beauty of this character is the strength and determination to escape her trouble past and abusive husband, right down to the final act where we see Cecilia in a whole new light; strong, assertive and bad as f**k. We see such a change in Cecilia throughout, and her character ark is both beautiful and powerful, a final girl who represents a lot within the horror genre for domestic abuse. More so than any of the other woman on this list, Cecilia has a purpose and a message for its poignant narrative and its interpretation on what makes an emotionally strong and powerful woman.
2. Crystal (The Hunt)
The Hunt may divide audiences down the middle like some sort of movie version of marmite, and while many disagree with the film's motive and purpose, everyone agree's in unisons that Crystal is by far the best thing about the film. Betty Gilpin is outstanding in her portrayal of mysteriously reserved yet fucking badass Crystal, who's survival skills could but Sylvester Stallone out of business. This woman means business, and kicks, punches and shoots her way to the end of the film, keeping her emotions and integrity intact, which is a rarity in horror movies which typically has (mostly) every female character shrieking with fear and one point or another. Everything Crystal does leads up to the unbelievably entertaining final act which see's her face off against rich antagonist Athena in the most ludicrous and satisfying of ways. Crystal can certainly hold her one, and proves to be one of the most badass final girls the genre has ever seen.
1. Erin (You're Next)
This list could not exist without a mention to You're Next's strongest asset, Ozzy's finest Erin. Adam Wingard's You're Next proves to be one of the strongest home invasion slasher's the genre has ever seen, and benefited from establishing a final girl that put this film on the map. Erin is clever, quick, nimble and a survivalist at heart, using every tool in her utensils to kill The Animals & friends at every cost. Erin isn't afraid to get dirty, and pulls huge risks in order to fight back and survive, i.e throwing herself out a 3 story window without any hesitation. At this point, the horror genre hadn't ever really seen a final girl like Erin, and will never be able to match her distinct uniqueness again.