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The Final Girls

Posted on September 4, 2017

The New Final Girl: More Sex, More Persecution

Guest Post

The slasher flick is absorbed in the heroine’s experience of incessant trauma. But unlike the genre’s other characters, she is the one who does not die: she is the “Final Girl.” A victim-hero, she is resourceful and intelligent and ultimately vanquishes the masked murderer.[i] A slew of recent horror films like The Final Girls (Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2015) and It Follows (David Robert Mitchell) have taken up the archetype seemingly in celebration of the female-empowering figure. After all, horror is one of the few genres that enables its female protagonists to “kick ass.”

And on the surface, It Follows, a 2014 Cannes Film favorite, seems like just another in a long line of likeminded slashers. The film centers on 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), a college student from the Detroit suburbs. After having sex with the outwardly charming Hugh (Jake Weary), Jay is drugged, bound to a wheelchair, and is told she now carries a sexually transmitted curse. An amorphous monster—it—will follow her everywhere she roams, and although no one else can see it, for Jay, it could appear like anyone. It is painstakingly slow but inescapable. Temporary respite occurs only by passing it on through sex with somebody else. In a way, the plot feels like an urban legend of sorts, and the formula obeys many of the same rules touted by Randy (Jamie Kennedy) in Scream (Wes Craven, 1996): “There are certain RULES that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie. For instance, number one: you can never have sex.”

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Posted on November 2, 2015

The Final Girls (2015) Film Review

Elizabeth Erwin

PG-13  |   88 min   |   Todd Strauss-Schulson |   (USA)   |   2015

The Final Girls is a curious horror film. On the surface it is an homage to all the ridiculous tropes that made 1980s slasher films so irresistible. But lurking beneath this campy homage is a heartfelt sentimentality that works because it is so unexpected. The end result is a horror film that manages to break new ground tonally while still providing the gasp-worthy moments sought after by fans.

Fueled by memorable performances, most notably by the criminally underrated Malin Akerman, The Final Girls features way better acting than we would expect to see in a slasher film. The story revolves around Max, a girl whose recently deceased actress mother is a cult star of a slasher film. When a series of events pull Max and her friends into the fictional world of the cult film, the teens must figure out how to avoid the knife-wielding killer.

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