The horror genre plays on tropes, remixing and reimagining familiar story beats and archetypes for new audiences with each film. There’s always a killer hiding in the basement or the shed, a supernatural force that requires a blood sacrifice, a jump scare coming as soon as the main character rounds a corner. One of the most popular and recognizable horror tropes is the Final Girl, a character archetype that shows up over and over, particularly in slasher films, as the last survivor of the movie’s bloody climax.
The Final Girl is typically the least likely survivor: She’s nonviolent (until she has to be), virginal (usually), and has a pretty powerful scream, letting the killer think he’s about to win right up until the last second. Horror cinema’s final girls have become some of the most beloved characters of the genre, so well-liked that they often come back for more in their own franchises.
From the moment Laurie Strode saw Michael Myers following her down the street in the very first Halloween, we knew exactly who to root for. The minute the confused girlfriend turns into the survivalist Terminator of You’re Next, we knew we were in for a few surprises. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites, from the O.G.s to the new kids on the block, ready with an ax or a steak knife to show the bad guys you can’t keep a good Final Girl down.
The 13 Best Final Girls in Horror Movie History
Witches and slasher villains and interdimensional beings from Hell have nothing on these expert survivors.