The Final Girl is a well-known slasher film trope which connects deeply with Jungian archetypes and Freudian symbolism. Each final girl, from Jamie Lee Curtis to Neve Campbell, has five specific things in common. This is what you didn’t know about The Final Girl character:
The Final Girl is always quasi-untouched and blissfully virginal. They don’t interact with their environment like their hedonistic friends. They don’t binge drink, smoke weed, or do drugs. The final girl has to be clean in order for the killer to get them. Typically, a final girl would be popular, well-known, and content with their social standing. Once the murders happen… Well, that’s when the social order deck gets reshuffled and the final girl is allowed to maneuver between popularity and survival.
They usually have a familial link to the killer. Or there’s usually something from their maternal past which could screw over a group of fledgling victims. This outcast archetype plays right into the hands of the killer; blame the final girl for the murders because of what her mother did. An example of this occurs in Nightmare on Elm Street where the parents sent Freddy to a rather fiery grave.
They date the bad boys. Or the new kid on the block. Either or. It doesn’t matter as long as the boyfriend is blissfully unaware of the final girl’s sexual divinity. The boyfriend is usually killed early on, or the boyfriend turns out to be the killer. The latter is a bit of a bitch for sequel production.
They are usually completely dumbfounded by the murdering. It’s as if the final girl doesn’t register what’s happening to her group of friends until that moment where she’s pissed off and fights back like Gary Busey on steroids.
Phallic appropriation takes place near the film’s denouement. The final girl manages to break free from the murderous shackles that bind her and starts attacking the killer with either a knife, a chainsaw, or in Nightmare on Elm Street’s case, an alarm clock. This dissolution and transfer of power is what makes the final girl a kickass lifesaver. The killer loses his masculinity by losing his weapon of choice. A powerful transition offers audiences a glimpse into revenge cinema, i.e. I Spit on Your Grave.
The five facts listed above are definitely not set in stone – many films try to bend the genre and come up with new ways to terrorise the final girl. What do you think? Did we miss something? What is the most important aspect of the final girl? Let us know in the comments below.