5 Underrated Horror Movie Final Girls

Since Carol J. Clove wrote her 1992 book Men, Women and Chainsaws and first talked about the "final girl" trope used in horror movies, fans have been eagerly awaiting each new release, wondering if more characters will fit into the interesting category. But while there are many celebrated final girls from horror history, most famously Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) from Halloween, there are just as many ones who don't get the attention that they should.

From the main character of a cheesy but enjoyable '90s horror film to the star of a Groundhog Day-esque scary story, there are several final girls who stack up against the most popular and famous ones.

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I Know What You Did Last Summer's TV series isn't very good, but the 1997 movie is still enjoyable. While this is a '90s horror movie that holds up, Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is pretty underrated in terms of a final girl character.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) gets all of the credit as the perfect '90s character left standing after going through an incredibly traumatic experience. But Julie deserves some praise, too. Like Sidney, Julie is a teenager with a thriving social life and serious boyfriend (Ray Bronson, played by Freddie Prince Jr.) whose life is ruined by a terrible experience. In Julie's case, she and her friends run someone over and think that they have killed him. Julie does her best to be a good, loyal friend while attempting to survive. She's a charming and relatable person.

The urban legends from the 1998 horror movie make it unforgettable, and Alicia Witt's character Natalie Simon is another final girl who is underappreciated.

Natalie has many hallmarks of typical final girls: she's a regular person who fans can relate to and she seems more innocent than others, as she doesn't do drugs or drink or have sex. When Natalie's roommate is killed, Natalie doesn't think much of it at first because her roommate often has very loud sex and so Natalie is used to ignoring her and pretending that it isn't happening. Natalie is the kind of final girl who fans want to see: strong, willing to fight back, and determined to solve the mystery and find the killer.

Taissa Farmiga's character Max Cartwright may be part of a movie called The Final Girls, but she's still underappreciated and should be part of conversations about strong characters from recent movies.

Max is all too familiar with horror movies since her late mother Amanda (Malin Ackerman) played the role of Nancy in Camp Bloodbath, a cheesy '90s film. Of course, Max doesn't expect to actually end up in a movie herself, but she and her fans disappear into Camp Bloodbath and have to try to survive. Because Max has to protect herself and her friends, she's a great final girl who is also witty and fun to watch. The Final Girls is definitely an underrated 2010s horror movie as well thanks to its incredibly cool concept.

Final girls sometimes die in sequels, but Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) survives in both Happy Death Day and the 2019 sequel Happy Death Day 2U.

Tree is definitely an underrated final girl as Sidney, Grace Le Domas (Samara Weaving) from Ready Or Not, and Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly) from The Cabin in the Woods are often discussed as contemporary examples of this popular trope. But while Tree might not get that much credit, she investigates why she keeps getting murdered and returning back to life, experiencing a terrifying situation that she does her best to stay in control of and have a sense of humor about. Tree is an awesome character who audiences love watching.

While final girls are often part of slasher films, Elizabeth Moss's The Invisible Man character, Cecilia Kass, feels like she should be part of this category since she goes through so much trauma and comes out alive.

This popular Blumhouse horror movie sees Cecila running away from her abusive husband Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). The opening scene is one of the freakiest ever, as she tries not to make a sound, and of course, he knows exactly what she's doing. Cecila suffers through the entire movie and figures out that Adrian pretended to die but is still around, this time as an invisible figure who is just as terrifying as his human presence was before. Like Sidney and Laurie, Cecila is coping with pain and hurt, and she should be considered one of the best examples of this trope.

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About The Author
Aya Tsintziras (159 Articles Published)

Aya Tsintziras is a freelance writer who writes about TV, movies, and has a particular interest in the horror genre. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. She loves coffee, reading, working out, and watching TV. She lives in Toronto.

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