WRITTEN BY Lorae Deaton
People often ask what makes a horror movie “good”— realistic special effects? Plotlines that make sense? Cars that never start when you need them to?
The real answer is none of the above. What every good horror movie really needs is a character you’re ready to root for. Someone who’s sweet enough to like, cool enough to be entertaining and badass enough to survive all 90 minutes of horror cliches thrown at them.
The Final Girl, specifically, is the most important part of any good horror movie — from an 80’s slasher to last year’s indie flick. So, which iconic Final Girl are you? Fight through these horror cliches to find out.
1. You’re going on a trip to a cabin in the woods, which is obviously a safe and not at all terrifying idea. Who are you bringing?
- My significant other (who would definitely never betray me) for a romantic weekend away from it all.
- The whole squad for a weekend of partying, which we all decided to do in the woods for…some reason.
- I’m going with my family. Nothing says “bonding” like spending 48 hours together with no cell service.
- Just me. Maybe my pet, but I really just want some me time. Alone. In the woods.
2. Rats! Some strange event has disturbed your peaceful cabin vacation. What is it?
- Someone I came to the cabin with is acting really weird and totally not like themselves all of a sudden. Probably nothing to worry about.
- On the drive to my cabin, I saw a bunch of people staring at me through their windows with fear in their eyes. Probably nothing to worry about.
- When I got into the cabin, the TV was conveniently showing a news story about a convict who escaped from the local prison. Probably nothing to worry about.
- Right outside of the cabin, there’s a mutilated animal. Sad, but probably nothing to worry about.
3. Uh oh! You’re trying to settle in for the night, but something just feels wrong. What’s keeping you up?
- My friend/partner told me a scary story right before we went to bed, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. They were totally just trying to scare me, right?
- Every time I start to fall asleep, I get the sensation that someone’s watching me and wake right back up. Falling asleep in a new place is always hard, though, right?
- I keep hearing what sounds like footsteps right outside my bedroom window. Animals are walking around outside all the time though, right?
- I swear that I can see something in the hall outside my room moving. It’s probably just a shadow…right?
4. It just got interesting: there’s a jumpscare! What’s got you frightened?
- Someone crept up behind me with a knife. It was just my friend, though, phew! This is a totally normal prank that friends pull on each other.
- All my friends are viciously attacked, blood is everywhere, it’s horrifying… but it’s just a dream, phew! I should totally ignore this omen.
- Outside the window, there’s a man in a mask. I only see him for a second, then he’s gone. I should not mention this to anyone I’m with.
- When I’m in the bathroom, there’s a strange monster behind me in my reflection. When I turn around, though, nothing’s there. I’m totally seeing things.
5. The action picks up, and the antagonist is revealed as you run for your life. Who’s trying to chase you down?
- It’s a masked killer, but goofy looking. I’m in a teen slasher.
- It’s a man with strange powers. I’m in a supernatural horror.
- It’s a masked killer, but dead serious. I’m in a 70’s slasher.
- It’s a terrifying creature. I’m in a monster movie.
8. You get a chance to fight back! What’s your weapon of choice?
- I throw everything I can see at the killer, starting with the bedside lamp.
- I’m kicking and fighting with everything I got, these hands are lethal weapons.
- I got a huuuuuuge knife from the kitchen. Who knew rental cabins came with huge knives?
- I’m going for something crazy, let’s set something on FIRE!
7. You reach the end of the hall, and the antagonist is gaining on you. Where do you run to next?
- I hide in the hallway closet, where the killer will surely never look.
- I run up the stairs, because ghosts can’t go up stairs, everyone knows that.
- I run to my bedroom and lock the door, because killers never unlock doors.
- I make a break for my car, which always starts right when I need it to.
8. You think you’re safe, but then… the twist! What’s making your audience gasp?
- The killer was one of the people I came with. Who could see this betrayal coming?
- The ghost has a secret power none of us knew about until the last 15 minutes. What foreshadowing could ever prepare us for this?
- The killer is someone from my past. I absolutely didn’t get that when he kept saying my name over and over again.
- Just when I thought I had escaped, the monster was in the backseat of my car. Those extra 30 minutes left in the movie totally didn’t give it away.
9. Finally, you’re about to deliver the killing blow. What final one liner are you going with?
- “This is for [dead friend the audience forgot about at this point]!”
- “Enjoy dying… again…”
- “Now who’s scared?”
- Nothing. The monster probably can’t understand me anyway.
10. The movie’s almost over, so what’s going to be the final scene?
- Just me, covered in blood. It makes you wonder if I’m really the same person I was before all this started…
- Me in the back of a cop car. No way they’re going to believe me when I tell them what really happened…
- Me holding the people I managed to protect throughout the movie. We made it out safe, but we have the sinking feeling the killer might still be out there.
- Me on the drive home. I’m finally safe, and can relax just a little bit. Just for a second, though, I swear I see something in the rearview mirror…
Feel satisfied with your original horror movie? Count up which letters you chose the most to see what Final Girl you’re channelling:
Mostly A’s: Sidney Prescott from “Scream” (1996). You love horror movies that are a little self aware, but still have all the classic tropes that make you laugh. You definitely have a sense of humor that’s to die for (haha) and can make almost any situation better with your jokes. Do me a favor and make sure your friends aren’t hiding ghost masks in their closets, though. Better safe than sorry.
Mostly B’s: Nancy Thompson from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984). You’re into the more supernatural horror flicks, where the plot holes can be explained by…ghost stuff. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, and you’re probably the one in your friend group people turn to for help. You also have the enviable talent of being able to run through a house, fight off a monster and escape into town all without messing up your hair. Icon.
Mostly C’s: Laurie Strode from “Halloween” (1978). You’re the OG final girl, and you definitely love your classics. You’re probably the protective one in your friend group, and in a horror movie you’d do whatever it takes to make sure you’d all make it out alive. Since you love your classics, you’d also probably know to avoid the classic mistakes like running UPSTAIRS or worse, splitting up. Hopefully, unlike Laurie, the worst problem you have on Halloween is not getting enough discounted candy.
Mostly D’s: Alice Ripley from “Alien” (1979). Let’s just say it: you’re a total badass. You’re not going to let any monster, alien, ghost or whatever catch you off guard. Just like Ripley, you’d defeat the enemy and escape with enough extra time to save your beloved pet. Unlike Ripley, I hope you never have to see an alien burst out of your friend’s stomach because that would probably be a little too traumatizing. If anyone could handle it, though, it would be you.