Behind the Couch
#1 Jannicke in COLD PREY - Jannicke is unquestionably born and bred from Final Girl stock. Good natured, intelligent, funny, mature, pretty, reliable, considerate and loyal. It is she who tends to her injured pal when he breaks his leg snowboarding, she who spies the creepy hotel they seek shelter in and she who tries to make everyone stick together and stay calm when the killer shows up. However she’s far from perfect – which adds to her likableness. She may be in a stable relationship but she balks at the idea of moving in with her boyfriend and demonstrating the level of commitment that action would entail. We also see her break down with the stress of their situation at the hotel. Of course this happens when she’s alone; when she’s with her friends she maintains a brave face for their sake more than her own. In Cold Prey II, we get to see her maternal side through her friendship with Daniel – a fellow patient at the soon to close and eerily deserted hospital.
When the shit hits the fan she keeps her cool and equips herself with strength, a shot gun and brutal determination to stay alive – often putting herself in grave danger to protect others.
The Death Rattle
#1 Jamie Lloyd in HALLOWEEN 5 - What I'm about to say is sacrilege, but I've always preferred Danielle Harris over Jamie Lee Curtis as the "damsel in distress" when it comes to the HALLOWEEN movies. I obviously understand the importance of the Laurie Strode character as portrayed by Jamie Lee in the first two HALLOWEEN films, and she's is without a doubt irreplaceable as the iconic Scream Queen, but Danielle Harris is my girl. With Harris being around the same age as me when she portrayed Jamie Lloyd in the fourth and fifth installments of the HALLOWEEN franchise, her character was always a lot easier for me to connect to. Harris is great in Part 4 as well, but it's in the fifth installment that she shines.
Harris turns in a strong performance, portraying a mute for over half the film and generally partaking in some rather demanding scenes for someone her age - both physically and, I assume, emotionally. Something worth noting about the actual character of Jamie is a certain decision she makes towards the end of the film. When it comes to most Final Girls in slasher films, there comes a point where she's either backed into a corner and is forced to adapt, or she makes a conscious effort to stand up for herself and confront the "boogeyman". In HALLOWEEN 5, Jamie Lloyd is purely in survival mode at a certain point, and while most children in their right mind would have waved the proverbial white flag, she has enough sense to play on the mental instability of Michael Myers as a means of buying some time and distracting him; while it's ultimately not Jamie who's responsible for the downfall of Myers in this particular film, her fighting spirit and survival instincts allowed her to overcome a seemingly unstoppable force almost twice her size.
Behind the Couch
#2 Yasmine in FRONTIER(S) - When we first meet Yasmine, she’s participating in a robbery that coincides with a protest march against an extremist right-wing politician who has been elected to the French presidency. She’s also just discovered she’s pregnant. Despite helping with the robbery, Yasmine displays a sense of conscientiousness and responsibility. It is she who insists they take their friend to hospital when he’s shot, even though it would mean a possible encounter with right-wing leaning police. Throughout her ordeal with the fascist Hitler lovin’ inbreeds who take her and her friends captive at the inn in which they seek refuge, her spirit remains unbroken. Parallels with Nazi Germany, meditations on the freedom of the individual and an utterly grueling ‘torture porn’ narrative ensure the viewer is gripped throughout the taut ordeal that is Frontier(s) – and Yasmine is our anchor. Demonstrating pluck, dignity and courage – even when totally surrounded by evil – she represents what we’d all like to think ourselves capable of doing in desperate situations. That she’s pregnant and vulnerable adds fuel to her already intense fire.
The Death Rattle
#2 Beth in HOSTEL II - Ironically, one of the last people who came to mind, but one that would eventually end up very high on the list. Beth (played by Laura German) is an art student who's studying abroad (in Italy to be exact) with a couple of her American friends. One weekend, they decide to take a train out of Italy, but their potentially relaxing getaway turns tragic when they find themselves abducted and essentially sold on the black market to wealthy clients with morbid fetishes. HOSTEL II isn't even close to being a slasher movie, as it's part of the infamous "torture porn" sub-genre that director Eli Roth unintentionally helped put on the map, but the character of Beth possesses the qualities of a strong Final Girl: extremely sensible, no-bullshit attitude, and deceptively tough. In other words, she's not the kinda chick you'd wanna acquire on the black market, and one of the film's antagonists finds this out the hard way in a scene that would make feminists worldwide clap like seals.
Behind the Couch - SPOILER ALERT
#3 Brigitte Fitzgerald in GINGER SNAPS - Ginger Snaps might be about sisterly love, sibling rivalry, burgeoning womanhood relayed through lycanthropic metamorphosis, but it’s also about a young girl yearning to think for herself, find her own voice and step out of her sister’s shadow. While Ginger is changing, physically, Brigitte is developing mentally. Branching out and standing on her own means a schism appears between the sisters, but in the end, because she loves her sister so much, and because she has to in order to ensure her own survival - Brigitte puts werewolf Ginger out of her misery in the most humane way she can. That she often makes awkward teen blunders, feels uncomfortable in her own skin and dabbles in ‘chemistry’ along the way, ensures she’s a highly likeable, though admittedly moody heroine.
The Death Rattle
#3 Chloe in HIGH LANE - While the French-language HIGH LANE is a very unoriginal film with strong similarities to a number of horror movies like THE HILLS HAVE EYES, THE DESCENT, and WRONG TURN, its Final Girl is a standout and obviously one of my favorites. A group of friends go hiking up in the mountains of Croatia, only to find themselves hunted by a savage redneck. Even though the content of the film is all too familiar, it's still a worthwhile entry in the backwoods slasher genre because of its style and the fact that the characters are, for the most part, likable. Amongst those characters is Chloe, played by Fanny Valette. Not much to speak of when it comes to her character or how she's set up to be the Final Girl, but her actions in the back end of the film alone are what made her a no-brainer as far as my picks were concerned. Chloe essentially goes from being your standard Final Girl to unleashing a ferocity the likes of which I rarely see from a character such as hers. We're talking eye-gouging, scratching, clawing, and genital-twisting! The point being, Chloe is not someone you mess with, regardless of whether you're a mountainous savage redneck or not.