Final Girl

Benny: But I still want to know what happens!
Buffy: Everyone gets horribly killed except the blonde girl in the nightie who finally kills the monster with a machete but it's not really dead.
Jennifer: Oh my God. Is that true?
Buffy: Probably. What movie is this?

The simplest definition of this is "the last character left alive to confront the killer" in a Slasher Movie. The character in question tends to follow a certain set of characteristics. The most obvious one is being (almost) Always Female. Especially in older works, she'll also almost certainly be a virgin, remain fully clothed, avoid Death by Sex, and probably won't drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or take drugs, either. Finally, she'll probably turn out to be more intelligent and resourceful than the other victims, occasionally even evolving into a type of Action Girl by the movie's end. Looking at the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality, you could say that the Final Girl is a combination of The Hero, The Cutie, and the Damsel in Distress - which obviously gives her a very low deadness score. The Final Girl is usually but not always brunette, often in contrast to a promiscuous blonde who traditionally gets killed off.

It's also interesting to note how the Final Girl can be interpreted in film theory. On one hand, the character seems to be the living embodiment of stereotypical conservative attitudes of what women "should be". (Although these same conservative qualities may have also made her warier and better at keeping a cool head than her more reckless or impulsive peers). On the other, feminists have noticed that through this device, the males in the audience are forced to identify with a woman in the climax of the movie. In practical terms, the makers of a horror film want the victim to experience abject terror in the climax, and feel that viewers would reject a film that showed a man experiencing such abject terror.

The term was coined by Carol J. Clover in her 1992 book Men, Women, And Chain Saws: Gender In The Modern Horror Film, a critical examination of slasher movies.

The character is ultimately the last one left to tell the story. If the Final Girl appears in a sequel to the movie she survived, there is a very high chance that she will fall victim to Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome.

This trope has seen a growing number of subversions, aversions, and parodies in recent years, which suggests it may be slowly weakening. Then again, the Action Survivor's replacing the Action Hero points in an interesting direction.

Thank God for Lowered Monster Difficulty.

Often overlaps with Token Wholesome. Compare and contrast Kill the Cutie and Men Are the Expendable Gender. Has nothing to do with Last Girl Wins, which is about romantic pairings.

As both a Death and Ending Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


Straight examples

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The comic book Hack/Slash stars a former Final Girl who becomes a slasher-hunter. She gradually meets up with other (mostly female) slasher survivors, ultimately assembled in the finale storyarc as the All-Final Girl Team.

    Films — Animation 
  • Played out in Anastasia (1997), in which the evil Rasputin curses the Romanov family whom he feels betrayed him and aids in a revolt that ultimately kills the entire family except Anastasia, who manages to escape with her life but is now an amnesiac who calls herself 'Anya'. Once he finds out that Anastasia is alive, Rasputin vows to kill the last Romanov to fulfill his dark purpose.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pick a Slasher Movie, any slasher flick.
    • Halloween (1978) was the Trope Codifier and introduced the Death by Sex trope (actually unintentional) which became a staple of the genre. Laurie Strode's actress, Jamie Lee Curtis, was typecast as a Final Girl early on in her career so if she was in a slasher film, she would definitely be surviving. Except in Halloween: Resurrection. Laurie remained a final girl in Halloween II (1981). In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Rachel and Jamie both shared this title, and in Halloween: Resurrection, Sara is the Final Girl.
      • It is debatable if Psycho (1960) truly has a Final Girl. The film was groundbreaking and is considered to be the Ur Example of a Slasher film. While not a perfect fit of the Final Girl that has become conventional over the years, Lila is the one who investigates her sister's disappearance and survives her confrontation with the killer, albeit not by her own doing.
      • Black Christmas (1974) is one of the first slasher films ever made and was a Trope Maker in the genre. The movie has a final girl, though she is quite different from the conventional final girl set by the Trope Codifier. In the film, Jess is pregnant and wants an abortion against her boyfriend's wishes, so she is definitely not a virgin.
    • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre tends to have a female protagonist who is forced to endure a hellish ordeal before escaping the psychotic family through any means necessary. This is especially true with the first two films with Sally, who manages to escape with a bit of luck after a grueling chase, and Stretch, who has to use a chainsaw to fight off one of her captors. It's upheld in later installments, as well - Michelle, Jenny, Erin, and Heather.
    • The trope was especially popular in early 80's works:
  • In Scream (1996), the main character has sex (with the killer!), but still maintains her final girl status throughout the entire film franchise.
  • Sue in Carrie (1976) is an imperfect example. While she is the only major character who survives the film mostly due to her genuine good intentions to let Carrie go to prom with her boyfriend, she never actually faces the killer after everyone dies. However, it's hard to forget about the dream sequence at the end that shows Carrie grabbing Sue's arm in an infamous jump scare. It succeeds at showing how traumatized Sue is left by what happened.
  • House of Wax: The 2005 remake saw Carly emerge as the lone female survivor of what unfolds as a "real-life" horror story in the ghost town of Ambrose, Louisiana; her brother, Nick, also is alive at film's end, both having escaped the burning wax mansion (the town's centerpiece) seconds before it collapses into itself.
  • Suspiria (1977) is a colorful example of the trope at play before it was made popular. An all-American good girl attends a ballet school in Germany, where she's forced to defeat an ancient witch in order to survive the ordeal.
  • Played pretty straight with Simona and the child-killer in the Italian L'immoralita` (1978), except that the final girl is eleven-and-a-half... and no longer a virgin... and she's the one who did all the on-screen killing, except for her father whose suicide helped touch off her Roaring Rampage of Revenge. All the child-killer's victims had already been dispatched before the film began, and he's shown burying the last of them in a shallow grave at the beginning. Let's just say that what accounts for her survival in the sorting algorithm is that everyone else in the film was demonstrably even worse.
  • Alien (1979) does this. And it should be noted that every role in the film was written as gender neutral (which is probably why everyone just used their last names for the whole film), so it could have easily been a Final Guy instead.
    • It's a common misconception that all of the subsequent Alien movies followed suit; in reality, there were other survivors in the second and fourth movies, and Ripley actually dies in the third.
    • Prometheus (2012): Shaw, sort of: David also survives of a fashion, although in a state of Bishop-like discombobulation thanks to an Engineer.
  • The Evil Dead series subverts this, but not in spirit. The main character's name, "Ashley", is usually reserved for women nowadays.
    • However, the reboot of the series fits this Trope to a T with Ash being remade into a woman, Mia.
  • Sarah Connor in The Terminator (1984) is an interesting combination of Final Girl and Damsel in Distress. In the sequel, she's more of an Action Girl and isn't the only survivor.
  • The Hellraiser films tend to feature a young woman at odds with the Cenobites as all Hell breaks loose. Kirsty, Joey, Bobbi, Rimmer, Chelsea, and Emma.
    • Subverted in Hellseeker in that original heroine Kirsty makes a deal with the Cenobites to kill five people (one being her husband, who conspired to have her killed for her family fortune) to save herself.
  • Barbara becomes this in the Night of the Living Dead remakes. In the 1968 original, Barbra, having just seen her brother get killed, was a catatonic mess for much of the movie and presumably dies towards the end when she's captured by the zombies. In the 1990 remake, the character responds to the living dead by becoming an Action Girl and ultimately survives.
  • In Turbulence (1997), a serial killer gets loose aboard a specially chartered 747, putting everyone in the cargo hold except for the cute, intrepid flight attendant who has to take him down. Slight variant on this trope in that, after she dispatches the serial killer, she still has to land the plane.
  • In Ginger Snaps (2000), the quieter, plainer sister of Ginger is the last major character left alive after Ginger kills Sam, who is forced to kill the werewolf that was once her sister and best friend.
  • In She-Creature (a 2001 TV movie), a mermaid kills an entire crew of men out at sea, letting the only female on the ship live.
  • Trish from Jeepers Creepers (2001) fits into the Final Girl trope, as the only real other main character, her brother, is murdered and torn apart for his body parts.
  • The original Resident Evil (2002) film plays it straight. Before she became a badass in the sequels, Alice was the only one able to escape the Hive without getting killed or infected by zombies.
  • Epps from Ghost Ship (2002) outlives her male crewmembers.
  • The Grudge films have done this, though the series also has a habit of killing its survivor right away in the next sequel so no one ever truly escapes the curse. Karen survives the first film, and Lisa makes it through the third along with her little sister.
    • The second is more of a subversion of the trope, seeing as the film follows two different storylines and the expected final girl of both (Aubrey and Allison) are dead by the end of the movie. Jake is a Final Boy in this film.
  • Played straight in Venom (2005) with Eden.
  • Cold Prey (2006) plays this straight with Jannicke, though there's a slight inversion considering virginal Ingunn gets killed first whereas the sexual experience of the others is left a bit more ambiguous.
    • The second film serves as a desconstruction. Jannicke grows quite genre savvy by this film and knows what will happen if the killer gets resuscitated. Despite her warnings, she ends up getting sedated as the killer wakes up and starts killing the hospital staff one by one, leaving only Camilla left as a Final Girl. Once Jannicke comes to, she becomes an action survivor and teams up with Camilla to stop the killer for once and for all. And they both end up surviving.
    • Completely subverted in the third in that everyone dies, not surprising given this was a prequel to the first two films.
  • Played straight in the official ending of Autopsy (2008) from the third set of After Dark Horrorfest. The Final Girl manages to escape the insane doctor and nurse who had killed all of her friends.
    • It is, however, subverted in the alternate ending where instead of escaping or being killed, she is strapped to a bed with all her organs removed but still functioning to keep the doctor's ailing wife alive.
  • Laid to Rest (2009) and its 2011 sequel are both straight examples. Subverted slightly in the first when the Final Girl is revealed to be a prostitute.
  • In Nine Dead (2009), Kelley Murphy was the sole surviving female of the movie. In the end, she shot the masked shooter, leaving 9 people dead in the room. Subverted in that Kelley murdered the two men who should have survived with her to stay out of jail.
  • Spirit Camp (2009) demonstrates a zig-zagging use of the trope. While playing it straight, this film has a Final Girl with vices that would normally signal sure death for a character in a slasher film. For instance, she's a juvenile delinquent who smokes. And oh, was it mentioned that she is the only character other than the opening victim who is seen topless?
  • The Fangoria Frightfest film Hunger (2009) employs this with its main protagonist, who acts as the moral compass of a group of strangers who have been trapped together and forced to turn into cannibalistic savages in order to live. As if surviving that wasn't enough, the heroine then has to outsmart the man who set up the experiment to begin with in order to escape.
  • A group of climbers in A Lonely Place To Die (2011) rescue a kidnapped child in the mountains and are then subsequently picked off one by one by the captors until one girl remains.
  • The Thing (2011) prequel. Kate survives her encounter with the alien, but she's effectively left stranded in Antarctica so it's anybody's guess if she truly survives or not.
  • We see a group of young adults communicating with creepy spirits in The Ouija Experiment (2011). Unfortunately for them, one of the ghosts ends up being a murderer and starts picking off the group one-by-one when they fail to say goodbye to the spirit before leaving the Ouija board. By the end, the only survivor is the love interest of the main character.
    • It's played straight in the 2015 sequel, as well. That's not to say that they don't play around with this a little bit, though. The shy, timid girl we expect to survive dies near the end, while the more outgoing one who does end up living to the last frame makes it a point to not make the same mistakes girls tend to make in horror films.
  • Aftershock (2012) does this on the straight and narrow... until a last-minute subversion shows up in the form of a tsunami.
  • Gravity (2013) does this as well, though it is important to note that the film is a pure survival thriller with no real antagonist in sight.
  • Played straight in Animal where Elizabeth Gillie character outlive, others and run over monster with car.
  • In The Pyramid (2014), the group falls victim to the traps and creatures in the pyramid until we get a sole surviving female archaeologist, who manages to escape the clutches of the final monster and almost escapes the pyramid. Though she survives to the final frame of the film, odds aren't great that she survives for that much longer.
  • The premise of Girl House (2014) would subvert the wholesome Final Girl given that it's about a massacre of girls who perform sexually to an Internet crowd, but it manages to play it pretty straight with having a brunette final girl who would be the ideal if not for financial woes. Though she bears her chest to the viewers of the Girl House feeds, we as the viewers of the movie never actually see her breasts (though we see her butt earlier in the film). Plus, she seems pretty innocent when she's not desperate to make ends meet.
  • Throw back to 80 slasher film Killer Holiday fallow group of teens going for vocation, until they are being killed one by one, until one girl(Cammi) is forced to take him down and this girl is A-student and virgin. Off course her crush survived too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In murder mystery Harper's Island, protagonist Abby Mills is female, beautiful, clean-living, and is strongly implied to be a virgin. She has a Dark and Troubled Past and only picks up the Idiot Ball towards the last few episodes. Also, she is the object of affection of one of the murderers. She survives along with her love interest (and a little girl with Infant Immortality and by extension the girl's mother), and is the one to kill the murderer.
  • Gender Inverted in Psychoville where at the end of Series Two, Mr. Jelly is the lone survivor who calls out Grace for the murders. David Sowerbutts also survives, but is not present at Andrews Nanotech.

    Videogames 

    Web Originals 

Subversions, aversions and parodies

    Anime and Manga 
  • As of the final page of Gyo, both the protagonist's girlfriend and his uncle's assistant both died (girlfriend) and are likely to die later on if not already dead (assistant).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Famously toyed with in the twist ending of Sleepaway Camp during the early 80's when the trope was especially popular in slasher films. The character set up to be the final girl, Angela, is revealed to not only be the killer but also her twin brother who was thought to be dead the whole film.
  • Subverted in the original Prom Night (1980). With Jamie Lee Curtis playing her, the protagonist practically had "Final Girl" written all over her. However, when the killer is revealed, we find out that she was not a target all along.
  • Subverted quite a bit in Curtains (1983). The closest girl we have to a protagonist in the film, Patti, actually reveals herself as the killer at the end. Meanwhile, Tara - a relatively minor character noteworthy only for screwing the caretaker in the jacuzzi earlier in the film - gets the final chase scene of the film, but does not survive. Samantha would be considered a final woman since the film followed her from the start and it is she whom Patti reveals herself to at the very end, but Samantha herself killed the director who did her wrong and his lover... and she was stabbed to death by Patti in the end.
  • Jess from Triangle averts this. She's technically the Final Girl, and she's also the killer. But it's much more complicated than that.
  • The "survivor" of Cry_Wolf (also provides the film's "twist" ending).
  • The movie Shrooms gleefully takes aim at the whole concept of the Final Girl. At the end, the Final Girl discovers that she herself is the killer, having been driven insane by the titular Shrooms.
  • Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer survives the whole movie, but is meant to be a subversion of the typical opening victim who dies before the title. While the good and wholesome activist girl we're meant to initially believe is the final girl turns out to be the first victim.
  • In High Tension, a lesbian spends most of the film trying to rescue the girl she likes from the hands of a slasher. It turns out that her alternate personality is actually the killer, having been driven murderously insane by her secret crush. Both the killer and the final girl survive.
  • While Frontier(s) technically has two final girls, neither fit the wholesome image of the final girl (at least by association). Yasmine is pregnant member of a group of thieves, and Eva is a kind but obedient member of the cannibalistic family that's killed Yasmine's companions.
  • Subverted in The Collector (2009). Arkin is an anti-hero ex-con who breaks into a house at the wrong time to steal a valuable gem in order to pay off his wife's debts. While the innocent family he was stealing from is killed off one by one, Arkin survives, but is captured.
    • Played significantly straighter in the 2012 sequel with Elena.
  • Played with in the movie Mindhunters, there are two of the original group left standing - a guy and a girl, but seeing as the boy is the killer, she is technically the Final Girl standing. But alas it's not technically true, as one of the other victims is shown to have just passed out.
  • Final Destination 3, in which the makers explicitly went out of their way to kill the Final Girl. Whether the two people she saved live or die is left open in the theatrical version.
  • The girl who looks most likely to be the Final Girl in The Deadly Spawn dies in the last 20 minutes and is replaced by another girl who arrived shortly before two-thirds of the way through the film. The monster ends up being killed by the precocious little boy who was hiding in the basement where he was cornered by the monster earlier, figured out its weaknesses by observing it, and had enough know-how to construct a home-made bomb when he finally got free.
  • The Cottage, saw the Final Girl turn out to be so unpleasant and obnoxious that the technically-bad but not actually evil kidnappers who made up the other three heroes were much more sympathetic characters. Hilariously, she not only releases the monster but manages to get herself killed by said monster before any of the guys - it is probably not a good idea to mouth off to a psychotic 7-foot tall deformed cannibal when he is about to brain someone with a shovel.
  • Cindy Campbell from the Scary Movie films is pretty much a sustained spoof of Final Girls.
    • The slasher film final girl spoof was done a few decades previously (and just as, if not more, effectively) in 1982's Pandemonium, with the character of Candy, who was not only a comedic take on the Final Girl, but also on Carrie.
  • Subverted in Candyman. The main character studying urban myths for graduate school discovers the legend of the titular Candyman, who can be summoned when his name is said in the mirror five times. Needless to say, Candyman is indeed summoned during Helen's investigation and shows himself, framing Helen for murder as well as killing her best friend and her therapist. Helen dies saving the life of a baby at the end, but she herself becomes immortalized and is just as vengeful as the Candyman in that she kills her cheating husband when he unknowingly summons her after her death.
    • Played completely straight in the two sequels, where Candyman's descendants are the final girls.
  • Averted in The Ruins. Technically there is a Final Girl but she is not the main character, and is not the most intelligent or resourceful one amongst the victims. Her boyfriend is the wise and resourceful leader, but he sacrifices himself to save her. Ultimately, the end implies that she is doomed anyway.
  • Averted in The Descent. The cast of female spelunkers gets whittled down one by one, but ultimately the Final Girl crosses a Moral Event Horizon, losing audience sympathy. In the end, she seems to escape, but the scene cuts to reveal that it was just a fantasy and she's irrevocably trapped in the cave. Due to Executive Meddling, the Final Girl trope is upheld in the American version, and she escapes.
  • Played straight in the original cut of Deep Blue Sea, but averted in the finished cut, because test audiences found the female lead to be obnoxious and self-centered. The Plucky Comic Relief survived in her place. It should be noted that in both a shark wrangler - halfway between Action Hero and Action Survivor - also lives.
  • Subverted in Hostel. The film's only surviving character is Paxton, who is not only male, but a heavy drinker and drug user who spends the first half of the film screwing anything with a pulse. By contrast, Josh, who dies earlier, is relatively innocent—although Josh's ambiguous sexuality may make him an example of Bury Your Gays.
    • Also subverted in Hostel 2. Beth, the Final Girl who we've come to see as innocent and virginal, turns out to be just as ruthless and bloodthirsty as her captors. She brutally castrates her "hunter" and strikes a deal with Sasha, the club's ringleader. In contrast Lorna, the untouched Cloudcuckoolander, is the first to die and was selected specifically because she was a virgin. Her "hunter" had a Countess Bathory fetish.
  • Subverted the hell out of in Saw and Saw II regarding the character Amanda Young. In the first film, Amanda is the only one of Jigsaw's victims to get free of his traps, but she's not the typically innocent Final Girl (she had been addicted to heroin) and she agrees with the man that tried to kill her. In the second movie, the sweet, innocent-like (at least by Saw standards) blonde girl dies fairly early on. The final girl? Amanda again, and she's revealed to be working with the killer.
    • In Saw VI, the only survivors of the Roulette Trap are, you guessed it, female.
    • As for Saw 3D: The Final Chapter:
      • It has a Final Boy in Bobby Dagen.
      • Subverted with Jill Tuck. As the last female left alive after the death of Bobby Dagen's wife Joyce, Jill is ultimately dispatched by Detective Hoffman with the use of the reverse bear trap and her death drives the film to its final twist reveal (see below).
      • Dr. Gordon is revealed to have escaped in the original Saw film and is now an accomplice to the late John Kramer, having put Detective Hoffman in the bathroom trap without a saw for killing Jill.
  • Tony in Devil.
  • Though, as mentioned above, the Friday the 13th film series usually plays it straight, special mention should be made for the character of Tommy Jarvis, who manages to make it safely through installments IV, V and VI as the Tagalong Kid, Troubled, but Cute, and Zen Survivor respectively.
    • The 2009 remake has a Final Girl, but also has a decoy Final Girl in Jenna who is quite possibly on screen for more time than actual Final Girl Whitney until her sudden death near the end. Additionally there is another survivor in Whitney's brother Clay.
    • Original Final Girl Alice was shown smoking marijuana in one scene, Ginny from Part 2 has offscreen sex and kicks back a few beers, and Jessica of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday has a kid.
      • Speaking of Jason Goes to Hell, its arguable Stephen is more the main protagonist than Jessica.
    • The seventh and eighth installments, The New Blood and Jason Takes Manhattan respectively, have the male love interest survive alongside the Final Girl character for the entire final act.
  • Inverted big time in 2008 horror movie Credo. It's all typical with our sweet and innocent main character being the last one out of our group to die... That is, until it's revealed most of the movie was all just a hallucination brought on by an evil demon to get her to hang herself. The other college twats are just fine, playing with an Ouija Board downstairs.
  • This trope, and the extreme lampshade hanging thereof, is a central plot element in the slasher deconstruction Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, where the character is referred to as a "survivor girl." Vernon spends most of the movie setting one character up as the final girl, both to the viewer and the crew filming his exploits. However, it turns out that Vernon's final girl is a decoy, and sexually active at that. It is the female reporter in the film crew who is his real final girl all along, and she fulfills her role exactly according to the trope.
  • In April Fools' Day, the cast are whittled down to two and the killer is revealed to be the secret and crazy twin sister of one of the characters. The boy gets locked in a closet while the Final Girl is left to confront the crazy twin. She backs into a room, and there are all the "dead," people, behaving calmly and casually as though nothing had happened. After about thirty seconds of her freaking out, they start laughing and explain that that the whole thing was both a elaborate practical joke and a test for a "Murder Mystery," inn, there is no twin. Then they have a party.
  • In Feast the character identified as "Heroine" (Occupation: Wear tanktops, tote shotgun, save day) is accidentally shot, knocked out a second floor window and swarmed by monsters about halfway through the movie. We then get the real Final Girl, Tuffy, who is now credited as "Heroine #2".
  • In Pitch Black, the woman who seems most likely to be the final girl is killed off only a few minutes before the movie ends, though the fact that she tries to sacrifice the passengers of the ship she was piloting early in the film hints at her redemptive death. The only characters to survive the movie are ironically the ones most likely to die in another slasher flick: the pacifist black man; the teenage girl who pretended to be a ''boy'' for the first half of the movie and has just reached sexual maturity; and Riddick, the Villain Protagonist, who survives due to Executive Meddling that turned out to be very profitable. This approach is arguably what sets the film apart and part of why the sequel fails to deliver the same emotional punch. Pitch Black is a survival movie in space that subverts character expectations; The Chronicles of Riddick tries more to be straightforward Star Wars.
  • In the film Crazy Eights, the character Beth is built up to be the final girl, only to become the second victim when a horrible monster visits her and persuades her to rip out her own jaw to remove her guilt. The final girl is actually Jennifer, but she prepares to kill herself as the movie abruptly ends.
  • Also subverted in the 2005 film The Dark, where Maria Bello's character Adèle fights through the Welsh interpretation of the afterlife to save her daughter, only to unintentionally kill herself and switch places with her. And depending on how you interpret the ending, she may not have even succeeded in saving her daughter.
  • In the gay slasher Hellbent, there's a Final Guy and his Love Interest.
  • The Evil Dead (1981) subverted the trope by having the sweet virginal girl raped by trees and then possessed. Her brother, Ashely J. Williams, becomes the Final Guy, though even he gets possessed at the end. In the sequels, he reverts back to humanity and becomes the boomstick-toting, chainsaw-handed Badass we know and love.
  • Used one way or another in every Cube movie:
  • Averted in House of 1000 Corpses, where the final girl escapes the killer family, but the driver of the car that gives her a lift back to town is the Monster Clown Captain Spaulding, who turns out to be part of the killer family.
    • Very cleverly subverted in the sequel The Devils Rejects. By the end, Baby becomes a sort of final girl when Sheriff Wydell is chasing her. Very interesting seeing the villain become the final girl.
  • Averted in Perfume, where the killer saves the beautiful Laura Richis as his final victim to complete his perfect perfume. Laura's wealthy father uses all his power to protect her, but the killer walks right through all his defenses, right into Laura's bedroom, and kills her.
  • Subverted in Grizzly Park, where Bebe, the ditzy, sweet girl, survives most of the movie, but it turns out it was all an act, and she is really a mean, spoiled bitch. Ranger Bob ends up sending the bear to kill her once he finds out.
  • Subverted, along with every other aspect of the genre, by Funny Games. The Final Middle-Aged Woman is tied up on a boat, when she spots a knife dropped there at the beginning of the film. But before she can accomplish anything, the killers nonchalantly pitch her over the side. THE END
  • Identity subverts this in multiple ways: the character set up as the Final Girl was a prostitute, thus subverting the virgin-and-pure side of things. We then find out one of the other characters believed to have died was actually still alive. Said character, who was actually the killer, returns to finish the Final Girl off. Furthermore, the Final Girl, the character that killed her and all of the other characters who didn't make it were actually the multiple personalities of a serial killer, and the whole thing was being played out in his mind. The "killing" of the characters was his real-life attempt to integrate. So when you get down to it, there's really no Final Girl at all, and no person at the motel ever really died.
  • In After Dark Horrorfest 4's movie Kill Theory subverts this trope when the expected final girl stabs her boyfriend in the stomach, breaking the rules and ends up being killed by the actual final girl who she had shot earlier.
  • The Wishmaster series is prone to playing with this. While played completely straight in the original, the sequel's Final Girl was a goth burglar who actually kills a guy in the opening, during a heist gone wrong, though she later redeems herself, in order to beat the Djinn. The protagonist of Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled is also shown having sex at least twice, including with the Djinn.
  • Seemingly subverted in the original REC (2007) film (and its American remake), in that its heavily implied that Angela dies after being pulled into the darkness.
    • The 2009 sequel to the Spanish film subverts it further - Angela actually survived the first film's events, but it's revealed that she's now possessed after killing the other survivors in the apartment complex.
  • Thoroughly subverted in Trick 'r Treat with Laurie, whose name is a reference to Jamie Lee Curtis' Final Girl in the Halloween films, a cute virgin dressed as Little Red Riding Hood who is surrounded by loud, promiscuous friends who want to get her laid. However, none of them were in danger at all. It turns out that they're a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves, and that all along they were actually looking for a man so that Laurie could eat him.
  • Set up in Damnatus, where Nira is the last of the party left alive (with the hero even commenting that if anyone's going to make it out alive, it will be her), but when the daemon catches up with her she dies just like the rest.
  • Subverted to hell and back in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. The innocent and pure Mandy appears to be this at first, but then comes The Reveal that, the whole time, she was working with the killer, with whom she had entered a Suicide Pact. It's then given a Double Subversion when Mandy backs out of the pact at the last minute, allowing her to be the Final Girl after all.
  • Inverted with Student Bodies, in which everyone is suspicious that the obvious Final Girl is really the killer.
  • The Scream series, with its exploration and parody of '80s slashers, doesn't take long to go after this trope.
    • The main heroine, Sidney Prescott, evolves from a fairly straight, if lampshaded, example into a deconstruction as the series progresses. Even in the first film, she snaps at reporters trying to exploit her trauma (there's a quick scene of a shameless tabloid journalist, played by Linda Blair, asking her "how does it feel to be almost brutally murdered?"), she snarks at the stupid mistakes that Slasher Movie victims often make (though to be fair, this is a series where everybody does that), and she breaks the "virgins don't die" rule by having sex — with the killer! — and still surviving. In the second film, her life has grown to be defined by her status as the survivor of a massacre, and while this has brought her fame, fortune, movie deals, and (by the fourth movie) a bestselling autobiography, it also means that she is constantly having to look over her shoulder for the next wannabe Ghostface. And then she has to repeat the entire experience, watching her friends getting slaughtered all over again by the pissed-off mother of the last killer, looking for payback against Sidney for killing her son.

      By the third film, she's living in a self-imposed isolation bordering on Crazy Survivalist levels, working from home under a fake name. She suffers recurring nightmares about Ghostface killing her, and when she visits the set of Stab 3, a recreation of her old home in Woodsboro, she has a mental breakdown as her memories of the first movie come flooding back. For a real Final Girl, the horror wouldn't end when the credits roll — she'd have to live with the experience for the rest of her life, and may God help her if she's cast in the sequels. Fortunately, the passage of time and the settling of her family drama (and, presumably, years of therapy) mean that she's gotten somewhat better by the fourth film.
    • Gale Weathers is also a subversion. Unlike Sidney, she doesn't even have a facade of purity and kindness — she's an abrasive, unscrupulous tabloid hack who's covering the killings simply to make money and promote her book. However, she too survives and even helps defeat the killer, and gets some major Character Development in the sequels revealing a much softer side to her personality.
    • In Scream 3, Angelina at first glance appears to be this trope, as she's The Ingenue who's playing Sidney in Stab 3. She turns out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, however, revealing that she'd employed the Casting Couch to get the part — and promptly suffers one of the fastest-acting examples of Death by Sex ever.
    • In Scream 4, the character of Jill Roberts takes this trope and puts it through the ringer. She was the killer all along, and planned to frame somebody else for it so that she can come out looking like the Final Girl and ride the publicity to book deals and talk show appearances, following in the footsteps of her older cousin Sidney.
    • Scream 4 features a group of film junkies debating the trope at one point. One of them mentions that, according to the modern rules of horror, virgins can die now, which prompts one of the girls to say something about not getting to live as long as her two friends.
  • Invoked and subverted in The Cabin in the Woods. When the monsters ritually slaughter the college kids, Dana, the victim labelled as "The Virgin", can't be killed unless all the others are killed first, and, as long as she's suffered a lot and is the last one left standing, she can be allowed to escape the monsters without ruining the ritual. However, it turns out that Marty, one of the earlier male victims, wasn't as dead as everyone thought, and comes back to save Dana and kick some monster ass... and end the world in the process.
    • Further subverted by the fact that Dana, who the technicians had set up to become "The Virgin", was in fact screwing her professor in order to pass the class, while Jules, who had been picked as "The Whore", was the smarter and more wholesome of the two before she was drugged.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors has both Joey and Kincaid survive alongside Kristen.
  • You're Next: Erin could be considered a Deconstructive Parody of one. While at first she appears to be a normal variety, it quickly turns out that she is not only an Action Survivor, but also came from a Crazy Survivalist background. It reaches the point where the remaining masked killers are scared of her. It's also heavily implied that she gets arrested after the events of the movie for the people she killed.
  • In From Hell, Mary Kelly is played pretty straight as a Final Girl as she escapes Jack the Ripper and survives after all her friends have been picked off and despite the fact that the real life Mary Kelly didn't. However, she's also a subversion in that she doesn't kill the Ripper, just manages to avoid him and, what with being a prostitute, isn't the traditionally wholesome girl either.
  • Since there are no women among the survivors (or even passengers) of the crashed plane in The Grey, it's pretty obvious that there will not be a final girl. Liam Neeson's character becomes the last survivor before meeting a Bolivian Army Ending (he does manage to kill the alpha wolf before dying, though).
  • Death Proof: Quentin Tarantino himself noted during interviews about this film that he is a major fan of Carol Clover's writings on slasher films. As such, part of the thrill of the first half involves how he consciously plays with this trope in particular: Arlene/Butterfly is set up from the beginning to be a played-straight Final Girl in a standard slasher—especially how she's portrayed as rather "apart" from her friends, and not as open in her sexuality. Alas, she ends up dying with the others—which, as Quentin anticipated, is a big shock to a Genre Savvy audience...
  • Deconstructed in the "Tuesday the 17th" segment from V/H/S, a homage to the slasher genre. The final girl turns out to be far more of a villain than the actual supernatural killer (who is more akin to a force of nature). She was the final girl of a previous group who witnessed her friends get slaughtered by the Glitch. When no one believed her about the Glitch she went insane from the trauma and desperation to be believed, eventually luring another group of teens to the stereotypical Haunted Forest to use them as bait for the Glitch so she could try to capture it. In the end her attempt fails miserably and the Glitch effortlessly mutilates her.
  • In Evidence, there are two surviving girls... who then turn out to actually be the killers, who took turns taking on the role of the masked bad guy to throw everyone off.
  • * Played straight and sometimes averted in WrongTurn and it sequels Jessie in the first film, Nina in the second, and Alex in the third fit this trop.
    • Meanwhile this is averted in Part 4 Kenia and Sara last to the end, but are killed and Lita from Part 5 is taked away by killer, whil she was having pulse, but probably is killed too.
    • Also averted in Part 6, where Toni, outlive others, but her boyfriend do Face-Heel Turn and made other cannibals to kill her. Off course, there is one surviving girl Sally, but she is one of villians.
  • Averted in Film/Zombeaver , Zoe survive zombie beaver attack, but she is not virgin and end up getting runned up by truck iin end of film.
  • In Unfriended, Blaire meets all the criteria at first glance — virginal, less obnoxious than her female friends, and conventionally attractive but not quite gorgeous. However, it turns out that Laura's saving her for last not because she's the most innocent, but because she's the most guilty — she's a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who filmed the humiliating video of Laura that caused her to kill herself, and she refuses to take responsibility for it, even throwing her boyfriend Mitch under the bus to save her own skin. She's also not a virgin, having cheated on Mitch with his best friend Adam. Furthermore, at the end of the film she's not the lone survivor, but rather, the final victim.

    Literature 
  • Used as a theme in Jane Mendelsohn's Mind Screw novel Innocence, with the main character seeing herself as the Final Girl in her own horror story. She does kill the villain - that is, her stepmother.
  • The Final Girls of the Friday the 13th spin-off books Church of the Divine Psychopath and Carnival of Maniacs are also The Lad-ette.
  • In Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, Vera Claythorne is the last survivor on the island, only to hang herself. Furthermore, she wasn't exactly the last person left, she (and the reader) only thinks she is.
    • Also subverted in that Vera, unlike the traditional goody-goody Final Girl, is guilty of murder herself.
    • Played straighter in a number of theatrical and film adaptations, although there's usually another survivor too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, both the movie and TV show were created specifically as a subversion of the trope — the "final girl" (who isn't particularly final, all things considered) is sexually active, conventionally attractive, and generally a lot more girly than the norm. Admittedly she does have superpowers (often explicitly superior to her foes) which makes it a bit debatable as to whether she belongs as a Final Girl proper, or is simply a straight up superheroine who borrows a fair bit of slasher flick imagery.
    • According to the Word of God, Buffy was actually a subversion of the girls who get killed in monster movies, not those who survive slashers (if memory serves).
    • Buffy only became "sexually active" halfway into the second season - prior to that she was a virgin. She also doesn't smoke or do drugs or drink that much, and as for girlishness she is a cheerleader for all of one episode. In fact, whether by accident or design, Buffy resembles the classic Final Girl a lot more than the characters she is supposedly subverting.
      • The movie paints pre-slayer Buffy as a promiscuous, popular, superficial cheerleader who refuses to fit entirely into the Slayer/Final-Girl mold. Whether you saw the movie before watching the series probably makes a big difference in your perception of her during season 1.
    • A paper written on the subject of final girls points out that, early on, Willow fit the stereotypical final girl mold to a T.
    • It is this trope that Buffy is subverting.
  • The Final Girls is a series proposed to ABC Family in 2013 in which Jamie Lee Curtis will be the Charley to a team of Angels consisting of girls who were Final Girls and use that experience to become monster hunters.

    Web Originals 

    Videogames 
  • the white chamber seems to play with this... And it seems quite ironic. Sarah may be the last survivor, but she was the killer.
  • Averted in Dino Crisis, no matter what ending you get, Regina and Rick will always survive, but Gail and Doctor Kirk may or may not. But played with but probably played straight in the sequel. Dylan and Paula make it to the gate room, but Regina is the only character that definitely survives the entire ordeal. Dylan and Paula might have if Regina did perfect a time gate and save them at the last moment.
  • Subverted in Shivers. When Beth and Merrick released the Ixupi 15 years in the past, Beth was the last survivor. She figured out how to solve all the museum's puzzles, but she died before she could finish the job.
  • In the Survival Horror mech game Space Griffon VF 9 the final girl is the useless Damsel in Distress scientist the hero picks up who is trapped in a locked room on the station. It appears the awesomely classy punk rocker chick will survive, but then she sacrifices herself to kill her brother that Came Back Wrong when he shows up out of nowhere in the final sequence. The crazy/idiot thing about it? Both you and her have battlemechs. He's in a hybrid recon/maintenance mecha. Even if he had gotten the drop on you in an ambush (and he didn't) either one of you could mop the floor with him without much trouble, so her completely random sacrifice was a waste, especially as the real Big Bad is still alive and waiting for you at the hangar. He's a mad scientist who turned himself into an Eldritch Abomination kaiju, so if anyone needed a mech blowing up in their face it definitely would have been then. It's a pretty difficult fight, so you'll find yourself wishing she'd have saved herself for this instead.
  • In the 2012 version of Twisted Metal, Sweet Tooth's wish is to track down his Final Girl, his daughter Sophia, so he can finally kill her. Only it turns out she had already killed herself as a result of the trauma she went through. The result? Calypso buries Sweet Tooth alive in Sophia's casket... And revives her as a Monster Clown just like her father.
  • In the Storynexus game Final Girl this can be played straight, subverted or averted, depending on your choices.

    Western Animation 
  • A parody in Robot Chicken where Scooby-Doo meets Jason Voorhees. Velma complains that she is the final girl due to the stereotype that the virgin is always the last to die.
    Velma: The virgins are always the last to die. God my life sucks.
  • In the episode "Failsafe" of Young Justice, M'gann is the last of all the heroes in their battle against the invading aliens. Turns out she had to be the last one, as she was the one subconsciously controlling the Your Mind Makes It Real simulation that Went Horribly Wrong. Once she is 'killed', everyone awakens.
    • The Teen Titans episode "Fear Itself" had a similar premise, with a monster stalking Titan Tower and picking off the Titans one by one, using a method similar to killers used in slasher movies. Raven was the last one left because the "monster" was her own powers acting on her repressed fear - after the team had watched a scary movie, no less. Ironically, this would not only make her the Final Girl in this scenario, but technically, the antagonist as well.


Alternative Title(s):

Final Guy, Final Boy