Benny: But I still want to know what happens!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. 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. 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". 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. 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. A villainous (and usually male) variant might show up as part of a Mook Horror Show.
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?
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?
As both a Death and Ending Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime & Manga
- Aside from being male, Emporio Alnino from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is this played dead straight. Of the seven protagonists, he's the youngest, most innocent (relatively speaking) and the only one to have never killed until the end. He's also the last man standing after Father Enrico Pucci gains Made in Heaven and goes through the other protagonists like a chainsaw and kills him with the combination of Burning Down the House and Heavy Weather.
- 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 (Slashers)
- It was both subverted and played straight in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, a 2006 homage to 80s slasher films. After explaining the concept, Leslie show the documentary crew the "survivor girl" he's chosen, Kelly, but later Taylor realizes it was meant to be her all along.
- 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 remake has Kelli confronting the killers and surviving.
- Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror plays this pretty straight with Alison. She's the plainest of the group that gets stranded in the middle of nowhere and has a run in with a deadly cult, with whom she has a tie with considering that her brother is a member. Alison's the last one left standing to take down the cult at the end, as well.
- The Cold Prey trilogy:
- The original film 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 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.
- Final Exam with Courtney, who is basically a Laurie Strode expy.
- Friday the 13th has a definite final girl in every installment, but see below under subversions/aversions.
- The Funhouse with Amy, though the movie makes a point to show her topless early on in the film.
- The premise of Girl House 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 bares 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). Ultimately, she seems pretty innocent when she's not desperate to make ends meet.
- Graduation Day with Anne. Justified since she initially wasn't in Kevin's list of targets, and he only comes after her once she finds Laura's remains in his room. Unlike earlier examples, she's a bit less Damsel in Distress and a bit more Action Survivor, most likely thanks to her time serving in the Navy.
- 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.
- Subverted and then double subverted (ultimately played straight) in Happy Birthday to Me with Virginia. "Virginia" confesses to committing the murders, but then it turns up that the killer was an assailant disguised as Ginny, who then has to survive a birthday dinner from hell. A deconstruction is hinted at the end with a surviving Ginny, who is messed up and suspected by a detective of committing the crimes.
- Hell Night with Marti, the most innocent of the four pledges and the only one to survive the night.
- House of Wax (2005) 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.
- The House on Sorority Row with Katherine. Conservative and brunette, she was basically the most moral and level-headed of the group of sorority girls who found themselves being killed off one-by-one after a prank gone wrong.
- Humongous inverts this, at least so far as looks and resourcefulness are concerned. The plain girl, Carla, who easily looks the part of the final girl actually dies rather brutally towards the end with little chance to fight back. The true final girl? Sandy, a very attractive but resourceful girl who manages to take down the killer and live to the end credits.
- I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel with Julie, though her love interest Ray survives both films as well.
- Intruder with Jennifer, though she's definitely a bit more conventionally attractive than most traditional final girls and some of her qualifying traits (lack of doing drugs and having sex) may be justified by the fact that the slashing takes place at a grocery store on a night she was working and she was going through a break-up.
- Laid to Rest and its sequel are both examples, though the concept is subverted slightly in the first when the Final Girl is revealed to be a prostitute.
- Lost After Dark specifically hightlights this trope in the naming of its female characters - each one is named after an actress who played a classic final girl (Marilyn, Heather, Jamie, and Adrienne). It then deconstructs the trope by setting up its obvious final girl to be so virtuous that she becomes easy prey to the killer. After she's the first casualty, another (non-virginal) character rises up to be the true final girl, reconstructing the trope in the process.
- 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.
- New Year's Evil with Diane.
- Applies to most of the Elm Street series. Nancy, Lisa, Kristen, Alice, Alice again, Maggie/Tracy, Heather Langenkamp (the actual actress who played Nancy), and Laurie. Part 2 is a partial subversion, as Lisa doesn't so much kill Freddy as drive him out of his possessed victim Jessie, who also survives.
- The Prowler with Pam, who has all the qualities but inverts the Slashers Prefer Blondes convention.
- In Scream (1996), the main character has sex (with the killer!), but still maintains her final girl status throughout the entire film franchise. Subverted somewhat as Gale, Dewey, and Randy survive the events of the first film as well.
- Spirit Camp 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?
- StageFright -Aquarius- with Alicia, an unassuming actress who must demonstrate a bit of resourcefulness after a mass murderer slices and dices his way through the rest of her theatre production staff.
- Tenebre with Anne. The film does not initially follow her as the main protagonist, but there does come a point where she becomes the only person left for the audience to identify with and she ends up being the last one left to take down the killer, albeit accidentally.
- Terror Train with Alana, as made clear by the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis was playing her. However, she's not completely pure or innocent either, seeing as she had a part in a prank that sent the killer over the edge.
- 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.
- Tourist Trap's final girl is purer than the white snow.
- Urban Legend and Urban Legends: Final Cut both have a female protagonist who qualify, but there are also other survivors in both films.
- Valentine with Kate. The film justifies Kate living because she was the only one who was not outright cruel to the killer when they were younger.
- Venom with Eden, who has all the qualities and unlike later slashers that normally subvert this particular trope, Eden's love interest is not spared from being a body count number.
Films — Live-Action (Other)
- Aftershock does this on the straight and narrow... until a last-minute subversion shows up in the form of a tsunami.
- Alien does this with Ripley. 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.
- AVP: Alien vs. Predator: Everyone but Alexa Woods are killed, leaving her alone with the last remaining aliens and the last predator; ultimately she is left to fight the Queen alongside the last predator who is slowly dying from his wounds.
- Prometheus: Shaw, sort of: David also survives of a fashion, although in a state of Bishop-like discombobulation thanks to an Engineer.
- Alien: Covenant looks like it will follow suit in series tradition, with Daniels taking this role alongside the other survivors, until the ending implies a subversion: "Walter" is actually David, who plans on using the people on board as further Xenomorph breeding fodder, so the "finality" of Daniels likely won't last.
- Played straight in Animal where Mandy outlives the others and runs over monster with car, effectively escaping with her life.
- Played straight in the official ending of Autopsy 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.
- Upheld in Black Water. After the men in her group get killed and her sister gets terribly injured, Lee is the only person left to fight off the crocodile. She kills the croc, but she returns to find her older sister's lifeless body, thereby making Lee the sole survivor.
- Sue in Carrie (1976) is an imperfect example. While she is the only major character who survives the film, she's also best friends with the villainous Alpha Bitch Chris, and she never actually faces the killer after everyone dies. However, she had genuinely good intentions in asking her boyfriend to take Carrie to prom to make up for how she and her friends humiliated her in the showers, and 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.
- Sue is a more conventional example in the original book and in the 2013 remake, where she does indeed confront Carrie at the end, triggering Carrie's Heel Realization before she dies.
- Gender-flipped in the sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2. Rachel's love interest Jesse is the only survivor, and he's also left spooked by what's happened. Like Sue, Jesse is the Token Good Teammate of the antagonists, in this case a high school football team who treat their female classmates as "points" to score in a game they have going, which led to Rachel's best friend killing herself when she found out.
- The Cave contrasts the slightly demure scientist Catherine with the sexy blonde climber Charlie. Catherine is indeed the only one of the two females to survive.
- Jeryline is the last character left alive to confront the collector in Demon Knight. She eventually defeats him and lives happily ever after, according to the Crypt Keeper.
- A good example of a Final Boy would be Cooper from Dog Soldiers. An early scene seems to demonstrate that he has a strong moral code, and he takes on leadership when his troop gets attacked by vicious werewolves. And, in the end, he is the only survivor left to take down one particular werewolf that has an personal ax to grind against him.
- The Evil Dead series has a Final Guy, but otherwise plays it straight in spirit. The main character's name, Ashley (or more commonly "Ash"), is usually reserved for women nowadays. The 2013 remake fits this trope to a T, with Ash being gender-flipped into Mia, and her brother David (initially presented as the Ash analogue) being a Decoy Protagonist.
- Epps from Ghost Ship outlives her male crewmembers and becomes the sole survivor.
- In Ginger Snaps, Ginger's quieter, plainer sister Brigitte is the last major character left alive after Ginger kills Sam, with Brigitte forced to kill the werewolf that was once her sister and best friend. The sequel Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed, however, retroactively subverts this by revealing that the monkshood Brigitte injected herself with to stop her own infection and transformation only slowed the process, with her now relying on ever-greater doses of the stuff to stave it off. The film ends with Brigitte, without access to monkshood, fully turning into a werewolf and kept captive by the Strange Girl Ghost to unleash on her enemies.
- Gravity follows some of the conventions, even outside a slasher context. The main character is rather tomboyish, has a gender-bending name, and must demonstrate resourcefulness just to survive. It is important to note that the film is a pure survival thriller with no real antagonist, though.
- The Grudge:
- While the franchise tends to play this straight, it 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, seeing as the film follows two different storylines and the expected final girl of both (Aubrey and Allison) is dead by the end of the movie. Jake is a Final Boy in this film.
- 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.
- House of 9 features a group of people being held captive in a house for a hefty prize to the eventual sole survivor. The winner of this prize is, of course, the ingenue. She's so innocent that she was one of the very few who did not succumb to the temptation to kill for the prize money. Even in her final confrontation with a homicidal maniac, she attacks in self-defense and only kills him by accident.
- The Fangoria Frightfest film Hunger 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.
- Trish from Jeepers Creepers fits into the Final Girl trope, as the only real other main character, her brother, is murdered and torn apart for his body parts.
- Sandy from Killjoy 3 is revealed to be a virgin and the last one left alive to take down Killjoy by laughing at him and reciting his real name. A deconstruction is hinted at the end when she's seen in an insane asylum still laughing and suspected by authorities of committing the murders herself.
- Played pretty straight with Simona and the child-killer in the Italian L'immoralita,` 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.
- A group of climbers in A Lonely Place to Die rescue a kidnapped child in the mountains and are then subsequently picked off one by one by the captors until one girl remains. It is she who must take down the bad guys to rescue the child.
- Mindhunters is an action thriller, but follows many slasher movie tropes. Sara is meeker and more delicate than the rest of the protagonists - who all have their own Achilles Heels. Theirs are based on vices, while Sara's comes from a trauma in her past. Nicole, the only other girl in the film, is sleeping with one of the others while Sara is celibate. The film does have Gabe survive as well though.
- 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 Nine Dead, 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.
- The Serbian horror film Nymph has three female characters - Kelly, Lucy and Yasmin. Lucy is the Hard-Drinking Party Girl, while Yasmin is the bitchy 'other woman' to Lucy's ex-boyfriend. Kelly naturally is more responsible and demure, and she survives to the end. It's a Bolivian Army Ending of sorts though.
- We see a group of young adults communicating with creepy spirits in The Ouija Experiment. 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 female. While it's played straight in the 2015 sequel, that's not to say that they don't play around with this a little bit. The shy, timid girl we expect to survive dies near the end, while the more outgoing one who does end up living makes it a point to not make the same mistakes girls tend to make in horror films.
- Psycho is considered to be an Ur-Example of a Slasher film. While not a perfect fit of the Final Girl that has become conventional in later years, Lila can be considered a prototype since she is the one who investigates her sister's disappearance and survives her confrontation with the killer, albeit not by her own doing.
- Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a male example in Predator. He is the leader of a team of seven commandos, six of whom are slaughtered by the alien villain, most of them with ridiculous ease. Dutch is the only one to evade the creature, by covering himself with mud (the creature sees in infrared, and the mud apparently blocks the heat sources in Dutch's body). Then he calls the creature out, and ultimately battles him hand to hand. Although even Dutch isn't physically powerful enough to slay the monster, he does manage to use his wits to deliver such a humiliating defeat to the alien that it commits suicide. Dutch also fits the personality in that he's the most morally principled of the commandos ("My men are not expendable") and never engages in sexual/homophobic banter like some of the other guys do. Ana, the female jungle fighter, might also be a candidate in that she's the only other major character to survive to the movie's end, but she doesn't actually battle the monster.
- In The Pyramid, 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 original Resident Evil 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.
- In the 2001 TV movie She-Creature, a mermaid kills an entire crew of men out at sea, letting the only female on the ship live.
- Shock Waves with Rose. Oddly enough, the film established her as the Final Girl and Sole Survivor right from the getgo. The film basically narrates her survival story of a murder spree after being shipwrecked out at sea. While she was able to escape, the remaining members of the group she was with were not as lucky.
- Suspiria is a colorful example of the trope at play. 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.
- Sarah Connor in The Terminator 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 first film also evokes the trope in other ways - she has a best friend who's killed while having sex with her boyfriend.
- 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.
- Another possible candidate for the Ur-Example of the Slasher Movie would be the 1932 film Thirteen Women, which predates the classic proto-slashers Psycho and Peeping Tom (both 1960) by twenty-eight years. Thirteen Women codifies the genre as follows: 1) all the deaths are brought about (even if indirectly) by one individual; 2) the film sets up the victims and then kills them off one by one; 3) all the major characters die, except for a lone, innocent Final Girl.
- In Turbulence, 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.
- A Rare Male Example occurs in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the protagonist Dave Bowman is the last crew member left alive to shut down HAL 9000.
- On American Horror Story: Asylum, the Intrepid Reporter Lana Winters is the only main character left alive by the season finale and the only woman to be captured by the serial killer, Bloody Face, and live to tell about it. While almost certainly sexually active (and a lesbian on top of it) at the beginning of the series, she is not seen engaging in vices as much as the rest of the main cast.
- 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.
- Emma Duval in the TV adaptation of Scream. While Sidney Prescott, her counterpart from the films, is listed below as a deconstruction, Emma is a straighter example, though not perfectly so. In the first season, she's one of several characters who survives, and most of the credit for defeating the killer goes to Audrey, a bicurious punk chick who turns out to have been working with the killer all along. Season two shows that Emma has been traumatized by the experience, her mental state not at all helped by a new killer running around.
- From Resident Evil, we have Rebecca Chambers, the sole official survivor of her team from Resident Evil 0.
- A rare non horror version of this is Asura's Wrath in the form of Mithra.
- A definite possibility for Jennifer in Clock Tower.
- Can easily happen in Friday the 13th: The Game if a female character is the only survivor, but invoked as a game mechanic: at least one female counselor has to still be alive to kill Jason, as the process of doing so requires one to imitate Ginny's (the Final Girl of Part 2) Dead Person Impersonation to leave him vulnerable for Tommy Jarvis to land the killing blow and he's completely impossible to kill otherwise. Counselor, Jenny Myers, is also based off this trope and is an Expy of final girl Chris Higgins from Friday the 13th Part III. Jenny is still able to be killed by Jason though.
- A Journal Roleplay called Battle Experiment Program N threw characters from various series into a Battle Royale-style program. The first group included characters like Lelouch, Peter Parker, House, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Akuma, Dexter and Verbal Kint. The last one standing from the main group at the end of the plot? Ichigo from Katamari Damacy.
Subversions, aversions and parodies
Anime & 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.
- And outright averted with the killer's actual victims: 3 girls and 1 guy. All three girls die, the guy survives.
- Gradually subverted in Just Before Dawn. Connie starts out as an ordinary Final Girl candidate with conservative looks and lack of sex appeal. As the movie progresses though, her clothing gradually gets sexier until the trope is fully subverted when her boyfriend survives the final confrontation as well.
- Shows up in Joe D'Amato's early 80's horrors, though somewhat obscurely:
- When considering that the film involves a group of middle-aged adults getting killed off one by one rather than the usual group of teenagers, Julie fits the bill pretty well in The Anthropophagus Beast. While she does smoke in one scene, Julie also turns down the advances of a fellow tourist who expressed a desire to be with her so she is sexually unavailable as well. The Final Girl notion is ultimately subverted in the final confrontation when a previous victim turns up to be alive and gives a deadly blow to the killer, saving Julie in the process.
- In Absurd, the last female to confront the killer is Katia, whose innocence may be justified by the fact that she was bedridden for most of the film. Katia's not really the typical leading protagonist for most of the film until the killer invades her home, when she fulfills Final Girl duties by taking up a decorative axe and chopping his head off.
- Subverted in Curtains (1983). After all actresses but one coveting the role of Audra are murdered, we're left with one plucky actress (Patti) who easily fits the final girl mold. A use of an Impending Doom P.O.V. makes us think Samantha truly was the killer and not just a red herring. However, in the end, Samantha only killed the director and his mistress, but it was not-so-innocent Patti who killed her rivals for the role.
- 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.
- Subverted in Inside. Sarah starts out as a Damsel in Distress, but she eventually graduates to Action Survivor status despite being pregnant and thisclose to giving birth. While she does a serious number on her attacker, it wasn't enough since Sarah still gets killed at the end.
- 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. Not to mention being a final boy.
- Played significantly straighter in the 2012 sequel with Elena.
- Arkin is still the lead of the 2012 sequel, she's more of a Supporting Protagonist.
- 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. Notably Sara (the girl in question) still fits the profile in that she's the most moral of the protagonists, and her flaw is not a vice like the others.
- The Final Destination series:
- 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.
- The slasher-satire Hack! puts the trope through the grinder. The girl so obviously the final girl ends up being an evil bitch involved in the killing, whereas the hunky leading male is revealed to be a virgin and ends up being a final boy.
- 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 Part II. 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 this time, she's revealed to be working with the killer.
- In Saw VI, the only survivors of the Roulette Trap are, you guessed it, female. The film in general acts as a deconstruction, actually. The tests are designed to show who the main character, a manager at an insurance company, is more likely to save and he always deviates towards the women as would the audience in these kinds of scenarios, despite the men deserving it just as much or more than the women. This bias led to him denying insurance claims to men who were fitter and more likely to survive with the aid of medical care compared to women.
- 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.
- Jigsaw presents a subversion. Anna shows all the traits of a traditional final girl early on: she is a resourceful and intelligent Action Survivor who comes across as kind, compassionate, and level-headed in comparison to the other players. But most of this is an act. Having murdered her infant child for purely selfish reasons and then framed her husband for it, which got him sent to an insane asylum where he hanged himself, she is one of the most vile characters in the entire franchise, and she eventually suffers a well-deserved Karmic Death. This leaves Ryan, the Jerk with a Heart of Gold, as the last man standing... trapped in a room with Anna's corpse, where he too eventually dies. The film then reveals that Logan, the first victim of the Barn, both survived his "death" — making him the Final Boy and sole survivor of the Barn — and later became the new Jigsaw.
- 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. Even when you first think it's a slasher, the first female victim is the one most likely to be a Final Girl - the bookish Shrinking Violet. The actual Final Girl is shown in bed with her boyfriend and they nearly have sex in the boathouse the next day.
- 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:
- Cube features a cute, innocent girl in the cast of prisoners, but it's the the mentally retarded boy who survives, apparently by being even more innocent.
- Cube 2: Hypercube appears to play it straight, with a wholesome blonde surviving to the end but not much further — she's revealed to be a government operative who, after her de-briefing, is executed to keep the secrets secure.
- Cube Zero plays it straight with Raines.
- 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 Devil's 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 (but not before we're made sure that the cycle of killings will be repeated again and again)
- 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 straight Final Girl into a deconstruction of such. 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, and movie deals, 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, at that, 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. The passage of time and the settling of her family drama (and, presumably, years of therapy) mean that she's gotten better by the fourth film, where she's written a bestselling autobiography about her life and having the inner strength to move on from the nightmares she's experienced. She even returns to Woodsboro as part of the healing process... and then her cousin Jill (see below) turns out to be a murderous sociopath. For a real Final Girl, the horror wouldn't end when the credits roll — she'd have to live with the experience forever, and may God help her if she's cast in the sequels. No matter what she does, no matter how much time passes, poor Sidney Prescott will always be haunted by the most traumatic moment of her life.
- 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.
- Randy Meeks, the film's resident Meta Guy, discusses this trope when laying out his rules for surviving a horror movie. The first two points on his list are "never have sex" and "never drink or use drugs"note , citing Laurie Strode from Halloween (1978) as an example of the sort of character who typically survives. He credits his own survival in the first film to him still being a virgin, and in the third film, he appears posthumously (having been killed off in the second film) in a Video Will he recorded shortly after he lost his virginity, claiming that, if anybody is watching the video, he's probably dead on account of Death by Sex.
- In Scream 3, Angelina Tyler appears to be this trope at first glance, 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. An earlier version of the script also had her as the main killer's accomplice, a further subversion.
- Scream 4 has a group of film junkies debating this trope, with one of them remarking about how the "rules" of horror have changed since The '90s, such that old cliches (including this one) have been turned on their heads. Within the film itself, the character of Jill Roberts, initially presented as the Final Girl, takes this trope and puts it through the ringer. She was the killer all along, an Attention Whore who planned to frame her boyfriend Trevor for the murders so that she could 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.
- 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 by sabotaging the ritual.
- 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 the audience. Not to mention that the first group of girls are slightly repressed with their sexuality, whereas the second are more open about it - and survive.
- 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.
- Usually averted or subverted one way or another in the Wrong Turn films. Earlier in the franchise, the last girl left standing was usually accompanied by a guy who helped her in the final confrontation. It was also not out of the ordinary for the last girl to be shown having sex, getting naked, or doing drugs/drinking beer along with her doomed peers.
- Averted in Zombeavers, Zoe survives the zombie beaver attack, but she is not virgin and in the end gets run over by a truck in the end of the 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.
- Averted in Boggy Creek. A group of friends get terrorized by a Bigfoot-like creature while vacationing a remote cabin and its surrounding woods. The main character of the film does indeed become kind of a final girl when the rest of her group is either dead or captured, but she herself gets abducted by the creature right before the end credits roll. While this may be seen as a simple subversion, the film truly averts the trope given that the creature selectively kills the men in the group, while keeping the women victims alive for breeding.
- Completely Subverted in the ironically titled Final Girl. Instead of the film being about a terrified girl being the last survivor of a psycho, its about a girl trained as an assassin who hunts, baits and kills the psycho.
- Subverted in The VVitch, a period horror film about a Puritan family in 1630s New England being stalked by a local witch. Thomasin, the family's eldest daughter, seems to check off nearly all of the classic markers of this trope: she's a beautiful, strong-willed, virginal teenage girl, and she is indeed the only member of her family to survive to the end. But she ends up as the Final Girl after personally killing her mother in self-defense, after her mother accuses her of being a witch. And almost immediately after, she ends up personally selling her soul to Satan and joining a witch's coven, becoming the very thing that she successfully survived. And though the details are left deliberately ambiguous, there are also some strong hints dropped that there was never a witch at all, and that Thomasin killed her entire family herself — meaning that she could either be the Final Girl or the slasher. Watch the movie and decide for yourself.
- Painfully averted in The Lazarus Effect - Eva doesn't succeed in stopping Zoe's rampage, she just had a Dying Dream that she did.
- Subverted in American Gothic. The meek and emotionally fragile Cynthia does indeed become the last girl left standing, but she ends up losing her sanity and does a Face–Heel Turn when she joins the murderous family as a member. This doesn't stop her from going batshit crazy on the family and becoming a killer herself, though.
- Played straight in Frayed, where the virginal girl is the last left to confront her murderous brother in true Final Girl fashion... until it's revealed that she as well as the other victims only existed as they were presented in the killer's delusional fantasies. The real sister was a completely different person whom the brother had never seen after childhood, the 'killer' was actually framed for a murder he did not commit, and the slasher portion of the film never really took place at all.
- The Final Girls: The film, appropriately, features several examples, and thoroughly parodies the concept.
- Paula, the original final girl of the film Camp Bloodbath. Despite not fitting the traditional ingenue mold, instead being an Action Girl who arrives on the scene in a Trans Am and wears a leather jacket and ripped jeans, she makes a point of mentioning that she's a virgin and plans to stay that way as soon as she's introduced.
- Vicki nominates herself to be the final girl after Paula dies, but is not eligible because being a Technical Virgin doesn't cut it by the movie's rules.
- Enforced when Nancy and Max try to survive together. Max's mortal wound leads Nancy to pull a Heroic Sacrifice, making Max the final girl. As soon as this happens, Max's wound becomes Just a Flesh Wound, and she can suddenly fight Billy with slayer-level competence.
- Subverted in the Sci-Fi Horror Morgan. Lee Weathers is the last girl standing, but only because she executes the other two survivors in order to Leave No Witnesses to Morgan's rampage. And her toughness, poise under pressure, and avoidance of sex aren't because she's a virginal Action Survivor, but because she's an artificial human just like Morgan.
- Played With in My Little Eye. Technically, at the end of the film, the only person alive apart from Travis and the cop is Emma. However, unlike numerous instances where this trope is played straight or even subverted, by the time she's left as the lone survivor her eventual survival is virtually out of question.
- From Dusk Till Dawn ends with two survivors. Kate Fuller, the virginal preacher's daughter, is a straight example of this trope. Seth Gecko, on the other hand, is not only a Villain Protagonist, but arguably the most evil character in the film. Whereas his Ax-Crazy brother Richard is implied to be legitimately insane, the bikers and truckers at the Titty Twister are rough-hewn but otherwise not harming anybody, and even the vampires are portrayed as animalistic and killing out of instinct, Seth is a professional bank robber who coldly murders multiple people out of pure greed or anger and is entirely aware and in control of his actions.
- 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.
- Discussed and deconstructed in the novel Final Girls by Riley Sager. The main character, Quincy, and two other girls — the sole survivors of three separate slasher-film-style massacres — are dubbed "the Final Girls" by the media, and much of the book deals with Quincy struggling to cope with the physical and mental scars of being a sole survivor.
- The Final Girls was a series proposed to ABC Family (now Freeform) in 2013 in which Jamie Lee Curtis would play the Charlie to a team of Angels consisting of girls who were Final Girls and use that experience to become monster hunters.
- Scream Queens, a show that did wind up starring Jamie Lee Curtis, had two possible candidates for the Final Girl in the first season. Grace Gardner is the traditional kind, the blonde, virginal ingenue with a hint of Nancy Drew to her. Chanel Oberlin is... not. While she fought off the Red Devil twice, she's also an elitist and bigoted Alpha Bitch who is guilty of the murder of Ms. Bean and later tries to kill Hester, along with all manner of lesser crimes, to the point where she can be considered a Villain Protagonist even though she's not the Red Devil killer. To be fair, though, she didn't mean to kill Ms. Bean. Her trying to kill Hester, though, is an entirely different matter. Both Grace and Chanel survive, but while Grace goes on to have a normal life after, Chanel and her Girl Posse get served a major dose of Laser-Guided Karma and get framed for the killings. The real killers remain The Unfought, with their last surviving member, Hester, getting away with everything, and the other two Red Devils, Gigi and Boone, both dying at Hester's hands.
- Charmed had an episode called "Chick Flick" featuring psycho killers being released from horror movies. Prue becomes the Final Girl when her sisters get trapped in the movie, but she saves them. The in-universe "Kill It Before It Dies" features a teen couple surviving.
- Dead of Summer has Amy Hughes, who initially seems to be this trope incarnate: Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold, a Dark and Troubled Past that (at first glance) only serves to make her more sympathetic, and being the token "good girl" on the show. She's actually the Big Bad, and her wholesome image is nothing but lies. She was responsible for all of the murders on the show and was behind the ritual to raise the demon Malphas, having actually welcomed her Demonic Possession because Malphas was the only one who "understood her". Instead of Amy, it's the Lovable Alpha Bitch Jessie who becomes the final girl instead, together with Blair and Drew — a gay guy and a trans boy, respectively, in another blow at the archetype.
- 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.
- Can be played straight, subverted, or averted with Sam in Until Dawn. She is the final person who is able to be killed in the game, only killable in the final cutscene. However, she shares this distinction with Mike. Also, the fact all the characters can survive, completely averting the trope. Or there can simply be no survivors. Or everyone can live but Sam.
- Invoked in Dead by Daylight. Some characters and perks work better if you're the last survivor of your team, giving you an easier chance to escape from the killer. An escape hatch will also open up, giving the player an easier time of getting out if they could find it.
- 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.