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10 final girls we love

Vegan Voorhees LOVES a good final girl. I’ve read people attempt to remove the need for a final girl in a slasher film over the years (“women are only good for dying” etc). These people are stupid. A slasher film without a final girl or a killer is almost always crap.

So, anyway, here – in no particular order – are ten of VeVo’s favourite horror heroines:

Molly Nagel (Renée Estevez)

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)

Cutesy camper Molly is pretty much the only good girl at Camp Rolling Hills, under the watch of puritanical/homicidal/transsexual camp counsellor Angela, who rather indiscriminately “sends home” all of those who don’t act like a good young person should. Molly’s fate is left a bit up in the air, but from a throwaway line of dialogue in the third movie, it seems like she didn’t make it : (

There’s nothing particularly outstanding about Molly as a character: she adheres to all the assembly line clichés of the role in her goody-two-shoes way, but Estevez is winsome in the part.

Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals)

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Plucky reporter Taylor and her crew of two follow burgeoning mass murderer Leslie Vernon, who intends to rid the archetypal small town of Glen Echo of its surplus teenage population. However, he’s been leading the crew a merry ride by pretending he’s already picked his “survivor girl”, but it turns out he intended to face off with Taylor all along.

Her realisation of her placement as the final girl is something of a great moment in Leslie Vernon, and Taylor takes to the task with veritable gusto, besting Les in classic FG stylee.

Natalie Simon (Alicia Witt)

Urban Legend (1998)

Secretive Natalie is the numero uno target of the Parka-clad killer who’s stalking the campus of Pendleton University, offing her friends in inventive fashions. While she is naive enough to believe that it’s all something to do with a murder spree that occurred there twenty-five years earlier, deep down she must know that the bad thing she once did has come back to bite her in the ass!

Some people considered Alicia Witt miscast for the role, but her ‘bad fit’ is why she’s such a great final girl. Instead of the usual bubbly blonde chick or moody brunette ‘with issues’, Natalie is a booksmart, guilt-laden character who is eventually forced to shoot her best friend.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis)

Halloween (1978)

The original final girl, Laurie Strode survived the murder sprees of Michael Myers on three separate occasions. But everyone remembers her best as the babysitter from heaven in John Carpenter’s original flick. Laurie is comprised of all the elements that make the final girl: she’s watchful, ever so slightly paranoid, virtuous, shy, and genuine.

Curtis played the lead role in other slasher films, but she never again scaled the heights of empathy that Laurie evoked as WE joined her in terror as she ran, hid, and eventually fought back.

Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

In Carol Clover’s book Men, Women & Chain Saws, she calls Nancy the ‘grittiest’ of the final girls. Wes Craven wrote his heroine as more reactive than most (something that follows through into the Scream movies); as her friends fall victim to dream stalker Freddy Krueger, Nancy resolves to take the fight to him. She purposefully goes looking for him in her dreams and, when she figures out how she can kick his ass, rigs several traps using household items, and unleashes it all upon her would-be killer.

The can’t-sleep motif at the centre of the Elm Street opus helps characterise Nancy as a great final girl: her folks believe she’s crazy, the doctors think she’s crazy, and even she begins to question her own sanity after more than seven days without sleep. But her paranoia wins through and Nancy emerges as the only survivor.

To emphasise just how good she is, watch the 2010 remake for Rooney Mara’s bad cover version.

Ginny Field (Amy Steel)

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Assistant camp counsellor trainer and child psyche major Ginny meets all the functions of the standard final girl and blows most the competition out of the water. Ginny ‘senses’ the presence of something not quite right about the camp and is the only one who takes the threat of “a Jason” seriously. She crawls through windows, hides under bunks, wets her pants in fear, and finally uses her child psychology skills to fool Jason into thinking she’s mommy.

It’s difficult to list exactly what about Amy Steel is so appealing. Essentially, she does very little that her sisters-in-terror don’t. Her performance is neither racked with emotion or personal loss, but she simply seems to fit the mold almost perfectly, doing all the things we want her to do and coming out the other side with her life intact. She’s plucky without being annoying, tough without it seeming unlikely, and smart without being cocky.

Erin (Jessica Biel)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Michael Bay’s remake of Tobe Hooper’s landmark classic (which I’m not all that fond of), changed the leading lady from shrieking victim into a can-do ladette with growing star Jessica Biel convincing enough as a reformed juvie-hall probie whose road trip through Texas in 1973 becomes a nightmare of epic proportions.

Is it likely girls would have acted this way forty years ago? Maybe not, but TCM barely reflects the era it’s set in anyway. The characterisations are sketchy and malleable to the 2003 audience, which means that Erin pretty much steps through a time warp from modern post-Ripley female warrior ideals to do battle with Leatherface and family. But she’s appealing nevertheless. I was toing and froing between her or Eliza Dushku in Wrong Turn, but I think Erin just about has it.

Jess Bradford (Olivia Hussey)

Black Christmas (1974)

Sensible and ever so slightly moody Jess turns out to be the final girl in the pre-everything scare-a-thon that is Black Christmas. Secretly pregnant by her highly strung boyfriend and concerned about the disappearance of a sorority sister and the stream of obscene phone calls their sorority house keeps receiving, Jess is under a fair bit of pressure from several angles.

Olivia Hussey was quite a big name when she made this film, but as it predates the conventions of the genre by some years, her eventual uprising as the heroine isn’t the cliché it would be now. Jess isn’t the ‘nicest’ girl in the group, she’s evidently not a virgin, and doesn’t want to compromise over the planned abortion of the child. In short, this kind of girl would NEVER be the heroine if the film were made these days. Still, these points only serve to define her character as realistic (as are most of those in this one) and so she becomes a good, ‘outside the box’ final girl in a similar way to Natalie in Urban Legend.

Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi)

Final Exam (1981)

In this tame post-Halloween campus-slasher, the killer stalking a group of college kids has no apparent motive and, in a reflection of this randomness, the nominal heroine, Courtney, becomes so by a similar lottery-of-gloom. Unlike many of her kin in this list, there’s not much to know about her: She’s the nice, conventionally pretty girl who constantly seems to be providing an ear for her friends’ various problems, whilst worrying about exams and wondering if she has a weak personality.

Eventually, all those extroverts who don’t care about their own personalities are knife-fodder and Courtney ends up running for her life around a deserted campus, until she is forced to fight back and, literally, get her hands dirty. Very dirty. In this straight-forward film, it’s nice to have an equally straight-forward character outlasting everyone else.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell)

Scream 1-4 (1996-2011)

Last but by no means least, the final girl who just keeps getting put through the ringer. If you were Sidney Prescott, you’d be quite pallid of character and wear lots of dark coloured, sensible clothes too. Her mom was raped and murdered, first boyfriend turns out to be the one who did it, then he tries to kill her, then his MOTHER tries to kill her, then her mystery half-brother confesses to have been playing puppetmaster all along. Then, when she’s had a decade of rest, her own cousin tries to kill her!

Blood runs thicker than water, and Sidney’s sure seen more of it than most. But she copes, she fights and she survives every time despite tremendous odds against her: One final girl against a total of seven different psycho killers. I was never that keen on her in the first movie, she seemed too obvious, but as more and more of her buddies flatlined, she became gradually more mysterious and put-upon, which made me like her more. Plus she’s stuck it out and done four movies, more than anyone else in the same predicament.

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10 final girls we don’t love

While we all love a good final girl around here – as evidenced by not one, but two rounds of 10 final girls we love! – there are times when the heroine is written so badly you just wish she would fuck off and die with her doomed friends.

Before we begin, these objections are certainly NOT based on the actresses or their performances. The characters just suck.

Donna (Brittany Snow)
Prom Night

The Prom Night remake is a smorgasbord of problems, not least of all a bland, boring final girl in Donna. The non-mystery killer, her old teacher, is obsessed with her and so kills her friends for no real reason. But why is he fixated on her? She’s so lacklustre and humdrum. Even Brittany Snow looks bored playing her.

fg-kate-clown2Kate (Sarah Lassez)
The Clown at Midnight

Another one from Camp Boring, Kate’s mom was murderised years earlier at the very same theater where she and a gaggle of schoolmates are sent to fix up under the guidance of Margot Kidder. One of the first post-Scream video films, almost no imagination goes into distinguishing Kate from appearing as a Xerox of Neve Campbell. She finally wakes up at the very end when she dispatches the looney clown.

Molly Keller (A.J. Cook)
Ripper: Letter from Hell

In some ways, you can respect that John Eyres was trying to subvert the usual goody-two-shoes persona of the virginal heroine with Molly, who, unlike most the other girls with a past trauma, rebels and becomes a goth-lite with a significant attitude problem. It may enable her to survive – though in this case the end of the film is so damn confusing… – but what good is a film where you don’t like the one character you’re supposed to identify with and root for? A.J. at least was able to rectify the situation in Final Destination 2.

Sarah (Lori Hallier)
My Bloody Valentine

Now, Sarah is a functional, perfectly efficient heroine when you look at the big picture. But zoom in a bit and realise that the love triangle sub-plot all rests on her shoulders, she’s a bit ungrateful and whiny. “Oh no, two men love me!” etc. It’s as if her character is only defined by the men in her life and she is otherwise a blank, anodyne canvas.

Rennie Wickham (Jensen Daggett)
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Fridays have usually been dependable when it comes to likeable, kick-ass final girls, from Alice and Ginny, right up to telekinetic Tina in The New Blood. But come ’89, the on screen bloodletting wasn’t the only thing being toned down in these movies. Rennie, again, is a pretty, by-the-numbers heroine with a past event that traumatises her – but her sappiness and goody-goody demeanor is grating. Bonus points for having a cute dog that she cares about, but both she and final boy Shaun are among Jason’s blandest rivals.

Jen (Anika McFall)
Camp Daze

One to pair with Molly, Jen is a surprise final girl in that it seems likely all her quips about Jason and slasher movies will land her an ironic death after she and three friends are sucked back to a 1981 summer camp where a psycho is doing in all the campers. Her female companion Angela looks set to be the one to walk out in one piece but instead she is killed and Jen is the sole survivor. Kudos for finally casting a black heroine, but couldn’t they have made her nice?

Laurie Strode 2.0 (Scout Taylor-Compton)

It’s just so fucking obvious this one. Nobody was EVER going to out-pleasant Jamie Lee Curtis’ shy bookworm Laurie, but still, you’d think they would try to make Laurie 2.0 at least nice. Giving her glasses – big tick, not enough girls have them and they look hot. But I really didn’t care if she lived or died; she was ungrateful, seemingly indifferent to the fates of the children she babysat, and, in the sequel, turned into an uber-Emo cow who alienated everyone. Danielle Harris as Annie was far sweeter.

Peg (Stacy Grant)
The Fear: Resurrection

In the years since I watched The Fear 2, I’ve repressed much of it, but notes of yore suggest I found Peg very annoying. Friday faces Gordon Currie and Betsy Palmer were in it too, along with Emmanuelle Vaugier who, ironically, would have been my final girl of preference in Ripper.

Heatherface (Alexandra Daddario)
Texas Chainsaw 3D

Yet again – blame the script. Daddario, also the final girl in Bereavement, is a fine choice on many levels, but when the writers decide to flip her from hero to villain in about two pages of script, she supposedly just forgets all her friends have been to sawn to pieces before her eyes and joins forces with her cousin Leatherface (“Do your thing, cuz!”) Thus rendering her crap.

Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Before you go off on one, she sorted it out for Elm Street 5 and was good there. But in The Dream Master, crap she annoyed me. Gone was Nancy’s grit and aptitude for short-term  improvised anti-personnel device-making, gone was Kristen’s acrobatic refusal to play with Freddy. Alice was written as a sort of ‘Prudence Pureheart’ oppressed chick who gains the powers of her dead friends because, clearly, she has no personality of her own. I see what they tried to do, but the other girls were all far more interesting.


Honorable mentions go to Carol from Appointment with Fear who practically defeated the killer with her death-stare of evil; Katie Cassidy’s one-note heroine from the Black Christmas remake; and Jennifer from Twisted Nightmare, who only survives because she’s locked in a shed for most of the film and simply avoids the lunatic.

10 more final girls we love

One volume of great final girls notwithstanding, here’s a second round of lovable, ass-kicking, shy, shrewd, girl-scoutery. Naturally, as few sequels match the original, these girls maybe aren’t QUITE as awesome as those from last time, but they deserve our love and clingy “be my friend”-ness…

Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal)

Cold Prey (2006)

All-round lead character Jannicke (pro: Yaneka) is pegged as the final girl in the landmark Norwegian slasher from the moment she appears. Smart, wise, democratic, and strong when it really counts, Jannicke slips on the shoes of a real heroine with ease when her group of friends and she find themselves hunted down by a hulking mountain man in an abandoned ski lodge.

Good decision making properties and a gutsy final battle with the killer make Jannicke a vital person to have around. In the sequel she does the same but gets angry with it.

Marti (Dame Linda of Blair)

Hell Night (1981)

Having survived being possessed by the devil himself, you’d think Linda Blair would know not to partake in ill-conceived frat pranks that involve spending the night in the world’s creepiest manor house. Where people were murdered. And the killer still hangs out.

Mechanic, liberal, loyal, and feisty, Marti hot-wires an escape vehicle and you can literally SEE her change from fleeing victim to power-wielding supervixen when she spies the spiked gates that she’ll use to rid herself of the annoying killer on her roof.

Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris)

Halloween 45 (1988-89)

Poor little Jamie Lloyd’s mom (Laurie Strode!) escaped the clutches of Michael Myers about 83 times on Halloween night, 1978. Then died in a car crash (or did she?). Daughter Jamie is adopted by the Carruthers family and a decade after THAT night, Uncle Mikey comes back for the remainder of the bloodline. Then he does it again the following year. And six years after that.

Nine-year-old Jamie really becomes the final girl in Halloween 5 where there’s no big sister left to help her. It seems like the little girl screams, cries, and runs for an eternity but she continues to survive, much like her homicidal uncle, until cruelly offed in Halloween 6 (though by that time J.C. Brandy had taken over the role).

Pam (Melanie Kinnaman)

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

Although the world is largely in agreement that Friday 5 is redundant of quality, one of the many joyful elements going for it is spunky heroine Pam Roberts, resident psychologist at the Pinehurst Institute of Mental Health. Or: home for crazy teenagers. In the middle of the woods.

Just as little Jamie Lloyd is ten years younger than most of her sisters, Pam is older than your average final girl. Having spent a majority of the film trying to find troubled teen and mortal enemy of Jason Voorhees, Tommy, she then returns to the nuthouse and finds that a hockey-masked loon will do anything to slice her up.

Mucho running and screaming through rain-soaked trees later, Pam fights back with a chainsaw until she, Tommy, and that kid from Diff’rent Strokes manage to do away with “Jason”.

Jessie (Eliza Duskhu)

Wrong Turn (2003)

Here’s an odd one: Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, appeared in a couple of the big 90s slasher films as a victim, quite possibly wanting to play anything but righteous, ass-kicking uber-final girl for a change. In Wrong Turn, vampire slayer-gone-bad Dushku took on the role as love-robbed camper-in-peril when her quartet of BFF’s are chopped up for dinner by a trio of cannibals.

Curiously, Dushku doesn’t get that much to do as a final girl, having to be saved by Desmond Harrington’s take-charge doctor, though she does get to go all primal and shrieky with an axe once she’s free to do so. Nevertheless, her extraneous casting makes for an interesting heroine, even if we all know that, as Faith, she could’ve laid those loons to waste in a couple of kicks.

Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis)

Terror Train (1980)

Jamie Lee’s third round as final girl came in Roger Spottiswoode’s rather lush and mature killer-on-a-choo-choo film, in which a graduating class of med students are terrorised by a mask-switching maniac who is still peeved about a joke that went wrong three years previously.

Alana has a wholesome moral center and is more gutsy than Laurie Strode and more involved than Kim Hammond (her Prom Night character). After running for a bit, Alana uses whatever she can find to strike back at the hell bent killer but, as in her other films, she is ultimately saved by the intervention of an older male authority figure, which robs her of some of the glory a bit. But she’s still awesome.

Kristen (Patricia Arquette)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Nobody will ever replace Nancy as the ultimate Krueger final girl, but Patsy Arquette’s “suicidal” rich kid probably comes closest. (Some will vouch for Lisa Wilcox in films 4 and 5 but I never really liked her).

As the pivotal ‘Dream Warrior’, Kristen has the power to pull other people in her dreams, thus she and her fellow inmates can fight off Freddy Krueger together. But this pales in comparison to Kristen’s best bit, after eeeeevil Dr Simms fires Nancy, she flips out: “You can’t take Nancy, she’s all we have! You stupid bitch! You’re killing us!”

Clear (Ali Larter)

Final Destination (2000)

Originally, James Wong wanted Kirsten Dunst to play the role of Clear Rivers in Final Destination. In the DVD commentary he says that “Ali Larter is… is OK.” Bet she loved hearing that.

Nevertheless, Larter goes for the jugular as the only one who exits the doomed Flight 180 to believe Devon Sawa’s rantings that the plane will explode. She keeps this to herself for a while, later confessing that she could ‘feel’ his premonition without necessarily sharing it. After that, she becomes a Fuck Death ambassador, opening up and, in the sequel, coaching a new group of escapees how to cheat their imminent deaths. She helps, I guess, but most of them die anyway and so does she.

Cass (Tamara Stafford)

The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1983)

If Clear’s ability to ‘feel’ a premonition weren’t enough, Cass is a full blown psychic. AND she’s blind!

Wes Craven’s mucho-hated sequel to his own 1977 siege flick is a sell-out slasher movie with a decent cast, a Harry Manfredini score, and a dog capable of having a flashback.

Cass emerges as the obvious final girl, tottering around blind, feeling her friends’ dead faces and still conquering the hulking mutant who’s after her. Stafford’s career was too short-lived to be able to discern whether or not she is, in fact, blind. But she’s a cool, likable heroine at the center of it regardless.


Valerie, Trish, and Courtney (Robin Stille, Michele Michaels, and Jennifer Meyer)

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Threesome! Feminist writer Rita Mae Brown originally conceived The Slumber Party Massacre as a comic reaction to the veritable tidal wave of neo-misogynistic low-rent slasher films emerging in 1981 and 82. The studio execs changed much of the script but both the laughs and the girl power are still very much present.

Once the killer with his phallic weapon of choice – an enormous power drill – has done away with much of the girls’ basketball team and some boyfriends, girl-next-door Valerie comes to the rescue, attacking him with a machete and chasing him down. When he fights back, host Trish and Val’s little sister Courtney join forces and go for him.

In what’s a rather dumb (but fun) movie, the end scene actually musters some real gusto and “go on girl!”-type audience participation. It’s EXCELLENT when they all set upon him. One of the few pre-90s movies where there is more than one female survivor.

100 favourite slasher movie characters – Part III

There’s no order to this, just a celebration of my fave characters over the years, largely (but not entirely) ignoring final girls and killers. (Some spoilers though – boooo).


mrs voorhees betsy palmer friday the 13th 1980MRS VOORHEES

Played by Betsy Palmer

In Friday the 13th (1980)

Why? The mom of all moms – in horror terms at least – woe to the first-time viewer of Friday the 13th who assumed the killer would be grizzly dude in a mask, but turned out to be the kindly middle-aged lady who is part-possessed by the spirit of her ‘dead’ son.

Quote? “Come dear… it’ll be easier for you than it was for Jason.”


ARCHarch thomas f. wilson april fool's day 1986

Played by Thomas F. Wilson

In April Fool’s Day (1986)

Why? Jocks who just want to get laid in slasher films usually evoke very little sympathy, as they usually have very little character. April Fool’s Day is an irregularity in this regard, giving us a bunch of college kids with added depth and, consequently, likeability.

Quote? “I’m on a mission here, a mission to bed as many women as humanly possible.”


taryn white a nightmare on elm street 3 dream warriors jennifer rubin 1987


Played by Jennifer Rubin

In A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Why? Of the ‘Dream Warrior’ kids at Westin Hills hospital, recovering addict Taryn was easily my favourite. Edgy and sarcastic, but resolute and determined, she’s ready to take Freddy on.

Quote? “In my dreams I’m beautiful… and bad.”


MINDYmindy meeks-martin scream 2022 jasmine savoy brown

Played by Jasmine Savoy Brown

In Scream (2022)

Why? As niece of Randy Meeks, Mindy slides effortlessly into his place (and Kirby’s) as the walking Wiki on horror convention, being the one to discern that the new killer is making a ‘requel’ this time, and later getting to be part of a sort of infinity mirror moment as she advises Randy’s Stab character to turn around while he advises Jamie Lee Curtis to turn around, all the while herself needing to turn around…

Quote? “You need to build something new. But not too new or the Internet goes bug-fucking-nuts.”


natalie alicia witt urban legend 1998NATALIE

Played by Alicia Witt

In Urban Legend (1998)

Why? As far as final girls go in the 90s slasher cycle, Alicia Witt gave it a slightly reserved skew to distinguish Natalie from Sidney Prescott’s ass-kickery and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s squealing. As a flawed, slightly self-righteous character, she’s more interesting than most of her contemporaries and a major selling point for the movie.

Quote? “This was someone’s life, Paul. Did you ever stop to think about that?”


RICKYhack 2007 justin chong

Played by Justin Chong

In Hack! (2007)

Why? Gay characters had been sorely absent from horror throughout the 80s (unless they were the killer), so once the 00s came around it was great to see an influx of theatrical boys in the ranks. Ricky camps it up nicely, singing Fame to stave off the scares as he waits alone in the woods on an island with more than one homicidal maniac running around on it.


ralph marcia the initiation 1983MARCIA & RALPH

Played by Marilyn Kagan & Trey Stroud

In The Initiation (1983)

Why? Another film with surprisingly well drawn characters, Marcia is the sex-phobic pledge Ralph the wannabe comedian who eventually shows his sensitive side in a sweet shared scene – and then both are immediately killed.

Quote? “[Sex] again?” / “It’s customary at our age.”


BUBbub intruder burr steers 1988

Played by Burr Steers

In Intruder (1988)

Why? As far as horror movie stoners go, Burr has got to be near the top of the stack. Near-continuously zoned out from his duties, he meets a very nasty end, but was hopefully too spaced to really notice.

Quote? “I swear to God. If my brother hadn’t hit him in the head repeatedly with a blender, he would’ve killed me!”


lovers lane 1999 anna farisJANELLE

Played by Anna Faris

In Lovers Lane (1999)

Why? Another archetype is the slutty cheerleader character. However, in Lovers Lane, pre-stardom Anna Faris makes Janelle a friendly new-girl whose death-by-hook feels unjustly cruel.


MRS SLATERmrs slater the house on sorority row 1982

Played by Lois Kelso Hunt

In The House on Sorority Row (1982)

Why? Cranky housemother Mrs Slater rules the Pi Theta sorority with an iron fist – and iron cane. Permanently annoyed, her inflexibility quite literally becomes the death of her. Gotta love these no-bull matriarch types though. Her in a girl group with Mother Superior and Mrs Voorhees would be awesome.

Quote? “If that gun is real, all you girls are going to be in real trouble.”

The Final Girls Behind the Mask of the Cabin in the Woods… Part II

you might be the killer 2018


4 Stars  2018/88m

“It’s summer camp, what did you expect?”

Director/Writer: Brett Simmons / Writers: Thomas B. Vitale, Covis Berzoyne / Cast: Fran Kranz, Alyson Hannigan, Brittany S. Hall, Jenna Harvey, Bryan Price, Patrick Reginald Walker, Isaiah LaBorde.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “Do you party? Drugs? Alcohol?? Caffeine??”

For those who thought Behind the Mask was good, but not sticky enough when it came to the stab-n-drip act, here’s a companion piece that’d make a good viewing buddy along with The Cabin in the Woods for a great night’s horror, featuring Fran Kranz, who played stoner Marty in the latter. A touch of Tucker and Dale and a dollop of The Final Girls is sprinkled in and voila! Minor spoilers ensue.

Kranz is Sam, enthusiastic head counsellor at Camp Clear Vista, who runs bloodied through the woods and barricades himself in a cabin and calls… Alyson Hannigan. No Willow super powers available, as she is Chuck, comic book store employee and walking horror culture almanac who would likely give Randy Meeks a run for his money and a raging hard-on for her.

you might be the killer 2018 fran kranz

Chuck (“exposition is my middle name!”) is well-versed in how ‘these situations’ play out so asks Sam to describe the killer: “Ugly, ugly dude,” “Freddy ugly, or Matt Cordell ugly?” See? Flashing back to a couple of days earlier and greeting the new counsellors, then on to the grue, Chuck is quick to deduce a few things and put it to Sam: “Are you sure you’re not the killer?”

YMBTK unfolds in an interesting non-linear way, two-thirds of the way through the wooden-masked loon’s murder spree, and Sam stays on the line with Chuck to try and remember what happened earlier in the night that led to this point and if he is, in fact, the maniac. (He is).

you might be the killer 2018

Well… sort of. Further down the road in the backlog of reveals, Sam tells a story to the new counsellors about a cursed woodman who went mad and killed some folks and is buried somewhere nearby. One of the group unearths the wooden mask and puts it on Sam’s face as a joke, which bonds to him and transplants its evil, complete with whispering ‘ki-ki-ki’ sounds that’d make Jason’s ears prick up. It’s the mask that’s evil, not Sam, who protests his innocence as best he can, especially as it seems the last few teens standing are coming to make a pre-emptive strike.

Chuck sums it up best when she says: “Woah, wait a minute, so you’re saying you knew all along that your family’s campground had this creepy history with the evil mask? Not to sound like a broken record, but why the hell did you put that mask on!?”

you might be the killer 2018 alyson hannigan

The murder scene flashbacks get shit done. Seriously, those of us climbing the walls waiting for another Friday the 13th to go back to camp can exhale in afterglow as, not only does the killer resemble early Jason, but the setting ticks all the boxes. These aren’t crappy shacks or tents from fourth-tier Camp Blood-a-likes, Clear Vista is a summer camp, complete with kitchens, a pool, toolshed – everywhere you’d expect someone fleeing Jason to go is found here. Sam hacks, chops, beheads, behands, and drowns the counsellors using a gnarly blade with ‘gator jaws affixed to it.

Despite his resistance to allow the mask to control him, Chuck lamentably advises that he’s gradually painting himself into a corner in terms of his survival: “I think it’s only gonna get worse. I think you’re probably gonna die. I’m sorry, Sam, it’s just… that’s how these things seem to go. On a bright side though, in a lot of these cases the killer comes back in a couple of years, you know, lightning strikes their grave and they’re back from the dead!” Come the end, it’s Sam versus good girl, Jamie, and a couple of not entirely shocking twists, but as Chuck points out, the opus can only end one way.

you might be the killer 2018

Genial observations from Hannigan’s character – who never actually shares a scene with Kranz – and all manner of winks and nods to other films (you can’t miss the Mask Maker poster!) make this a delicious dessert for hardcore slasher fans and probably entertaining enough for casual horror bods. Flaws are few, though the counsellor roster are largely undeveloped beyond the point of names for the majority, but this goes beyond the missive to some degree. And I can’t say I love the title, but what else would you call it?

Are they any other ways to skewer the conventions? Probably one or two (I skimmed over a contender but the production values were so dire I couldn’t embrace the masochism), but few will shine as brightly and merrily as this.

you might be the killer 2018

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