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 (2008)
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.
Kate (Sarah Lassez)
The Clown at Midnight (1998)
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 (2001)
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 (1981)
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 (1989)
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 (2005)
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 (1999)
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 (2013)
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 (1988)
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.