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Horror Movies With the Best Final Girls You Need to Watch

October is here, and with the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte comes the yearly rise of the horror film. Something about the spooky season inspires us to cozy up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and prepare to be terrified. In honor of the month, here’s a list of horror movies that I think are worth watching just to appreciate some of the greatest final girls in the genre.

Scream (1996) trailer

Scream (1996), directed by horror legend Wes Craven, has given us the iconic Ghostface and (in my opinion) the best final girl of them all. Neve Campbell stars as Sidney Prescott, a character that ages like fine wine as she evolves throughout the series. Unlike other horror movies, Scream isn’t afraid to poke fun at the genre itself, all while giving horror buffs a chance to try and spot the references to other cult classics — including some of Craven’s other films. This is one of my favorite horror movies of all time, and it’s so worth it to give it a shot.

Lights Out
Lights Out (2016) trailer

Rebecca, played by Teresa Palmer, is a relatable older sister character: independent and headstrong. This film is not only a compelling scary movie but also an interesting piece about the ever-fluid nature of the family dynamic, showcasing Rebecca as she tries to navigate it all. Combine the compelling protagonist with a terrifyingly twisted tale and you’ve got an awesome horror movie. But viewer beware: don’t turn off the lights.

Ready or not
Ready or Not (2019) trailer

If you’re ready for a movie that combines cult fanaticism, a clash of social classes and all of the fun of a slasher, this film was meant for you. Our final girl in Ready or Not is the newlywed Grace Le Domas, who takes part in the family tradition of playing a post-wedding game but has the misfortune of pulling Hide-and-Seek. Grace, played by Samara Weaving, shows us that we can all kick-ass, even in a wedding dress,

Crimson Peak
Crimson Peak (2015) trailer

This horror movie is, in no uncertain terms, incredible. From the uniqueness of combining a horror film with a period drama to the artistry of the shots and richness of color, this movie is one to write home about. Edith may not be your traditional final girl, but her cleverness and her perseverance truly set her apart. Crimson Peak will forever be etched in my mind, and it is my solemn duty to share it with you.

While horror movies can often demean feminine characters, final girls allow us to identify with strong, independent women and remind us that girls can be badass in all movies, regardless of genre. I encourage you to support these awesome characters and give these movies a chance this October. Happy Halloween!

Sophia is a junior at the University of Central Florida majoring in Political Science with minors in History and Sociology. She loves horror movies, nostalgic TV shows, and reptiles.
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