Five Horror Final Girls Unworthy of the Title

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer

There is no staple of horror more ingrained in the genre than that of the Final Girl. Now there are those of you who might not know what a “final girl” is or maybe you thought the title just went to the last female standing (it’s actually a bit more complex than that). To qualify as Final Girl you don’t just need to have the female kibble and bits parts, the character also has to have faced the worst the story has to throw at her (hopefully in the process developing the mental fortitude needed to fight back), ultimately destroy the big bad and, in most cases, be the last one standing as she goes from helpless to heroine.

Ellen Ripley (Alien), Sally Hardesty (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Laurie Strode (Halloween) and Sydney Prescott (Scream) are all great examples of characters who more than earned the right to be called Final Girl. But what about the ones who made it to the end even though they spent most of the movie’s runtime annoying the audience? One recent movie in particular gave me the idea for this list (it’s actually my numero uno choice here) as there’s nothing worse in my opinion than a movie that kills off the people you actually liked, just to let some aggravating knob be the one who gets to live another day.

So here are my Top 5 Final Girls That Didn’t Deserve the Title and a big old SPOILER ALERT for the following films (which you likely have already seen):

  • Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
  • Freddy vs Jason
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (Remake)
  • Friday the 13th (Remake)
  • Army of the Dead

#1 Pam Roberts, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

When Jason takes off his mask

The Friday the 13th movies are a long way from perfect, but growing up they were a favourite of mine to the point where I would marathon the entire franchise at least once a year. It’s in revisiting these movies as an adult(-ish) person I’ve come to realise how little Pam Roberts did to be worthy of being a Final Girl in Friday the 13th Part V.

Quick flashback for you, The New Beginning follows a now grown-up Tommy Jarvis (hero of the previous film, The Final Chapter) who is sent to stay at a halfway house for troubled teens with the hopes of helping him overcome the nightmares caused by his history with Jason Voorhees. The facility is run by Matt Letter and his assistant Pam Roberts and after one of the teens is sadly but understandably killed (dude was SUPER annoying, which is not a reason to take an axe to someone but still, I get it) someone starts knocking the residents off one by one with the final act leaving only Tommy, Pam and young Reggie standing to face “Jason”.

Wait a minute. You’re not Jason. Who the heck are you?!

I don’t want to be totally unfair to Pam, so I’ll mention she does focus her efforts on keeping Reggie and his super-powered screaming ability alive. But looking back at the movie there’s not much Pam does to actually take Jason out. Most of the heavy lifting is handled by Tommy Jarvis or even young Reggie himself while Pam spends her time running, screaming or just standing there hoping for the best.

If it was up to me, I would’ve swapped out Demon (Reggie’s older brother) for Pam. Sure he might not be your typical Final Girl, but Demon and his girlfriend Anita were more memorable and likeable in their short on-screen time than Pam was for the entire movie.

#4 Lori Campbell, Freddy vs Jason

I’m the man of your dreams, baby!

Quick, when you think back on Freddy vs Jason, which characters do you think of first? The obvious answers of the titular horror icons notwithstanding, I’m sure most people would say Kelly Rowland as the trash-talking Kia or Katharine Isabelle as Gibb or maybe even Jason Ritter as Will or Brendan Fletcher as Mark. You may not know the actors by name but Kia, Gibb, Will or Mark were a hundred times more memorable than the one person who you’re meant to connect with and root for in the movie, the character Lori Campbell (Monica Keena from Dawson’s Creek). Lori lives with her widowed father and she’s meant to be the stand-in for one of the most iconic Final Girls in A Nightmare on Elm Street history, Nancy Thompson.

While Nancy was a formidable protagonist and one final girl fans wanted to see return to the story time and time again, Lori is the living definition of the word “bland”. Again, I’m not trying to be cruel for cruelty’s sake, and to be fair to the actress the dialogue she’s given could compete with the Star Wars prequel trilogy movies for stupidest lines ever said on screen. But it’s not just the cringe lines (“Welcome to my world, bitch” made me roll my eyes so hard I went blind for a minute) Lori herself is just plain boring and all of her scenes make you want to reach for that fast forward button so you could just get to Freddy and Jason duking it out already.

#3 Nancy Holbrook, A Nightmare on Elm Street (Remake)

I’m no obstetrician, but I don’t think that’s how periods work

I like to imagine Heather Langenkamp, who played Nancy Thompson in the OG Nightmare on Elm Street, sitting and watching this remake and just laughing at how god awful it was.

Especially awful was the remake’s choice of final girl in the form of Nancy Holbrook (I have no idea why they changed her last name, but it was just one of many terrible decisions made by this movie) played by the extremely talented Rooney Mara. Seriously, Mara is an amazing actress, so one can only think she was completely bored by this screenplay, and, in turn, her character Nancy came across as the most boring final girl this franchise has ever seen.

The origin of the Canary Cry

Strangely enough this movie did have a potentially solid final girl in the form of Kris Fowles played by Katie Cassidy, who most may recognise from her role as Black Canary in the television series Arrow. Kris is meant to be a replacement for Tina Gray in the original film, but Cassidy’s performance actually made the first half of this movie engaging, or at least right up until Kris dies and then Nancy takes over for the rest of the story.

This may just be a lesson in irony as this remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street is sure to bore audiences to the point where they’ll surely fall asleep. Let’s just be grateful Freddy Kreuger isn’t real because this movie would’ve been a more effective weapon than his knife laden glove ever was.

#2 Whitney Miller, Friday the 13th (Remake)

Director: More rain. MORE RAIN! Do I need to get out there with a ladder and a watering can?!

What is it about remakes that they just can’t seem to get the Final Girl right?!

Unlike the number three choice on this list, I actually did enjoy this movie. Not on my first viewing mind you, but after rewatching it I appreciated how much they improved on certain aspects of the franchise, such as Jason Voorhees being more than just a mindless killer (tunnels that let you get ahead of your victims is pretty smart) as well as likeable leads in Clay Miller (Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki) and Jenna (The Flash’s Danielle Panabaker) but just like the NOES remake, this movie failed to pick the right person to make it out as the final girl.

CLAY: You’ll see. I’ll be back in a flash JENNA: What did you say?!

Jenna and Clay spent the majority of the movie outmaneuvering Jason Voorhees and in doing so Clay was able to find and rescue his sister Whitney, who was being held captive by Jason because she kind of looked like his Mom (it really doesn’t make a lot of sense but just go with it). Just when it seems like Jenna, Clay and Whitney might make it out, Jenna is quickly and surprisingly taken out of play and we’re left having to root for a character we spent little to no time getting to know and who, based on the story we got, did nothing but sat around waiting to get rescued.

Now like all the early Friday movies, there is an added scene in the end where we see Jason grab Whitney before the screen goes black. But considering how many “it was all a dream” moments like this one that exists in this franchise, I’m counting Whitney as a survivor and another example of a Final Girl who shouldn’t have made it to the finish line.

Dishnourable Mention: The Entire Cast of Black Christmas (2019)

I see filming on the gender-bent Lord of the Flies remake is coming along well

If you haven’t seen this movie go check it out to see what I mean. It’s not that these ladies deserved to die, it’s that this movie didn’t deserve to exist.

#1 Kate Ward, Army of the Dead

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a zombie, asking him not to bite her

As someone who watches a ton of horror I can honestly say Kate Ward is the absolute worst choice for Final Girl I can ever remember seeing in a movie!

Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead tells the story of a group of mercenary types who are hired to go into a zombie-ridden Las Vegas to retrieve $200 million dollars from a vault. Heading up this group is ex-Merc Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and when the group needs to find someone familiar with the city Scott is forced to contact his estranged daughter *groan* Kate who works at a refugee camp. I would literally take anyone else than Kate to be the Final Girl in this movie, including the queen/alpha female zombie; that’s how much this character annoyed the hell out of me.

Not only does Kate spend the entire runtime berating her Dad, she’s one of those people who does things that ends up getting others killed! I’m not even exaggerating here when I say at least two other people would’ve made it out alive if Kate had just done what she was told to do. It’s people like this that make me wish stupidity was painful.

In Conclusion

So, while the ladies listed above didn’t deserve the title of Final Girl, we can count ourselves lucky as horror fans that characters like these tend to be the exception and not the rule. Horror movies are full of iconic final girls who’ll leave you cheering for them instead of scratching your head wondering how the hell did that idiot make it to the end.

So that’s list. Any entries you agree or disagree with? Any unworthy final girls you would add to the list? And you can check out more great horror content below:


2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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