The horror genre is an unforgiving battlefield and even the most determined players can’t always escape death in the end and claim the mantle of Final Girl. For as long as masked killers have been stalking babysitters and crashing slumber parties, the Final Girl has been a consistent trope in horror—the final victim rising against the brutal killer trying to end her life.
Many horror films, especially those in the slasher sub-genre, utilize the Final Girl trope, and it’s a common expectation that at least one survivor will make it to the film’s conclusion. That’s why it’s shocking when horror films toss out the rules and conventions of the genre and kill everyone.
Surviving a horror movie takes strength, guts, and plenty of luck. Unfortunately for the characters on this list, their luck ran out and they didn’t make it to their respective horror movie end credits. Each of these victims was close to claiming the coveted title of Final Girl, but death (and the films’ writers) had other ideas.
Hallie- Scream 2
If you’re a friend or relative to Sidney Prescott, chances are your friendship and loyalty will be rewarded with a stab to the gut courtesy of the barrage of Ghostface killers constantly in Sidney’s shadow. Hallie McDaniel, played by Elise Neal in Scream 2, was Sidney’s best friend and one of the final victims of the Ghostface killer in the 1997 Wes Craven flick.
Poor Hallie was seconds away from freedom and had done the hard part to ensure it. After Ghostface kills the two detectives protecting them and crashes the police car they’re in, Hallie and Sidney crawl over Ghostface’s unconscious body and escape the wreckage. Hallie begs Sidney to run away with her, but Sidney decides to make sure Ghostface is dead and goes back to the police car, only to find Ghostface gone. The cheeky killer then jumps out behind Hallie and fatally stabs her in the back.
If Hallie had kept running, she might have survived Ghostface’s second massacre, but the mantle of Final Girl was not hers to claim.
Chrissy- Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is infamous for putting its Final Girls through literal hell, and Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) was no exception. However, unlike the original Final Girl, Sally Hardesty, Chrissie meets her tragic end on the whirling blades of Leatherface’s chainsaw with only a few minutes left to spare in the film. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning serves as one of the many prequels of the franchise’s countless timelines and retellings, and follows two brothers on a road trip with their girlfriends before deporting to Vietnam.
Unfortunately for the young adults, they find themselves at the mercy of the brutal and cannibalistic Hewitt clan. Chrissie is the only character to escape Leatherface after witnessing her friends die one by and one. Her only mistake was not checking the back seat of the car she was driving. Classic mistake.
Surviving a horror movie is no easy task. While these characters were close to survival, not everyone can be a Final Girl.
Amy- See No Evil 2
See No Evil 2, a 2014 slasher film directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, is the second installment of the story of Jacob Goodnight, a seemingly unstoppable bloodthirsty sin-hating killer who was nearly killed by the Final Girl of the previous film. Hate and vengeance keep Goodnight at death’s door until he is delivered to a local morgue, where he awakens and begins slaughtering the med students and employees trapped in the morgue with him. The good-natured protagonist, Amy, played by horror royalty Danielle Harris, tries to rally the other survivors together to make it through the night.
However, in the film’s closing moments, Amy tries to unlock a door leading to her escape, but Goodnight reveals himself on the other side of the door and stabs the would-be Final Girl in the gut. Too bad Amy—you were seconds away from freedom.
Annie Knowbly- Evil Dead 2
The first three Evil Dead films mostly center around Ash and his fight against the forces of darkness, and even though she doesn’t survive the film she appeared in, Annie deserves some love because she was so close to making it out alive. Annie is the daughter of ill-fated archeologist Raymond Knowbly who brought the Necronomicon to the little iconic cabin in the woods. Annie finds the missing pages of the book and brings them to the cabin to help her father, unaware of his grim fate or the forces of evil he unleashed. She allies with Ash to fight the Deadites, but as she helps creates a temporal vortex to dispatch the creatures, she’s stabbed by in the back by Ash’s severed hand with the Kandarian dagger.
Despite her death in the film, Annie has her own comic in which she must escape the bowels of Hell armed with the same dagger that killed her. You can read more about her in the comic Evil Dead: Beyond Dead by Dawn.
Melody- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
Listen up kids—never go on a road trip through Texas. Never auction off a ghost town in Texas. Never go check out the ancestral home of one of your long-lost relatives bequeathed to you before they died in Texas—for to commit any of these sins is to incur the wrath of Leatherface, the chainsaw-wielding, flesh-eating Mama’s boy of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Like so many fresh-faced hopefuls seeking out adventure or profit in the Lone Star State, Melody, played by Sarah Yarkin in the 2022 film, didn’t read the memo before she and her friends decide to create a modern utopia out of a run-down Texas ghost town.
The thing that separates Melody from many of Leatherface’s other victims is just how close to survival she was. After she and her sister Lila witness one of the bloodiest chainsaw massacres in the franchise’s history, they seemingly gain the upper hand against Leatherface when Melody, to who the film dedicates most of its runtime, lands a fatal blow on Leatherface with a chainsaw. The sisters are about to leave the nightmare behind when Leatherface suddenly ambushes them and pulls Melody out of the car before killing her with the chainsaw in front of Lila. Many of these characters would still be alive today if they made sure the killer was dead before driving off in the sunset.
Who are your favorite would-be final girls? Tell us all about it in the comments section.