Underrated Final Girls Who Beat the Odds

The Final Girl is one of the most discussed and essential tropes of any horror movie, particularly from the slasher genre. With an unmatched determination for survival and a little bit of good fortune on her side, the Final Girl serves as the audience surrogate, the character we root for to escape the killer who stalked and murdered the unfortunate souls around her. Final Girls like Nancy Thompson, Sydney Prescott, and Lori Strode have triumphed over the masked killer trying to end their lives, and they are among the most popular of the horror genre.

The women on this list may not be as popular or recognizable as the likes of Thompson or Strode, but they too have encountered the worst killers horror has to offer and lived to tell about it. Without further ado, here’s a list of underrated Final Girls who’ve made it to the end credits and deserve their spot in the pantheon of bad*ss women survivors who beat the odds.

Cody—Into The Dark, “Pilgrim”

Cody (Reign Edwards), the protagonist of the Thanksgiving themed horror movie, Pilgrim.

This movie’s premise maybe a little over the top, but Final Girl Cody proves she can go head to head with vicious killers and get her hands bloody when she and her family are threatened. Released in 2019, “Pilgrim” is a Thanksgiving-themed episode in the Hulu horror anthology series Into the Dark. It follows a dysfunctional family who finds themselves at the mercy of some sinister historical actors on Turkey Day.

Portrayed by Hell Fest‘s Reign Edwards, Cody is immediately suspicious of the duo Patience and Ethan, especially when they arrive several days before the event and ask to stay with her family. Cody’s suspicions of the two prove correct when they start murdering the family’s ungrateful neighbors and torturing Cody’s father and stepmother. Cody is nearly drowned, herself, but she turns the tables and unleashes hell on her attackers, beating them with hammers, chasing them with butcher’s knives, and in one awesome twist, poisoning their food.  Cody’s stepmother also survives the film and gets in a few kills, but since her actions and refusal to initially listen to her stepdaughter put the family in danger, Cody is the one to kick off this list, thanks to her ingenuity, intelligence, and absolute kick*ssery.

Alicia—Stage Fright

Barbara Cupisti as Alicia in the Italian slasher film, Stage Fright.

Michele Soavi’s deeply unsettling but visually stunning 1987 Italian slasher film Stage Fright follows a group of stage actors who find themselves locked in theater and at the mercy of an unhinged, owl-masked-wearing killer, who picks off the actors one by one in gruesome ways. Alicia (Barbara Cupisti) is the last one standing, and she faces off against the killer in the catwalks overlooking the theater. Resourceful and driven to survive, Alicia makes it to the end credits sporting a sprained ankle and rightfully claims the mantle of Final Girl after several intense encounters with the killer. Alicia nearly bites the dust several times throughout the film, but she never stops fighting, and she looks great doing it.

Courtney—Slumber Party Massacre, Slumber Party Massacre II

Crystal Bernard as Courtney Bates in Slumber Party Massacre 2.

She hasn’t faced as many killers as Sydney Prescott, but Courtney (Jennifer Meyers) has survived two encounters with two different killers, and one of them was a demon, brought into existence by Courtney’s trauma. While she appeared in a supporting role in the first Slumber Party Massacre film, Courtney takes center stage in the sequel. She’s still haunted by her encounter with the Driller Killer, who murdered 12 people and left her sister institutionalized.

Courtney hopes that a weekend cabin trip with the girls in her band will help distract her from the pain, but the group soon finds themselves at the mercy of a new Driller Killer, a guitar-wielding, leather jacket-wearing greaser straight out of Courtney’s nightmares. While he may be a riff on Freddy Krueger, the Driller Killer is no less dangerous and has a great time gruesomely killing Courtney’s friends, though he ultimately meets his match in the desperate but determined Final Girl. After several chase scenes, Courtney sets him on fire and seemingly kills him, but the trauma lingers on, and she is forced to relive the massacre over and over in her mind. While the ending is bleak, it is open for interpretation, meaning that Courtney could very well be okay. She’s earned some peace after everything she’s endured.

Jessie—Wrong Turn

Eliza Dushku as Jessie in the horror film, Wrong Turn.

Besides being played by Buffyverse alum Eliza Dushku, Jessie is the first Final Girl onscreen to battle the Wrong Turn franchise’s violent and cruel cannibals and come out alive. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Jessie is accompanied by her friends on a road trip through the West Virginia mountains when the group runs afoul of three deformed and murderous cannibals. One by one, Jessie witnesses her friends die in gruesome fashion, and along with fellow survivor Chris, she goes on the offensive. Though she’s captured by the cannibals and rescued by Chris, Jessie takes part in the final fight, using a bow and arrow against the cannibals and axing Three Finger in the chest, a significant blow that allows her and Chris to escape. Jessie was originally written as a passive character, but Dushku, known for playing bad*ss women, fought for her character to have some agency and take part in the battle against the cannibals. Tough and determined to survive, Jessie proves a force to be reckoned with.

Alice Johnson—Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master, Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child

Lisa Wilcox as Alice Johnson in Nightmare on Elm Street 4

The heroines of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise aren’t exactly known for their happy endings (I’m still sad about the deaths of Nancy and Kristin), which makes it even more notable that Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox) survives two encounters with Freddy Krueger and lives to tell the tale. Initially mild-mannered and unconfrontational, Alice develops incredible but tragic dream powers, allowing her to go to head to head with Kruger by assuming the powers of his victims. She becomes a fearless warrior in the process, shedding her shy nature and avenging her fallen friends. There’s something so relatable in Alice’s journey, which makes her a character to sympathize with and root for. She beats the odds and emerges battle-weary but alive. Following in the footsteps of characters like Nancy and Kristin was never easy, but Alice holds her own and becomes a memorable Final Girl in her own right.


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Written by Mack Veltman

Mack is a pop culture writer and horror movie enthusiast from Oregon who enjoys binging Netflix, listening to Star Wars audiobooks, watching James Bond movies, and reading interesting, behind-the-scenes facts about his favorite movies and TV shows. You can follow him at

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