The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Final Girl Support Group subverts, embraces cliches


A “final girl” is a well-known trope, referring to the sole survivor at the end of a slasher movie. While the cliche has appeared so often it’s become almost synonymous with the genre, Grady Hendrick’s The Final Girl Support Group sheds a whole new light on the overused trope.

At the tail end of my sophomore year, I was in a slump: stacks of books lay unread on my shelf, at odds with the well-loved novels that I’d absolutely devoured in the past. Time and time again I tried to pick them up but lost interest after the first few lines. I’ve always been a voracious reader, so this scared me. Was I losing one of my biggest passions?  

Then I picked up The Final Girl Support Group, and I couldn’t put it back down. I mean that literally; I finished it in two days. 

The premise is one I deeply adore: a world where slasher films are based on real massacres, and the so-called “Final Girls” are attempting to recover many years later from what they endured. The author’s love of the slasher genre is evident in every word he writes, but his criticisms and commentary are where the novel really shines. He does all through the witty narration of protagonist Lynette Tarkington, a well-written character you can’t help but root for.

Lynette isn’t the only character worth mentioning. Each character in the novel is dynamic and interesting in their own way. The author isn’t afraid to make his characters unlikeable, and I find that they all behave in realistic ways that suit their unique personalities. It’s difficult to feel any one way about the characters; there are no clear heroes or villains, despite the often binary morality of its inspirations. 

That’s not to say the story goes without an antagonist, but the identity of this figure goes unknown for the majority of the novel. I feel this works to the benefit of the story. It has you constantly questioning the motives of every character you encounter and makes for a much more suspenseful and engaging narrative.

Of course, like all media, The Final Girls Support Group is not without its faults. While it was a mixture of surprising and believable, I don’t feel the twist villain was particularly well-pulled off. Along with this, some of the messaging felt a little heavy-handed. There were certain lines that made me cringe, and I believe the story would have been much better if it underwent slightly harsher editing. Despite these flaws, I wholeheartedly believe the novel is worth a read. 

If this all sounds appealing, you may be excited to know that the streaming service Max announced in 2021 that a television adaptation is in development. Andy Muschietti, best known for the 2017 horror blockbuster It, is set to direct the series. Other big names, such as Oscar-winning actor Charlize Theron, have announced their involvement in the production. With such a fast-paced, gripping narrative, I believe The Final Girls Support Group will translate very well to the screen.

 In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out the book. After all, there’s no better time to read it than during the spooky season.

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    MAXSONOct 12, 2023 at 3:37 pm