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How to be a final girl in 2023, according to horror movies

If you can't keep up with all these horror movies rules and tropes, here's your guide to how to be a final girl in 2023 and beat your arch nemesis.

How to be a final girl in 2023: Anya Taylor Joy in The Menu

So, it’s finally happened. Your gorgeous friends are dropping like flies, you’re having weird dreams that feel strangely real, and your partner keeps a Scream Ghostface mask in their drawer for an unspecified reason. You’ve survived your tragic backstory, are the only likeable person in the room, and have done absolutely nothing wrong — you’re a horror movies final girl.

You might think you have the tools to survive this, there are decades of tropes to learn from, right? Well… not exactly. The rules are changing. We’ve reached layers of meta that make the playbook redundant.

Slasher movies have evolved, and so must the final girl. So, here’s your guide on how to make it to sunrise without being turned into upholstery by Leatherface or body swapped like in Freaky. Not having sex is simply not going to cut it this time.

Work through your traumatic backstory

Avoiding stuff? Us too. But you can’t do that here. Remember, horror is, like, super smart now — everything is a thinly veiled metaphor. Final girls go through a cocooning moment and emerge beautiful, blood-thirsty butterflies.

That monster? That’s actually just a stand-in for the teacher who never believed in you.

Sasheer Zamata in Spree

Compare yourself to others, but be mid

This goes against common advice for women, sure, but this is no common situation. That co-star over there playing your bestie? What box office numbers did her last movie pull in? This is literally life and death, because they’re gonna want to put you through all of this again in the sequel, and it has to be you.

Be careful about being too famous though, if you’re not a twenty-something up-and-comer with just a few quasi-recognisable projects you’re definitely biting the dust. The audience should see your face and mutter “Oh yeah, she was in… a movie.”

You do not have to be special in the 2020s, you’re just some chick in a biker jacket who didn’t ask for any of this.

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in Halloween Kills

Eat the rich

We’ve seen The Menu, Ready or Not, and You’re Next, and we know we’re going to be screwed over for very unserious reasons or ritualistically sacrificed in the name of wealth.

Class warfare has made it to the battlegrounds of horror cinema, so have records of your student debt on hand, or you may be lumped in. And for goodness’ sake… Eat that burger.

Samara Weaving in Ready or Not

Have a dark side and a legacy character on speed-dial

You’re allowed to not be angelic now. In fact, if you’re a little abrasive and have a little bite you’ve got a much better chance of getting out alive. Tap into that anger; we celebrate mess now. This experience has changed you, and you’re going to have a chic rough around the edges quality to you that will keep you alive for the next four movies.

But don’t let that stop you from phoning a friend, in fact, if you convince a legacy character to show up as if spawned from an Endgame portal you will have a 100% success rate.

Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton in Freaky

Go nuts for the third act

You’re the last one standing, and now it’s up to you. This is no longer about survival, it’s about winning. Take notes from our aforementioned girls, and consider your method. Barricaded doors in your home? Staving off your sacrifice until the last moment? Allowing your serial killer dad to mentally spur you on as you stab the bad guy? Consider what your ‘she’s that girl’ moment will be and don’t be afraid to go guns blazing.

When they make gifsets of this on Tumblr, and they will, you want to go in the hall of fame next to Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers standing over Billy Loomis. Be one of the best female characters of all time.

Sadie Sink in Fear Street 1666

Consider who’s going to betray you

This isn’t early 2000s movies, don’t assume it’s your blonde pretty friend just because she’s fun and flirty. It’s not her fault the genre favours introverted brunettes.

It’s almost certainly your nice guy boyfriend or your quiet book smart bestie like in Happy Death Day, and we’re sorry.

Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott in Scream 5

End with a cool close-up and a motif

A cigarette while a mansion burns in the background, a juicy cheeseburger on a boat, you’ve got to pick a prop and run with it. And most importantly, have a slightly unnerving blase attitude about it all now that you know you’ve got the sauce.

We should be slightly worried about the changes to your psyche but still firmly on your side.

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Now that you’ve conquered the killer and have the summer off before production starts up again, why not check out why Scream 4 had the best Ghostface reveal and how to avoid Ghostface, or the new movies coming soon?