The Final Girl Support Group
By Grady Hendrix
- The Final Girl Support Group
Author: Grady Hendrix
- ISBN: 9781789096064
- Published: July 2021
- Pages: 393
- Format reviewed: Hardback
- Review date: 15/07/2021
- Language: English
Your love of a movie genre can often depend on your age. The current crop of kids is growing up in a Golden Age of Superhero films, but when I was an impressionable teenager, it was all about the horror films. Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and so many others. I bought them all on VHS and watched the countless sequels. I even have a place in my heart for the knowing 90s flicks such as Scream. Grady Hendrix feels like they were a fan too as The Final Girl Support Group asks the reader to believe that the events that created these films were real.
The Final Girl is the title given to the one victim in a slasher film who survives. In the world of Hendrix, these women are real and have matured, but they have not moved on. They are haunted by the events of their past, defined by one night when they were sixteen. Some grow bitter, others become paranoid. They meet every month to discuss their issues, until one time a member is missing. One of the Final Girls has been murdered and it appears that a killer is out for the rest of the group.
As a fan of horror franchises, Final Girls offers so much enjoyment. It is a strange parallel universe where the similar versions of our films exist, but rather than being fiction, they are loosely based on real events. Tropes from vintage horror are all to see. The protagonist is Lynnette, a woman who survived her family being massacred by playing dead. Others in the group survived attacks on their Summer Camp or even believe that the killer struck in their dreams.
In a postmodern world it is interesting to discover what happens to these women once the killing stopped and the films are no longer box office. Lynnette has spent the last decade or so bunkering down in her flat, always with her back to the wall. Other in the group have become addicts, super rich or recluses. In many ways they have deviated from their ‘virgin’ trope and become the goth, the geek, the lover. Have they gone from being the survivor to being a victim?
All these excellent permutations are bubbling along in the background and a horror film fan will notice them. However, there is still the thriller that sits on top. Lynnette story is one of action and thrills as she must decide whether to run from, or at, her demons. It has the feel of a classic horror film, with violent set pieces, red herrings, and surprise kills. This is not an easy style to put on paper, but Hendrix does it perfectly.
Final Girls is one of the best horror thrillers I have read in years, and it reminds me of the tight Dean Koontz early novels that kept an unforgiving pace full of thrills. It also made my synapses constantly snap with the subtle references to horror franchises and tropes that dominated the genre through the late 70s to early 00s. I believe that any reader will enjoy this book as it is a cracking read, but horror films fans will simply adore it as it combines the new with the old in 393 perfect pages.
Written on 15th July 2021 by Sam Tyler .