Review: The Final Girl Support Group

TW: Mention of murder, violence.


What happens after the end of the horror movie, when a killer is vanquished for what the heroes hope is the final time (but which they know, in their hearts, is not?) There’s no author better equipped to answer that question than Grady Hendrix, witty and thrilling horror writer of We Sold Our Souls and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, not to mention the nonfiction exploration of the genre Paperbacks from Hell. Known for blending heart-racing action and gore with thoughtful and sensitive characterization, in The Final Girl Support Group he invites us into the lives of heroines who defeated knife-wielding villains and now have to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Lynette and her friends (well, they're the closest thing she has to friends) formed a support group after surviving blood-crazed brothers, murderous dream entities and Christmas-themed killers. Some deal with their trauma via denial, some sink into paranoia, some plunge themselves into altruistic works, and one has even dedicated herself to her own villains. When someone starts attacking the support group members, it’s only natural to assume that one or more of their old enemies are making a comeback- but what if it’s someone else entirely? And what possible reason could they have?

The world of The Final Girl Support Group is much like our own. The fact that so many popular horror franchises were based on real life ordeals suffered by real life women which left many very real and very dead victims in their wakes add to the callousness of the society in which our heroines must live. Still, some of the most chilling aspects of the setting are the most realistic ones. Why don’t slasher villains use guns, asks one character? How scary can they really be when compared to modern celebrity-driven mass shootings? By elevating these villains to cult status, are we giving them exactly what they want?

The Final Girl Support Group is sometimes frightening, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes even funny or triumphant. Grady Hendrix specializes in turning common horror tropes on their heads, as well as being one of the best men to write female protagonists in the genre. His heroines aren’t superheroes or campy cartoons, but prickly and sometimes unlikeable. Nonetheless full of life that they are very intent on keeping. This book takes the reader through a journey of fear and trauma into the light of day. Take that journey- it’s one hell of a ride!

Written By: Mira G.

Edited By: Irenee W.

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