By: Grady Hendrix
Publication Date: July 2021
Reviewed By: Kimberly Trix Lee
Review Date: July 26, 2021
Anyone who has ever seen an old-school slasher film knows what a Final Girl is. But after the credits roll and the last moviegoer exits the cinema, do we know what happens to the Final Girl? We find the answer in The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix.
Lynnette Tarkington is the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that happened two decades ago. Since then, she spends her every waking day living in fear, always looking over her shoulder, always restless and jittery, dreading that her monster would come back to finally finish the job. She transformed her apartment into her cage, panic closet included, and her address is one of her best-kept secrets. Whenever she has to go outside, she takes an extremely roundabout way of getting from point A to point B, making a lot of train and bus transfers, taking detours into a movie house to check for potential stalkers, changing stops every so often. She memorizes people’s shoes because that’s how she would find out if someone has been following her throughout her roundabout way of going back home. There is no semblance of normality in Lynnette’s life. Her best friend is a plant she calls “Fine,” short for “Final Plant,” and the only other thing that provides structure in her existence is her monthly support group session with five other Final Girls and their therapist.
The six Final Girls, including Lynnette, who meet every month have nothing in common with each other except for the deep-seated trauma that each of them has been carrying all these years after suffering at the hands of their monsters, irreversibly changing the way they view the world. They all have kept on meeting up for their monthly support group sessions despite the constant drama and antics. With their distinctive personalities and varying levels of paranoia and coping mechanisms, the sessions seem to have run their course. That is, until one of the Final Girls misses a session and is found dead. Soon enough, they will realize that someone is coming after the Final Girls, one by one.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix is a meta story about the Final Girls from classic slasher films like Halloween and Friday the 13th. Hendrix asked the question “what if you put all the Final Girls together in their final slasher flick?” and wrote exactly that. The concept is interesting and, although I find the execution a bit wanting, I think it was written exactly like how a slasher flick is supposed to be written – action-packed, bloody and violent, and minimal character development. I think this would be a great TV series or a movie. On the book, I especially liked the epistolary-style snippets after every chapter as it helped a lot with the world-building that Hendrix was trying to show. I would recommend this to fans of the classic slasher films as you would find a lot of easter eggs such as in the names of the characters and from the titles of each chapter.
Quill says: This is a meta campy horror/thriller that pays homage to the classic slasher films.