Though slasher films are generally where we look to for final girls, in the world of horror they are all around, in every sub-genre - we just have to know where to look. Certainly Ripley would count as one of the fiercest final girls we have ever encountered in any genre!
Alien (1979) is a bonafide masterpiece, a science-fiction sight to behold. And a great part of what makes it so insanely good is Sigourney Weaver's turn as warrant officer Ellen Ripley.
When an alien infiltrates the Nostromo during an investigation of a transmission from an unknown planet, the entire crew is almost systematically killed by the Queen. The search for the alien on board makes for tense, almost unbearable suspense, and as each crew member is gruesomely executed, it's up to Ripley to take things into her own hands in an attempt to dispatch of the unsightly creature.
The strength of Ripley's character is what makes her so amazing. As the tag-line suggests, 'in space, no one can hear you scream', so she realizes it is her battle to win or lose. No one is coming to help her, they are too far from Earth for any kind of rescue to take place. With a fortitude much greater than any final girl I can remotely think of, Ripley uses her brain to seemingly outsmart the creature. With everyone else on board deceased, she takes Jonesy (the cat) into the shuttle, intent on destroying the Nostromo with the Queen on board. When the alien blocks her way, she nearly doesn't make it to the shuttle on time but manages to escape on it right as the Nostromo explodes.
Thinking that is the end of the alien, Ripley begins to relax, only to be shocked and terrified to see the alien has joined her on board the shuttle. Showing sheer will to survive, she dons a space suit and opens the hatch, trying to blow the alien out the door through means of decompression. Our final girl struggles to detach it and succeeds when the engines blow it off into space. See ya later, queenie.
She then proceeds to kick ass through several more Alien films.
Ripley is a true role model of final girl guts and mettle, with enough backbone to propel her to the top of any list. She's probably the one I admire the most, not just due to her endless courage and intellect, but because she has the most heart. I dare you to disagree.
I’m sure you’ve seen this girl on a number of lists, but she deserves to be! She went through some serious hell and came out bloody, but alive.
The girl in question is Sarah (Shauna Macdonald), the lovely Scottish protagonist in Neil Marshall’s 2005 spelunking flick The Descent. Sarah has just lost her husband in a horrific car accident and meets up with her group of multicultural recreational lady friends for a bit of caving.
The ever-frustrating Juno (Natalie Mendoza) suggests they check out a cave in the U.S Appalachian mountains. Its more-claustrophobic-than-usual conditions have the girls questioning Juno as to her motives for going there and Juno has to finally admit the cave is uncharted and no one has even been down there. The girls are rabid with anger but have to set aside those worries as they soon find out that the cave is infested with blind, humanoid, cannibalistic crave creepies.
Sarah is already losing her mind from grief and now facing the fact that she might potentially be trapped in this cave, as her friends are being picked off one by one. However, her madness is in her favor as it gives her cunning wit, nerve and unrelenting bravery. She also has to face the fact that her girlfriend Juno is a total bitch and was not only banging her husband but also killed her best friend and lied about it. And what do you do with ladies like that? Feed ‘em to the creepies, of course.
And like any good Final Girl, Sarah comes back to us for the sequel, as to which we must ask, “Why?”