Horror Book Review: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Horror Book Review

Title
The Final Girl Support Group
Author
Grady Hendrix
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genres: Horror

The Final Girl Support Group is a clever, meta sort-of sequel to the slasher flicks of the 80s, one set in a Los Angeles where those killings actually happened, albeit under different names, spawning a cinematic universe where the social injustice of violence against women is magnified by a genre of exploitation

Grady Hendrix has made a name for himself as an author of weirdly, darkly humorous horror, and that blend of tones is perfect for the story of a genre that devolved into 90s parody. All you have to do is look at the chapter headings to get a feel for what's coming.

The plot of The Final Girl Support Group is interwoven with its commentary, and that's where I found it most intriguing. Hendrix has a lot to say about a society that makes heroes of the monsters, turning hockey masks and razor gloves into celebrity memorabilia, leaving the final girl survivors largely forgotten. Two final girl backstories illustrate this, with one claiming her own story, suing the movie producers to get control of her own franchise, and another making a living off their misery, selling and collecting that memorabilia with the help of a monster. 

As for the plot, Lynnette Tarkington is a final girl, although she's not accepted by the group as a 'real' final girl because of how she survived her ordeal. She's paranoid and frightened, expecting stalkers and serial killers around every corner, and her instability makes it hard for the other girls to accept it when she begins to see the patterns in what's happening to them all. 

In a story of suspicion and mistrust, of red herrings and surprise twists, the pacing lags a bit in the middle, but it picks up enough in the end to make up for it. I guessed one of the big twists early on, but the second successfully knocked me upside the head, and the girl-power climax was one of those rare horror finales that actually pay off.

If you grew up with Alice (and Jason), Nancy (and Freddy), Laurie (and Michael), and Sally (and Leatherface), then you're the target audience for this, but if your only exposure to the genre is the watered-down parody of Sidney (and Ghostface), then this is the perfect excuse to do some cinematic research.

Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ 

My sincere thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

  1. I loved this too! There was actually way more depth than I expected, and I agree about the commentary, it added something extra to the story.

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  2. Sounds so good! Can't wait to read it :D

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