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It’s women at the forefront as we watch six horror films featuring fierce final girls to see what earns our praise and deserves your time.

Death Proof

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At AlethalWeaponArt, movies (particularly horror) are a huge part of our life — and our business — so we take time to celebrate the art of film every day. Follow along with us to see what we watched each week. We will tell you if it’s worth watching or if you should skip it altogether and why.

Editor’s Note: On January 7, awards season officially kicked off with the Golden Globes. On the plus side, the 2024 Golden Globes gave us a few historic wins for diversity. The female-driven feminist juggernaut Barbie received the first-annual Cinematic Achievement Award in celebration of how well its dissection of the female experience resonated with audiences. There were low lights as well, including some ill-conceived misogynistic jokes courtesy of first-time host Jo Koy. However, the backlash to these jokes is encouraging that, perhaps, we’ve entered a new era of how we perceive, talk about, and celebrate women in film — and in life.

This week of movies was full of frights and final girls.

1. INFLUENCER (2023)

We liked Influencer a lot.

Cassandra Naud plays a con artist and clearly unstable young woman, CW, in this suspenseful thriller. CW is set on doing a little more than ruining some influencers’ lives. First, she finds Madison, a girl traveling alone in Thailand. She befriends her, steals her passport, and maroons her on an island. It is made clear she has done this multiple times before by photos of other girls pinned on her wall in her darkroom and graves on the island.

However, she gets a little too sloppy with her latest con job, and Influencer becomes the story of her undoing.

The story is believable, fast-paced, and unfolds well. Influencer also has a killer score, which is always a plus. We especially LOVED the ending.

Taut and thrilling with an effective modern-day spin on the dangers of social media, Influencer is definitely worth a watch if you enjoy psychological thrillers.

Recommended; watch on Shudder or rent it on VOD.

2. READY OR NOT (2019)

One of our favorites, Ready or Not is funny, dark, and fast-paced.

The dialogue feels authentic and natural; the jokes don’t take away from the movie or make it too silly. Samara Weaving and Adam Brody really carry the main humor, but it’s humorous throughout situationally as well. The violence in it is so much fun, and this is just a wild ride.

We loved the progression of the dress getting dirtier and bloodier throughout the night. Samara wore seventeen different versions of the dress in the film, and they all flow seamlessly. You can really tell what care and thought the filmmakers put into it.

The kills are a mix between brutal and hilarious, and what more do you want in a horror comedy?

We LOVE Grace, our main character. Samara Weaving kills this performance and is so funny.

With an iconic ending shot and a final girl for the ages, Ready or Not is great from start to finish.

Recommended; watch on Fubo or rent it on VOD.

3. ALONE (2020)

Alone is full of anxious moments, poor decisions, and tension.

This 2020 survival thriller is shot in the beautiful Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon for the most part, giving us that horror-in-the-woods vibe. It follows an arguably foolish woman as she is stalked by a killer on the road and through the woods.

Jules Wilcox plays our main character, a woman who seems to make all the wrong moves and isn’t very likable in our opinion. Marc Menchaca does an incredible job playing this creepy murderer. He has the classic look of a Jeffery Dahmer-style serial killer, and we dug that.

One part we really enjoyed watching was the realistic foot injury, if you’re going to do the “running girl falls” trope it’s nice to see something more creative than a broken ankle.

We loved the ending despite almost hating the main character. By the end, you gotta root for the final girl, and she puts up a great fight.

Give this one a watch if you’re looking for something to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Recommended; watch it on Hulu or Kanopy.

4. BARBARIANS (2021)

Barbarians is a bit of a slow burn. A rather chill opening followed by a methodically paced first half left us wondering when the horror would begin.

None of the characters are especially likable, and neither of the couples really feels like a good fit. The social media guy “Lucas” is beyond annoying; all the characters just interacted awkwardly with each other.

The main characters, Iwan Rheon, Ines Spiridonov, and Tom Cullen, all gave fine performances. It’s just not enough to carry the boring plot. It feels more like watching a drama for most of it.

When the horror does start, it gets broken down for you with little title scenes for each part, which felt overdone. The masks in the movie were creepy, and there was some terror with the home invasion.

Overall, however, it lacked many horror aspects or depth and had nothing extraordinary that made it worth watching.

This was essentially a movie about a dinner party that went wrong and left us feeling a little unsatisfied. We didn’t love it, and if you’ve seen the masks, you’ve already seen the coolest part of the movie.

Not recommended; it’s streaming on Hulu and Shudder.

5. TOTALLY KILLER (2023)

Totally Killer was consistently fun from beginning to end.

Kiernan Shipka is our main character, a teenager who travels to 1987 when the “Sweet Sixteen Killer” resurfaces 37 years after horrific crimes have been committed in her town. It’s a great horror whodunnit with a back-to-the-future twist.

The film does a great job of towing the line between humorous and horrific. The music works well throughout to create a fun 80s vibe and makes the slaughter much more fun.

We loved the little recreation of crime scenes in the beginning; it was adorable. All the excessive stabbing throughout was fantastic, and we appreciated the 16 stabs per victim being the killer’s MO. The film was shot well and flowed nicely.

Bonus: The scenes in the Tilt-a-whirl time machine were creative and different.

If you’re like us and love a good masked killer and you appreciate a horror comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this one should definitely be on your list. 

Recommended; watch it on Prime.

6. DEATH PROOF (2007)

OUR FAVORITE OF THE WEEK!

Death Proof is gold and an absolute horror classic.

It begins with a fantastic soundtrack that remains perfectly fitting throughout. We loved the dialogue between the friends while driving to the first bar. All the characters work really well together and feel relatable.

There are so many memorable scenes in this film, two of our favorites being the iconic lap dance in the first bar, followed by the amazing first kill scene. We also love love love the car crash scene with the first group of girls: Jungle Julia, Butterfly, and Shanna (Sydney Tamiia Poiter, Vanessa Ferlito, and Jordan Ladd). The way we get to see the crash from each angle for each of the women in the car is incredible.

The movie feels like a beautiful mix between a serial killer slasher and a 70s action exploitation film.

The humor is heavy throughout but never a distraction from the moment. Kurt Russell gives an incredible performance as the murderous Stuntman Mike. The second group of girls he stalks are so badass and fun to watch(Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms, and Zoe Bell). Two of them are stuntwomen from Hollywood, and they give Stuntman Mike the ride of his life!

It starts with Zoe Bell holding onto the top of a car using only belts and ends in his demise. These final girls do it right by killing him at the end with a heel to the skull.

This is a MUST-see, but we’re betting most of you already have.

The kill of the week goes to Butterfly getting her face scraped off by the tire on Stuntman Mike’s Death Proof Car.

Recommended; watch it on Fubo, Paramount +, Showtime, or rent on VOD.

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