The Final Girl vs. The Elites
Should we cheer on The Final Girl as she impales the evil CEO or shoots the spoiled heiress? I'm not so sure...
I recently watched The Menu on HBO and it got me thinking.
In these movies, there are no metaphorical monsters. The monsters are literally a bunch of selfish and entitled elitists who thrive off of the exploitation and pain of those beneath them.
The Final Girls, on the other hand, come from rough beginnings. And even though they find themselves pitted against the elites, they expertly wield knives and guns and smarts to beat them in the end.
What’s Going on Here?
I’ve been watching horror movies since I was in diapers and something doesn’t seem right.
On their face, these are fun movies to watch. Except for The Menu. That movie was pure garbage. That was actually the reason I started thinking about all of this.
There was something about the plot that felt super lazy and contrived. Also, the movie had a top notch cast of actors. Ralph Fiennes. Anya Taylor-Joy. John Leguizamo. You don’t get that many actors of that caliber in a shitty movie.
So naturally I asked myself what’s really going on here.
One of the reasons why many horror movies are so enjoyable is because they’re not of this world. A burned up pedophile kills teenagers in their dreams. Zombies swarm a shopping mall, waiting to devour the living inside of it. A mostly invisible force is unleashed upon anyone who has sex with the accursed.
You can watch these movies, have some frights, and walk away knowing that nothing like that will ever happen to you.
Then there are other movies that take a more realistic approach. Think of movies like Jaws, Irreversible, and Scream. Shark attacks, violent rapes, and psychopathic murderers are part of our reality.
Even so, the chances that we’d encounter any of these scenarios (knock on wood) are slim to none. So we can watch these movies, have some frights, and then avoid going to the beach or walking through an empty tunnel for the next couple of months until we forget about them.
That’s not what is happening with this recent trend in horror movies like You’re Next or The Hunt though. The difference between the Final Girl and the monster is now social class.
It’s kind of hard to walk away from these films with the feeling that it’s just a movie. Especially not with what’s come to light in recent years.
Is This All Just Propaganda?
It’s not as though Hollywood has started hiring anti-woke directors and screenwriters. Nor would platforms like HBO or Netflix publish content that suggests that the lower classes should rise up against their “superiors”.
I mean, science fiction has been tackling similar subject matter for awhile. However, it’s always done in a manner that suggests that the elite are evil, but only in the future or in some alternate version of our world. Like The Hunger Games, The Island, or Snowpiercer.
It’s just so strange to me that the Final Girl is now fighting CEOs, spoiled heirs and heiresses, and government employees. Not only that, she’s kicking their asses real hard.
Because of this, I think we experience a different kind of catharsis with these types of horror movies.
When we watch Pazuzu get expelled from Regan MacNeil at the end of The Exorcist, for instance, we feel so relieved for the girl and her mother. We also feel sad that Father Karras had to go out the way he did.
When we watch the protagonist from You’re Next shove a blender into the top of her boyfriend’s brother’s head, however, we’re cheering her on. We want her to win. That family was god awful. And that brother deserved such a painful and ridiculous death.
There’s a strange comedy that goes hand-in-hand with these movies. And I think it’s intentional. I think we’re supposed to laugh and cheer and relish in the deaths of the monstruous elites.
The vast majority of the “monsters” in these films are laughably lazy, stupid or incompetent. They get picked off easily. The big baddie, though, is none of those things. That said, they’re not invincible either despite the speech they usually give at the end where they let the Final Girl (and us) know that they are invincible and much better than everyone else.
It’s not like Michael Myers or that ugly old lady in Insidious where you know they’ll be back for a sequel. The elite monster boss always dies a satisfying death.
I don’t believe that filmmakers want to give us hope when it comes to our own battles against the wealthy and powerful sect in our society. I feel as though this new breed of movies is meant to put us at ease.
After all, if these Final Girls have taught us anything, it’s that that we will always outsmart the filthy stinking rich untouchables. So why worry about them putting us into another lockdown or sequestering us into 15-minute cities or refusing medical care when we get sick? We have the power!
Maybe I’m reading too much into these movies, but I’m not so sure. The Menu left a really bad taste in my mouth and I can’t shake the feeling that horror movies are more and more going to be used to placate us.
Hollywood always has an agenda. And while they might just be on a kick in wanting to prop up these badass white trash chicks, I don’t really believe that. I worry that this is all about making us feel safe and hopeful while also keeping us distracted.