The Final Girl Support Group (2021) – Grady Hendrix

I’ve been a fan of Grady Hendrix’s writing since I first discovered the vhs looking cover of My Best Friend’s Exorcism. Since then, I hunted down anything he’d written before and after that (two last titles to read and I’m caught up) so I dug eagerly into The Final Girl Support Group.

A Final Girl is the heroine of the horror movie, she’s the last survivor, usually killing or destroying the monster in the film’s climax where all of her friends, and those around her, whether at a campground, a sorority house, a small town, or the like are now dead.

Playing with familiar names, and horror franchises (one is a riff on the film’s original title, while another is the name of the movie within the movie), tweaked just ever so slightly (though you can totally tell which series he’s talking about), and headlining his titles with horror film sub-titles, The Final Girl Support Group is a fun, tense ride that plays with the genre, holds it up to scrutiny while still have a bang up time within its trappings.

Lynette is a survivor. A Final Girl. Over the past decade and more, she’s gotten together with other Final Girls to talk and support one another, under the guidance of their psychiatrist. They don’t always get along, and they don’t always trust, but when someone seems intent on picking them off, one by one, Lynette and the others will have to work to figure out what is going on, who they can trust, and hope that they are still Final Girls.

Told from Lynette’s POV, we are thrust right into a number of familiar moments and stories, combined and told in a new way, with all the twists and turns you would expect from a self-aware thriller that knows exactly who its audience is.

That being said, this one didn’t have all the humorous beats I’ve come to expect from Hendrix’s work. In fact outside of the concept of the Final Girls, and the franchises they come from, the main thrust of the story is very much a horrific cat-and-mouse tale that screams up at you from the page.

It’s ends up being a thrilling, white knuckle read that pays homage to those horror franchises we love and just won’t die, while making a pointed commentary on the violence towards women, and the choice of weapons.

Hendrix knows his genre, and is also very well aware what the fans of that genre, and his own fans (of which I’m sure there is a large crossover) expect, and he once again delivers in fine form.

So, anyone have any thoughts on We Sold Our Souls, and The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires?

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