Smart Horror Films: ‘Last Girl Standing’ Begins Where Other Movies End

The final girl watches her friends get massacred before defeating the killer, and that's just the beginning of the movie.

Poster of Last Girl Standing, one of the best and smart horror movies.

The final girl watches her friends get massacred before defeating the killer, and that's just the beginning of the movie.

Currently available on Shudder and Showtime is one of the craftiest horror movies of 2015 (or of any year, really). If you’re a fan of smart horror movies like Suspiria, Scream, Behind the Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon, and Cabin in the Woods, then you are likely to appreciate Last Girl Standing.

After surviving a massacre, the final girl is left trying to pick up the pieces of her broken life. As she tries to move on, a familiar evil starts to loom. Written and directed by Benjamin R. Moody, this very clever film plays like a sequel to almost any final girl character (a character that is the only survivor after their loved ones have been butchered).

Since we watch the final girl battle PTSD, this movie is heavy on the drama. So, if that’s not your thing you may want to pass. But for those who appreciate dramatic horror movies, this is one of the best.

As fun as some of them are, like any subgenre of horror, slashers can get a bit redundant. Moody decided to put a twist in the usual formulaic recipe, and his film begins where other horror movies end. The story opens in media res as we see a scene that’s been done numerous times before: a young couple frantically panicking in the middle of the woods with the killer close behind them.

Poster of Last Girl Standing, one of the best and smart horror movies.
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It doesn’t take long before the young man is slashed to death by a lunatic donning a peculiar mask with antlers. Thanks to some luck and shrewd thinking by the young woman, we watch her defeat the masked maniac. As our final girl limps away into the sunset a random car pulls up to whisk her away to safety (cue opening credits).

This is a rare one-of-a-kind horror movie. Even those who don’t like the genre will probably get something out of this well-done picture that serves as a character study. Avid horror fans will likely appreciate the creative break from the usual, though some of the expected tropes do come later in the film (after all, this is still a slasher flick). The finale is a bit predictable, but that doesn’t detract from the solid ending, or the captivating journey Moody takes us on to get there.

If you’re looking for smart horror movies, Last Girl Standing deserves to be on top of the list.