Kristin Derryberry MFA Visual Studies Thesis 2021

By Her Own Hands: A Newfound Agency for the Final Girl in Contemporary Horror Cinema

Contemporary horror films have been turning generic conventions on their head, including the slasher staple, the Final Girl. This thesis applies feminist film scholarship analyzing the Final Girl throughout horror film history to contemporary folk horror directed by men. Unlike the films that came before them, Midsommar (2019) and The VVitch (2017) give a new type of agency to the Final Girl. These films can be read as a reconciliation of the violent treatment of women throughout the history of horror. Instead of the women being subjected to violence, these films show how the Final Girl takes up agency and space in a way that she is not only allowed to save herself, but to choose her own fate. This critical look at the horror genre and the trope of the Final Girl demonstrates a more sophisticated engagement with issues of gender, patriarchy, and questions of agency, subjectivity, and spectatorship in contemporary horror cinema

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MFA in Visual Studies Thesis Works