Who Are The True Final Girls of ‘Scream (2022)’? [The Fifth Final Girl]
Women’s History Month as well as Women in Horror Month is coming to a close thus The Fifth Final Girls is coming to a close, as well. It’s been fun and rewarding to look back at the final girls of the franchise’s fifth entries. For the final Fifth Final Girls, we’re taking it back to the inspiration for this column. We’re going to give praise to the five final girls of Scream (2022). Forewarning. If you haven’t seen the film, watch it before reading on. Obvious spoilers for who survives to the end ahead.
It’s so splendid when numbers sync up for certain things. I haven’t read anything of the such, but one must wonder if it was Radio Silence’s intention to have the number of women who reach the end of the film match the number of the entry of the film. These five women withstand hits, falls, slashes, stabs, gunshots, and more from the two Ghostfaces throughout the film. They are five women of different races and ages with different backgrounds and personalities. Some have faced Ghostface many times before. One is a child of a previous Ghostface. Another .. you know what, let’s just dive into these kick-ass final girls. While all are important to the story, I’m going to mention them in order of their importance.
Most of the characters in Scream (2022) are related to victims of the first Woodsboro massacre in one way or another. Our first final girl happens to be the niece of Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy). Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) takes over for Randy as the horror film obsessed individual. She lays down the rules our characters must follow in order to survive this current Woodsboro massacre. Mindy sort of adheres to those rules. She does end up on the receiving end of Ghostface’s knife, but she survives.
Mindy’s final girl status is a first for the franchise. Mindy is biracial and queer. There hasn’t been a woman of color that survives in any of the films. In addition, there hasn’t been a queer person to survive in any of the films. Heck, there generally hasn’t been a queer person in any of the films. Mindy isn’t portrayed as a token Black or queer character. She’s given depth and meaning to the film. She gives representation to the Black and queer women who love horror films as well as the Black and queer women who will sit down in the future to watch these films.
Jasmin Savoy Brown herself is a queer biracial woman further giving wonderful representation to the character. The fact that she will—hopefully—return to the next entry gives more representation within the franchise. Here’s to hoping that she survives her next encounter with Ghostface, and gets to give them more hell than she was able to give in this entry.
Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) is definitely a final girl for the books. Has any final girl ever endured so many brutally delivered wounds, and lived to tell the tale? Genuinely, Tara shouldn’t be alive. In just one film, she endured as many stabs and slashes as Sidney (Neve Campbell) and Gale (Courtney Cox) have together throughout the previous four films. Gale has one on her due to the gunshot from Scream 2. Nevertheless, Tara is a hardcore final girl. She suffers most of her blows during the cold opening. Those who appear in a Scream cold opening never live beyond it. Tara did. She survives that, an attack while she’s literally unable to walk, and fights her way through the third act to kill off one of the Ghostfaces.
A member of the new generation of Scream teens, Tara prefers films such as The Babadook (2014) over the adoration of slashers from the original Scream teens. This obviously doesn’t render her helpless against Ghostface. What she adds to the franchise, or continues to add to, is the roster of strong women who will fight for her life and for the lives of the ones she loves.
Family has always been a factor within the franchise, and this one is no different. Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), Tara’s sister, is added to the roster of the five final girls. She also adds to the roster of family “values” that spreads amongst the franchise. She’s a family member in more than one way as we discover that she is the child of Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). This plot point has angered a lot of people, but what a lot of people haven’t grasped is how it fits so well within the world of Scream. Not only does it fit well within the franchise, but it also makes Sam one of the most unique final girls.
We expect her to follow in Billy’s footsteps, right? But she doesn’t. Sam is the target of the current Ghostfaces. She uses the power given to her by her “psychotic” genes to overcome them. Sure, she may have a little bit of that serial killer gene (if there even is such a thing), as she destroys Ghostface Richie (Jack Quaid) with 20+ stabs and a slit throat.
The characters of Sam and Tara incorporate much-needed inclusion within the franchise. We are given not one, not two, but three (including Mindy) final girls of color. Sam and Tara are Latina women. The fact that Scream (2022) gave us representation in a franchise that needed so much of it is incredible. Horror is for everyone, and it’s about time that we receive final girls who can speak beyond the typical final girl. Mindy, Sam, and Tara have done that, and will continue to do that.
Sidney and Gale
And here we are, with our legacy final girls of the Scream franchise. It’s hard to imagine a Scream movie without Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers. They’ve both been through it four times over the past 25 years. They’ve faced—by the end of Scream (2022)—nine individuals who donned the Father Death costume, and called themselves Ghostface. Their personal lives have been on display in film, print, and television for more than two decades. With Scream (2022), they were initially indirectly involved with the Screamnanigans occurring within the film until Dewey’s (David Arquette) death. But who showed up when Ghostface needed a killing? Gale and Sidney did. Granted, they damn well better have shown to avenge the death of dear, sweet Dewey. Was there a question of whether or not they would? Hell no. Because they are the ultimate final girls within the horror sphere.
“After tonight, no more movies, no more books, no more fucking Ghostface,” Sidney proclaims on the way to save the day, again. Genuinely, from this Scream fan since 1996, I genuinely hope that Sidney and Gale take a step back. While it’s admirable that they both feel responsible enough to include themselves in the Screamnanigans that occur, it’s time for them to relieve themselves. The end of Scream (2022) hints that they will. I just don’t know how many more stab wounds and gunshots either of their bodies can handle. Just kidding, they’re the ultimate final girls. They’ve got a few more stab wounds and gunshots to go.
With Courtney Cox having officially been announced for the next sequel, Gale isn’t down for the count yet. Neve Campbell has said that she will return if the script is right. There’s just no way that we could lose either character. Deeming them as characters seems wrong at this point. Sidney and Gale are a part of our lives. Not just that, but for the new generation of Scream characters and Scream fans, they’ve become mentors. They’re the alpha and omega of final girls. But it is time for them to pass the torch to a new generation of final girls. I believe that Mindy, Tara, and Sam are meant to carry the torch.
Flowers for Martha Meeks
Sidenote for the finale of Fifth Final Girls: Martha Meeks (Heather Matarazzo) could be considered a fifth final girl. She appears in Scream 3 and makes it out alive. She appears in Scream (2022) and makes it out alive. Let’s give some applause to the one character whom any of the Ghostfaces do not feel to mess with, at least, until the next sequel.
Alas, here’s to all of the fifth final girls: Pam, Jamie, Yvonne, Tiffany, Mindy, Tara, Sam, Gale, Sidney, and every final girl of the fifth entry of a horror franchise. Five entries in, and they have affected someone in some sort of way. I believe that this speaks to the power of any final girl.