Sharni Vinson in You're Next

Erin From ‘You’re Next’ (2011): My Favorite Final Girl

Before I begin, I would just like to clarify that this article is in NO WAY intended to bash any of the Final Girls in history. This is just another subject that’s been on my mind for a long time, and this seems like the perfect time to discuss it. Even though we love them, horror fans hate yelling at a character for making stupid decisions that get themselves or other people killed. However, there’s one Final Girl that made all the right decisions, but still doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. Today, I want to talk about Erin from Adam Wingard’s 2011 film, You’re Next, and why she’s the ultimate Final Girl in my book.

(WARNING: this article contains SPOILERS from You’re Next

You’re Next official synopsis:

When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.

Sharni Vinson and Simon Barrett in You're Next
One of the reasons that I wanted to talk about this subject is because of one particular video I saw titled The Top 10 Smartest Decisions In Horror Films. This video didn’t just point out one thing Erin did right, it pointed out everything she did right… and still only ranked her #8 on the list. Ranked higher is Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) from Halloween (1978), when she used a coat hanger as a weapon. Let’s be clear – that wasn’t a smart decision. That was a last resort. Let’s not forget that before Laurie trapped herself in the closet, she stabbed Michael and ran upstairs, before making sure he was actually dead. AND SHE LEFT HIS KNIFE RIGHT NEXT TO HIM! The smart decision would’ve been to take his weapon away and eventually use it against him. If she did that, she wouldn’t have had to use a coat hanger.

I think when lists like that are made, they feel like if they don’t put the more-known final girls at the top of the list, they’ll feel the wrath of the horror community. While I do understand that, I still think we should give proper credit where proper credit is due.

She Does A Hell Of A Lot More Than Double Tap!

I’ve honestly never been a big fan of chase scenes. I especially don’t like ones that are longer because the main character usually only hits their target once and then runs away, guaranteeing that the killer will attack them again. I’m looking at you, Alice!
Adrienne King in Friday The 13th.
This is where Erin differs from the rest. She didn’t knock the killer out once and run away, waiting for their next move. She beat them to bloody pulps and made sure none of them had a move to make!

She Doesn’t Make A Single Bad Decision.

Sharni Vinson in You're Next
Yes, I am aware that growing up in a survivalist compound gave Erin an advantage that most Final Girls don’t have. I still think her overall decisions are commendable. The only one I really question was when she ran across the windows while holding chairs instead of crawling under the windows, because, let’s face it, there was plenty of room under the window to crawl without being seen.

Unfortunately, even though she did everything right, we still got a body count. However, that wasn’t Erin’s fault, considering she and the whole family was betrayed by three members, one of whom we’ll get to soon. Not to mention, the group constantly split up, which equals death in any horror film.

She Takes Down Every Single Killer BY HERSELF!

Sharni Vinson and Nicholas Tucci in You're Next
With a mix of her skills and the killers’ incompetence, she was able to take down each one by herself. I will argue that she could’ve been easily killed by Zee, who was standing behind her, holding a board with nails in it. However, she hid the board when Erin turned to look at her. It seemed a bit confusing to me because they were the only people in the room, and the only other person not involved in the scheme was Drake, and Felix kills him without hesitation. Not sure what Zee’s hangup was.

Erin still knew when to fight, and she knew when she needed to run. The three masked killers didn’t have the skill they thought they did, and she picked them off one by one. She even fought Felix and Zee at the same time, killing both of them brutally.

She Saw Right Past Crispian’s Lies.

AJ Bowen in You're Next
Erin went through hell, fighting for her life, and she finally won… only to find out that her boyfriend, Crispian, was behind the attack the entire time. Once he found out she killed everyone involved, he tried to weasel his way out of his situation by convincing her she was never an intended target. The first thing the killer in the tiger mask tried to do was kill her with an ax, so his statement was in no way true.

Then, he thought he could bribe her with enough money for her to quit her job and an engagement. Instead of caving, Erin killed that bastard right then and there, because why the fuck not?

Although Erin’s success was partly due to amateur killers, I believe she still could use her skills and tactics to her advantage against any enemy. Eight years later, she’s still very underrated in the horror community, so this is my dedication piece to her. She will always be my favorite Final Girl!

About Karli Lawson

I basically grew up watching horror films and spooky things. I watched my first horror film when I was 4 years old. I've wanted to be a writer ever since I've read Stephen King books in middle school. I love writing and talking about my favorite genre. I hope to one day be successful in screenwriting and filmmaking. Everything horror, of course!

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