Final Girl

Abigail Breslin Haunter

The “Known For” widget on a performer’s IMDb page isn’t perfect. It occasionally spits out results that are almost patently wrong, but the more current someone’s career is, the better and more spot-on they are. Case in point: Abigail Breslin, whose IMDb page tells us that she is “Known For” films like Little Miss Sunshine, Zombieland, and Signs. Despite completely spacing that Breslin is the H2O-happy kiddo in Signs (a personal problem, surely), this is a fully agreeable assessment of the most popular and mainstream titles on her resume. And that would be fine if Breslin was doing those kind of films today – Little Ms. Sunshine? – but the former child star has recently started loading up her schedule with some very different fare. In short, it’s chockfull of horror titles, from the little-seen (Haunter) to the hotly anticipated (Maggie), establishing Breslin as an offbeat pick for the genre’s newest scream queen, the kind of final girl who takes time between mainstream titles like August: Osage County and Ender’s Game to quite literally star in a film titled Final Girl. But how’s that working out for Breslin? Considering her track record of playing terrified characters who emerge unscathed from the worst situations, not too shabby.

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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Cabin in the Woods Carol J. Clover‘s 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws was one of the rare academic books to become a hit amongst a larger, dedicated movie-going public. The book introduced the term “final girl” (the virginal “good” female who often becomes the final victim or lone survivor at during the final act of a horror film) into the zeitgeist, and it’s an idea that seems so obvious, and is so pervasive throughout the genre, that the fact that a similar term had never been popularized before was simply confounding. It’s also the central organizing conceit to Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the most overt act of genre deconstruction to enter multiplexes in quite some time. The final girl does not emerge in Cabin as it does in its normal generic form (as a narrative inevitability, a cliché), but rather Clover’s coined conceptualization of “the final girl” encompassingly structures the film – it is the critique of generic conceit, rather than the routine employment of a generic norm, that acts as Cabin’s narrative impetus.

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