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FINAL GIRL PROFILE: Mia Allen, Evil Dead (2013)

by Gina Freitag

Some people cling to a rigorous conceptualization of the Final Girl, but you must admit that it’s far more interesting to examine a female horror protagonist who is flawed and terrifying in her own right. Just as horror frequently blurs boundaries, so too can the Final Girl meld multiple archetypes into one. Mia Allen in Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead (2013) seamlessly transforms from victim, to villain, to victorious Final Girl before our very eyes.

An intervention is staged at a decrepit family cabin, where her estranged brother David and a group of their friends isolate Mia from the temptation of her drug addiction. The heartwarming bonding is quickly marred by unflinching gore and dismemberment, and at the centre of it all is Mia. Her slippage from victim to villain comes by way of a penetrative, possessive attack from accidentally awakened evil (inflicted by uncomfortably sentient tree roots). Thereafter, Mia terrorizes the group through eerie giggles and bouts of bile, but the basement in which she’s locked barely contains her evil; she spectates from a gap in the cellar hatch, luring her victims to their gruesome doom. Mia’s insidiousness prevails until her brother finally moves past his familial guilt to do what needs to be done: perform a live burial to literally smother the threat, then revive his dear sis, sans evil.

But wait. Hold that collective sigh of relief: evil is about to squelch forth from the muddy depths. As all hell rains down, who is it that outlives them all despite being flawed, who survives death and back, and wields the infamous chainsaw (yes, another weaponized phallus), in all its roaring glory? Who manages to halt the apocalyptic beast with determined, ripping digs of said chainsaw?

That’s right. Mia.

Tell me this subversive character isn’t a compelling Final Girl, I dare ya.

Black Museum Debate Club’s FINAL GIRL FACE-OFF is on December 12, 2017

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