Is Abigail Breslin This Generation’s Ultimate Final Girl?

By  · Published on March 11th, 2014

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.

Breslin’s first role was arguably a role in a horror film – Signs, as it so happens – which sounds damn scary to anyone who has only seen the works of M. Night Shyamalan up until, well, yes, Signs itself. Aliens! An invasion! Corn! And she lives.

What followed that debut was a series of feel-good family films, from Chestnut: Hero of Central Park to Nim’s Island, with Little Miss Sunshine snuggled in between as her undisputed break out role. The young actress’ life changed in 2009, when she took on a cancer drama (My Sister’s Keeper, in which she lived, despite a very different outcome in the book it was based on) and horror comedy Zombieland (where, once again, she survived). These were adult choices for Breslin, or at least adult enough to pave the way for more horror outings.

Next up? The Call, a 2013 thriller starring Breslin as a kidnapped kid and Halle Berry as the 911 operator determined to save her. Does she succeed? Of course she does. Breslin’s Casey lives. That same year, Breslin went full horror, with Haunter. The Vincenzo Natali outing is ostensibly a ghost story, with Breslin starring as the ghostly Lisa who, despite being actually dead when the film starts, defeats the evil that helped contribute to her death and gets to “live” her life in heaven. Essentially, she survives, although she’s actually dead.

Earlier this month, Breslin hit the (small) screen again in a different kind of horror film –Wicked Blood, a thriller that is somehow about both meth and chess – that saw her trying to escape her trashy roots. If we can find anyone who saw the straight-to-home-video offering, we’re sure that they can confirm that Breslin indeed lives, meth be damned!

But it’s Breslin’s upcoming slate that is most horror-centric, including the fact-based Perfect Sisters, about murderous teen sisters (they kill Mira Sorvino!), which just got its first trailer and shows Breslin just creeping the heck out and looking sort of awesome (if more than a little TV movie-ish) while doing it:

(Eh, she’ll live, but she’ll probably end up in prison.)

Breslin will then follow that film the long-gestating Maggie, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Black List script film about a man, his daughter, and the zombie she turns into. What could possibly be more final than becoming a zombie, who are by their very nature, undead?

How about a film that is titled, almost perfectly given Breslin’s track record, Final Girl, which will see the young actress playing a girl targeted by a pack of dumb teenage boys as part of an initiation who proves to be the exact wrong choice (for them, for us and for Breslin’s ability to keep on living on the screen, it’s the perfect choice).

Perfect Sisters hits theaters on April 11, while Maggie and Final Girl will arrive sometime this year.