Movie Name: The Final Girls
Studio: Groundswell Productions
Release Date(s): March 13, 2015 (South by Southwest)/October 9, 2015 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga) has lost her mother Amanda (Malin Akerman) in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of her death, her friends Gertie (Alia Shawkat), Chris (Alexander Ludwig), Vicki (Nina Dobrev), and Duncan (Thomas Middleditch) have invited her to a showing of the cult horror film Camp Bloodbath in which Max’s mother starred as Nancy, one of the doomed counselors. A fire at the theater sends Max and her friends running…and puts them right into Camp Bloodbath. Now, to escape, they must survive the horror film and kill Billy Murphy (Dan B. Norris).
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, The Final Girls is a postmodern horror comedy. The film premiered at South by Southwest and received mostly positive reviews from critics.
Horror comedy can be pretty tricky to pull off. Horror movies in general are funny if they are done poorly so horror-comedy sometimes can be redundant in regards a horror film. The Final Girls pokes fun at ’80s horror (which aka the heyday of the slasher) but it also does provide new observations on the genre.
Scream did a lot to rip the horror movie slasher while still being a horror movie, and The Final Girls attempts a lot of the same things. It starts out with one of my least favorite premises (aka being sucked into a movie), but it does some fun stuff with it. The idea of the predetermined “final girl” is a great concept and some of the mother-daughter moments were surprisingly touching.
It was Taissa Farmiga who did help give this movie heart along with Malin Akerman. Both actors didn’t play up to the stereotypes of their characters while most of the other characters (real or fake) seemed like stock characters. The actors were allowed to do a lot of improve involving dialogue, and sometimes it shows in a negative way. Adam DeVine continues to be one of my least favorite “hot” actors that keeps showing up in movies, and I just don’t think he’s very funny.
My biggest problem with The Final Girls is the PG-13 rating. The movie should have gone all out-’80s and mocked the gratuitous nudity that filled the films. Scream also chickened out of the nudity for the most part, but a smart commentary (or reversal) of the nature of the ’80s horror slasher/sex/nudity phenomenon would have been welcomed.
The Final Girls ending was pretty much as expected. Even a clever movie can’t get around the “trapped in a movie” plot without some expected results. Overall, however, the movie was enjoyable and had some great moments…I honestly just wish they had pushed it a bit farther. Maybe The Final Girls 2 will show that.