The Final Girls is a rare film. It manages, in so many ways, to subvert the tropes of a Slasher film, all while affirming its love and respect for the subgenre. On paper, a movie like The Final Girls should be absolutely loathed by fans of Slasher films; I mean, hell, it’s PG13, has nearly no blood and no gore at all, and features zero nudity. But it succeeds with a genuinely creative set up, a reliance on humor over gore, and—most important of all, in my books—it imbues the movie with heart.
Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) plays Max Cartwright, a young woman still grieving the loss of her mother, Amanda (Malin Akerman of Trophy Wives). Amanda had been a second-tier scream queen in the 80s, and was still working on a comeback when she died in a car accident.
Sometime later, Max joins a group of friends for a revival screening of her mother’s most famous film, the first in a Slasher franchise called Camp Bloodbath. A fire breaks out during the screening and the friends escape through a tear in the screen—and into the movie.
So, yeah, it sounds kinda silly and will almost certainly remind you of Last Action Hero, but the premise is handled beautifully here. Initially, the friends simply find themselves on a forest road, but soon realize that they are trapped in the first scene of Camp Bloodbath, Groundhog Day-style, and won’t escape until they play out the scene and, presumably, the movie’s complete 90 minute running time.
That’s when we are introduced to the cast of Camp Bloodbath—and it’s also where the real fun begins.
The Camp Bloodbath players include all the favorite Slasher-fodder, including the supernaturally horny frat boy (Adam DeVine of Pitch Perfect), the ditzy sexpot (Angela Trimbur, who appeared in Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2), and the dorky virgin. DeVine, in particular, takes to his role like a frat boy to a free keg, chewing the scenery with obvious enthusiasm.
But, while Camp Bloodbath’s actual Final Girl is a leather-clad rebel named Paula (Chloe Bridges of Pretty Little Liars and Faking It), it is Nancy who proves the most important character.
Nancy is the character Max’s mom played in the original film, and it is Max’s relationship with Nancy that provides the film’s surprising and effective emotional core. Max sees the opportunity to save Nancy from the film’s Slasher, Billy Murphy, as a means to retroactively save her mom, and this leads to several rather touching moments.
In the end, though, The Final Girls is a thoroughly entertaining, always fun comedy. It rewards lovers of Slasher films, but, much like Tucker and Dale Vs Evil before it, even viewers who typically avoid horror can appreciate The Final Girls.
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The Final Girls on IMDB
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