10/02/2016

THE FINAL GIRLS (Review)

Title: The Final Girls
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Writer:  
M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller
Cast:
Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev, Alia Shawkat, Thomas Middleditch
Year: 2015
Min: 88

Teen girl Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga) awaits for her beautiful mom, Amanda (Malin Akerman) who is an actress and is at an audition. Unfortunately it seems as it was a bust, as she cannot escape being connected to the cult classic 80s slasher flick, Camp Bloodbath, that she was in. Even worse, they get into a car crash, and Amanda dies. Three years later Max is still devastated by the loss of her mom. There is a double screening of Camp Bloodbath and Camp Bloodbath 2: Cruel Summer that is going to be held at the local movie theater. Her friend Gertie's (Alia Shawkat) stepbrother Duncan (Thomas Middleditch), and huge horror fan, convinces Max to be present at the screening, being her mom Amanda is one of the victims in the stalk and slash flick. It also happens to be the anniversary of Amanda's death in real life.
At the screening they are joined by crush Chris (Alexander Ludwig) and his ex and Max's former friend the bitchy but super-hot Vicki (Nina Dobrev). They sit and watch the movie when suddenly a fire starts. They head to escape through the back of the movie screen. But, something happens, and they end up inside the movie, itself. There they encounter all the films characters, including it's brutal masked killer Billy Murphy (Dan B. Morris), as well as its' victims, among them Nancy, the character that Max's mom played, and the movie's badass final girl (IE the virginal girl that in a slasher movie battles and defeats the killer), Paula (the gorgeous Chloe Bridges). Emotions run high as they see that they cannot escape the movie and decide to team-up with characters to survive and kill Billy. Max, of course, also sees this a chance to save her "mom", from her death, which in playing with slasher film rules, means she must remain a virgin.
The Final Girls is an excellent meta-horror, comedy that deserves all the good reviews that it got. I actually attended a panel at New York Comic Con last year (the only panel I got to attended, might I add), but I never got to see it until last night when I popped in my recently purchased Blu-ray. I wish I hadn't waited so long to see it, cause it definitely would have made my top 10 movies of 2015 (at the number 6, if you must know), had I seen it then.
The movie is an almost pitch-perfect mix of hilarity, a truly loving tribute to slasher movies, and movie filled with heartfelt moments of pathos. Combining these elements isn't easy to accomplish, not by a long shot. But, goddamn this movie does it! The humor is really funny. I was laughing my ass off at many points in the film. The horror fan, in me, saw that the filmmakers loved and cared about slasher movies, as they are treated with respect and reverence, yet an acknowledgment at how silly they are. But, what surprised me the most was how touching it was. The relationships with the characters were excellent. Especially when it came to Max and Amanda/ Nancy.
They are the heart of the film.And, I cannot lie. There are moments that I actually made me tear up. So this film made me laugh, cheer, and cry. That's no small feat! The acting from everyone is great. I have been a fan of Akerman since The Watchmen, and she is magnificent here. She adds depth, heart, and a hint of sexiness to it all.  Farmiga, best known for American Horror Story, is excellent as well. This young lady's acting ability blows many older actress out of the fucking camp. I have never watched a single episode of The Vampire Dairies and honestly only knew Dobrev as the pretty girl in that series. Well, she is phenomenal here, being funny, bitchy, sexy, and yet, in the end, very likable.
When I first heard about this being PG-13, I wondered how can you be a slasher flick homage and be that rating? I mean most, if not all, PG-13 slashers suck dick and swallow (shit a bunch of R-rated ones do, too!). But, somehow, this movie got me so engrossed that I didn't care about the rating. OK some more graphic gore would have been appreciated. Some nudity would have been fucking great, especially from Angela Timbur, who plays the dizty and slutty character of Tina. As such, she baring her naughty bits would have made sense. But, again, this somehow didn't bother me, too much. Well, not enough for me to lower my views on this film, anyway.
Honestly, my one and only complaint was the ending. I called it and when it happened, I was a little disappointed. But, it is off-shot by the very last thing that happens before the credits role, which is pretty fucking badass. If not for the ending, Lord only knows, how much more I would've loved this movie.
The Final Girls is a phenomenal slasher comedy. One that mixes humor, horror love, and tons of heart seamlessly. It deserves your full attention. The Blu-ray, put out by Sony, looks and sounds perfect. It has some good extra features, including some interesting deleted scenes (no, there is nudity or more gore here, in case you were wondering). If you, like I, made the mistake of not seeing it last year, rectify that shit right now and see it! Oh, and be careful not to see Final Girl released the same year and starring Abigail Breslin, thinking that it is this one. I haven't seen it and, thus cannot pass judgement on it. I'm just saying be sure you see this excellent movie, first.


4 out of 4

2 comments:

Alan's World said...

Gio, There was a midnight screening of THE FINAL GIRLS at Landmark Sunshine Cinema, New York in April of this year in which actress Alia Shawkat and director Todd Strauss-Schulson were in person for a Q&A, that was very amenable and fun as well. I had a really great time seeing this film on the big screen and meeting both Ms. Shawcat and Mr. Strauss-Schulman in person at the screening.

giovanni deldio said...

Oh that's awesome! Well I was at the comic Con panel the director and Malin Akerman were there. They were both really cool. Would have loved to have had Shawcat there, too. :)