A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom's most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film's maniacal killer.
When Max (Taissa Farmiga) and her friends reluctantly attend a tribute screening of an infamous '80s slasher film that starred Max's late mother (Malin Akerman), they are accidentally sucked into the silver screen. They soon realize they are trapped inside the cult classic movie and must team up with the fictional and ill-fated "Camp Bloodbath" counselors, including Max's mom as the shy scream queen, to battle the film's machete-wielding, masked killer. With the body count rising in scene after iconic scene, who will be THE FINAL GIRLS left standing and live to escape this film? Written by
This film has one hell of a premise that immediately grabbed my attention. It features the exact blend of comedy and horror that I love and that so rarely filmmakers do right. The severely underrated Club Dread is a perfect example of how so many people can miss the intended humour. Then you have hits like Tucker & Dale vs Evil, which not only is a great premise, but is also both hilarious and a bloody good time. People either seem to love or hate these films and it's most likely because it's so hard to balance the two genres. When done right, it's gold, when done wrong, it's terrible.
The Final Girls, for the most part, lands on the good side of the spectrum. Max, loses her mother in a car accident and 3 years to the day, is invited to a screening of her late mother's most famous film, a cheesy 80's horror flick called Camp Blood. During the screening the theatre catches fire, so Max and her friends have to escape and cut right through the theatre screen. Next thing they know, they're in the movie. The exact same movie her mother appears in, which now gives Max a second opportunity to be with her mother, only if she survives the deranged killer roaming the woods.
The film has a great opportunity to capitalize on a lot of horror clichés, much like the way The Cabin in the Woods did brilliantly. One character in particular, a Randy Meeks of horror films, is the perfect opportunity to connect the film characters with the viewer at home. What would Randy do if he were literally transported into the film Scream? This was an interesting approach that I hoped the filmmakers would take. They don't. They kind of walk the line, but they are pretty inconsistent with things.
Being in the horror film and knowing how it ends is perfect fodder for comedy gold. The film did make me laugh, many times, but I wanted to laughs to be really enjoyable. Instead I chuckled a lot throughout the film. Instead of being a comedy, the film has a surprising amount of drama thrown in. Max has an opportunity to reunite with her mother, only the person in the movie isn't her mother, she's the character her mother plays in the film. Again, great set ups for comedy gold, yet we get mild humour. I little disappointing on that end, but still enough comedy in the film to make me smile.
The filmmakers throw some interesting aspects of the genre at the viewers and the characters. The characters can actually hear the "ch ch ch cha cha cha" that accompanies a nearby victim or a flashback that transports the character even further back in time. Title cards that they can interact with, a specific time line of events to unfold. Every 92 minutes, things start over again because that is the length of the film. These things are clever and make for a unique viewing experience.
One of the biggest problems with the film is that it doesn't go far enough with the material. It's held back by the rating. The film features very little gore and no nudity. These things are staples of the horror genre, especially the 80's slasher films that the film is parodying. If the film has embraced these things and given us an R rated comedy, then it would have been a lot better. It felt restrained in a sense.
Not a wasted opportunity, not at all. The film is good and those who enjoy these types of movies will surely have a good time. I just think the possibilities could have been so much more. They had a great idea and didn't try and take it any further beyond that. This film easily, could have been one of my favourites of the year, instead it settles for being just a good movie.
If you ever sat down and thought to yourself, Pleasantville as a horror film would be brilliant. This film is for you.
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