Happy October 11 and Day 11 of my second annual #31DaysOfHorror! I hope all you lovely Canadian readers are having an enjoyable Thanksgiving full of whatever roasted birds or whatever you enjoy! So, let’s get into it with The Final Girls.
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.
Ah, self referential horror-comedies, an idea so fresh and wonderful when it was done perfectly in 1990 by Wes Craven. With Scream already in existence, and the extremely high watermark set by Cabin In The Woods, this type of horror movie is becoming harder and harder to pull of in any meaningful or fun way. Everything continues to feel like a reference to those movies rather than the broader deconstruction of horror movies they all claim to be. With that said, does The Final Girls join those illustrious ranks?
Well, not exactly.
That’s not to say that this isn’t a fun little movie that makes for a pretty fun watch, it just isn’t a movie that people will be raving over for years. Again, that’s not really a bad thing, it’s just a good way to measure your expectations.
The biggest strength this movie brings to the table is it’s cast, there are a lot of wonderful, recognizable faces in this one. Most notable (at least if you ask me), is Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) as Max. She gives a solid performance and carries the movie really well, with a lot more charisma and energy than I expected from her. You’ve also got Malin Akermann (The Watchmen), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) who is fabulous in this movie, and one of my favourite emerging comedic actors, Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley). All of them are solid in their roles, and make the movie worth watching on their own. You also have (sigh) Adam DeVine (Workaholics) who I really don’t care for a whole lot, but if you’re a fan of that show and those guys then you’ll like him in this too.
In terms of story, the movie is pretty straight forward and does have a unique idea, they find themselves within the world of the film which runs on the schedule of the movie, which does make for a unique way to present the movie. There are a lot of meta jokes running throughout, as you could imagine, and a lot of “homage” to 80s horror films. Though, homage is pushing it a little bit, because the film that our heroes find themselves trapped in is essentially a direct copy of Friday The 13th, but with a less menacing mask. The camp setting, the back story, and the whole thing feels exactly like Friday, but it isn’t. That’s one of the more jarring elements honestly, I know there are a lot of bad slasher movies, but they weren’t ALL identical to that one. It would have been interesting, if not unlikely, to have them enter an actual 80s horror movie, but I digress.
The other important measure of a movie like this is whether or not it’s funny. So, is The Final Girls funny? Yeah, sometimes. Some of the jokes fall flat, but overall it’s pretty unoffensive to watch. It offers up a reasonably funny twist reveal and works within the world that it is setting up. My own little theory about the movie is that the main characters died in the fire that started in the theater and this movie world is some kind of limbo their all stuck in. Just a thought, but that’s not why you’re here.
All in all, the movie is well cast and fun. At the end of the day it feels like a rehash of ideas that we’ve all seen a number of times and, while that doesn’t work to its detriment, it doesn’t make it especially memorable either. Give it a watch if you’re looking for something new.