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The Final Girls (2015)

Written by M.A. Fortin & Joshua John Miller Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson

Final Girl: What we in the Horror community refer to as the lovely lady able to survive among a slew of sluts and creeps and overcome whatever dreaded slasher has invaded her neck of the woods.

Summary: Three years after the death of her mother, Max finds herself in a predicament meaning possible failure out of her Senior year. Though sought out by newly single and willing to educate Christopher (Alexander Ludwig) along with her own best friend Gertie (Alia Shawkat), its Duncan that eventually presents the easiest solution. Agreeing to do any remaining work needed to graduate if only attending an annual double screening of her mothers film Camp Bloodbath alongside its sequel. Finding her way to the theater that night she discovers a few surprise guests, though her nerves not any more calmed. With the next act an unfortunate debacle; a fire lit with the only presumably exit through the big screen. Grabbing a ‘prop’ machete along with her friends, Max cuts through into the film. Awaking in a Technicolor wonderland that rings familiar grounds with reality sinking in that they’ve become integrated into the film.

Though Duncan believes he knows the rules in which they must abide by in order to survive, he’s the first to go. Because of course, the new surroundings would be taken into account by the Camp Blue Finch killer Billy Murphy and adjust accordingly so. Ultimately changing the fate of the original cast as those from the present use the knowledge obtained from Horror movies to assist them. Basically you get a lot of little Randy’s (from Scream) running around trying to figure out how to get back to the real world. But it switches a lot of things up, stays wholesome enough to simply make for a fun film to watch.

The cast also didn’t disappoint as there were plenty of familiar faces. Not a huge fan of how vampires write their diaries these days but Nina Dobrev (Vicki) as the psycho ex bi-otch seemed pretty spot on- go figure. Also hadn’t otherwise been privy to Alexander Ludwig’s (Chris) work, though seeing that he did two films in 2015 with ‘Final Girl’ in the title lets me know he knew at least one of ’em was gonna be a winner! While Alia Shawkat (Gertie) and Taissa Farmiga (Max) each brought in their own flair of style (that’s growing on me) though I don’t feel like they’ve developed enough as Actors and therefore gave lackluster performances that were overshadowed by their co-stars. Especially with Duncan (Thomas Middleditch) and Kurt equipped with all the better one liners.

Though the mock trailer essentially displays whose playing which part for the inner film (slut, dumb jock, final girl…) the Actors far exceeded their roles by reminding you of everything you loved to hate about those B Horror films from the eighties. Angela Trimbur (Tina) played her role with an utmost cuteness; she was about as R rated as it got. Because what’s a horror movie without at least one girl who wants to constantly take her clothes off? Improvising her dance (with help from Red Bull) as her death nearly gets overshadowed by the chain of events it sets off. Though Adam DeVine (Kurt) was by far the most humorous, he carries that demeanor with whatever project he tackles.

Ultimately I believe the reason the movie ignited such good connotations for how familiar it felt. Because we’ve definitely seen our fair share of ‘love letters’ to the genre. Whether deconstructing it for the sheeple (Cabin in the Woods) or poking fun of the sub-genre itself (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil), we’ve evolved with an awareness that’s made it difficult for the next generations to take the genre further than a lot of current writers/directors already are (or have in that past decade). The idea coming to Joshua John Miller after his own father, Jason Miller (Father Gabriel from The Exorcist) had passed away. Another studio suggested taking out that aspect of the film to throw in more blood (for an upgrade to R) but I’m glad they went this route. Considering the content, any overt violence would have felt out-of-place and without reason. I damn near shed a tear towards the end but loved the actual ending, which does set us up for a sequel that I hope is followed through on. You may see it coming but as Billy reemerged onto the screen you can’t help but get excited at the possibilities, should they decide to take this idea and really make something out of it.