When Max (Taissa Farmiga) and her friends reluctantly attend an anniversary screening of “Camp Bloodbath”, the infamous ‘80s horror film that starred Max’s late mother (Malin Akerman), they are mysteriously 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 counselors, including Max’s mom as the scream queen, to battle the film’s machete-wielding 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? THE FINAL GIRLS is a genre-blending horror comedy also starring Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat with Alexander Ludwig and Nina Dobrev.
In THE FINAL GIRLS, it's been 3 years since the auto accident that claimed the life of her mother, Amanda, and teen, Max is still having trouble coping. However, in the anniversary of her mom's death, Max is asked to attend a double bill, which includes a film which her mother starred, some 20 years prior. The film is "Camp Bloodbath", a campsite slasher flick, that over the years, has garnered quite the cult following, a following who have dubbed themselves "Bathamaticians". A reluctant Max agrees to attend, if only as a way to better cope with her loss. Joining her would be her best friend Gertie, her guy friend, Chris, and unexpected, and uninvited guest in Vicki. As the movie goes on to play, the night begins well. But it is midway through that tragedy strikes, after a mishap causes the theater to be set ablaze. Essentially locked inside the theater, everyone scrambles to find a way out. This is when Max and her group decide to go for the exit, which is located behind the movie screen. They cut a hole in the screen, as our film fades to white, signifying some sort of change. After, Max, Gertie, Chris, Vicki, and Duncan(Gertie's stepbrother, Duncan, and one of the founders of the "Bathamaticians" group), wake up to find that somehow, they have been transported back in time to 1986, and that they are in fact "in" the movie "Camp Bloodbath". After several hours of wandering aimlessly about, they come to realize that time is repeating itself, and that the only way for time to progress is for them to actually participate in "the movie". So they hop aboard a van, where they meet the film's teen counselors, as they head to Camp Blue Finch. It is at Camp Blue Finch, that everything plays out, as seen in the film, "Camp Bloodbath". Yes, even the stalking, and killing pursuit of masked killer, Billy Murphy, who years ago was a camper, whom was picked on by counselors. They soon find that the brutality is very real, and look for an escape. However, Max and the others come to realize again, that there is no escaping the movie, and that they must either fight back, or let the film run its course. Max and the others,(which includes her deceased mother, in character as "Nancy") devise a plan to trap the villain, however, it is seemingly up to Max in the end, as she looks to save not only herself, and her mother, but also those who may be lucky enough to remain.
This particular viewing of THE FINAL GIRLS was actually my second. That's because when this highly anticipated mash-up of Horror and Comedy was released on digital a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't resist. I had to check it out. Well, after my first viewing of the film, I enjoyed it, but at the time, I wasn't quite sure how much. I mean, there wasn't much that I disliked about the film, it was fun. Yet, the one thing that put me on the proverbial fence, was that I had seen a couple of its plot devices elsewhere. While others were telling me just how original THE FINAL GIRLS' idea of a characters being trapped within a "movie within a movie" was, or even the fact that said characters are seen running in circles(literally), as they try to escape - I had already seen similar. Similar, in terms of a "movie within a movie", I had first seen in 2008's MIDNIGHT MOVIE. In that film, movie theater patrons, as well as employees find themselves transported into an old Slasher film, and viciously stalked by a masked killer. The other instance, of time repeating itself, was likewise seen in a previous indie film called, CAMP DAZE(which was retitled CAMP SLAUGHTER for its DVD release)from 2005. In that film, characters find themselves trapped within a seemingly endless loop of events. While THE FINAL GIRLS differs in certain ways, the fact is that its ideas are indeed similar. So, with this in mind, I, this time, went into it knowing just what to expect. I have now come to the personally opinionated conclusion, that while it may not be as original as everyone thinks it is, THE FINAL GIRLS is a film that takes these previously seen ideas, and uses them to much better effect. THE FINAL GIRLS spins a tale that in the end, can be seen as clever, fun, and yes, even sentimental and touching.
While THE FINAL GIRLS does have nostalgia that works in its favor, it is actually its Comedy and self-awareness that goes over big with the viewer. Plain and simple, THE FINAL GIRLS is funny. The comedy, is both sharp and witty, and the fact that it is self-aware, makes it that much more humorous. As our characters from 2015, clash with those of an 1986 movie, hilarity ensues. Seeing as the characters in "Camp Bloodbath" are stuck nearly 20 years in the past, of course they haven't yet encounter things such as cellphones, the internet, or even the latest fashion trends. It's definitely funny when the '80s kids are confronted with these things. But it doesn't end there, as the advancements in technology and fashion aren't the only things that those from 2015 bring to the table. They also bring with them almost 30 years of Slasher film knowledge(including details on how to slay "Billy Murphy", "Camp Bloodbath"'s killer). Details like these make THE FINAL GIRLS a film that is fun, and progressively interesting. Also interesting is the way in which the film implements the killer's back-story and other elements into the film's on-going story. Much like Jason, Billy Murphy was also a misunderstood boy, who, was also tormented by his camp counselors. After a prank goes wrong, horribly disfiguring Billy, he slips on a mask, and goes on the kill for years to come. THE FINAL GIRLS characters are clued into all of this, by being put front and center, during the time which it occurred. THE FINAL GIRLS is one that definitely deserves extra points for creativity, that's for sure.
When it comes to the acting in THE FINAL GIRLS, everyone is just great. In my opinion, there is not a bad performance, as everyone brings a little personality, especially when it comes to the comedy, and drama aspect. Taissa Farmiga, a young Actress who is truly on the rise, is great as the film's lead, "Max Cartwright". Together with Malin Akerman as her mother/Nancy, Farmiga creates a bond that is believable and endearing in the end. But don't let the little bit of sappiness fool you, Max is one tough chick, Elsewhere, the film features an assortment of characters. Chris(Alexander Ludwig), is the love interest type, Gertie(Alia Shawkat), the best friend, who will do anything for Max, Vicki(Nina Dobrev), the type that is sort of stuck up, but apparently, still insecure, and of course there's "Duncan", (Thomas Middleditch).who is the resident film fanatic. On the other side of things, there are of course, our "Camp Bloodbath" characters, who are a product of their time, and are the most typical character archetypes of Horror films of that time. They're all funny at various points in the film with their level of awkwardness. But none are funnier than the character of "Kurt", who is played brilliantly by Adam DeVine. Kurt is the typical wannabe stud/tough guy type. One who tries so hard to be a studly Casanova, but it is apparent that he is just an awkward loner, who is putting on a front. Devine's performance is over-the-top in its absurdity and is just hilarious. He had me laughing many times throughout. It's safe to say that Kurt is without a doubt, my favorite character in the film.
To sum it up, THE FINAL GIRLS is a really fun time. It's a film that I enjoyed more the second time around, because as I said, I knew what to expect. In knowing, the film was able to fully sink in, and I was able to better appreciate its many aspects. It's a film that aims to delver something different, and out of the norm. And at a time where films are just repeating themselves, just for the sake of profit, a film like THE FINAL GIRLS is refreshing in the end.
2/10 Surprisingly, despite being of the Slasher variety, THE FINAL GIRLS is PG-13, and so the gore is kind of limited. There are sights of blood, as well as implied impalements, and such, and even a beheading. Yet the thing is, there is little blood. It is one of those films that the viewer believes that they are seeing more blood than they actually are(Think THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE(1974)). Except that notion doesn't exactly benefit the film.
7/10 As for the score it features music that is in the vein of true Slasher film classics(most notably FRIDAY THE 13TH. It has a nice feel, and really fits. There is also the inclusion of the retro tracks; "Bettie Davis Eyes" and Cruel Summer", as well, that are memorable.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As I said, I enjoyed it, as THE FINAL GIRLS offers up the type of story, Comedy and gimmick, that is easy to revisit again, not unlike many of the Slashers that it emulates. However, not only does it have a great comedic aspect, one could say that THE FINAL GIRLS shows some heart as well. My rating for the film is a hard rating that points more towards up than down. I think that the film would have scored higher with me, had the film's gore been more on display. After all, that is what most Slashers are known for, especially those that THE FINAL GIRLS most closely emulates. But with that said, THE FINAL GIRLS is still a very good time. I recommend.
Special Features include :
- Alternate Endings with Optional Director's Commentary
- Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Director's Commentary
- Cast & Crew Commentary
- Writers' Commentary
- Previsualization: Bringing Scenes to Life
- Progression of Visual Effects
- Director's Production Notes