Todd Strauss-Schulson directs horror comedy The Final Girls as Max Cartwright, daughter of famous 80s scream queen Amanda Cartwright, gets sucked into her mothers most famous film and has to play out the story with her friends and try to survive, the film stars Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Nina Dobrev, Adam DeVine, Alexander Ludwig, Alia Shawkat, Thomas Middleditch.
The Final Girls joins the ranks of the horror parody in a story with a surprising level of drama, you’ll probably go into it and want to watch it because it looks like it’s quite funny but it’s not, it has its moments but it’s not as funny as it could have been which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as this works in favour of creating some good emotional moments in the film. The casting is pretty standard affair, in parodying the tropes of a slasher flick with the courageous potential boyfriend – Chris (Alexander Ludwig), the idiot – Duncan (Thomas Middleditch), the attractive shallow friend – Vicki (Nina Dobrev), the normal best friend to the main character – Gertie (Alia Shawkat) and the sane main character – Alex (Taissa Farmiga).
Things work well on the whole because the actors are all well cast and believable in their roles, Taissa Farmiga in particular stands out as Alex and has some great scenes with her mother Amanda (Malin Akerman), you can buy their close-ness and you get why Alex feels so strongly about her. And in terms of deliberate, over the top comedy as the characters get sucked into the 80s slasher film ‘Camp Bloodbath’, you get character tropes, highlighted in the particularly funny Adam DeVine as the misogynistic and stupid summer camp counselor Kurt and with Duncan (Thomas Middleditch) whose motor mouth personality brings a few good laughs.
In the film, Alex and her friends are aware of the clichés like bad writing and the films plot itself and that makes for some funny interactions. And the characters being in the film and being aware of the tropes of slasher films is a lot of what makes the film funny but the comedy isn’t quite that clever, nor does it aim for any sort of meta commentary as the drama of Alex coping with the loss of her mother takes centre stage as she tries to move on from her grieving.
In terms of the parody film that a lot of the plot takes place in – ‘Camp Bloodbath’ it has a nice old school feel to it with a masked killer and a summer camp in a pretty clear homage to Friday The 13th but the film doesn’t delve too much into de-constructing genre tropes, though some are pointed out for comedic effect e.g. with the obligatory promiscuous airheaded girl in a slasher film for example. The story isn’t quite laugh out loud funny or far reaching as Cabin In The Woods but it’s still a good overall watch
The Final Girls isn’t a laugh out loud comedy in any sense but it does have some well done funny moments and dramatic moments in a plot that feels pretty different – in a good way.
. Has some good performances (Taissa Farmiga is great)
. Set up feels quite original and different
. More dramatic than you may expect