Sunday, October 9, 2016


I would compare FINAL GIRLS to THE LAST ACTION HERO but that might infer some negative connotations to the film.  I can't deny that FINAL GIRLS does have a similar concept of people getting trapped in a movie through the magic of cinema.  Instead of getting stuck in JACK SLATER part IV starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, our protagonists find themselves in a slasher flick from the 80's titled CAMP BLOODBATH having to battle a Jason Vorhees type slasher named Billy Murphy.  Both are highly imaginative but LAST ACTION falters by being too zany with the concept adding an out of place cartoon cat that is a detective and having that annoying kid from PREHYSTERIA as the lead actor.  FINAL GIRLS does a better job with the concept.  It manages to stay on the line between between horror and comedy to deliver a sincere heartfelt drama that is surprisingly effective.

Max (The exceptional Taissa Farmiga!) loses her mom (The also exceptional Malin Akerman!) in a car wreck at the beginning of FINAL GIRLS.  Her mom was an actress who played one of the doomed counselors in the cult classic CAMP BLOODBATH.  Max is talked into going to see her mom's film playing at a nearby movie theater.  When a fire breaks out in the theater Max and her friends escape through the movie screen and find themselves in the actual movie.  Trapped Max and her friends try to work with the fictional characters to fight off Billy the invincible slasher who gave the camp its notorious name of CAMP BLOODBATH.

The film is about Max dealing with the loss of her mom.  Seeing Nancy, the character her mom played in CAMP BLOODBATH alive and well, Max takes it upon herself to try and save her from her inevitable death at the hands of Billy Murphy.  If Max can save Nancy in the movie world then maybe somehow she will have her mom back too.  You can see that FINAL GIRLS has a lot of heart to it.  In most horror films nowadays you only see heart if it is literally torn out of a characters chest with liberal amounts of red stuff strewn about.

FINAL GIRLS doesn't rely on gore at all. There is barely any blood anywhere!  How brave!  Blood is replaced by an imaginative story.  Max and her friends find themselves in a horror movie.  This means they are experiencing every scene in the movie.  They see the movie credits.  They get absorbed into the flashback scenes.  They teach one-dimensional counselors to have more depth to them.  Its all rather interesting taking your mind off the fact that there is no gore.  The PG-13 rating doesn't hurt the film.

Billy Murphy looks exactly like the Jason Vorhees from FREDDY VS. JASON except for the mask of course.  Billy's trademark mask is more of a wooden block carved to look like an angry frog totem.  Billy's back story of how he became disfigured is similar to Cropsey's in THE BURNING.  Not a bad combination.  Having to abide by the rules of slasher films  only the 'final' girl can kill Billy at the end of the movie.  This presents a problem for Max's plan to save Nancy. Max is now a character in the film and there can be only one female protagonist alive to defeat the killer.

My hope is that FINAL GIRLS continues to find a bigger and bigger audience influencing the next generation of horror film makers.  Horror needs that.  For the last 20 years or so too many creators of the horror genre have been overly influenced by the classic TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.  Bleak and bland horror has now taken up too much of our time.  In contrast the look of FINAL GIRLS is bright and cheery with beautiful flowers growing about in various colors.  It takes a daring director to try such a thing in a slasher film.  Granted CAMP BLOODBATH is a fake movie meant to look different from the real world presented in FINAL GIRLS but I think a bolder look to horror that is more visually vibrant and not so colorless would be a refreshing approach.  At least it is a good way to get your slasher film to get noticed.  Slasher films can be artistic too.


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