The Film (5/5)
Max Cartwright's (Taissa Farmiga - American Horror Story: Murder House) mother Amanda (Malin Ackerman - Watchmen) is an actress and as they leave Amanda's latest audition she complains that she will forever be known as being best known for an 80's slasher film titled Camp Bloodbath. On the way home they are in a car wreck that only Max survives. Fast forward three years and Max and her best friend Gertie (Alia Shawkat - Arrested Development) are invited by Gertie's step brother Duncan (Thomas Middleditch - The Office) to attend a double bill screening of Camp Bloodbath and Camp Bloodbath 2: Cruel Summer as a special guest. Max reluctantly shows up alongside Gertie, Max's crush Chris (Alexander Ludwig - Final Girl) and Chris' ex-girlfriend Vicki (Nina Dobrev - The Vampire Diaries).
As the film gets underway some theater-goers accidentally set the theater on fire. Max rips a hole through the screen, trying to escape, and our crew follow her through. They wake up along the roadside as a van pulls up to them with the actual characters from the Camp Bloodbath inside. Here's where the real fun begins. They soon discover via Duncan (the Randy from Scream of the group) that they are bound to the rules of being in a slasher film. Max gets to meet her mother again and try to keep everyone alive by avoiding Billy (the Jason Voorhees analogue of the film) until the end of the film.
The Final Girls is pretty clever. And not in a 'hey, look how smart we are and what all we can remember from slasher films, we're so cool!' But more in a 'you are in on the joke' way. There are numerous asides and in jokes to slashers of yesteryear including story beats, music cues, songs and general 80's fun, none of which I'll reveal here because I wouldn't dare spoil the fun for anyone. Just know that if you are of a mind to have a great time you will.
This sort of knowing type of horror film got a real foothold with Scream obviously and has followed down through Cabin In The Woods. Is The Final Girls in that league? Time will tell. I just know that I enjoyed it immensely and I'm looking forward to seeing it again very soon. It arrived on my doorstep on Halloween morning and I was excited enough to add it to that day's playlist. And it went swimmingly.
There's also real emotional weight to Max and her mother being together again in the film. Is she Max's mother, an actress playing a part or an actual construct of the film? My only complaint is that we are never explained how all of this happened in the first place. But this could be a case of how not knowing just simplified a huge plot point that was just better left unknown. This may be a sticking point for some viewers, it wasn't me. There was a lot of thought put into the construction of the film otherwise, little pieces of magic that I again don't want to get into for spoiling but someone who enjoys the mechanics of filmmaking and film watching, will enjoy seeing.
Sony presents The Final Girls on a 50 GB bluray in an MPEG-4 AVC 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.38:1. It's absolutely stunning. Colors pop off the screen and it's super sharp. The picture was very, very pleasing to my eyes. Audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and sounded excellent. English subtitles are provided.
Sony includes these extras: alternate endings with optional director's commentary, deleted and extended scenes with optional director's commentary, cast and crew commentary, writer's commentary, progression of visual effects, pre-visualization: bringing scenes to life, director's production notes.
I love The Final Girls. Let's just get that out of the way. If there's a misstep, it's that the mechanism of the transportation into Camp Bloodbath by the characters isn't explained. If you love 80's slasher flicks and enjoy horror comedy then this is for you. Fingers (and toes) crossed for a sequel as The Final Girls put a huge smile on my face. If you want to see a film that lovingly, and I think that's key, lovingly, sends up Friday The 13th and slashers in general, this is for you. Pieces fans, take note and the film ends on a blooper reel. A blooper reel! What more could you want? Nuff said.