“Final Girl” is a term given to the last surviving female in a horror movie. This woman may have been in danger the whole movie. But somehow by the end she has enough gumption to slay the killer, or escape the building, or whatever. Hell, Ripley is a Final Girl.
Enough horror film had this happen for it to become a trope at least. I actually never heard about it until this year. Not just because of the movie The Final Girls that I am about to review, but because there was another movie also out aroudn the same time called…Final Girl. Yeah. It is pretty damn easy to get these ones confused. I haven’t seen such close titles for real unrelated movies since A Late Quartet and Quartet.
Now I will see Final Girl, some day. I have to given how easily it is to mistake The Final Girls. But to make matters even more confusing, they also share an actor. Somehow, Alexander Ludwig decided it’d be a good idea to be a lead in both films.
With an amazing shocked face like that, there’s no question how he landed the roles either.
Amanda Cartwright (Malin Akerman) was in a series of horror films back in the day, but now she is just struggling to find a job. All people remember her for is her role in Camp Bloodbath, now a cult classic, but a movie she doesn’t like too much. But this isn’t her story. You know, because she dies in a car crash early on in the film. Her daughter, Max (Taissa Farmiga) was also in the car but she survived.
Since then, life has been lame. Her best friends brother, Duncan (Thomas Middleditch), has apparently promised that Max would show up to a special screening of Camp Bloodbath. She agrees, reluctantly, as long as her friend, Gertie (Alia Shawkat) comes along. Chriss (Alexander Ludwig), a male friend who is totally into her, also comes along, which means the local bitch, Vicki (Nina Dobrev), who used to date him tags along as well.
And since this is hard to explain, I will be succinct: Some shit went down, and now they are trapped in the movie. Good news: Max can reunite with a version of her mother, that’s cool! Bad news: a masked man is trying to kill them all! But now that they are in the movie, it is harder to predict what would happen. Their mere presence changes the plot line for good, so they can’t rely on their movie knowledge to win this one.
Honestly the only thing you need to be good at in a horror movie is your scared face.
Remember Cabin In The Woods? That was a genre bending, horror comedy that a lot of people didn’t know how to react to, but has eventually been accepted as a great and unique film. Cabin in the Woods is hard to define. The Final Girls is not hard to define, because I can look at it and say “It is like, Cabin in the Woods, kind of!”
A comedy horror means two things: It is usually funny, and it is usually not at all scary. They all just become parodies of horror without the fear behind it and this is honestly no exception. There are maybe “scary” moments, sure, but no one watching it will find it scary as per the norm.
Instead, The Final Girls should be judged on its comedy and it should be valued highly. Witty and fun, the cast of characters, and movie character stereotypes allow a lot of good deaths that follow and exploit common horror tropes. This is a PG-13 movie, which I feel limits some of the extremes they could have gone to, which is a shame. But the final fight scene felt nicely epic, some of the deaths were pretty creative, and the constant allusions that they were in a movie and not just a strange story were a very nice touch.
Overall, The Final Girls is a pretty good movie experience, and I hope they don’t mess it up with sequels. Hell, I like Alexander Ludwig now, and that is after I also saw When The Game Stands Tall.