Monday, November 02, 2015

‘The Final Girls’ Is a Smart Celebration and Parody of Cheesy Slasher Flicks

This movie greatly reminded me of Cabin in the Woods, one of my favorite films back in 2012, as it also builds a clever set-up that permits making fun of horror film tropes – particularly slasher films like Friday the 13th – but at the same time allow these tropes’ application on the story in a manner that makes sense in respect to its main plot device.  Cabin in the Woods did it much better, but The Final Girls also has plenty of good ideas and executed them quite well.

The Final Girls focuses on a young woman named Max (Taissa Farmiga) who recently lost her mom (Malin Akerman) – a struggling actress whose most famous role is that of a scream queen in the campy 80’s B-movie horror film Camp Bloodbath – in a car crash.  Camp Bloodbath has achieved cult classic status, and on its 20th anniversary, Max is persuaded to watch a special screening of the movie.  However, as a fire breaks out in the theater, Max and her friends find themselves mysteriously transported into the movie.  This enables Max to have an emotional interaction with her mother’s Camp Bloodbath character, Nancy, while she and her friends use their knowledge of the movie plot and horror film clichés to fight off Camp Bloodbath’s machete-wielding villain, Billy, and survive.

Like other horror movie parodies, The Final Girls is hardly scary, though violent.  But the writing is pleasingly smart (though plot holes can be nit-picked if one chooses to) and hilarious.   The deconstruction and lampooning of cheesy slasher films elements – the terrible acting and dialogue; the archetypal characters; the correlation between sex and getting killed; reliance on obligatory flashbacks; etc. – are cleverly well-done.  All the actors displayed great comedic sense and delivery, but the funniest of all is Adam DeVine; if the blooper scenes during the credits are any indication, he was ad-libbing a lot, and it’s a riot.

However, it’s not all jokes at all; it surprisingly has heart and depth as well.  The drama involved is truly thoughtful, touching, and avoids entering cheesy-sappy territory.

For those who love the genre or meta parodies or Cabin in the Woods, The Final Girls will surely delight. 

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