Having missed this film at the Mile High Horror Fest I decided to that I needed to make up for my transgressions and check out the film that has IO9 a buzz. The Final Girls is a film about the daughter of a famous horror movie actress coping with her mother’s death, but it does it in a very interesting way that had the young demon in me smiling like a little kid again.
This film sits in the same vein as Cabin in the Woods, Tucker and Dale vs Evil and Scream. It is what we in the industry (Hell) call a meta film. This usually means that elements of the film are self-referential. A character that has knowledge of how a killer will kill via horror movies is the most typical form we see of this manifest. There are other types like when an entire movie speaks to the function of a genre or the use of satire to reverse the roles in a horror film. The Final Girls is a bit more blunt than that.
The film follows Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga) after her mother Amanda (Malin Ackerman) passed away in a car accident. A year or so later her friends convince her to attend a showing of Camp Bloodbath, the film in which her mother starred. After a fire breaks out at the theater, Max and her friends escape through the movie screen. Strangely enough they escape into the film itself. With the knowledge they have can they survive the horrors that await them?
For once in my afterlife I am not going to spoil this film, as I very much think it is worth the watch. There are a lot of good kill scenes in this film and the story that transpires is pretty interesting. They establish the idea of the final girl part of the way through the film. This concept has probably been established before, but it is the first time I have heard of it. It is an interesting idea and this movie explains it quite well. This is part of the reason it is meta, as the final girl is the only one who can kill the maniac serial killer. They also do some very funny things with flashback storytelling and how the killer interacted with the foreign elements of Max and her posse in the film.
Another interesting part of this film is something I don't usually focus on in horror. The only other time I recognized it was during The Babadook. The film is a strong character piece. The interactions between Sam and Nancy, Amanda's character in the film, are simultaneously heartwarming and extremely sad. I am not usually a huge fan of movies that try to force this kind of story, but the comedy and horror in this film perfectly complement Max and her Mother's interaction.
I would highly suggest seeing this film. It is a perfect counterpoint to a lot of the serious art house style films out there now and it is every bit as entertaining.