For a movie that was widely distributed as a straight to DVD movie, skipping the theater screenings outside festivals completely, The Final Girls feels a bit out of place in the best possible way. It doesn’t scream DVD-release because it manages to be more smart, more intriguing and even a bit more qualified for the big screen than some of the bigger comedies out there. And that’s not even taking into consideration the funny and consistently talented cast.
The Final Girls, an homage to the 80’s slasher movies, is about a group of teenagers getting stuck in a movie called Camp Bloodbath, where a crazy killer is out to get them. I’m personally not familiar with horror movies from the 80’s nor any other era, but I can still appreciate a cinematic nod to a specific style. But I guess due to my lack of experience in the horror genre, The Final Girls, to me, felt like a breath of fresh air. Therefore being unaware of its style influences might have had an altering impact on my perception of the movie.
As I already mentioned, The Final Girls feels a lot smarter than most straight to DVD-movies and it’s because it has a fairly decent plot. Opening with a tragic loss, the movie dedicates a lot of its time to a mother/daughter relationship which is a step up from the typical boy/girl (sex)relationship. With Malin Akerman as Amanda (and Nancy) and Taissa Farmiga as Max portraying this said mother/daughter relationship, their subplot works so well it’s actually a little disappointing to be happening in the middle of a bloodbath. It also overshadows the actual horror-element to a point where I’m wanting to add drama to its genres and call it a heartfelt movie about Max not accepting her mother’s death.
Yet, despite the strong subplot that warmed my cold heart, the elements of irony and sarcasm covered in blood and guts, sort of stained the drama into a weird little comedy with horrific killings. It also throws in a sexy dance by a very sexually frustrating female character, which would have worked so much better for me if it were Matt Bomer shaking his junk. Which reminds me, I still haven’t watched Magic Mike numero uno nor the latest episodes of American Horror Story. Sorry, getting sidetracked, but seriously people, why not change the hyper-sexual female from the 80’s into a hyper-confident guy who is willing to seduce a mutilated murdered with his sensual dance!? I’m merely asking for movies to break the stereotypes a little which is literally what The Final Girls almost does.
The character in mind is Vicki, the mean girl of the group portrayed by Nina Dobrev. In addition to the performances of Akerman and Farmiga, Dobrev brings her own skills to the table and manages to add different dimensions to the mean girl character. Sure, a lot of credit goes to the script, but Dobrev has a knack to portray bitchy girls who you end up kind of rooting for by the end, she played most of them in The Vampire Diaries. In other words, I was a little surprised how Vicki’s plot turned out, and how non-stereotypical her character was for a movie that seemed to aim towards mocking stereotypical characters in the 80’s slashers.
Though poking at the stereotypical characters was a part of The Final Girls mission, its visual representation and cinematography topped everything and more. Its color-schemes were stunning at times, its way of transitioning flash-backs into the present and the set design was minimal yet brilliant. The point I’m trying to make is that The Final Girls feels very unique, it feels like a movie inside of a movie and not just because of the script, but because of its visual presentation. There’s a dream like quality to it, kind of like a dream within a movie and that’s why, in my mind, it is quite a smart movie.
PS: I feel like I have to point out Adam DeVine because I like the guy a lot. He was of course great in this, and I sort of feel like there should have been more of him. But that’s probably because I love his Andy character on Modern Family and they don’t showcase him enough. So all I want is more Adam, please!