SXSW Movie Review: The Final Girls

Published on March 20th, 2015 in: Current Faves, Film Festivals, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Brad Henderson

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Most horror parodies aren’t smart and in recent years they have gotten really tedious and boring. Towards the beginning we had films like Pandemonium, Student Bodies, and Saturday The 14th. Then the craze died down but came back with a huge bang due to the success of Scary Movie. Ever since then we’ve had a few films pop up here and there (Cabin In The Woods, Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, and Scream) and more serious filmmakers even started making these kinds of movies. With the newer flicks, parody was thrown out of the window and they turned into horror comedy throwbacks. The Final Girls will give a new meaning to these kinds of comical throwback flicks.

The Final Girls is also self-aware, which Scream basically kickstarted in the ‘90s. That kind of self-awareness wasn’t replicated until Cabin In The Woods, but this is one of the many cool things going on in The Final Girls. As an audience we can enjoy it on two different levels: one, as an enjoyable film and the other, our ability to relate to the characters because we have seen this situation a plethora of times in the past.

The Final Girls features a very simple formula that is fantastically presented thanks to an all-star cast and clever writing. A young teen’s recently deceased mother was an ‘80s scream queen in her prime. In her hometown local theater they are showing her most notable film: Camp Bloodbath. The daughter is asked to take part in the Q&A panel for diehard fans. Then an accident happens in the theater and the characters of our movie are transported into the movie-within-a-movie and must survive the madness that takes place.

The one thing that grabs you in The Final Girls is that the characters actually know they’re in a horror film and can sort of predict what is going to happen and the situations they know they will have to face. In this respect, I’m tempted to compare it to Scream, but that doesn’t even come close to what this movie is like. Scream was self aware because the characters knew about and discussed movies in their daily lives the way movie buffs do, something which we could relate to. Yet in The Final Girls the characters are physically in the film, dealing with the writing and the bad cliches.

I’m hoping The Final Girls gets the credit it deserves and has the success of Scream or that it becomes a cult movie like Cabin In The Woods because this is what the public needs. They need a new, fresh, and sophisticated idea from the horror genre. I predict that in a year or so all of the horror movie buffs will witness The Final Girls and be blown away just as they were with Scream and Cabin In The Woods.

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