You may have noticed that right now, I’m pretty much exclusively into films that are easy to watch and aren’t too long. That’s because my day job is fucking exhausting and absurdly time consuming, so don’t expect Citizen Kane to make an appearance here any time soon. Just so you know.
Anyway, The Final Girls seemed like the perfect choice considering my current situation. 92 minutes, horror comedy, Alia Shawkat… Nothing screams ‘easy watch’ more than that, right? Turns out, the actual film backed up my hypothesis down to the tee. The movie is based on a bunch of slasher movie tropes with a few jokes thrown in for good, spoofy measure. Centring on Taissa Farmiga as Max, the daughter of a 1980s ‘Scream Queen’ actress, The Final Girls sees Max and a group of her friends being physically pulled into one of her mother’s old movies. With that, the teens quickly catch on that they must live through the movie in order to stop the film’s terrifying killer.
For such a short film, this starts off a little slow… but then quickly develops into an entirely self-aware, spoofy horror movie turned teen parody. (That sentence makes more sense if you’ve actually seen the movie.)
The premise of The Final Girls is full of clichés and things that have been done so many times before, but the genius thing is… that’s the point! Everything from the corny dialogue down to the dodgy cinematography is an homage to eighties and nineties horror, even though the majority of the film spends its time poking fun at it. (In a loving manner, of course.)
Though the concept is pretty fun – who hasn’t thought about what would happen if they could step into their favourite movie? – the plot itself is pretty simplistic. There are one or two moments of slapstick humour and physical comedy that work, but other than that, it’s very basic and nothing about the storyline will surprise you. Oh, and the mother/daughter scenes are actually a bit of a snooze fest. It’s clear to see that they were really trying to reinforce the idea of a mother’s love being stronger than anything else in the world, but why couldn’t they have made it more entertaining to watch? Beats me.
When it was good, it was really good. Unfortunately, I lost interest several times, which is saying something considering it was only 92 minutes long. The cast never really get a chance to shine either; although Taissa Farmiga is characteristically good here, her performance in this is pretty much the same as all of her other performances and just doesn’t stand out amongst her list of credits. The under-utilisation of Alia Shawkat is completely unforgivable though – they give her so little to do here that it should be a crime.
I see what The Final Girls was trying to do, but it missed the mark for me on several occasions. Fun premise, poorly executed. But the soundtrack was great at least.
The Final Girls is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.
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Costume & Set Design:
Overall Rating: ½