Scream 3 has been the last time I legitimately enjoyed watching a slasher film. Since then it’s just been remake after remake, which I always thought if the original film was good then why redo it? I started avoiding all new slasher films because quite frankly they weren’t original anymore. I don’t mean the formula, you have to have the formula to make a slasher film, I mean they didn’t have any more original ways to tell it. So when I heard of The Final Girls, I was intrigued as it looked like a completely original, funny and intelligent idea. I watched it expecting some tongue in cheek kind of horror movie like Scream or Cabin In The Woods. What I got was one of the funniest, heartwarming movies I’d seen in a long time. Correct, the horror movie is one of the funniest and most heartwarming movies I’ve seen in a long time. Here’s why.
On the anniversary of her mother’s death, Max and her four friends go watch Camp Bloodbath – a slasher from the 80s – in theatres. The movie stars Max’s late mother and it’s being shown on the anniversary of her death no less. Due to some mysterious circumstances Max and her friends actually enter the movie and are stuck there until they can help the movie’s characters kill Billy, the masked machete wielding serial killer. Naturally throwing a group of horror movie teens from 2015 into a horror movie from 1980 has hilarious results.
Before I jump into why it was so funny, let me start off with why it was heartwarming. Max was a single child who’s mother passed away in a car accident one year prior. She goes through a year of depression and right when she’s starting to cope she enters the movie and comes face to face with her mother who is alive and well. Granted this isn’t HER mother as she is the character in the movie. This leads to so much, well written, character development. The interactions between Max and her mother pull at the old heart strings and really get you emotional. At one point she’s telling Max how her dream is to get older, move to California, meet a nice guy and have a child because she thinks she’d be the best mom. Max fighting back tears tells her that she know she’d be the best mom because……sorry I’d write more but I can’t see the screen through my tears. But this happened so much and really you never got sick of it. The two formed an unbreakable bond that creates some wonderful moments, namely during the climax which I’ll admit choked me up a little. Normally I find that the main girl in a slasher film is written via a formula. A kind hearted virgin who’s shy and morally strong who by the end develops a tough resolve and challenges the killer. In this case she actually had a story, she had a background and it’s tough to pin down just what kind of person she was because they wrote her so well. It was refreshing to see such an interesting, likeable and relatable main character in a horror movie.
So I recently watched the Scream Pilot on Netflix and walked away saying “wow I hate all of those characters so much”. I then watched this and said “wow! I looooooooved all of those characters so much!” Literally every character made me laugh at one point, namely the goofy guy of the 2015 group and the goofy guy of the 1980s group. Each group had the character archetypes so it was fun watching how these characters were presented in two different eras and how they’ve changed. The 2015 popular promiscuous girl gets paired up with the 1980’s promiscuous one and can’t handle how dumb and prepared to take off her top she is. Everyone here has good chemistry and they play really well off of one another. The best part is once you see the blooper reel at the end of the movie you see that a good chunk of the lines were adlibbed because the actors just had such good chemistry that they could play off each other. But definitely the part that was most interesting was right before the climax when all of the characters are preparing to fight Billy in the cabin and the character’s from 2015 have to treat the characters from the movie like children. The movie characters all want to split up, have sex, party etc. and the modern day characters get frustrated at this as no normal person would be thinking of this while they’re being stalked by a killer. So it is good to see that the writer’s created characters who challenged the horror movie teen mentality. For example, they make the promiscuous character wear a life jacket and oven mitts so she can’t strip, they run in right before two characters sleep together to keep them virgins, and they understand that the killer won’t be put down easily. Having characters who understood what it takes to survive a horror movie beside a group of characters who were doing everything you do when you die in a horror movie was so much fun and really well written.
I can’t say that this was a scary movie. It wasn’t at all. The villain was an obvious parody of Jason and was used as more of a means to drive the story. Scenes involving him were actually quite humorous also as he was often confused what to do with the group of friends from 2015 as they weren’t in the movie and thus weren’t supposed to die. His backstory in the hilarious flashback scene was actually kind of creepy and would serve well for the origin story of an actual movie villain. Overall he was a fun villain to have but not really anything more.
Without question one of the funnest climax’s I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. The characters from 2015 who understand horror movies set up a series of traps to distract him so they can grab his machete and kill him with it as it’s the only method of killing him for good. It’s a bit like a road runner and wile coyote cartoon as they have so many traps and so many of them fail. The killer is unmatchable and they realize it’s because they’re all still alive and the only time the killer can be killed is when there’s one final girl left (thus the name of the movie). Once the final girl emerges she immediately seems to develop amazing fight skills as she’s supposed to survive the movie. Moments before she was thwarted easily but now that it’s just her she begins spinning the machete, flipping over him and countering his every move. It’s such a fun final scene and the scene before the final fight is an emotional moment that leaves you feeling weepy. So I’m happy they threw this fight in there with the badass rock music because otherwise I’d had cried during a horror movie and that just can’t happen.
If you’re a fan of slasher movies, Friday the 13th, Meta movies or even comedies GO SEE IT!!!! If you can’t handle any bit of scare at all then maybe avoid it? But it really isn’t all that scary, most horror lovers won’t be afraid of it at all and most non-horror lovers probably also won’t be scared. But if you don’t like horror movies at all then you probably won’t appreciate this as much as someone who was raised on slasher films (ie. Me). The film is amazing and I liked it cooooooooonsiderably more than Cabin In The Woods. Thanks for reading and if you see it, let me know what you think!