Of all the films at FrightFest 2015 it was Last Girl Standing that really blew me away. Luckily for horror lovers everywhere FrightFest Presents has brought the fantastic feature film debut from director and writer Benjamin R. Moody (produced by his wife Rachel) to the masses meaning everyone will finally get a chance to experience this brilliant indie shocker, hopefully enjoying it as much as I did.
A highly inventive ode to the genre Last Girl Standing opens at the ending of every other slasher movie with final girl Camryn (Akasha Villalobos) desperately attempting to escape the terrifying fur faced horned masked psychopath dubbed The Hunter who has ripped through her friends in a brutal bloodbath and is set on disemboweling her next.
Saved from death at the last moment the film then jumps forward to Camryn’s future which turns out to be a lonely and stark life led tragically with as little contact with the rest of humanity as possible.
Living in a bare flat full of her unboxed belongings and working a dull drab job in a dry cleaner it is only when new guy Nick (Brian Villalobos) joins the business that a spark of fun and normality ignites in her otherwise depressing and irked existence.
Reluctantly making friends with Nick she is introduced to his housemates and begins to bond with them especially Danielle (Danielle Evon Ploeger) however her deep psychological scars soon reopen and the ghosts of her horrific past seem to appear all around her.
With Camryn unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality her new found friends are dragged into a fresh nightmare which none of them may escape from this time.
Packed with great gore and action as well as character exploration Last Girl Standing is completely engrossing from its slick start to fantastic finish and Moody’s movie has a gripping story that cleverly details the aftereffects of a horror movie killing spree attempting to explore the reality of surviving a psychopath and the many deep emotional wounds that it would inflict.
Played perfectly by Akasha Villalobos Camryn is a complex character both strong willed and meek mannered all at once and full of inner turmoil after being remodeled by her traumatic experience. Weighed down by the immense amount of responsibility she feels as the lone survivor of The Hunters bloody wrath she is desperate to move forward but seems trapped in the past unable to come through her pain.
Investigating not only survivors guilt but the cycle of abuse such an ordeal can cause there is much more to Last Girl Standing than a simple slasher gimmick and few films save say Aliens have so cleverly and interestingly explored what really happens to a hero or heroine once the credits roll.
Excellently directed Last Girl Standing may look like a low budget film but its ideas and powerful performances accelerate it far beyond many mainstream horrors reinvigorating and revitalizing the genre with its twist on all the clichés we have come to expect from a slasher story.
Read the interview with Benjamin R. and Rachel Moody right HERE