Very rarely can a horror film masquerade itself as self aware without slipping into the dreaded self parody category; luckily Todd Strauss-Schulson’s The Final Girls is definitely in the latter.
Leading the charge is Taissa Farmiga’s (American Horror Story) Max, who loses her mother in a horrific car accident in the opening frame.
Fast forward a year later, and still grieving the loss, Max is invited to a film screening by her friends of Camp Bloodbath, a Friday the 13th ripoff from 1986 starring none other than her late mother Amanda.
Despite being initially against the idea she goes along with potential love interest Chris (Alexander Ludwig) to have another chance to see her again.
From here the film completely flips on its head as a fire breaks out in the cinema, with the group escaping through the screen itself which transports them into the film setting ‘Camp Bloodbath’.
Now the group must figure out how to get home as well as escape the murderous clutches of resident psychopath Billy Murphy.
Playing with the tried and tested formula of the slasher film, The Final Girls present a clever and unique spin on this shooting star of the horror genre.
What sets The Final Girls apart from the average slasher is we have a clever and likeable set of characters who you can root for. In the wake of what seems like certain death they get resourceful and use their brains, which as we know wasn’t exactly present too often for more than one character in this sort of a film.
Max’s grief over her mother’s death is multiplied in seeing her again, even in a fictional setting; you want them to somehow make it home so much at times its heartbreaking.
Serial killer Billy is everything you expect him to be, even if a little one dimensional at times, he provides enough menace in the film-literally-within-a-film setting that you just don’t know when he could crop up.
Adam Devine’s walking hormone Kurt steals the show, as he tries to literally sleep with all of the ladies at the camp, and given the 80’s setting is given some really great lines.
With The Final Girls and Tales of Halloween out this fall it seems our beloved genre is learning to enjoy itself again; and long may it continue.
Camp Bloodbath 2: Cruel Summer anyone?