Written by J. Weagle
Hot Tub Time Machine meets Friday the 13th.
The Final Girls is not the film I initially thought it was going to be,for better or worse. It is one part homage to early 1980’s slasher films in the likes of Friday the 13th, and Sleepaway Camp, and other part comedy that spoofs those very same films. The homage part it gets right, the look and the feel are exactly what one would see out of a horror film from that time period right down to the movies poster. However it’s the most important part, the comedy where The Final Girls trips and falls.
The plot is a simple yet complicated time travel film in disguise. When Max (Taissa Farmiga) and her friends reluctantly attend a tribute screening of a cult favourite 1980s slasher film that starred Max’s late mother (Malin Akerman), they are unexplanable sucked into the theatre screen and become trapped inside the cult classic movie. Eventually they have to team up with the camp counsellors (which includes Max’s mother) to figure out a way out of the movie and to stop the masked killer with a troubled past.
Fans of older slasher films will find some laughs here as the film gleefully pokes fun at genre tropes and the overall fun that comes along with our main characters coming to terms with the fact that they aren’t just living in the world in which the film takes place, but rather they are living in the actual film complete with voiceovers, credits as well as flashback sequences. It’s these moments that worked the best for me and I liked the idea of the film as almost its own living breathing entity. It’s the other bits of the humour that I felt was treading on grounds that others have previously treaded before in other time travel type of movies where much of the humour comes from modern characters out of place in their retro environment.
Most of the other aspects of the film felt flat to me, which is to say that the mother daughter relationship in which the entire premise hinges itself to was weak. That’s not to say there weren’t any good moments between the two, it’s just that compared to the comedy in which the film was selling itself these scenes didn’t carry the impact they should have or for that matter could have. At times it feels as though The Final Girls was trying to be a full on horror spoof, and at other times it felt as though I was watching a drama about a family torn apart by a tragic accident. The two conflicting sides that this film tries to show clash with each other and somehow manage to suck the life out of both the humour as well as the emotional aspect.
With that being said The Final Girls is not a horrible movie, it’s completely watchable. That’s the issue, it feels way to safe for its own good with a synopsis that is better than the actual storyline. With a little more humour and less drama or vice versa The Final Girls could have been one of the most interesting horror/comedy films to come along since Shaun of the Dead. Sadly it achieves neither of its goals with greatness and becomes yet another forgettable film in the genre.