31 Days Of Hell: The Final Girls

Does The Final Girls recreate the '80s slasher flick? Find out here.

malin akerman
"This PG-13 won't let me
take my top off!"
The awaited release of The Final Girls is here and lands with a minor thud. What was expected to be another in a line of meta horror films fails to capture the same greatness and previous attempts like Cabin in the Woods. Where Cabin excelled in creating a new world inhabited by killers and monsters in the forest, The Final Girls feels too self aware and less than compelling as audiences are dragged through an amalgamation of slasher flick kills and expected surprises. The marketing campaign suggested this would be a refreshing light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, the film is a mildly entertaining satire bit with some decent performances from its cast members. The Final Girls never lives up to its own hype and plays like a poor man's version of Pleasantville meets Last Action Hero meets masked slasher in the woods. This is a conceptual idea that comes in far below the bar it so ineptly tries to meet.

Being a fan of these types of films, it's easy to understand and respect what director Todd Strauss-Schulson is going for here. His visual elements definitely stand the test of a recreated past that exists in a bloodied camp stalked by a masked machete killer. The stylistic kills are a definite throwback to better times and the apparent love for Friday the 13th is marked from front to back.  The Final Girls flirts with genius at times but ends up falling short due to a PG-13 rating that restricts the gore factor, limits the sexuality, precludes any nudity, and makes a slasher relatively non-threatening. There was never ONE Friday the 13th movie with anything less than an R. Making a film that exists in the same type of world nearly renders any similarities or tribute like aspects totally useless. With a harder rating and more true genre similarities, this could have been so much better.

"MY GOD!! What IS that smell?"
It would be easy to pick this movie apart all day long, but there are some definite good aspects too. The cinematography is sharp and intelligent. The kills that do exist look realistic and inspired. And most of the cast does a bang up job recreating the '80s goofiness that infected the landscape of the slasher genre. Taissa Farmiga leads the troupe with the always hilarious Malin Akerman in tow. Both serve their purpose. Farmiga plays the innocent real world female lead while Akerman plays the virgin-esque queen bee of the camp in an alternate reality stripped right out of numerous retro camp killer flicks. Most of the other actors live up to their two leads, doing their best just to fill the shoes of their respective characters, reading their lines with just enough realism to get by with a passing grade. The stunning Chloe Bridges makes a mark on The Final Girls, but isn't given enough screen time to really do much.

Horror fans will delight in the throwback scenarios in The Final Girls. Some will even love it for its campy tone. For this guy, it fell short of what it promised. When paying respect to a genre through the use of a film like this, you absolutely cannot fall short in recreating the tone, violence, and a terrifying yet charismatic killer. This doesn't live up to what they set out to do, The Final Girls wants so badly to be the next Cabin in the Woods, but doesn't come close to the love and care that went into that high concept little gem of a movie. With the rating ramped up to an R, more sexuality, and more gore, this could have been great. As it stands, The Final Girls is a mediocre attempt.



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