If a movie has Angela Trimbur in it, then it’s a safe bet I’m going to see it (even if I do have to rent it on iTunes). Add in the fact that I’m a sucker for ‘meta-horror,’ and 2015’s The Final Girls seemed like a film tailor-made for my enjoyment…
…and enjoy it I did. But thanks to an inspired script and an excellent cast, it still managed to exceed my expectations.
The movie opens with a girl named Max waiting for her mom (a semi-famous actress) Amanda to finish with an audition. As they drive home, Amanda laments that she’ll never escape the shadow of her “scream queen” past—specifically her role in the 1986 cult classic horror film, Camp Bloodbath.
What starts as off as a lighthearted scene between mother and daughter turns tragic when they are involved in a car accident, killing Amanda.
Three years later, Max is invited to a special screening of Camp Bloodbath and its sequel. She is hesitant to go (for obvious reasons), but decides that being in the company of her best friend, her best friend’s (horror superfan) step-brother, and her crush will make the evening bearable. Unfortunately, her crush’s possessive girlfriend decides to come along, too. Things get significantly worse when the theater catches fire during the screening (poor girl can’t catch a break).
The group escapes by ripping a hole through the screen, which ends transporting them inside the movie. While this certainly presents an odd and terrifying situation, it also provides Max with a surreal opportunity to reconnect with her mother in the form of her most famous character.
Yes, there’s a lot of meta humor (I’ll get to that). And yes, the horror/action sequences are actually very good.
But what really surprised me about this movie was its heart. Taissa Farmiga (Max) and Malin Åkerman (Nancy/Amanda) have superb family chemistry. From establishing how close the mother-daughter pair was to watching them bond in a completely different world, both actresses masterfully cement their roles as the heart of the story.
I went into The Final Girls expecting to laugh a lot (and I did), but I did not expect to have to hold back tears a couple times. Don’t judge.
Also, the movie has Angela Trimbur, who makes everything she is involved with awesome by default.
What Doesn’t Work
As expected, there are a ton of jokes about horror tropes. Good jokes—many of them laugh out loud funny—but nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s well executed, but still very well worn ground.
While the premise of the The Final Girls isn’t terribly unique, the narrative’s emotional impact is surprising effective, especially for a comedic horror film.
When you combine that with the aforementioned high caliber cast, a cool/scary slasher, and Angela Trimbur, this one’s definitely worth dropping a couple bucks to watch your laptop.