Have You Heard Of: The Final Girls

Well, friends, we’re halfway through July, and it’s been a doozy for us so far! What with our big move to our new house and CONvergence 2016 happening right around the same time, I managed to wear my immune system down severely and ended up getting a nasty bug that had me confined to the couch for a couple of days over the 4th of July — not exactly the fun weekend I had planned.

But like any good nerd, I made the best of my mandatory downtime by having an impromptu movie marathon! And one of the movies I took in is the topic of today’s blog post — The Final Girls. This film has been on Peder’s and my to-watch list for a while. Our mutual love for cheesy movies, satire, and Thomas Middleditch made this one a must-see for us. The Final Girls has all the goofy greatness of a made-for-TV flick, and is as (surprisingly) deep as it is delightful.

Image Credit: Simple Film Reviews

Image Credit: Simple Film Reviews

The heroine of the story is Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga). As the film begins, we learn that it’s the third anniversary of Max’s mother’s death — and that her mom, Amanda Cartwright (Malin Ackerman), was an actress best known for her role as a scream queen in a 1986 slasher called Camp Bloodbath. It just so happens that there’s a special screening of Camp Bloodbath that very night, and a half-reluctant, half-yearning Max is dragged along to see it with a few of her friends. After a freak accident starts a raging fire in the theater, Max and her friends try to leave via what they think is an exit behind the movie screen. But they don’t end up outside of the theater like they expected — when they step behind the screen, Max and friends soon find that they’ve stepped right into the movie itself.

To escape, they’ll have to defeat Billy, the villain of Camp Bloodbath, and there’s only one person who can deliver the killing blow — the final girl, that quintessential character who’s always the last one standing in slasher flicks. Matters are further complicated by the fact that, inside the movie, Max gets the mixed blessing of coming face-to-face with Nancy, the character her mom played in the movie. Will Max and her friends make it out of the movie alive? And will Max find a way to bring Nancy (or, as she can’t help but see her, her mom) back with them?

Image Credit: Fandango

Image Credit: Fandango

Peder and I both really enjoyed this movie. It had all the campy goodness (literally and otherwise) we expected, and a pretty surprising amount of emotional depth. It was a great combo of slapstick humor, hilariously caricaturized horror movie tropes, and a fast-moving plot. It had a lot of heart without feeling sappy, and just the right amount of incisive, sarcastic humor, showing that the writers understood its source material well enough to make fun of it in a hilarious, satisfying way.

The Final Girls was the perfect sick-day movie, and would be just as much fun for a lazy afternoon, or even as part of a parody movie marathon (it’d fit in quite nicely with the likes of Hot Fuzz and Spaceballs, for example). If you’re a fan of parodies, horror films, or just good old-fashioned campiness, do yourself a favor and watch this one!

Have you seen The Final Girls? What was your favorite bit? If not, is this one on your list?

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