Thursday, June 02, 2016

The Final Girls

FRIDAY THE 13TH meets THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO in this good-looking but empty takeoff on 1980s slasher movies. THE FINAL GIRLS is ultimately never as clever as its premise, partially because it doesn't have enough story to stretch to the end and partially because the filmmakers are not as familiar as the subject matter as they should be.

Teenagers Max (AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s Taissa Farmiga), Gertie (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT’s Alia Shawkat), Vicki (THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’ Nina Dobrev), Duncan (SILICON VALLEY’s Thomas Middleditch), and Chris (VIKINGS’ Alexander Ludwig) check out a revival screening of the 1986 horror movie CAMP BLOODBATH, which starred Max’s late mother Amanda (TROPHY WIFE Malin Akerman). The fivesome are somehow transported inside the movie, where they join the formerly two-dimensional camp counselors dodging the bloody machete of spree killer Billy (Daniel Norris).

Obviously, SCREAM was a major influence on director Todd Strauss-Schulson (A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS) and screenwriters M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller, particularly the character of Duncan, who echoes Jamie Kennedy’s film buff Randy, but is less likable. Where THE FINAL GIRLS feels original is in the relationship between Sam and her mother...or rather Sam and Nancy, the character portrayed by Amanda in CAMP BLOODBATH. The horror scenes are a bust (for some reason, the film is PG-13 with no gore or nudity), and the movie-within-a-movie isn’t an accurate depiction of ‘80s horror (the actors are playing it like a parody). The mother/daughter scenes are touching and human, and Akerman and Farmiga make the unlikely relationship play. Having a character dance to Warrant’s 1990 hit “Cherry Pie” is an egregious anachronism. Come on, guys.

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