9:13 pm - 8/31/2015

The Final Girls is an Exciting and Hilarious Must-See Horror Comedy

Taissa Farmiga, Charlie Brinke and Nina Dobrev star in post-modern horror/comedy romp The Final Girls, the trailer for which has debuted online just in time for Halloween.

Centering on a teenage girl named Max (Taissa Farmiga), the story picks up some time after the death of her mother (Charlie Brinke), an actress who once starred in a ludicrous '80s horror movie called Camp Bloodbath. Though Max is still struggling to cope with the loss of her mom, she winds up being goaded into attending a special screening of the film, organized by her best friend's step-brother (Thomas Middleditch) - and while the night starts out pretty horrifically, with the theater catching on fire in a freak accident, things only get worse from that point forward. Along with the aforementioned step-brother, her best friend (Alia Shawkat), the boy she has a crush on (Alexander Ludwig), and his bitchy ex-girlfriend (Nina Dobrev), Max tries to escape the cinema by slashing through the silver screen. Unfortunately, this drops the group right inside the plot of Camp Bloodbath, where they must not only try to get back home, but evade the movie's murderous psychopath villain.

Serving as both satire and love letter to the horror movie genre, elements of The Final Girls are certainly derivative, and the concept of being sucked into a movie isn't exactly unique, but director Todd Strauss-Schulson and screenwriters Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin find success simply by doing a thorough and fun job establishing the specific "rules" of the cinematic world that the characters enter into. More than just hammering away at the '80s slasher character and plot tropes that all cinefiles love to poke fun at, the film also incorporates its hyper-meta approach to the visual style as well, doing really wonderful things with elements like flashbacks, musical cues, title cards, slow motion, and the fact that the leads can't do anything to escape this waking nightmare until they complete the fictional story arc that they are stuck in.

The Final Girls boils down to being a strange cross between Cabin in the Woods, Friday the 13th and Last Action Hero, and it's an equation that adds up to a ridiculous and fun flick that's a blast to watch with an enthusiastic audience (which its SXSW premiere most definitely was). An R-rating would have been nice to make the homage more complete, there are certain moments that drag, but ultimately it's the film's great execution of a high-concept script that should appeal to all genre fans.