The Final Girls (2015)

The Final Girls poster.jpg
Slash Fiction

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Starring: Taissa Farminga, Malin Åkerman, Adam Devine, Alexander Ludwig, Alia Shawkat, Nina Dobrev, Thomas Middleditch

Ever since Wes Craven unleashed the one, two of New Nightmare and Scream, the horror genre has been welcoming to an inclusion of meta-comedy. The best examples have stood out by working through the clichés of different horror sub-genres, and that's exactly what The Final Girls gets right.

Max (Taissa Farminga) and her friends attend a showing of 80's horror flick 'Camp Bloodbath', screened in tribute of Max's late mother (Malin Åkerman), who was one of the stars. They are sucked into the cult film during the screening, forced to enact the film whilst trapped within. They are forced to team-up with the ill fated counsellors, including the character played by Max's mother, to fight off the psychotic killer.

Todd Strauss-Schulson utilizes a unique and stylish direction to help make the film it's own distinctive beast. From the transitions between flashbacks to the appearance of the titles, there's a visual inventiveness prevalent all throughout, and it's fantastic to behold. It helps that the handling of the horror and comedy elements are utilised so well, with a number of deaths hitting as well as the hilarious jokes.

What's apparent is the level of appreciation held for classic slasher flicks, especially with Friday the 13th. From the music to the cinematography and especially the cheesy lines, special attention is made to perfectly replicate an 80's slasher film. There's even a sly nod to the antiquated attitudes of homosexuality found. What's unfortunate is how the film sets out rules, and then doesn't stick to them. It establishes that the characters are unable to deviate from the original films structure, yet breaks this rule halfway through.

But the films biggest strength is the surprisingly emotional core. At the centre of this horror-comedy lies Max, and how she has to accept the death of her mother, through the possible death of Nancy, her mother's onscreen character. It's a delicious allegory, made all the more interesting by the parallels between both of Malin Åkerman's roles. From the initial set-up to the satisfying conclusion, Taissa Farminga sells it extremely well.

Todd Strauss-Schulson's latest acts as a self-aware love letter to 80's slasher films, as well as an effective horror which delivers impressive visuals, whip-smart dialogue and one hell of an emotional centre. The Final Girls is a one of the smartest meta-horror films to grace the genre.