RogerBW's Blog

The Final Girls 26 February 2019

2015 horror comedy, dir. Todd Strauss-Schulson, Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman: IMDb / allmovie. Max misses her mother Amanda, who died in a car crash having never transcended her role in Camp Bloodbath, a schlock horror film of the 1980s. After an anniversary screening goes wrong, Max and some friends find themselves living, and dying, in the world of that film.

It's a great idea: the knowing moderns try to navigate the tropes of the film while keeping as many people alive as possible. And much of it works well. But somehow the script always seems to back off from really digging into the implications of its reality: yes, you can invoke a flashback, but what happens if you try to change something that happened "back then"? If the universe is on a 92-minute loop, why is most of the outside film's running time spent in a single iteration, and what does that imply for the characters native to it next time it starts?

But perhaps I'm asking for perfection; what we get is pretty good, with reasonably aware commentary on the conventions of this style of horror film, and more interestingly a genuine sense of connection between Max and "Nancy" (Amanda's character in the inside film). The script may not rise to heights of brilliance but it manages to avoid blatant stupidity; it may go just a little too far for my taste in favour of getting laughs rather than staying true to the characters, but mostly it works. Filming is good and occasionally beautiful (though a few sequences are sadly underlit).

This isn't quite another ideal deconstruction of filmed horror like The Cabin in the Woods, but if you don't expect it to be there's still a great deal of fun to be had.

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