Of all the movies that I’ve covered so far, this one surprised me the most. I guess if I had even read the synopsis or anything, I wouldn’t have been as surprised, but still. The only thing I knew about this film going in was the star studded cast – Taissa Farmiga, Alexander Ludwig, Alia Shawkat, Nina Dobrev, and Malin Akerman to name the ones in particular I excited about. If a cast like that doesn’t intrigue you then I don’t know what will. Maybe this still from the movie?
So…..this post is going to be a little bit different from my other ones. I’ve been debating about how to discuss this film and I’ve decided I’m not going to tell you what the film is about. I’m going to try really hard to avoid even mentioning most things about the story itself because, if you haven’t already seen it and aren’t familiar with this little gem, I want you to have the same experience I had watching this film. If, by the end, I haven’t convinced you to watch it. Google it. Maybe that will do the trick. But maybe just….trust me, I had a blast. And hey, if you have heard about it and weren’t impressed by the concept (though why wouldn’t you be?) then maybe you’ll actually want to watch it after reading some of my thoughts on the matter.
Let me share some of the notes I took while watching just to give you my overall impression throughout: “This is wild. Digging it. This is unique. I’m into it.” “THIS MOVIE IS SO FASCINATING.” “I JUST LOVED THAT SO MUCH?!?!?!?!?! LIKE. SO. MUCH.” Just for that true hook, line, and sinker — I enjoyed this film so much, I immediately bought a digital copy after watching.
If you’re familiar with the horror genre (especially slasher films) you’re aware of the concept of The Final Girl. She’s almost always a virgin and, as the name implies, she’s the last person left alive during the finale sequence. The Final Girl doesn’t always make it out alive, but regardless she must suffer. Think: Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, Sidney Prescott in Scream, or Ripley in Alien to get an idea of what I mean. As the name implies, the film is centered around the idea of The Final Girl.
Like some of its predecessors, Scream and Cabin in the Woods to be specific, this film offers a look at the genre itself. Why are we as an audience fascinated by the systematic torment of The Final Girl? Why is it so important she be, at least, “pure”, if she’s not a virgin? What is it about horror films that appeal to us? One of the characters states kind of early on, “I can’t believe we’re just going to casually watch someone get murdered.” I heard that and was immediately the embodiment of that gif of the man blinking. Why was I just so casually watching someone get murdered not just on this one night but so many nights? Kind of an unsettling thought when it’s pointed out.
While maybe not as strong as the other aforementioned meta-horror films, The Final Girls is a fun satire on the slasher film subgenre. It’s refreshing in its execution and so incredibly unique from other films of this nature. I was left guessing what they were going to try next and how far they were going to take us into the concept. Some of it seems a little ridiculous at times but…isn’t that just part of slasher films? At some point you find yourself thinking, “this is just a little too much,” like in Nightmare on Elm Street when Johnny Depp’s character is killed and this just Old Faithful style geyser of blood bursts out of him. That just adds to the charm of these old slashers in their own way though.
The heart of this film is so strong; anchored on Taissa Farmiga’s more than capable shoulders, though, to be fair she is surrounded by a just as delightful and talented group of costars who bring such color and fun to the screen so it’s kind of unfair to credit this film’s success just to her. When you’ve got such power houses like Alia Shawkat though, you know you’re in for a treat. So come for the horror film, stay for the talent. Or, come for the talent, stay for the themes, like I did. Either way, it’s a win.
So….what do you think? Are you intrigued? You should be. Go, go, go, go! What are you waiting for?