Its hard now to make a slasher film feel fresh and all new. The genre which was all but popular in the early 80’s and for a brief spell in the 90’s is now no longer box office draw, with many entries now heading for the straight to DVD market. Fans like myself are still delighted with some the offerings, Girl House in particular is this year’s highlight, but the truth is many just offer the same old blueprint of a masked goon slaughtering dumb characters.
Kudos then for writing pair M. A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller who deliver the most ambitious slasher tale for many of years, with a plot that could easily appeal to fans of Halloween and Back To The Future, confused? Well I did say it was ambitious.
Right from the start you can see that this is nothing more than a love letter for all us Slash fans. The cheeky use of Jason Voorhees infamous “Ki Ki Ki” sets the juices flowing and then we introduced to the trailer of Camp Bloodbath, so rich and brilliantly done that it just reminds you of an age when these films were everywhere and loved.
Like the many 80’s slash films, Camp Bloodbath is a massive fan cult fave, but not for its star Amanda (the beautiful Malin Akerman) who in the film, played the sweet blonde who loved her guitar, went to have sex only to be killed in typical slash fashion, it was a role that has haunted her ever since. Failing to get a good career, the only good thing in her life is her daughter Max (Taissa Farmiga) and its their relationship that is the heartbeat of the entire film! Its rare thing to find in a slasher movie, of people that you actually care about, but the opening exchange between Mum and Daughter is brilliantly played out, especially when a tragic accident robs Max of her Mum.
Three years later and while Max is trying hard to move on with her life, she reluctantly goes to a Camp Bloodbath film showing surrounded by a few friends, but its doing the watch that something magical and freaky happens….the place catches fire and while trying to escape, Max and company end up in the very film they were watching. Basically we have a Pleasantville meets Last Action Hero meets Friday 13th going on and for the majority of the time it works and you can not help but smile at what you are seeing.
The creative juices that are flowing from the script will only thrill the slash love in you and if you thought Cabin In The Woods took a cliché routine and offered something new, then The Final Girls surpasses that attempt, as this really is the best kind of spoof I have seen in a long long time!
As soon as the gang realise they are in the film and have to play it out, there are many gags that will have you smiling. It helps that all the characters bring something good to the film. With Max, we have her best friend, the “bitch” friend, the movie geek friend and also a potential boyfriend. All Slasher characters we have seen before, but all likeable in their own way. The laughs come from when the gang meet up with the Camp Bloodbath counsellors, who are all set in pure 80’s slash stereotypical stone. Kurt played by Adam DeVine is everything you expect from a slasher movie jock……all muscles, stupid dialogue and believes every girl wants to sleep with him. Its Angela Trimbur who steals every scene with her character Tina being slut of the camp! Her dance to entice the bogeyman is worth the watch alone and quite possibly the best moment of the film.
Like I said, the heartbeat is the Mum and daughter angle, so when Max reunites with her Mum, who is now just Nancy in the movie, the film has an emotional hold that surprisingly grasped my heart strings and I had no idea where the writers were taking this storyline, its nice to say that the eventual outcome had me happy and sad at the same time!
But what of the bogeyman? Well he is nothing more than a Jason clone, which of course is intentional. Here by the name of Billy Murphy (Dan B. Norris) his back story is played out in all its black and white glory which reminds me that its yet another scene that sparkles with originality. It also helps that every time he appears, the gang from the real world hear the “Ki Ki Ki” which is a lovely nod to us fans.
Sadly though for all its cleverness and plot, for a slasher movie, the film fails in that department. The killings are lame and there is hardly any serious gore, which disappointed me as I wanted chills to go with the laughs, but its obvious that the writers weren’t interested in really making a blood bath, what they have done instead is take the self knowing of Scream and raised the bar even higher. Even the finale and end shot screams “SEQUEL!” but they be hard pressed to get it as good the second time around.
Hysterical while at times pulling on your heart strings, The Final Girls was 2015’s most welcome surprise, a comedy horror that will rightly become a much loved cult film in a few years. It may not have the killing spree you hoped for, but I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much at a Slash movie……oh wait, yes I do……Halloween Resurrection but those were laughs for all the wrong reasons, hey maybe I can end up in that film and warn Michael that Busta Rhymes is all set to kung fu his ass…..hence saving the franchise from Rob Zombie…..but before I do that, I am going to re-watch Final Girls again……..just for that dance……Good old Tina!…….bonkers!
4 Hatchets Out of 5