Posts Tagged ‘2015’

The Final Girls (2015)

October 1, 2018

I first started watching horror movies when I was rather young. I was trying to remember the first horror movies that I might have watched. A lot of great horror movies were made in the decade that I was born (the Eighties) but I would have been too young for most of them and I had to watch them later. To the best of my recollection, my first horror movie was Gremlins which is a pretty good one to start with when I was probably only nine. As I got older, my family purposefully set out to watch some of the classic horror movies until my mom decided she had had enough. My youngest brother and I carried on and I watched a lot of the most iconic horror movies (and some real stinkers). Some kids experience a blurring of the line between fantasy and reality when they are kids but I never had that problem. Still, I definitely theorized what I would do if I was in a horror movie. I think most of us fans have done it. We second guess the victims and speculate how we would get away from the monster or madman. It is kind of like what our imaginations do when we hear a random sound in the darkness while we are in bed. All of our memories of fantasy and reality flit through our heads and we imagine we are about to murk somebody with a baseball bat. Of course, it is probably just a pet or a rat or something.

I absolutely love classic horror films. They are hard to deny because most of us grew up with them looming large (or if you are young, your parents could never shut up about them). I watched Freddy and Jason movies at a young age and my half-goth personage also watched anything spooky I could get my hands on. Of course, that is the inspiration for my fanfiction-y/AU series Aftershocks. I also went through a period where I was really into the classic Universal monsters and I am a sucker for anything that adapts those classic characters. Because of all of the horror that I have watched and my pop culture sponge brain, I have absorbed a lot of lore. It is mostly because I love exploring the lore of franchise horror because it is both interesting and silly. I love that each sequel of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise added more and more to Freddy Krueger’s history and subtly changed the rules while still keeping the major talking points. The same goes for Jason, The Evil Dead, and good old Chucky. Each of these franchises obviously had some sort of central lore that did not really change but was tweaked a bit to fit later installments. Of course, there are a lot of fans out there who feel the same way. Remembering goofy horror movie lore is really no different from remembering all of the plot points of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars family trees, after all.

The movie is about a young teenage girl who lost her actress mother in a crash years ago. Her mother had been the standout actress in a cult classic slasher film (a clear parody of the Friday the 13th franchise). She ends up getting sucked into the movie along with her friends and must figure out how to survive and how they might possibly escape. The concept is not new (see Last Action Hero) but the twist of meeting a fictionalized version of her dead mother is definitely a cool addition. The movie really ramps up the campiness of eighties horror but has an undercurrent of real fear and heart. One of my favorite things is how they oversaturated the colors inside the film to really play up that classic horror feel. There are also interesting ways that they visualize classic movie tropes and effects. They also parody horror movie fans (especially the really creepy ones) who delight in the gore a little too much. It also parodies horror nerds like me who engage in a little too much meta theorizing. The gore effects are pretty tame but I actually appreciate that for what is supposed to be a goofy but slightly scary movie.

The heart of the movie is Taissa Farmiga who plays Max who misses her mother and is tired of being reminded of the movie. She is the emotional heart of the movie and the obvious protagonist. Her best friend is played by Alia Shawkat who is great at being a sarcastic realist. Alexander Ludwig is great as her nice, reasonable possible love interest. Thomas Middleditch, of course, plays the horror nerd who has a lovable and realistic awkwardness. There is also Nina Dobrev who plays the stereotypical “mean girl” (except she is from the real world). Max’s kind-of mom is played by Malin Akerman and it is fun to watch her slowly break out of her “programming”. Adam Devine plays the stereotypical jerky jock far too well. One of the funniest parts of the movie is Angela Trimbur’s performance as an absolutely zero intelligence hot girl who is just so confused but happy. There is also the awkward but charming Tory Thompson as the token black guy and also the token nerd in the film. One of the best parts of the movie is watching both real and film characters change through their miniature character arcs. The concept of real people interacting with fictional characters and changing the story is a fun one.

Overall, this was a great movie. It was definitely a fun movie to start Halloween with because I always like remembering how fun horror can be. Which is perfect because this is a movie very self-aware of itself and the horror of not only evading a psycho killer but also actually dealing with brainless horror movie characters. The movie is basically what Scream tried to do with the meta storytelling but done better. It is stylish and while it is campy it is also surprisingly clever. There are so many tributes to eighties horror but they went back and made it better by making it something a little different. I came in prepared to laugh and I did but I also got some chills and some touching moments as well. I definitely recommend it.

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