Title: Final Girl
Release Date: 08.14.2015
Horror Subgenre: Revenge
Synopsis: A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. 13 years later, at 18 she will approach a group of sadistic teens who killed blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins. (Excerpt from IMDB)
Premise: Revenge films are not only a subgenre of horror but also that of exploitation cinema. The concept uses lurid subject matter most commonly violent crime to grip the audience emotionally. Tragedy and injustice befalls the protagonist (usually female), and in some twisted circumstances the table turn between the victim and his/her oppressors. Through the use of thought provoking scenarios the revenge subgenre carries with it a blend of Suspense, Thriller, and at times outright gore. Since the seventies many revenge films have sparked controversy for its grittiness and depravity.
"Final girl" attempts inclusion to the revenge subgenre but falls short on every aspect. Aside from the atmospheric stylization there is nothing about this films that merits acclaim. The script is lazily written, presenting a storyline that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. In fact our intelligence is insulted outright with outlandish ideas. For instance, a group of teens are committing murder over a thirteen year period. Did they begin homicidal tendencies at preschool? Secondly, there is no police inquiry whatsoever to the disappearance of over twenty women. In an upper class community, how is that even possible? These are only but a couple of examples we are to believe for entertainment purposes. Fair warning, “Final Girl” also carries the cliche preppy/snobby rich Caucasians- villainy hunter/killers archetype.
Performance: The protagonist, Veronica is portrayed by Abigail Breslin, a veteran actress with notable roles in horror movies. The backstory to her character is basically as follows; orphaned at age five, Victoria is literally exploited by a mystery man (played by Wes Bentley) in his personal quest for vengeance. Logically speaking, Mystery Man should’ve been the protagonist in this film since he was the one dealing with the tragedy and injustice. Furthermore, clearly the character had the skill to eliminate the source(s) of his penned up wrath on his own.
Most of the film consists of scenes where Veronica undergoes mental and physical training for her ultimate task. Apparently, a fight coordinator wasn’t in the film budget because the “training sessions” looked worse than a Spanish telenovela fight scene. Breslin’s physical stature compounds the lack of realism for the role, with thirteen years of combat training her character should’ve mirrored that of a female MMA fighter.
As with the rest of the supporting cast the overall portrayal was exhibited with B-movie-esque execution further downgrading the ridiculousness of every character. Lack of execution shouldn’t be blamed on the cast when the roles were baseless and lacked proper structure.
Scare Factor: None, no thrill, no suspense, nada. Gore? Not that either.
Overall: Atmospherics were executed with phenomenal lighting and there is a reason why. “Final Girl” is the directorial debut from photographer Tyler Shields. Unfortunately, the technique was overly done in key settings, to the point where it subtracted suspenseful aesthetic.The forest scene is particularly in question, it appeared to be filmed in the backyard of Times Square. Shields failed in another scene with the use of CGI rainfall. Amazingly no one got wet and Breslin’s hair was impervious to the computer generated cascade.
Final Verdict: Horrible, simply horrible. “Final Girl” lacked concept and development, a Revenge film this definitely is not. The plot is poorly written, delivered and executed with characters that were downright preposterous. Compositions were amazing, carefully crafted lighting delivered emphasis and mood. However, most scenes could have done without the creative lighting which was truly the only acclaim in the debacle titled “Final Girl”.