We all know what happens in slasher movies. Horny teenagers go to summer camp. They get killed off except for the virgin. She’s known as what Carol J. Clover would call the Final Girl and whether that’s actually empowering or not is up to interpretation. In "The Final Girls", we dissect the tropes in a typical 80′s slasher film (a legally safe parody of "Friday the 13th"). In it, Max (Farmiga), Chris (Ludwig), Vicki (Dobrev), Duncan (Middleditch), and Gertie (Shawkat) literally go into the movie where they must come together to kill the slasher and return to real life. If "The Cabin in the Woods" can do meta-horror well in a post-Scream world, so can this.
Although the premise is quite something, the movie is anchored mainly by the daughter-mother relationship between Max and Amanda (played by Malin Åkerman). It’s very sweet and is able to carry most of the movie’s emotional beats that feel both tender and heartbreaking at times. The script is able to balance it’s gang of youngsters in a way that it has you rooting for every member to the very end. Stand out performances include a very optimistic Thomas MIddleditch and well-realized leading performances from Taissa Farmiga and her on-screen mother. It comes together in a well-choreographed production along with some impressive cinematography.
The premise the movie sets up is interesting but it’s not as tight as it can be. Similar to the nature of "It Follows", the movie has to set up a lot of rules that are vaguely followed. Also similar to "It Follows", the score is very retro-sounding but isn’t quite as memorable as the former.
Even though "The Final Girls" is more of a love letter to 80′s horror films than a horror film itself, it’s a smart, well executed dramedy that would make any film fan happy. It’s too bad that it’s in a very limited release because the world need more movies like these.