In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Welcome To Camp Bloodbath.

Midnight Madness (and this year's TIFF) wrapped up last Saturday with Todd Strauss-Schulson's The Final Girls.

Max (Taissa Farmiga) and her friends get sucked into a eighties horror movie that starred her mother, Amanda Cartwright (Malin Akerman) a celebrated Scream Queen who was killed in a car crash one year previous. Reunited with her mom, Max tries to keep everyone alive inside the confines of a slasher flick.

I had heard a lot about The Final Girls going in and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found a good deal of it charming, clever and it really seemed like the filmmakers were having a good deal of fun playing with convention.

If I sound surprised, it's due to preconceived notions based on the overwhelming dislike among my peers leading up to the screening. The two main detractors seemed to be that for a film deconstructing the slasher genre, it was relatively tame and the writers seemed to lack the understanding of what a Final Girl actually was. In truth, both of these criticisms were valid, but within the context of this movie, it didn't bother me. I mean, was there a cooler, edgier movie inside this premise? Probably, but I don't feel slighted. I also don't feel that the inaccuracies put forth were there out of ignorance. They obviously knew the tropes, I think it's more likely the writers just didn't feel they fit with the story they wanted to tell.

Taissa Farmiga (left), Malin Akerman & Angela Trimbur in The Final Girls.

And that story lies with the mother/daughter relationship between Amanda and Max. I thought Farmiga & Akerman were both tremendous and their moments together gave the piece some real heart. They were almost too good because it ended up giving the movie a bizarre, somewhat confused tone between overt comedy and genuine seriousness. However, in regards to the parody, I definitely felt the filmmakers were laughing with their audience, and not at them.

I've also been reflecting on the differences between this and The Girl In The Photographs. The unlikable characters in Final Girls were caricatures of movie tropes, whereas those in Girl seemed to be more like exaggerated portraits of actual people. I'm way more interested in hanging out with the former.

This movie went over well with the midnight crowd, but I have the admit the most puzzling part of the Q&A was that so many people seemed to be shitting themselves over Nina Dobrev, when Akerman - motherfucking Silk Spectre herself - was standing right next to her.

Director Todd Strauss-Schulson, Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman & Nina Dobrev.

The Final Girls is a movie that will likely be as divisive as Cabin In The Woods was a few years back, but I happily embraced it for what it was, a spirited shake-up of one of horror's most celebrated tropes.

*Q&A photo courtesy of Ian Goring.

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