While there’s still technically one more day of the Stanley Film Festival (more on the fest here) to go, Saturday night saw the annual horror celebration holding its closing festivities. And The Final Girls ended up being the perfect, insanely fun, choice to bring things to a close. Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson from a script by M.A. Fortune and Joshua John Miller, the film is a meta romp through slasher tropes that entertains mightily
You might have already read Perri’s glowing review, but I also have a few quick thoughts on The Final Girls (which stars Taissa Farmiga, Alia Shawkat, Nina Dobrev, Alexander Ludwig, Thomas Middleditch and Malin Akerman). First of all, the film has a lot of heart, which isn’t exactly what you’d expect from this type of thing but it works very well. The movie is clearly a love letter to genre films from the 80’s (the heavy signifier is Friday the 13th but the film’s use of color is more giallo), and I was almost expecting the framing device to just be lip service and a bit of shorthand to get us into the film’s main conceit, but it’s an emotional anchor that contextualizes almost every choice our characters make.
That’s not to say The Final Girls is a dour affair. Quite the contrary, it’s one of the best horror comedies I’ve seen in some time and it really nails a brand of humor that’s almost impossible to get right. The people in the audience, who at this point in the fest are normally exhausted, were having so much fun it became an integral part of my experience.
This brings me to my next point. Sony Pictures will release The Final Girls in October. I’m not quite sure what kind of release they’re planning, but these days an inexpensive film like this with a mixed tone is usually relegated to an obligatory handful of screens before making its way to VOD three weeks later. If that’s the case here, it would be a huge missed opportunity. Seeing the way this movie plays with a crowd, I’m confident it could play well in a wider release. While “older” audiences (anyone over thirty) will of course love the movie, it’s about the millennial generation – who pretty much see movies in the theater or not at all (at least legally, as far as I can ascertain). And this could be an event for them as well if rolled out properly. I’ve seen a lot of horror comedies and The Final Girls easily gains instant placement in my top 10 of that subgenre. It would be a shame to see it ignored.
Sweet / smart / super-meta slasher The Final Girls was everything I wanted from The Final Girls. I’ve also now cried at @StanleyFilmFest
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