The Final Girls – Proof that the “Popcorn movie” is alive and well
Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson
If you know me at all, you know that movies are a huge part of my life. I am sure that, if you are visiting this site, you too have a love of movies. For me, most of that love comes from films that had a profound impact on me and the way I see the world. The works of Werner Herzog, Stanley Kubrick, and Alejandro Jodorowski have expanded my mind and changed my life.
With all of that said, there are some movies that, while not exactly life-changing, are what I (and many others) like to refer to as “Popcorn movies”. They are the movies that aren’t going to win many awards, and aren’t going to redefine any genres, but what they will do is entertain the hell out of viewers. They are the type of films that, from the opening credits until the end, you can’t help but smile at the fun that is on screen. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson’s “The Final Girls” is the very definition of a “Popcorn movie”. Fun and entertainment are the focus of a recipe consisting of borrowed ideas, some surprising emotional depth, and a pinch of slasher-flick blood and guts.
When Max (Farmiga) and her friends attend an anniversary showing of “Camp Bloodbath” (a film that starred Max’s tragically deceased mother played by Malin Akerman), they are accidentally sucked into the movie. Max’s friend Duncan (Middleditch) quickly realizes what has happened, and comes up with a solution to get them all home. All they have to do is survive the bloody carnage to come until the “Final girl” kills the deranged, machete-wielding, killer of the 80s cult classic.
The next hour is a roller coaster ride of laughs, tongue-in-cheek gags, and awesome flashbacks. Strauss-Schulson and writers M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller throw in something new and refreshing to their version of the “Popcorn movie” though with the themes of emotional healing and acceptance of loss. The relationship between Max and her mother’s character Nancy adds just enough emotional tenderness to round the film out nicely. That would not have been easy to achieve, if it weren’t for the A+ acting from both Akerman and budding star Taissa Farmiga. The scenes between the two actresses are some of the best of the film, and very important to the script as a breather from the silliness going on all around them. Farmiga is amazing and even though “The Final Girls” is a horror/comedy, it is a nice vehicle for her to show how talented a young performer she is.
Better films than “The Final Girls” have come out in 2015. I would be willing to bet though that, at the end of the year, there will not be many films that are as fun to watch. I can not recommend this movie enough, and am going to watch it again tonight! Pop some popcorn and watch “The Final Girls”. It will be one of the best movie watching nights you have this year!