Todd Strauss-Schulson's The Final Girls is a satirically take on the slasher genre that is certainly clever, but unfortunately it lacks the bite necessary to stand out in the ever increasing field of satirical, horror comedy films. The story is centered around Max, a teenager who hasn't quite been the same since the death of her mother via car crash several years ago. Reluctantly, Max and her friends attend a tribute screening of the infamous 80s slasher film starring Max's own late mother, but when the movie theater catches on fire, Max and her friends find themselves inexplicably sucked into the very movie they were watching. Trapped inside the cult classic b-movie slasher, Max and her friends must team up with the fictional characters at "Camp Bloodbath" in an attempt to kill the machete-wielding killer, Billy Murphy. While The Final Girls is a clever concept that certainly understands the tropes of the genre, the film never really embraces what it is trying to create, offering up a soft-serve PG-13 film that never has the bite necessary to fully satirize the genre. The film's best attribute though is definitely is ingenuity when it comes to mocking the genre tropes, offering up a surprisingly smart lecture of sorts on the rampant sexism in these types of films which is pointed and quite funny. I particularly liked the clever way the film satirizes the flashbacks, doing so in a unique way, though I'd still argue that most of the film's smartest ideas aren't specific to the horror genre (end credits, sequels, flashbacks, off voice narration). Its not that The Finals Girls is bad by any means, it just doesn't bring that much new to the table, offering up more of the same we've seen before from these types of films. The dramatic weight of the film, centered around Max and the death of her mother, almost feels out of place at times as well, and while I wouldn't say it doesn't work I'd certainly argue it's unnecessary to the story. While one could certainly argue that the R rating isn't necessary, The Finals Girls really struggled due to its inability to satirize the bloodshed of the slasher genre, being a clever, playful film that never has the bite I was hoping for.
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