Tuesday, October 20, 2015

31 Days of Halloween 2015: The Final Girls

2015, Todd Strauss-Schulson (Betas) -- download

Downloading is getting confusing these days. I see a trailer on Apple Trailers or IMDB, and I think this movie is about to come out in the theatres. Then I almost immediately see a copy on the download sites. I understand, some Straight to X might get a trailer, and get released to the OnDemand services almost immediately, and then that means, gets ripped almost immediately. But some, like The Final Girls, I was pretty sure was getting wide theatre release. And yet here it is, a great media rip up for the viewing.

And don't get me started on the way Amazon does TV.

Anywayz, yes, I did expect to try and see The Final Girls in the cinema. Don't get it confused with Final Girl or the other movies that also play on the trope -- that in horror movies, there is usually a last girl who survives, by virtue of her virtue, and defeats the bogeyman. In The Final Girls, Taissa Farmiga is Max, the daughter of a woman who played a not so virtuous girl in this world's analog of Friday the 13th. She didn't survive, in the movie or long into Max's life, and now we have Max being dragged / guilted into attending the local rep theatre's showing of her mom's movie. Local celebrity and all.

An accidental fire leads the group of friends and frienemies through a tear in the screen and into... yep, you guess it, the movie. In a great introductory sequence, the group encounters the van with the kids from the movie, on their way to the summer camp to be slaughtered. At first they are just confused, but 92 minutes later, they are even more confused. Let's ignore the timing ignores In Movie time for running time, but along comes the van again, repeating the scene until they climb into the van to join the kids. At that point, they realize the only way out of the movie is to live through the movie, by surviving until the end, when the Final Girl kills that camp's bogeyman.

This movie was a lot of fun, as it balanced the weight of the film between the absolute lunacy of what these camp kids represent, blatant non-real chances for the "real" kids to go home, and the death and fear going on. They stand by and watch one couple die in the woods, pretty much assuming they are not characters, but observers, immune to the deaths that are coming. Or are they? Do they tell these kids what is going on and help them, or do they just run the movie to the end?

The sweet scenes between the daughter and the character who looks like her mother are odd, as the movie attempts, only somewhat successfully to add emotional weight. The camp kids are even more caricatures of real camp kids, then they are in any of the movies we have seen, but does that mean they deserve to die, even fictionally? Once things go kind of sideways, then they become as immersed in this world as the camp kids and all questions of what is real or not are abandoned.

The movie doesn't actually ever give a reason or an explanation for what is happening, just leading you from the camp into the sequel, leaving you to decide whether these kids were already dead in the theatre fire or all this is truly magical realism. But really, who cares but my brain, as the fun is in seeing how they handle the bogeyman, right down to the gearing up montage and the creative deaths scenes.