“They won’t be singing Kumbaya, they’ll be singing Kumbay nooooo!” Does anybody miss cheesy eighties horror slashers as much as I do? Do you revere them yet understand the glorious unsavoryness of them? This flick is the answer to our prayers! From the Man who brought us A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas and Homer from Near Dark comes the Final Girls! Beginning with an amazing grind house trailer to open the movie followed by a very tear inducing introduction to our lead protagonist this film is much more than meets the eye.
Amanda Cartwright is an 80’s Scream Queen that starred in the most notorious summer camp slasher film of all time, Camp Bloodbath! Unfortunately in this modern day and age she is having a hard time landing acting jobs and raising her teenage daughter Max. An accident occurs killing Amanda tragically leaving Max an Orphan. Max’s best friend Gertie has a brother named Duncan who is one of the biggest Camp Bloodbath fans ever and is holding a Camp Bloodbath double feature on the anniversary of Max’s mother’s death. Duncan convinces Max and her friends to attend and make an appearance, but once the film begins to roll a fire breaks out and Max and her friends tear a hole in the film screen in order to escape which transports them into the slasher film! Faced with slasher cliches, bad acting and an eighties period that none of them are accustomed to, Max and her friends must survive the film in order to escape home, but Max must also deal with seeing her mother again within the film. The problem is the girl is not her mother, but the character her mother portrayed named Nancy. Emotions run high and moral ideals accompany the forthcoming bloodbath from the celluloid slasher!
The title sequence gives a loving nod to the same style used opening John Carpenter’s The Thing and even uses the same Ch-Ch-Ch theme as Friday the 13th! This is one of the most lovingly crafted homages to eighties horror I have ever seen committed to screen. It has the right combo of love and laughter for what it’s mocking but also parodies cinema in general. Because our antagonists are basically the audience not only do they acknowledge these tropes and storytelling tools but they use them to their advantage. My favorite example of that being when they start telling a flashback story in order to escape from the killer and watch the flashback characters accidentally take him out!
In essence there really are two movies here. There’s the slasher movie with all the characters intertwining with the real world characters and there’s the mother daughter movie. As ridiculously silly but the heart and core is Max and her Mother. Having lost her in real life, Max cannot stand to lose her within the film and tries everything to protect her and even considers bringing her back to the real world. Watching the sequences between Taissa Farmiga’s Max and Malin Ackerman’s Nancy are very compelling and at times heart breaking. These characters give the film it’s soul and make it so much more than just another parody. Director Todd Slauss-Schulen had recently lost his father in real life and felt a kinship to Max and this film was a coping mechanism for him that really bleeds out onto the screen enhancing the soul of the film itself.
For you gorehounds who are wanting a high body count and guts galore you might be a little disappointed. It is a PG-13 film, so when characters are killed you don’t really see much carnage and you will definitely get no F-bombs. There is masked nudity which is once again used as a trope to the protagonists advantage such as the cliche that the killer always kills people who have sex or get naked. They have one of the girls give the most ridiculously hilarious strip tease to Warrant’s Cherry Pie to lure the killer in where they’ve set booby traps for him. The thing is though this film doesn’t need the gore to give its desired effect. There are two types of deaths in the film. The first is the deaths of the characters within the Camp Bloodbath film which are ridiculous and hilarious, then there are the deaths Max’s friends that when they occur are not overtly gory but resonate and mean something to the core story, giving more of an emotional and dramatic impact.
This is the perfect film for any horror fan who wants to watch the tropes and cliches used in ridiculous ways and a wholly original take on how to tell a slasher story. It’ll make you laugh and cry as well as teach you to not be the jackass in the theater who drops the bottle of vodka on the ground or the guy who lets his cigarette buds fall all over the theater floor. That’s how you send people into a slasher movie people! By burning down a theater! I hardcore hope we get a sequel because the ending opens up the possibility perfectly.
9 More Days til’ Halloween! Halloween!
9 More Days til’ Halloween! Silver Shamrock!