This is... Final Girl

Gwen Stacy is to be the latest in a long line of victims of an evil acapella group, consisting of Jimmy Fallon, the Fonz (or was it Danny?), Norman Bates, and the milkshake-stealing psychopath Chad Dillon Cooper. They lure in unsuspecting girls to the woods where they hunt them down and kill them. After Gwen charms the boys by breaking some mailboxes and sharing some drinks, an ice breaking game turns south and the guys show their true colors. Gwen is given a five minute head start before she is hunted down like wolves and a rabbit.

Unbeknownst to the boys, however, Gwen was counting on this.

If you let the trailers fool you, Final Girl looks like a thriller with a twist. The "final girl" isn't the one being hunted, she is the real killer! This would have been a great movie for those who enjoyed Hard Candy or the music video for First of the Year by Skrillex. But in reality, the film suffers from a flaw that is so annoyingly common in movies good and bad: the film tries to be more than it should have been.

Final Girl looks like a thriller, but it tries to be an action-thriller. However, the opening third of the movie establishes everything about our heroine except her name or her job. As I am typing this, I have no memory of what the names of all the film's characters are, hense the silly aliases, but I know for a fact that the film never explains what line of work "Gwen" does that involves her going after some random hooligans. Is she some kind of secret agent or bounty hunter?

All I know is that when Gwen was a little girl, her parents died and she was recruited by some organization to become a killer. We then spend the next twenty or so minutes seeing her training and her pointless interactions with her trainer, who has absolutely no relevance to the plot besides foreshadowing. All just to handle some jokers who were completely out of their league from the beginning.

This takes away any tension or suspense the film could have had if it would have just been straightforward. The first twenty minutes would have made for a great plot twist at the end, as well as provide some small context for certain scenes. Instead, the actual movie feels like a magic act where the magician reveals their secrets before the show even begins.

The one saving grace about this film is that there's no cheap melodrama or even angst on the part of our main heroine. I'm tired of TV shows and movies trying to have complex characters but ending up with moody, hypocritical, unlikable jerks who are anti-heroes at best. Gwen has no remorse for the heinous acts she commits on the villains in this film, but at least she a sense of humor. For her, killing people is just a job, even on the clock she still has time to flirt with her trainer. That's more than I can say for any other piece of garbage in this film's lane, where the heroes are always scowling and whining.

True art is NOT angsty!

Alas, this isn't enough to save what could have been an unique, underrated gem in the suspense genre. Final Girl's unnecessary identity crisis turns what should have been a fun twist on a simple premise into a film that has almost no idea of what it's supposed to be.


I give it a so-so rating out of five.


Directed by
Tyler Shields

Starring
Abigail Breslin
Alexander Ludwig
Wes Bentley
Cameron Bright
Francesca Eastwood

Production companies
Final Girl Productions
NGN Productions
Prospect Park

Distributed by
Cinedigm

Release date
August 14, 2015 (United States)

Country
United States

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