November 9, 2015

Movie Monday: Final Girl

Final Girl Final Girl (not to be confused with The Final Girls) is a stylish horror movie with an increasingly common twist: the girl being chased by killers is highly skilled herself, and the hunters become the hunted.  It's hard to say where the movie goes wrong.

Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) shows off her Academy-nominated chops, moving smoothly from scared teenage girl to cold and ready fighter.  Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games) is terrific as her mentor.  Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games, The Final Girls) does a fine job as the leader of the teenage killers, even if he is several years to old for the part.  The other three killers manage to differentiate themselves neatly despite all being brunets in suits.  But Final Girl is just cold.

Final Girl is the directorial debut of Tyler Shields, a photographer.  His skill shows in every frame of the movie.  The composition of it is beautiful, especially the lighting.  It feels derivative, however.  The color scheme is mostly black, white, and red and there is a retro, fifties noir feel.  It's been done, and the fifties' feel adds nothing to the story.

The best scene is probably Danny (Logan Huffman) dancing with his axe, a fun scene that was done even better in Kung Fu Hustle.

The story of Final Girl is simple, and yet leaves so many questions.  How did Veronica and William know about these four?  How do others not, if twenty blonde girls have gone missing recently?  There's also the fact that Veronica is supposed to win her fights by being smarter, and yet the movie has her get into a fistfight with Jameson.  As hard as the movie tries, Ludwig is at least a foot taller than Breslin and quite muscular.  I'd love to see her win through wits as the movie promised; the fistfight is just ridiculous.

Final Girl looks lovely and boasts several good performances.  But the thin story doesn't have enough detail to support what is there because of the emphasis on style over substance.  There's no tension to the story, and the ideas have been executed better elsewhere.  This was a waste of the cast's talents.

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