The Final Girls

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You will be tempted to pass this one by based on what you think it is. Don’t. Where It Follows was a sincere (if flawed) homage to 80s horror films, Final Girls took a lesson from Cabin in the Woods and created both an homage and a satire of the same period. It even manages to feel fresh and unique by coming up with a clever plot and good motivations. It is hyper-conscious of both the story they’ve created and the stories they’re making fun of.

Taisa Farmiga (American Horror Story) and Malin Ackerman (Rock of Ages) really make the approach work. Ackerman, in particular, swings between two personalities while Farmiga has to navigate the implications and tension with her. The two work beautifully together to add some real emotion into an absurd situation.

The rest of the cast fills in the gaps and the cliches with verve. The corps de ballet consists of a broad range of folks: Alexander Ludwig (Vikings), Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), Alia Shawkat (The To Do List), and Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley). Each fills a particular and recognizable niche.

Working with them, Angela Trimbur, Chloe Bridges (Carrie Diaries), and Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect 2) take on the remaining pieces with stuntman Dan B. Norris stepping into the shoes of the killer. They are extreme in their interpretations, but it is by intention. Only Devine grates, and he is meant to; it is just not my sense of humor. If you liked him as Bumper, you’ll like this character as well.

Strauss-Schulson (A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas) directed Miller’s solid and inventive script with incredible respect for the intent. The tone rides the line it needs to, with a constant wink and nudge to the audience while still maintaining a grounding in some kind of emotional reality. It really is worth your time if you enjoyed any of the genre in the past. In fact, if you only ever laughed at them, you’ll find this take on the idea entertaining. Take the risk and set aside the 90 minutes. Honestly, I think you’ll be surprised.

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