Final Girl

final-girl.36562With the title Final Girl I was expecting a twist on the Slasher genre. As the Final Girl is a term for the Slasher genre to refer to the heroine who survives and defeats the killer. Often with wit and determination rather than brute force. Which it absolutely isn’t, which while initially disappointing Final Girl turned out to be worth every minute of its 84 minute run time. What it turns out to be was a well executed dark thriller with a splash of horror overtones. I say splash because there is a distinct muting of dread and revulsion, which are still there. OK, maybe not the revulsion. Where Final Girl truly shines is the visuals and the characterization.

Final Girl opens with a man named William (Wes Bentley) talking to a young girl about the death of her parents. He gives her a number of tests before deciding to take her into some form of shadowy program. The film then advances twelve years, the young girl Veronica (Abigail Breslin) now grown up has spent the last twelve years training under William to be a deadly killer. Trained in hand to hand combat, to resist fatigue, different weapons as well as survival. For her last test Veronica is given a chemical cocktail showing her, her greatest fear. Which happens to be failure. It also serves the purpose of allowing her to understand the mental state of her assigned victims will be experiencing. Who we then learn about. Four men, Danny (Logan Huffman), Shane (Cameron Bright), Nelson (Reece Thompson), and their leader Jameson (Alexander Ludwig) are a group of like minded sociopaths who have created a ritual where they hunt and kill young women in the woods. Their increasing body count has brought them to the attention of Williams superiors and their elimination is assigned to Veronica as her first solo assignment. Veronica visits the dinner, which the group frequent. Veronica purposefully drawing the attention Jameson, who quickly invites Veronica intending to make her his next victim. The next night Veronica goes the with the boys to the woods where they play a game of truth or dare. She gives the boys a drink from her flask that’s been laced with the same chemical cocktail she previously took and once there hunt begins, the hunters become the hunted…

This film is visually stunning, making up for any areas that are lacking in substance. Though if there are any, I didn’t notice them. The quasi 1950’s setting, coupled with the constant rain, the use of color and light really make this film stand out. Veronica’s red dress in contrast to the black and white worn tuxedos worn by the hunters works great.

I also like the characters as we get a sense of who they are, while not having to dedicate tons of dialog and screen time to anyone character. Final Girl’s characters ride the sweet spot in this regard. When each of the killers is introduced were given just a short amount of time to get a feel for each one and Tyler Sheilds does a great job capitalizing on that time.

Another thing that I liked and feel works strongly in Final Girl’s favor is the lack of gore. As the film is practically devoid of it. this film has very little blood and absolutely no viscera. Though I feel this works in its favor as it fits both the tone and style of the film.

Final thoughts, I really like this film. Beyond the visuals and what I’ve talked about there’s enough her to be worth a second or even third look. As Final Girl has a surprising amount of depth and I would love to see a follow-up film exploring the further exploits of Veronica and William. Though I am left with the linger question if the films protagonist’s are actually any better than those they spent the film killing. Since William spent years training a little girl to be a deadly weapon, to function as basically an assassin for an organization that functions outside the law. Like I said there’s some depth here. 9/10

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