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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

The Final Girls

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

My company uses a service called Live Well, Be Well. It gives you points for healthy living and if you get a certain amount, it adds money to your HSA every quarter. It has a section called "Journeys" and the current Journey I'm on is called "Choose a new Mindset." Do you know what the first thing they want me to do? "Turn Off the News." As a news producer whose job it is to create a newscast every single day, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! But I did manage to turn off the news long enough to check out...

The Final Girls (2015)

Why have I never seen this movie before?! I've seen it mentioned before in the depths of Reddit, but I never found it streaming anywhere. The other day after turning on my TV, LG was showing off what movies it was streaming and there it was! I can't tell you how glad I am that I found it.

We start with a montage of an extremely 80s slasher movie. It's got the cheesy acting, the grainy footage and a hulking baddie chopping pretty up camp counselors. Fast forward and one of the actresses in the movie is down on her luck. Nancy and her daughter Max are driving away and Nancy complains about how all she's ever known for is the cheesy "Camp Bloodbath" film. Despite their financial struggles, the love between them is strong. I immediately started getting bad vibes because of the camera angles while driving and how much Max was taking her eyes off the road. But those vibes quickly went away because a little bit later I realized that I was going to love this movie. Max turns up the radio and they're playing "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes! It's not the version we're all familiar with, but still, that song rules.

Quick story; a long time ago, the music player on our computer would play songs on a loop. So if you didn't turn it off, or put on a different song, it would play and play and play. One time, my brother and his girlfriend may have partied a little too hard the night before and were kind of laid out and couldn't get up. Absent-mindedly, I left the song on when I went to work. I didn't realize they were too tired to get up so the song kept playing on repeat for God knows how long. It wasn't until one of my sisters got home and asked, "Do you want me to turn this off?" My brother responded, "Yes... please."

Then the next time my brother and his g/f drove together, he turned the song on. So yeah, I love this song, and when I hear it come on, I yell, "Oh shit!" then turn it up really loud. I've accidentally scared multiple people when that song comes on.

OK, back to the movie. While they're dancing in the car, Max spills her coffee and they get into a really bad wreck. I think sudden car crashes get me the most during movies, there are few more visceral feelings than slamming on your brakes knowing you're about to crash (shudder.) We fast forward three years later and Max is trying to get her life together after her mom died in the collision. She's studying with her friends; Gertie (Alia Shawkat) and Chris (Alexander Ludwig) when Gertie's brother, Duncan (Thomas Middleditch) convinces her to go to the special screening of her mother's movie Camp Bloodbath.

It's a packed show and Max can't hide how bothered she is by the whole thing. Seeing her deceased mom on film gets to be too much, so Max decides to leave right before her mom's murder. Unfortunately, a fire breaks out in the auditorium, preventing her from leaving. She and her friends, along with Chris' ex-girlfriend and Max's former friend Vicki escape by slashing a hole in the screen. It's at this point where the movie kicks into gear.

They escape the flames and end up in the actual movie. It's a cool gimmick, but then you realize, Max is getting a chance to reunite with a younger version of her mother. Max knows Nancy is going to die in this movie but she decides she's not going to her mother die in front of her again. Their interactions are all so wonderful because Max is doing her best to hide the vast amount of emotions inside. She admits multiple times she doesn't know what she's doing in this situation, but their scenes are incredibly touching. Not only that, they're also really funny on occasion. It's hilarious how Max scolds her mother into avoiding having sex because the only survivor of the original Camp Bloodbath movie was the virgin. I'm going to be honest, I got teary-eyed at some of their interactions, especially when Nancy confronts the baddie under a purple sky with lightning and "Bette Davis Eyes" is playing. It's just so good!

Max and her friends then spend the movie trying to help these people, and themselves, survive the murderous Billy Murphy. I can't accurately describe how damn funny this movie is. The movie they're trapped in is your generic 80s schlock so the characters are so ridiculous and their dialogue is so bad that every interaction is funny. The "movie group" consists of the sex-obsessed jock (Adam Devine), the sex-obsessed girl while Nancy is "the shy girl who plays guitar." They're nothing more than stereotypes but it's wonderful seeing them interact with actual people. A lot of the dialogue by Thomas Middleditch and Adam Devine was improvised and you can tell because those two really seem to be enjoying themselves. There's a point shortly after they end up in the camp one of them asks, "Is this a dream?"

Middleditch responds with, "If this is a dream, then there's a very strong chance that my dad's gonna come up to us naked and offer us some pecan pie. But don't take any. It is not pecan pie."

I thought to myself, I need to remember that line so I can include it in my review. The problem was, every few minutes someone would say something, and I would laugh and think the same thing. By the end, I stopped trying to mark good quotes because there were so many hilarious things said in this movie. I'm laughing now reading the quotes page on IMDB.

And then there's Tina. She's the sex pot I mentioned earlier. Billy Murphy, like most 80s slashers are big, "you-know-what." blockers. They know Tina gets killed while doing a strip tease, but they're having trouble getting her to keep her clothes in (remember, the character in Camp Bloodbath was written that way.) So they put her in a life jacket and then duct tape oven mitts on her hands. Eventually, she manages to free herself and gets her hands on Vicki's Adderall and takes 10 of them. With their traps set up, they give her the green light to go through with her strip tease and my God it's so funny. The real actress drank a bunch of energy drinks in real life to get into the character and it resulted in one of the most intense, energetic and herky-jerky strip teases imaginable.

The more I write, the more I worry if I don't end this review soon, it's going to be about 10 pages of me waxing poetic about my favorite scenes because there are so many. It's one of the most entertaining movies I can remember seeing. I love the culture clash between the two sides. The 80s were so different than today and it's so funny the way they all bounce off each other.

I've been doing these reviews for 13 years and after watching a movie I never thought to myself I need to buy this movie but here we are. New Line Cinemas originally bought the script but the studio wanted to eliminate the deep character moments and the mother-daughter plot, instead making more of a straightforward slasher. Thankfully they were told to pound sand and Sony bought it and let them do their thing. The company did make them tone down some of the violence to get a PG-13 rating though. Normally I'd rail against that, but Sony kept what made the movie great. Given the choice between a generic slasher and the heartfelt movie we got, the PG-13 rating is a small price to pay. This movie is awesome. Watch it!

10 Dr. Chainsaws!

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