Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: The Final Girls

10 of 10 viewers "Liked" "The Final Girls" (USA, 2015)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

The Berkeley Blazer - "Plenty of others will talk about the homages, references, and postmodern superficiality of The Final Girls, but perhaps the thing that really makes it special is its unbounded and genuine sense of fun. Unbounded by what? Unbounded by the films that inspired it. The characters are trapped in what might be called a closed circuit loop, but there is a sense that anything could happen to these characters now that the world is populated by "unprogrammed" humans, a favorite example being the way the humans use a flashback to hide from the antagonist. These moments are timed perfectly and almost every joke hits home due to an amazing ensemble cast. In addition to the solid humor and shocking moments, the touching core of the story actually has some philosophical weight as well as emotional power. The relations between humans and the celluloid representations are fascinating to contemplate even though a cosmology was probably never developed for the story." - 4 Stars

Lord Battle - "I really hate the tiki mask and at times I felt the film was making fun of horror, not having fun with it. This is of course very typical for Comedy/Horrors, yet The Final Girls is anything but typical. With a crazy concept that seems impossible to pull off, The Final Girls is not only a charming homage to camp slashers, it's a poinent drama about the human condition. Awesome film!" - 4 Stars

The Impostor - "Cult classic in the making, The Final Girls is a fresh take on the slasher comedy-horror sub genre. Great casting, likable characters and genuine laughs make this film a must watch and definitely collection worthy. I've seen it three times so far and fell in love with the film even more each time. Don't let the PG-13 rating turn you off, there are plenty cool kills to go around. The humor is pretty cleaver and works around the plot. There are also a few powerful scenes I wouldn't expect to work in a slasher film. Overall The Final Girls is a must watch, it's sad that it's flown under the radar this long. I'm looking forward to whatever M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller, and Todd Strauss-Schulson do next." - 5 Stars

Math Mage - "An interesting character driven comedy that takes an abrupt turn to the super natural. Although the "trapped in a movie" is done well initially, the film loses steam in the third and fourth acts. I was honestly more interested in the movie's first half before it just turned into Buffy the Vampire Slayer." - 3 Stars

Book Wyrm - "This was a heartwarming horror story. It brought me to tears on more than one occasion and the star studded cast was great. I also really enjoyed the score and the homage to Friday the 13th. Definitely a new fave of mine." - 5 Stars

Creature of the ComiCombs - "Going into a movie knowing nothing about it can be a scary thing. There's always that chance you're stuck watching a horrible movie but that was not the case with The Final Girls. This was a fun movie to watch. An homage to classic slasher flicks, one in particular, but with a fun twist. There was a good amount of funny bits scattered throughout the movie. The Final Girls has a pretty cool soundtrack and some really cool shots. I really liked this one, definitely check it out!" - 4 Stars

Dabbles - "The Final Girls is a really fun poke at slasher films. This whole Pleasantville meets Friday the 13th is really fun and it actually made you feel for the main character. I thought this was going to be a real "Omg, make it stop" movie but it actually has more to offer than comedy/horror. Great cast, great time, this will definitely make it into my collection." - 5 Stars

Huntress - "The range of emotions that The Final Girls touches on is incredible and probably the last thing people expected from a horror/comedy. The humor is handled in a way that can speak to both horror lovers and also casual horror toleraters, which I think is the result of having fans working on it behind the camera. The more I learn about this movie the more I appreciate it, and getting to watch it at the first Midnight Mass in years was a privilege." - 4 Stars

KillDozer - "I must admit that I went into this film expecting a goofy send up of all things "slasher" and was in shock of how wrong I was. Don't get me wrong, that goofiness does exist but is executed in all the right ways. First off, I was lucky enough to view this movie on the big screen at a midnight showing full of excited horror nerds who were ready to have fun (the way the film was meant to been seen). I am always excited when a film maker goes out of his or her way to have fun or spoof something near and dear to our hearts while still managing to respect and even pay tribute to the subject matter. Another aspect of the film I was impressed by was how seamlessly sincere and emotional the tone could be at times while never abandoning the slasher fun. The casting is excellent, the music is perfect and the quality of the effects is great. This is one of those titles that should have received more attention from the community as I will place it on my shelf next to modern classics like Behind the Mask. I highly recommend screening this film with a solid group of friends who are ready to laugh,cry, and have a good time." - 4 stars (Collection worthy)

Ice Giant - "If What We Do in the Shadows didn't exist, this would be my favorite comedy-horror ever. I love when a comedy-horror can still be respectful to its horror side. Taissa Farmiga is also becoming a very nontraditional but awesome scream queen." - 5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Horror/Comedies and Comedy/Horrors are two completely different monsters. Horror/Comedies like Shaun of the Dead take a serious approach and inject humor, either to help cope with the horror or as a device to get the audience invested in characters. Comedy/Horrors like Scary Movie tend to use the horror genre as a stomping ground, often making fun of it. The Final Girls definitely falls into the latter category. 
The Final Girls takes the summer camp slasher narrative and comes at it almost from an outsider's perspective, heavy-handedly making fun of the tropes that are so common to the sub-genre. In actuality this razing is a tool; it’s allowing the audience to let its guard down for the tonal rollercoaster that left Book Wyrm crying when Shy Girl with a Clipboard and a Guitar died. And that in itself is an achievement.
Last weekend, Peaches Christ revived her Midnight Mass with a screening of The Final Girls at The Clay Theatre. Both screenplay writers Joshua John Miller and M. A. Fortin along with director Todd Strauss-Schulson were in attendance. Besides the amazing night Peaches put together, she had spoken to Joshua Rotter from the SF Weekly about the screening and said something that I just had to include in our wrap-up.

Johua Rotter (SF Weekly) - One of the movie's strongest selling points is the strong, feminist female characters. 

Peaches Christ - For a lot of queer men, growing up, a lot of our attraction to horror surprises people, because it's seen as sort of a macho, heavy metal, violent genre, so when I get asked specifically as someone who's been really openly queer and is part of the horror genre, why there are so many openly queer horror fans, I always make that connection to the feminist final girl scream queens who end up defeating the monster. For a lot of us queer boys, we identify with the strength of the female up against the world, up against a boogeyman, up against a bully, so I know, for me, growing up, I really loved these women, 'cause I identified with them and saw myself as being more of a girl than a boy at the time. 

"I think that feminism has been overlooked in a lot of ways, so what's oftentimes dismissed as these titty films where these girls are being slaughtered — there's actually a deeper thing going on when you look at the final girl character and her strength, and I think this film really brings that out and talks about who's that going to be in this movie. They get to have a conversation about it, because it's their link to survival. So it's their understanding of the genre and the importance and strength of the final girl that actually is quite feminist, because it's a woman who has to go up against this man and defeat him. It is a genre trope. But for gay men to write this movie, it brings that out in ways we haven't seen before in the genre."

If you missed Peaches's return to horror hosting, you should be ashamed. It was an amazing show and without support Midnight Mass may just disappear again...

- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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