Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Final Girls Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
When Max (Taissa Farmiga) and her friends reluctantly attend an anniversary screening of “Camp Bloodbath”, the infamous ‘80s horror film that starred Max’s late mother (Malin Akerman), they are mysteriously sucked into the silver screen. They soon realize they are trapped inside the cult classic movie and must team up with the fictional and ill-fated camp counselors, including Max’s mom as the scream queen, to battle the film’s machete-wielding killer. With the body count rising in scene after iconic scene, who will be the final girls left standing and live to escape this film? The Final Girls is a genre-blending horror comedy also starring Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat with Alexander Ludwig and Nina Dobrev.
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Max (Taissa Farmiga) is very close to her mother Amanda Cartwright (Malin Ackerman). Unfortunately a freak car accident claims Amanda’s life. Amanda once starred in the horror film Camp Bloodbath. At the time of her death she was a struggling actress. She was losing roles because casting directors only thought of her as the girl from Camp Bloodbath. 

Two years after the accident Max mourns the loss of her mother and is behind in her studies. Her best friend’s brother promises to do her homework in exchange for her presence at a Camp Bloodbath anniversary screening. A fire breaks out in the crowded theater and Max leads her friends through a slit in the screen. Rather than ending up behind the screen, the group finds themselves in the 80s horror flick itself. All of the characters, including Max’s mother are there and are unaware that they are in a movie.

The gang soon realizes the breakdown of this and all 80s horror movies. If you want to lure the Jason-esque bad guy you simply take off your top or have sex. Knowing this is only half the battle as the camp counselors have a script to follow and hormones raging that will certainly lead to trouble. They hope that by staying alive until the credits role they will find an exit and return to reality.

The Final Girls is a bit like Last Action Hero where you have people stuck in a movie interacting with characters that are unaware they are part of a film. I expected it to be more like Cabin in the Woods where we see a standard horror flick with a greater than average amount of humor interjected. Even though it wasn’t what I had expected, I enjoyed the film. The Final Girls pokes fun at the 80s slasher film especially the predictability and campiness. It isn’t what I’d call a spoof, which I don’t tend to respond well to.

You may have never heard of any of the primary actors but they are all great in this film. It goes to show what a group of young character actors can do. This is a movie you may have missed in its theatrical release but its worth making the purchase now that it is available on Blu-ray.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
What sells the film is the attention to detail and the classic look of a slasher flick. Instead of the grain you’d expect you get a sharp picture with a golden tint to deliver the same feel. The camp counselors yellow shirts pop off the screen and the aging machete the killer wields makes the viewer feel like getting a tetanus shot. Black levels are deep and rich with little to be desired from the video presentation.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Final Girls DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack offers a lossless experience. The telltale sign the killer is near is the audio queue which delivers in all speakers. The screams for help are authentic as the ambiance of the camp fills the background. Dialogue is at all times intelligible and volume will not need to be adjusted between loud and quiet moments.
Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Final Girls contains two commentary tracks in addition to deleted/alternate scenes and some visual effects details. The Director’s Shooting Notes are a BD-Rom only feature.
  • Audio Commentaries - There's two commentary tracks. The first one contains Director Todd Strauss-Schulson, Production Designer Katie Byron, Director of Photography Elie Smolkin, and Actors Thomas Middleditch and Taissa Farmiga. The second one offers writers M.S. Fortin and Joshua John Miller
  • Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scenes with optional Director Commentary - Prologue (2:41), Car at Night (2:54), Zing Me (1:09), Gay Dads (2:08), Depressed Dock Girls (3:44), Gertie & Blake Extended Kiss (0:49), Slooooow Mooooootion (3:08), Original Ending (3:28), and Reshoot Ending (2:10). 
  • Pre-Vis Animation Car Crash - (0:49), Theater Fire (1:56), Campsite Entrance (0:15), Campsite Spin (0:39), and Booby Trap (2:05). 
  • Visual Effects Progression Reel - (2:33): A brief look at the scenes before effects and color correction are added.
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
If you appreciate a campy horror flick, especially one from the 80s I highly recommend giving The Final Girls a try. It is as if Last Action Hero met Scream, but much better than that sounds. The young cast and relatively new Director bring humor to the horror franchise but also a lot of heart. It might leave you nostalgic for a good Friday the 13th marathon and is recommended for purchase and gift giving this holiday season.

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