Final Girl (2015)
03/24/2016 - I really thought I'd enjoy this movie. I like horror movies, and I like revenge movies, and I'd agree that watching a cute girl slaughter a pack of bad dudes can be a perfectly enjoyable way to pass ninety minutes or so. I liked I Spit On Your Grave (there's, what, four of them now?), and even the mountain of knock-offs made back in the '70s and '80s have something to offer. There's a simple formula for those movies: a girl is violated (maybe multiple times) by a group of guys in the first half, and she chops them into tiny bits in the second half. You don't even need a third act, it's literally two-thirds the work of a normal movie. Unfortunately, Final Girl completely abandons that formula and instead we get a feature-length film that makes absolutely no sense, full of laughable performances, and almost no blood.
You might think I'm exaggerating when I use the word "laughable," but I assure you, I am not. It took my fiance and I over two hours to finish this thing because we had to keep pausing it to laugh. I've read several reviews of Final Girl, hoping for some insight, some revelation that I'd missed the joke; some reviewers have praised it unabashedly (I hope they were paid well) and others dig deep for one or two highlights to counterbalance their otherwise negative impressions. There's nothing here, it's complete junk - hilariously bad in every way. I would say the visuals were alright, they're stylish, but they belong in a music video - as in, a four-minute music video.
Tyler Shields directed this travesty; he's a hack, don't even bother waiting for anything else from him. He was on a reality television show, which sort of explains things. Also, it took four people to come up with this story. Here's the story: a guy takes a young orphan girl, trains her to do almost nothing for twelve years, drugs her, won't sleep with her, then turns her "loose" on four other guys who kill girls for fun while he watches from the trees with an assault rifle. That's the entire story. Four people worked on that. I refuse to even type their names here, they haven't earned it. Then, Adam Prince was hired to write the "screenplay," which includes the most generic dialogue I've ever heard. I'm still not exaggerating; the dialogue in Showgirls is Shakespearean compared to this.
Abigail Breslin is the heroine, somehow: I guess because she's kinda cute and she really wants people to not think of her as a little girl anymore? That sort of doesn't work when you nearly tip over carrying an ax, sweetheart. There's a scene where she's holding a gun and I legitimately feared for her safety. They've got her in this puffy-ish red dress and she just sort of waddles around the woods in her combat boots (yeah), which I suspect they thought would look really bad-ass but comes across as completely unconvincing and hilarious. She uses this drug concoction that causes hallucinations, and ... ugh, it's not even worth explaining. Basically, nothing happens.
Wes Bentley plays William, and I've seen Bentley recently in American Horror Story so I know he's not mentally disadvantaged. I'd worry about his career if Final Girl were his only acting credit. His dialogue is so bad - it's just so, so very bad. Have you seen Batman Begins? Imagine a child writing an adaptation of the training scenes from that movie for an elementary school play, and you're a bit closer to understanding how bad Bentley's dialogue was in this movie. Actually, that could be better than Final Girl.
There's also a guy who steals milkshakes and has a thing for blondes; another guy who can't decide between Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis as his idol; a fellow who simply can't act at all and is terrified of ninjas; and a fourth who understands he can't control what his girlfriend did before they started dating, but demands answers just the same.
There's no reason for us to care about anyone in this movie, and there's no reason for anyone in this movie to be doing anything they do in this movie. There's no reason for its "style," it's been done before and it's boring. And then there's no payoff - the "killings" at the end are awful. I mean it, really, nothing happens. What am I missing here? Is this a legitimate effort or a joke? Is Tyler Shields the bored rich kid, luring us into his film with sweet promises only to bash our heads in with his terrible plot and pointless characters and exhausted "atmosphere?"
The only possible circumstance I can think of under which you should watch Final Girl is this: you're drunk and surrounded by at least a few drunk friends, everybody's in happy-drunk mode, and you're all bored out of your minds. Final Girl just barely makes it into the so-bad-it's-good category, but only if you can manage to look past how seriously it takes itself.