Monday, 16 January 2017

The Final Girls

Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2015, USA

Another post-modern horror playing with the themes the genre is built on, this time Carol J Clover’s “Final Girl” trope. Since the success of ‘Scream’ the genre has been eating and regurgitating itself in this way to varying effects, and there is a lot of fun to be had. It’s like gently pranking a friend.  Unimaginatively, it’s packaged on the cover with another selection of pouty young people in a line-up (yes, you came for carnage but you also came for the some cheap prods for your libido, kids) and another killer derived from ‘Friday the 13th’. This one begins strongly with a girl mourning her scream-queen mother – lost in a car accident – when there’s a fire in the cinema and she and some friends try to escape through the screen but find that they escaped into it. They’ have, in fact, entered the 1980s summercamp slasher flick that made her mother cult-famous. Initially this provides jokes at the expense of that particular sub-genre and, because it’s all bright and breezy, it’s all good. The best gag is perhaps that the characters can tell when the killer is coming by the Jason Vorhees-like musical cue on the soundtrack (ch-ch-ch-ch). Every now and again it shows some of the vitality it began with – a car crashing through the title that displays when and where the flashback is, for example – but it runs out of steam by the end, veering into tired emotional outpourings to try and achieve some resonance. By the time the end credits are full of outtakes of goofs, the meta-horror comes across as enjoying itself behind the scenes more than onscreen and not being as clever as it thinks it is.

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