I don’t know about you, but I hate when I see a trailer and the movie never quite makes it to the theatre. It never quite makes it to an easy to find DVD release. It’s especially painful when you want to see the movie. I talked about this with Trick R Treat last year.
This year the one that raises my ire is Final Girl. This would be the trailer in question:
I had been really looking forward to this one. If you are wondering about the title, it is based on the trope of most horror movies called the Final Girl. When you have a horror film think of who survives, who defeats the monster? It is almost always a girl who started out weak or unsure and develops into the hero that can defeat the beast.
So did the movie live up to my interest and expectations?
The movie has a total of four writing credits which doesn’t normally bode well. The three story credits go to Stephen Scarlata, Alejandro Seri, and Johnny Silver. A screenplay credit goes to Adam Prince. None of whom have done anything you’ve ever heard of or watched. The same can be said of director Tyler Shields. Honestly, it shows. There are some interesting choices in how they light scenes with an overabundance of brightness. It is clearly intentional and works in some cases and is jarring in others. I can’t write reviews about how hollow and samey so many new movies are and then destroy one that is trying to do something different. The “floodlights” in the woods annoys me to no end, though the movie does it to create an almost stage like performance, I think I wish they would have fully committed to that then trying to give me a well lit forest for no reason.
The movie almost is going for a film noir style in both dialogue staging that wouldn’t work for many films. I can’t say it works here entirely either. Many scenes have an awkwardness to them that borders on uncomfortable while they try to address various tropes of the villain archetypes; the momma’s boy, the frat boy, the daddy issues, and the harangued man. Bearing in mind these are told with broad strokes and perhaps, hopefully, a bit of satire. Sadly these characters also have little chemistry either. Perhaps as sociopathic or psychotics they shouldn’t, but individually they function and together they do not.
I am not sure where the blame lies here. Our villains, as shown in the trailer, are played by Logan Huffman (V the Series), Cameron Bright (Thank You for Smoking, Twilight New Moon/Eclipse), Reece Thompson (Dreamcatcher, Perks of Being a Wallflower), Alexander Ludwig (Hunger Games, Vikings). As a unit they come across little more than caricatures barely making it to 2 dimensional villains. For that reason alone I care little about them, but also want to see them suffer due to their natures.
On the flip side we have Wes Bentley (American Horror Story, Ghost Rider, Hunger Games) and Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Maggie). Bentley is…well Bentley. I think he was trying to reach Agent 47 levels in his character and doesn’t quite make it; but he also is Wes Bentley and just has his own style of performance that I can see him being a future Nick Cage in the weird. Breslin, on the other hand, delivers a solid performance. I could see her as a scream queen or an action heroine in future projects as she is able to switch between stalker and stalked like a light switch. I rather enjoyed her which makes her the bright spot in the performances of the movie, especially in the third act.
Perhaps I expected more of it than it could deliver. Perhaps it never had the potential to deliver it at all. The movie just sort of lands flat and unsatisfying. With only one performance (Breslin) being interesting the movie fails on a lot of levels. They continued to shoot in a stage play meets noir vibe and never fully committed to it allowing me to appreciate that facet of it. There’s just some failures on storytelling that left me scratching my head what the point of some scenes were. That happened too often.
Sadly, unless you obsess over any of the actors Final Girl doesn’t make the cut.