Horror Movie Review: The Final Girls (2015)

“They won’t be singing Kumbaya… they’ll be screaming Kumba-noooo!”

The Final Girls is a 2015 American slasher comedy film, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and written by M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller.

The film starts with a trailer for an old school “Friday The 13th”-esque slasher film called “Camp Bloodbath”, which features a group of counselors at Camp Blue Finch being terrorized by a masked killer named Billy Murphy (Dan B. Norris). Watching the trailer on her phone is Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga). Her mother Amanda (Malin Akerman) was one of the leads in that film. Max waits for her mom as she leaves an audition. Amanda is a bit discouraged since she feels she is only known for “Camp Bloodbath” and has thus been typecast. The two drive away with Max telling Amanda all the bills she has to pay. She puts on the radio, which is playing Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes”, Amanda’s favorite song. Max then accidentally spills her milkshake on Amanda’s headshot, distracting Amanda and causing her to crash.

camp bloodbath

Three years later, after the death of her mother Max now lives with her aunt. After meeting up with her best friend Gertie (Alia Shawkat) and meeting love interest Chris (Alexander Ludwig), she’s invited by Gertie’s step-brother Duncan (Thomas Middleditch) to be a special guest at a screening of “Camp Bloodbath”, which is now a cult classic. During the film, Max decides to get some air during her mother’s on-screen death but she’s suddenly stopped when a fire breaks out in front of her. Quickly thinking on her feet she grabs a conveniently placed knife and cuts open the screen, aiding their escape or so they think.


The friends wake up in the woods and realise that they’ve somehow been transported to the beginning of “Camp Bloodbath”. The main counsellors – horny idiot Kurt (Adam Devine) and bimbo Tina (Angela Trimbur) – drive by and they hitch a ride. In the van, the friends meet another counsellor, Blake (Tory N. Thompson), and Amanda, in character as Nancy, the “shy girl with a clipboard and guitar”. The group arrives at Camp Blue Finch. After travelling into the woods to witness the first kill of the movie they’re discovered by Billy, who doesn’t attack them. Duncan realizes that since they’re not part of the movie, Billy doesn’t know what to do with them. Duncan thinks he’s invincible, until Billy hurls his machete into Duncan’s side while the others run away believing him to be dead.


After the film’s final girl Paula (Chloe Bridges) arrives, we learn of Billy’s backstory. Nancy tells his urban legend, taking Max and her friends into a black-and-white flashback to 1957 when Billy was a camper. He was always made fun of for being different and ugly, so he hid in an outhouse to escape the bullying. One camper throws firecrackers into the outhouse, burning Billy’s face and scarring him. After eight months in the burn ward, Billy went back to camp to exact his revenge. Now wearing a creepy mask and wielding his machete, he murdered eight counselors (one for each month of his time in the ward). As the friends watch Billy’s murders, some blood sprays on Gertie’s face.


After returning from the flashback, the counsellors see the blood causing them to freak out and Kurt and Paula to flee, killing them both in a car crash. Max and her friends finally decide to reveal what’s truly going on, and they’re all in a movie. They devise a plan, booby-trapping the cabin in anticipation of Billy. Tina does a crazy striptease and flashes her boobs, summoning Billy to the cabin. Naturally the plan doesn’t go to plan and chaos ensues, causing several deaths. Max, Nancy and Chris escape via an explosion which unfortunately doesn’t kill Billy, thus begins a slo-mo chase through the woods.


Chris gets stabbed while Billy kidnaps Nancy. Max brings Chris into an abandoned chapel and stays with him so he won’t die alone, but Max assures him that he won’t die. She runs to find Nancy in Billy’s barn. The girls attempt to fight Billy but Max is stabbed, while recovering they plan for the final showdown.


Can they stop Billy? Will they ever get out of this movie?! Watch to find out!

I was pretty certain I wasn’t going to like this film and I anticipated it would be filled with clichés and Taissa Farmiga being her annoying self (Violet has ruined her for me). But, I was pleasantly surprised. The Final Girls is not only funny, but a great homage to 80’s slashers and it has a lot of heart. Despite the characters not being given a lot to work with, I found myself heavily invested in Amanda and Max’s mother-daughter relationship – even tearing up at the end (she’s a movie star now *cries*). I also thoroughly enjoyed Kurt’s character (although he died way too soon for my liking), and the premise of the movie was clever. One negative aspect is that they don’t explain what is actually going on, for starters how did they get into the film in the first place? Magic? If you don’t think too hard and just enjoy the ride then it’s definitely an enjoyable one.

The Final Girls
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