The Horror Honeys: Live Today Like You're Going to Die Tomorrow...

Live Today Like You're Going to Die Tomorrow...

A Revenge Honey New Release Review by Linnie

Final Girl (2015)

Even as a critic, whose job it is to review films, I tend to ignore reviews of movies I'm really interested in seeing. But even more so than reviews of professional critics, the absolute LAST thing anyone should ever do is read reviews on IMDb in the "User Review" section. IMDb User Reviews will inevitably subject you to the worst humanity has to offer; ignorance, racism, sexism, friends of the director hyping up a terrible movie, or enemies of the director trying to tank a film that actually has merit with bad word of mouth. The last film I made the mistake of reading the IMDb User Reviews for was Tyler Shields' Final Girl, in which the movie was mindlessly torn apart in poorly written bitter diatribes, many of which don't even seem like they were written by people who saw the movie.

It's a mistake I won't be making again.

The Plot: Veronica (Abigail Breslin) is a young woman raised by her handler William (Wes Bentley) to be a lethal weapon. Trained since childhood in the arts of kicking ass, Veronica is a murder machine, and she looks fabulous while plying her trade. When William identifies a group of tux-wearing psychopaths who have been murdering blonde girls with abandon, he sends Veronica in as bait, and it isn't long before the hunters become the hunted.

The first thing I noticed about Final Girl was that it was absolutely gorgeous. The majority of the shots felt as if they could be pulled directly from the movie and turned into still photography; as a cinematography junky, this made me very happy. Gregory Middleton, who was director of photography on Wayward Pines, previously worked on the gloriously soggy The Killing, and was DP on one of my favorite horror films of all time, Slither, might be in the running for one of my new favorite cinematographers. He proves with his work on Final Girl that he truly has an eye for the beauty and darkness that horror has to offer.

~ One of them has a girlfriend.
~ Why does that surprise you?
~ They just don’t really seem to like women.

Elegant brutality is also something that Final Girl features in spades, and I was truly enamored of its strange storytelling style. We learn a bit about every character, including the killers, through gorgeous, eerie, and at one point, incestuous, glimpses into their personal lives, and it's just enough to plant you firmly on Veronica's side. The characterization is never one note, however, and I really appreciated the little touches taken by the filmmakers to make sure that is the case.

That's not to say everything in Final Girl is perfect; it's not. The performances run the gamut from flat to manic, with only a few of the actors really sneaking through unscathed. Abigail Breslin is tremendously likable, especially in the non-ass-kicking moments. But when she has to switch to lethal weapon mode, there is something missing, a fierceness that she just might not yet have access to. I couldn't help but wonder what an actress like Saoirse Ronan or Kimberly Crossman could have done with the role of Veronica. I will say, I was pleasantly surprised by Bentley, who I've never cared for but pulled off the stoic, focused William quite well.

"It’s torture… knowing you could love someone if they’d just let you."

In many ways, Final Girl isn't exactly the film you expect after watching the trailer, and yet, it is precisely the film it needs to be. Veronica is a typical final girl in name only, a weapon, never in danger herself, but more a danger to everyone around her. The true fascination I found in Shields' film comes from the moments of quiet and not those of violence, but those are truly the moments worth savoring. Due to its promise in style and performance, I wouldn't mind seeing a Final Girl 2 someday in the future.

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 vanilla milkshakes out of 5

Final Girl will be in select theaters, Digital HD, and VOD August 14!

Who is YOUR favorite Final Girl?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho