The Final Girls is buried treasure, a horror movie you may not have seen


The Final Girls is a great horror movie with heart — and you may have never seen it! Read more about this buried treasure.

I feel a constant need to recommend lesser-known, but still awesome horror movies to people. If I love them, I want to share them! So, my first recommendation for Buried Treasure: Horror Movies You May Not Have Seen is The Final Girls.

I like to re-watch my favorite horror movies, as I am sure most of you do.  Even though I like all sorts of horror movie “types,” I have a particular fondness for what I call “horror movies with heart.” So many horror movies are populated with characters whose main personality trait is that they are either whiney, b*tchy, or just exceptionally attractive. Their main purpose is to contribute to the bloody body count and you don’t really care when they are slaughtered.

Movies with heart make you care about the characters, and it is gut-wrenching when they die.  These movies often include a story thread about a relationship. For example, Train To Busan, bloody and violent as it was, was a very emotional watch due to the father-daughter story arc involving Seok-Woo and Soo-An. It’s a rare zombie movie that makes me cry, but I definitely wept a few tears at the end of Train To Busan.

My favorite horror movie with heart is The Final Girls. There is a certain level of comedy/camp in this one, but there is also a layer of genuine sweetness. TFG is a love letter to ’80s slasher horror movies, particularly Friday The 13th and Halloween, but it also includes a well developed mother-daughter relationship. Max’s mother Amanda became a beloved scream queen after appearing as Nancy in the classic fictional 1986 slasher film Camp Bloodbath, and was never really seen as a serious actress afterwards.

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Three years after Amanda’s death in a car accident, Max reluctantly attends a special screening of Camp Bloodbath and its sequel (Camp Bloodbath II:  Cruel Summer) with some friends. A fire breaks out in the theater, and Max and her friends escape through the movie screen, only to find themselves literally in the movie. As they sit in the woods, confused, a van drives by, carrying Nancy and the other characters from the movie-within-a-movie. Every 92 minutes, the van reappears, and the group eventually ends up hitching a ride. The rest of the movie is spent trying to figure out how to get rid of Camp Bloodbath’s killer Billy, before he slaughters everyone.

Max is able to re-connect with her mother through her interactions with the character of Nancy, and the two young women share some really nice scenes.The Final Girls is really a delightful film for lovers of horror movies. It’s funny, it’s an homage to classic slasher flicks, it’s appropriately scary when it needs to be and the actors are outstanding.

Taissa Farmiga plays Alex,  Malin Akerman is Amanda/Nancy, and they make a mother-daughter relationship between two young women of the same age believable. Any movie is automatically made better by the talents of Alia Shawkat, and Adam Devine (of Pitch Perfect) just has natural comedic ability. Angela Trimbur, as the promiscuous Tina, nearly steals the show every time she is on screen. And there is plenty of horror movie violence as well.

The Final Girls is co-written by Joshua John Miller, whose father played Father Karras in The Exorcist. He said there was something “unnatural” about watching a parent die over and over again on film, and I believe that is probably why the character of Alex is so sympathetic.

Sadly, The Final Girls never received a wide release, it was primarily screened at festivals before its VOD release in October of 2015. It was released on DVD in November of that year, and those of us who know it, absolutely love it. I can’t recommend this movie enough, especially for those of you who love slasher films. If you choose to look it up, make sure you don’t confuse it with another film called Final Girl. Let me know what you think of The Final Girls!

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Seen The Final Girls? Think the movie is special? Let the other final girls and guys know what you think in the comment section below.