Final Girl (2015)

Final Girl
Director: Tyler Shields
Writer: Adam Prince
Cast: Abigail Breslin, Alexander Ludwig, Logan Huffman, Cameron Bright, Reece Thompson, Francesca Eastwood, Wes Bentley
Seen on: 5.3.2021

When Veronica (Abigail Breslin) was just a little child, William (Wes Bentley) recruited her after her parents were killed. William’s wife was murderd, too, and he is now looking to train Veronica to take on the murderers of the world. After years of grueling training, Veronica’s time has finally come: she is supposed to take on Jameson (Alexander Ludwig) and his friends who love to hunt young girls for sport.

Final Girl is a very stylized film. That mode could have worked if the story it tells had been a little more primal. Without that appeal, the film falls flat – and the audience with it.

The film poster showing Veronica (Abigail Breslin) in black and white, a red light over her.

Final Girl is not the kind of film where you should ask questions. How did William find Veronica? How can he just take her away? Why does she always have to train in dresses? How do they find their targets? How did nobody else find their targets? These are all questions that could ask, but the the film isn’t interested in explanations.

There is a certain appeal to that – the film is halfway to an archaic story, one of the basic stories we tell over and over again. But somewhere along the way, it starts to flounder and ends up in the other sense of basic: uninteresting, without embellishments, without a personality. I think the problem is that the idea of the Final Girl is too modern to lend itself to that kind of storytelling.

Veronica (Abigal Breslin) facing Jameson (Alexander Ludwig) who is pointing an axe at her.

And so the movie gives us dialogues delivered in a very specific, often almost monotonous acting style and beautifully staged and shot images, but what it lacks is any emotional connection. In fact, the only time where I was really anxious was when Veronica climbs into William’s bed and tries to seduce him. Thankfully he says no, but the moment is creepy nevertheless and got the strongest emotional reaction from me in the entire film.

Without emotion, films just don’t work, no matter how stylish they are. And Final Girl is a prime example for that problem: everything is too slick to stick.

Veronica (Abigail Breslin) looking up at William (Wes Bentley) who has a gun over his shoulder.

Summarizing: Not uninteresting, but not really interersting, either.

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