Let’s get one thing out of the way: The Final Girls is not a horror movie. Instead it’s a charming spoof on 1980’s slashers, specifically those taking place at a summer camp.
Max (Taissa Farmiga) is your average high school student if it weren’t for the fact that she lost her mother in a tragic traffic accident. Her mom was an actress whose definitive role was playing a sweet camp counselor in the cult classic “Camp Bloodbath”. When Max is invited to attend a screening of the movie in honor of her mother, she hesitates at first but ends up going after all with Chris (Alexander Ludwig), a classmate who obviously has a crush on her. During the screening a fire breaks out and Max, along with her friends, ends up escaping through the movie screen, only to end up in the fictional world of “Camp Bloodbath”.
There they come across the camp counselors, including Max’ mom, who are your average slasher movie stereotypes. There’s Kurt (Adam DeVine), the sexist jock. There’s Tina (Angela Trimbur), the slutty party girl. There’s Blake (Tory N. Thompson), the black sidekick. There’s sweet virgin Amanda (Malin Akerman), Max’s mom. And there’s final girl Paula (Chloe Bridges), a tough chick that smokes and who mentions wanting to buy a bitchin’ Firebird.
Max and her friends are also stereotypes of their own. There's Vicki (Nina Dobrev), the mean girl, Gertie (Alia Shawkat), Max's best friend, Duncan (Thomas Middleditch), the nerdy "Bathematician" who knows the original movie by heart, and Chris, the nice guy.
The real characters end up trying to protect the fictional characters from Billy, the machete-wielding killer in Camp Bloodbath, while also trying to explain wireless phones along the way. This is also the part where director Todd Strauss-Schulson, with a script by Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin, starts having a little bit of fun with the slasher formula. Like when the real characters go back in time in a black-and-white flashback scene that shows the origin story of Billy, causing Gertie to wonder if she has gone color-blind. Or when the words ‘Summer 1957’ that appear on screen, turn out to be actual three-dimensional objects the characters have to step over. Or when they hear the soundtrack and know something’s up.
It’s all pretty meta from there on. And while things never become scary, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed The Final Girls. It’s a helluva lot of fun and as refreshingly inventive as it is wickedly clever.