Max (Taissa Farmiga) is a teenage girl who lost her mother (Malin Akerman) in a tragic car accident 3 years ago. Her mother was an actress whose most famous role was in a cheesy 80’s slasher flick. On the anniversary of her mother’s death Max gets sucked into attending a screening of the slasher movie. During the film a fire breaks out in the theater. Max and her friends escape by cutting through the movie screen and walking through it, only to find themselves trapped inside the movie. Now Max and her friends have to keep themselves alive until the horror movie they are trapped in ends.
I’m just going to come out and say it: I LOVE this movie. Not only did I love it, but there are many things to love about this film. One of my favorite parts was simply the originality of the story. The “Camp Bloodbath” film is obviously paying homage to Friday the 13th. The idea that these modern day teens somehow accidentally transport themselves into an 80’s slasher makes for some hilarious scenes related to the differences in clothing and technology. It’s so clever that I’m not even bothered by the fact that we have no idea how these kids ended up in the movie world in the first place. While the filmmakers are clearly honoring the classic slasher films, they also mercilessly make fun of them. It is absolutely hilarious. They make fun of everything including the over-the-top acting, bad writing, and the fact that sex is equal to death. The filmmakers even included classic 80’s horror movie music, but they updated it a bit in order to keep it fresh.
The acting in this film was perfect. Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) alone was brilliant. She does a great job of portraying the girl next door, but with an added edge that makes her more interesting. What was really brilliant was the juxtaposition of the “real teens” acting compared to the acting of the teens from “Camp Bloodbath.” It was hilarious to see the real teens and their reactions, especially next to the teens from the slasher flick who are acting so over the top and cheesy. Malin Akerman (Couples Retreat) surprised me in this film. I usually am not very fond of her or her acting, but she managed to win me over in The Final Girls both as Max’s mother, Amanda, and as the shy camp counselor from “Camp Bloodbath,” Nancy. Two standouts in this film are the over-sexed camp counselors Kurt (Adam DeVine) and Tina (Angela Timbur). They perfectly fit the 80’s slasher stereotype of the not-too-bright counselors that only care about getting laid. These two definitely stole some scenes with how hilarious they were.
The various effects and styles of this film also contributed to its success. The cinematography is gorgeous. There are a few scenes where they fluidly move from one point of view to another in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen in other films. The effects they utilized to transition to and from the flashback scenes were also quite unique and added some interest to the film while we experience things the way the teens from the real world do. I honestly can’t say anything bad about the CGI in this film. They used it in a relatively sparing way. When they did use it the effects were slightly over the top, but in a way that fit the film in a perfect way. The same goes for the practical effects. There were some practical effects used for the various kill scenes, but those scenes were not very gory considering this is a PG-13 movie. There was really only one aspect of the practical effects that I didn’t like, and it is really so minuscule that most people probably wouldn’t even notice. In the beginning of the film when we see Max with her mother, Amanda, they clearly had to age Amanda a bit because she was much younger when she filmed “Camp Bloodbath.” The only real effort that can be noticed to age her was subtle prosthetics under her eyes to add wrinkles. As I said, it was pretty subtle, but what really bothered me about it is that I could tell they were prosthetics. The edges didn’t seem to be blended very well and the color of the prosthetics didn’t match her skin tone, making it stick out a bit. This may seem nitpicky, but it ruined the age makeup for me.
I really had so much fun watching this film. It had everything you could want from a horror comedy. There was an interesting story, it made fun of itself, it honored the classics, can be touching at times, and I don’t think I stopped laughing the entire time. What makes this film even better, is that it has outtakes! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horror movie, or even a horror comedy, that has outtakes at the end. This is the kind of film that will appeal to everyone, even those that don’t love horror films. You can even bring younger audiences to see this since it has a rating of PG-13. This is definitely a must see film that will keep you laughing the whole way through, and maybe even make you tear up a bit, with an ending that couldn’t have been better if I wrote it myself.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
I worked with the director of this movie one summer (Todd) and after reading this review I definitely have to check it out!
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