I sometimes wonder if actors and actresses have a choice in taking some of the roles they accept. I know contractual obligations can force them to do movies they wouldn’t normally do, and many of these films are absolute bombs. FINAL GIRL runs close to being one of these titles. It lacks in substance and suspense, and although the plot-line is intriguing and could have been fun, the whole film falls flat. Instead, we are given an almost surrealistic, dreamlike experience that is visually pleasant, but lacking in depth.
If you are not familiar with FINAL GIRL, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Cinedigm:
Every night, four boys trick a young, blonde girl into meeting them in the forest for a date with the intention to hunt and kill her. One night, Veronica (Abigail Breslin) is selected and when the hunt begins, the boys soon realize that they messed with the wrong girl.
I REALLY wanted to like this film, so needless to say I am very disappointed. The concept sounds fun, sort of a hybrid between films like HARD TARGET and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. As such, I wanted to see Abigail Breslin as a bad-ass, who doles out justice in vicious and gut-wrenching fashion. But alas, that is not the case here. The film feels more artistic than anything.
FINAL GIRL is shot well and looks good onscreen. The lighting is fantastic, particularly in the night forest scenes. The locations chosen for the lighting create an almost ethereal atmosphere in which the film unfolds. This is one of the only positive things I can mention, unfortunately.
The acting talent is there, however the cast is only as good as the script they are performing. Here, the performances feel fake and forced. The star of the film, Abigail Breslin, gave a phenomenal performance a few months ago in MAGGIE; but this film does not showcase her talents whatsoever. Likewise, the rest of the cast is bland in their deliveries.
Even the story itself is lacking. There are many reality-suspending concepts we are asked to ingest, and none of them are really conceivable. Similarly, a whole slew of questions arise that are never answered. Who is the man that approaches young Veronica in the beginning? How is he given access to her since her parents are dead? Does he work for the government? And after Veronica agrees to be his protege, what does she spend 12 years doing? I assumed she was being trained as an assassin (based on what the man tells her), but instead we discover she wasn’t doing much of anything. Her ‘training’ consists of an 80s-style work montage, in which she doesn’t really learn much.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line about FINAL GIRL is that it’s poorly done and pretty boring as a whole. Director Tyler Shields is well-known as a good photographer, but I am not impressed with this movie debut. Perhaps his next film will be time better spent. FINAL GIRL is available now in a variety of formats if you decide to check it out.