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Chris Kavan's Movie Reviews (3227)

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Final Girl (2015) 
Face of an Angel, Mind of a Killer
2.5/4 stars

Final Girl comes across as a mix between Hanna and Funny Games. On one hand you have the mysterious handler training a young girl to be a killing machine - on the other, a group of affluent, white males who kill for the fun of it. When the two groups come together - well, let's just say the body count rises rather quickly.

Abigail Breslin has come a long way since appearing as the wanna-be mini-pageant queen in Little Miss Sunshine. She has proven in Zombieland and Maggie that she can adjust well to comedy, drama and horror. Final Girl veers more into thriller territory - there is a lot more build up and tension than there is widespread bloodshed. Breslin comes across as both vulnerable yet coldly calculated - from the opening, she is set up to be the perfect killing machine - a psychopath with a mission.

Helping her along this path is our mysterious handler, played by Wes Bentley. We are not given much to go on besides the fact he has lost his family. What we do know is that he seems to have gone through much of the same training as Breslin and in a Hit-Girl, Big Daddy type relationship, he's now passing on his training - as dangerous and unfeeling as things may get.

The objective? To take out a group of four young adult males who have been on a killing spree. They lure young women into a remote forest and hunt them down for sport. Alexander Ludwig (known to many as Cato from The Hunter Games) leads this band of brothers - he brings his arrogant swagger to the role as the alpha male of the group. There is also Danny (the most bizarre and interesting of the boys), played by Logan Huffman - who has a penchant for jazz and really loves his axe, man. Reece Thompson plays Nelson, a boy with mommy issues and rounding out the merry band is Cameron Bright who nearly has a shred of humanity. Rounding out the cast is Emma Paetz who plays Jennifer, who is the one girl the group won't kill but is little more than an afterthought to the boys.

Final Girl does take awhile to build up - you have the training montages and early scenes of the boys being jerks (and worse). But even with this exposition, the main fault of Final Girl is you don't really get a depth of character. Bentley remains a mystery behind his motivations - Breslin is a blank slate and the boys are just surface - why do they kill? If there's a reason, it is left unexplored. So while the movie does build plenty of tension - without fully realizing the characters, it's hard to feel much of anything when they start to kill or die.

The final scene in the woods is where the tables are turned it worth the stay, however, A nice drug cocktail makes the boys hallucinate their ultimate fears - and though it can get a bit corny, it's interesting to see how each reacts. Breslin finally gets to show off her skills and metes out justice through fist and weapons alike.

I wish the film had gone a bit deeper, but overall, Final Girl is a decent thriller and worth it to see Breslin and Bentley alone.


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