Last week the Lagoon explored the 80’s slasher flick parody, ‘The Final Girls.’ This week we examine the similarly titled ‘Final Girl” which features an actor(Alexander Ludwig) from the other film but is more of a straight up terror yarn.
We open on a strange scene wherein an adult is interviewing a young girl, Veronica. We learn that this precocious child just lost her parents but her matter of fact acceptance of this tragic event prompts the adult, William, to offer to take her in.
Turns out William has a very specific purpose in mind for young Veronica. Life with William is more like boot camp with training in fighting styles, nature skills, and profiling. William seems to be building on the child’s ability to endure but he has a clear goal in mind.
We soon learn that there are four young men on their radar. Nelson, Danny, Shane and Jameson may sound like a posh law firm but these dudes have no affinity for legal matters. They are a band of rich snots who enjoy taking a girl out for a game of” truth or dare” before hunting and killing the poor thing in the woods outside their town.
Before Veronica can get at these guys she must pass an exam. It’s a toughie which involves picking up a husky stranger in a night club and proceeding to incapacitate the poor dope. Veronica manages to breeze through this quiz but her last test is a beaut. She is pumped full of a powerful cocktail of truth serum and hallucinogen which will either drive her mad, compel he rot take her own life, or leave shivering and lucky to be alive.
She passes and is pronounced ready for her assignment. She easily infiltrates the group and is soon invited out on a date by Jameson. He neglects to mention he is bringing his three friends but at least they look presentable(they always rock Tuxedoes on a hunt). She is then brought to the same woods where they have stalked all of their prey but they have no clue that they are the victims now.
Veronica has no trouble getting them to drink from a flask she brings along. This is their first misstep as it is chock full of the same cocktail she ingested earlier. She then proceeds to act scared while they tell her what they plan to do but by the time hunt begins they are getting the shakes and the field is officially level as she takes the fight to them.
This is an excellent twist on the old “Most Dangerous Game” plot and it works well thanks to crisp photography and a talented young cast.
Abigail Breslin leads the way as Veronica and manages to convince that she has the goods despite being a full foot shorter than the makes. Wes Bentley is also good as the mysterious trainer. The aforementioned Ludwig is perfectly cast as the Alpha male psycho of the group. Logan Hoffman, Cameron Bright, and Reese Thompson are also good as the other three hunters and must sell their characters with very little time for development.
What I liked most about this flick was what it didn’t do. There is no telegraphing here to ruin any surprises. You never learn why William takes her in or whether this will be her only assignment. Who knows, he could be training her for a full-time career in the assassination game. This could easily generate sequels and it would be interesting to see what kind of creep she goes after next.
Best Line: ” That’s a really big rock.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.