Final Girl (2015): Abigail Breslin Death in a Red Dress (Review)

Abigail Breslin in Final Girl

Directed  by Tyler Shields (his first time in the driver’s seat) and  based on a screenplay by Adam Prince ‘Final Girl’ is an odd sort of horror film. Starring Abigail Breslin and Wes Bentley (in what can only be described as an extended cameo) it follows Breslin’s character learning how to kill from an early age. 

The film opens with Bentley’s character  William “interviewing” the young Breslin character, Veronica.   Years pass and Veronica is now a young woman that  William uses as a weapon.

There are group of young men who hunt and kill young women for sport and it is this quartet of killers that William aims Veronica at. The story was obviously heavily influenced by real life “woman hunter” Alaskan businessman Robert Hansen.  In the film there are four young men who dress in tuxedos and chase down female victims in the woods.

It is never really explained why William trains Veronica to become a living weapon.   The two have an odd relationship. The man has “raised” and trained her from childhood, yet at one point she asks him to “teach her” about sex, first hand. William refuses.

The four men take Veronica out in the woods and she turns the tables on the would-be murderers.

‘Final Girl” has moments that work extremely well. However, there are just as many that miss the mark. At the start of the film Veronica fights with William and the choreography is off.  Three clear misses from Breslin’s character still results in her sparring partner going down.

Reviewers have complained that the actress was miscast in the film but the very fact that Breslin does not look like a trained killer makes the storyline work.  She looks more victim than saviour and this lends itself to the plot.

Alexander Ludwig  plays the leader of the group and Logan HuffmanCameron Bright and Reece Thompson make up the members of the serial killer club. Francesca Eastwood plays the girlfriend of one of the group.

The film ends just as oddly as it starts.  Shields does a good job putting his cast through their paces. Cinematographer Gregory Middleton does a splendid job shooting the forest scenes and the each frame is lit well enough that everything that needs to be seen is.

While not overly impressive the film features solid performances by all the cast making the movie an entertaining experience.

‘Final Girl’ is a 3.5 stars out of 5 and well worth watching. Head on over to US Netflix and check it out.

Poster for Final Girl

 

Interstellar: Matthew McConaughey on Epic IMAX Space Odyssey (Review)

Interstellar: Matthew McConaughey on Epic IMAX Space Odyssey (Review)

Christopher Nolan’s latest offering, in IMAX no less, is an epic new journey of discovery which takes Matthew McConaughey through a wormhole; in Interstellar, Nolan has tipped his directorial hat to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and managed to “out-Roddenberry” the Star Trek creator with worlds that surpass most imaginations. This long spectacular film entertains on a level that many movies aim for but few attain. This star studded feature, with five Oscar winners on board, should be seen in IMAX to get the full effect of what the director’s vision for the film is. Interstellar is a completely immersive experience, one that sucks the audience in and holds them captive for the entire 2 hour 9 minute run time.

American Horror Story Freak Show: Being Two Faced Is a Killer

American Horror Story Freak Show: Being Two Faced Is a Killer

American Horror Story Freak Show this week shows that being two faced is a killer, both figuratively and literally. The episode titled Edward Mordrake Part 1 is about “carny” legend and it features American Beauty actor Wes Bentley as the mythical Lord Mordrake, a member of the aristocracy who had a second face on the back of his head. This spare visage whispered to the poor man driving him mad.

The Final Rites aka Rites of Passage (2012) Monkey Shines

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Looking at the cast list, which was helpfully posted across the top of the video case, I decided to give this one a go. Sure the list says, with Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff which generally means that neither of them, as a rule, will get much screen time.

But, au contraire! Christian Slater, while not on screen constantly, is on quite a lot and has easily the best character in the picture..or rather his Cheech Moran soundalike monkey does.

But I digress…

Written and directed by W. Peter Iliff I am sure that the film looked  great on paper. Unfortunately  there is many a slip between film and script and somewhere something went a bit haywire for this film of two titles.

Although you’d never tell from the film’s chronological order, it appears to be about two brothers; Benny and Nathan (Wes Bentley and Ryan Donowho  respectively) and quite possibly Dani  (Kate Maberly) as the part Chumash Native American who is monumentally screwed up after killing a mother and child whilst driving under the influence of…everything.

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It is also about Christian Slater’s character; a once “respectable” business man who lost his wife and child to Dani’s wanton law breaking by driving and killing innocent people while under said influence.

Delgado (Slater) is a wig  wearing coverall clad nut case, whose loss has driven him to drugs; the making of and consuming of, and has made him nuttier than a squirrel on caffeine. Delgado lives on Benny and Nathan’s late father’s ranch which has a Chumash burial site on it.

While part of me fell about with laughter every time Delgado had a conversation with his dead son’s non-existant stuffed monkey toy – who sounded like Cheech Moran, remember – the other part of me was reacting in horror at the fact that I found Kate Maberly incredibly attractive.

What’s wrong with that you may ask?

Well for starters, I still watch a film called A Secret Garden on a semi-regular basis. Dame Maggie Smith plays a governess who is absolutely horrid. Brilliant job. But, and here is the problem, also knocking her performance out of the metaphorical park is, yes you guessed it, Kate Maberly! A very young Kate Maberly, like about ten years old young.

Every time I found myself thinking, ‘she is so pretty,’ the image of her youthful self would spring to mind and I’d suddenly feel like an old, extremely dirty old man.

Kate Maberly

But, personal problems aside; the film could have been so much better.

The plot seemed to be about Benny, a social inept who is addicted to the hallucinogenic drug found in a local plant root that the Chumash Indians used in Shaman ceremonies. He is on the lookout for a bride and after killing one accidentally (Briana Evigan who was so criminally wasted in this role) he sets his sights on Dani.

Not a problem except that instead of having a honeymoon on their wedding night, he’s planning on killing her and himself so that they can be together forever in the Happy Hunting Ground.

While I cheered up every time that Slater was on screen; it’s amazing how good he actually was in this, the obvious continuity errors and editing problems destroyed the film. It did have some charm, but it could have; considering the acting talents of the cast, been so much better.

The other part of the film that bugged me was the obvious “Shemp” moment with Stephen Dorff’s character. In case you haven’t read it, Bruce Campbells first autobiography, If Chins Could Kill talks about “Shemping” it’s where you use just anybody to fill in for a regular cast member who cannot be there for that day’s shoot.

That was blazingly obvious with Dorff’s part. He played Professor Nash, who has gone to the ranch to participate in an ancient Chumash ritual with his students and girlfriend. He gets some of that “root” hallucinogenic drug and gets incredibly stoned. He sees Chumash Indians and he follows them to the beach.

In a moment that actually screams body double, he sinks to the sand and the camera swings around behind him. He then inexplicably puts up the hood of his sweat shirt and starts following the hallucinatory  Indian girl into the water. It is clearly not Dorff and the intermixed shots of his face sans hood that were edited in to make it look like he was walking into the water, didn’t work.

There were other problems, most of which had to deal with Delgado and his talking stuffed monkey.

Still the film was entertaining in a “don’t expect too much” sort of way and it did have stand out moments (the monkey/Slater double act did make me howl with laughter, it must be said) but, the film didn’t warrant the 9 pounds sterling that I paid for it. (that’s about 16 bucks American)

A real 3 out of 5 star film that only gets that much because of the Cheech Moran soundalike stuffed monkey. Seriously? Wait for this to come on Netflix or LOVE-FILM, it’s not worth the price of a rental.

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Gone (2012): But Not Too Quickly Forgotten

Despite the fact that I am not a huge fan of Amanda Seyfried (and to be honest, I couldn’t really tell you why. I’ve just never connected with her as a performer) I really enjoyed this critically mauled film. I can only think that the critics panned this film on its release because it had not been screened for them.

Directed by Heitor Dhalia (Adrift, Drained) and starring Amanda Seyfried, Emily WickershamJennifer Carpenter and Wes Bentley Gone is a great little film.

Jill (Seyfried) and Molly (Wickersham) are sisters who share a house together. Molly is a recovering alcoholic and Jill is recovering from a nervous breakdown. Her breakdown came about after she escaped a serial killer.

After Jill and Molly have an argument, Jill goes to work. She is a waitress at a local diner. While she’s at work one of her customers leaves her a very generous tip. She thinks  it’s odd  and she asks her friend Sharon (Carpenter) if she knows who the guy is. Sharon says that he is regular customer and that he is always a heavy tipper.

When Jill gets home, Molly is missing. Her car is in the driveway and personal things are still in the house. Panicked, she calls the police and when they fail to take her seriously she goes down to the station.

She meets new detective Peter Hood (Bentley) and she tells him and the other detectives about Molly’s disappearance. The police don’t believe her when she says that Molly is missing and they tell her to wait for them to call her. Hood says that he believes her and gives her his phone number.

The other detectives explain to Hood that Jill was allegedly kidnapped and held in a national forest. She escaped and told the police what had happened but she couldn’t find the place where her kidnapper had kept her. After searching for days, the police give up deciding that Jill has made the whole thing up.

Jill spent a long time in an institution as a result and the towns people believe that she has mental problems. Despite the police not acting on her information and going so far as to get Molly’s boyfriend to lie to Jill about her sister returning (when clearly she has not) Jill doesn’t give up looking for her sister.

This film played out very well. Seyfried is convincing as the highly strung and nervous ‘victim’ who becomes more determined to find out what has happened to her sister when no-one will come to her aid.

Gone really is Seyfried’s film. Carpenter, Wickersham, and Bentley really don’t have a lot to do in the film. Their parts almost felt like extended cameos rather than full supporting roles. The plot has few twists and turns, but it really doesn’t need many.

Even though this film was obviously shot on a smaller budget, it looked and felt like a big budget film. It was interesting enough and filmed well enough that I never had to suspend my disbelief too much.

I’d say that a final verdict of one big bag of popcorn and regular Coke would be just right. It’s not so exciting that you set on the edge of your seat and shovel popcorn in your mouth non stop. It is definitely worth a look, even if you’re not an Amanda Seyfried fan.

English: Amanda Seyfried, Chloe premiere - Roy...