A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Final Girl is a thriller that deals with issues including rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse in very sensationalized way -- within the context of a "game" in which a group of teen rapists chases and dispatches their victims. More of the gory violence is implied than shown, but it still has quite an impact; there are graphic shots of dead bodies, as well as victims being nonconsensually fondled and more. Characters also swear frequently ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), and some are tricked into drinking a hallucinogenic substance. Bottom line? Discussions about rape and sexual assault would be served greater justice in a more serious context, outside of this movie’s unrealistic scenario.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In FINAL GIRL, five teen boys regularly partake in a "game" that involves luring, chasing, assaulting, and ultimately killing girls (all of whom are blonde) in the middle of a deserted forest. But the game is disrupted when the boys come across their final girl, Veronica (Abigail Breslin), and the tables are turned. Having been accepted at a very young age by her trainer, Veronica has been taught to become a lethal weapon -- and now, under her trainer's direction, she sets herself up as bait, ultimately making the gang the victims of their own game.
Is it any good?
As far as thrillers go, FINAL GIRL is painstakingly underwhelming -- not to mention endlessly upsetting. The acting and cinematography are subpar; everything from the way the characters move to what comes out of their mouths is consistently predictable. On top of that, the plot seems so undercooked that the majority of the movie feels like a confusing guessing game -- the end of which is unfulfilling. This movie is all drama and no delivery: Overly dramatic lighting, settings, and costumes prove to be arbitrary in practically every scene.
And once you add in all of the problematic angles that the movie takes -- from trivializing serious issues like rape to taking a laughably old-fashioned approach to gender norms -- it’s sealed as a must not see. Saturated in overstated drama, toxic masculinity, dull violence, and excessive sexuality, this "thriller" offers more laughs and headshakes at its own absurdity than it does thrills. From beginning to end, Final Girl is a tasteless, confusing, violent mess.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the reality of sexual assault, rape, and domestic abuse. Where and how do they actually take place? How does the media usually frame such issues? How does Final Girl treat the topics? Why do you think it takes that approach?
Talk about the movie's approach to gender roles. Are girls portrayed as stereotypically helpless and boys as stereotypically domineering and in charge? Does the main character’s eventual domination over her attackers subvert or reinforce stereotypes?
How did the movie's violence affect you? Do different types of violence have different impact?
- In theaters: August 14, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: October 6, 2015
- Cast: Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Logan Huffman
- Director: Tyler Shields
- Studio: Cinedigm
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: High School
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing violent content, and some language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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