Film

The Final Girls, a horror-comedy to remember come October

High-school, camp-killings and a mom that everyone thought was dead; these are the terrors of “The Final Girls.” The film follows Max, a high school senior, who is mysteriously transported with her friends into a 1980s horror film that starred Max’s mother, a celebrated scream queen.

Trapped inside the movie, Max finds herself reunited with her mom, who she lost in real life. Together with Max’s friends, they must fend off the camp counselors’ raging hormones, battle a deranged machete-wielding killer and find a way to escape the movie and make it back home.

THE FINAL GIRLS stars Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev, Angela Trimbur, Tory N. Thompson, and Chloe Bridges. The film was Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson.

Having lost a parent of his own, Director Strauss-Schulson is no stranger to the grieving process. The transcendent concept of being reunited with a recently deceased relative emotionally tied Strauss-Schulson to the project. Says Strauss-Schulson, “THE FINAL GIRLS is ultimately about a girl learning to let go of her mother and dealing with grief.”

When Strauss-Schulson’s friends from college and also the film’s writers, Josh Miller and Mark Fortin, originally approached Strauss-Schulson to read the script, Strauss-Schulson was immediately inspired. Explains Strauss-Schulson, “Josh and Mark wrote this script and as friends asked me what I thought of this movie, and I read it and thought it was the coolest thing I had ever read in my whole life and I jumped at the opportunity to get involved.”

Having grown up in the 80s, Strauss-Schulson was drawn to the style of these campy, late 70s early 80s horror movies. Reminiscing on the foundation of his excitement, says Strauss-Schulson, “I love movies, and loved the idea of making a movie about being stuck in a movie, where the tropes of the movie were after you… I remember being a kid and going to the video store every day and trying to rent every video in the row starting in the horror section.”

Explains Strauss-Schulson, “This movie is sort of a reference of those movies in a comical way, with the bad acting and silly outfits and all of that. But its also a movie about movies, about movie lovers. I wanted there to be a pure JOY of moviemaking in the film. So much of this movie lives and dies on its TONE, on the FILMMAKING.

I look for movies where the TELLING of the story is intregral to the story itself and this movie is that, there is red meat here for a director. The balance of the two worlds, the balance of heart emotion and gore. Delivering scares and humor. It’s a balancing act but I felt a cinematic director can nail this. If the storytellers voice is strong enough all of those disperate tones could congele into something new and exciting.”

Writer and executive producer Josh Miller, having also lost a loved one, describes the story as “ultimately about letting go, it’s the story of a young girl letting go of her mother who died a long time ago.” Much like how the film’s main character Max is challenged with letting go of her mother, Miller explains the writing process was “about letting go of my own father’s death and his legacy with classic horrors as well.”

Along with the sentimental qualities, the story also lends itself to an excellent adventure. Says Strauss-Schulson, “To me, the movie is more than a comedy or horror movie, it is really a story about a young girl and the death of her mother and coming to terms with that.”

“The film is not just one thing, it’s sort of a horror movie, it’s a comedy, but it is also full of heart; a very emotional piece about a mother and daughter and what it’s like to be able to reconnect with a parent even after they are dead,” explains Producer Janice Williams.

Filmmakers brought on comedic reliefs Adam Devine, Thomas Middleditch, and Angela Trimbur, giving them free reign to bring their personalities to the script through improvisation. Continues Williams, “You can expect everything from this film. You’re going to be scared, but you’re definitely going to laugh.”

The behind the scenes team includes writer M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller, the Director of Photography Elie Smolkin, Production Designer Katie Byron, the Editor Debbie Berman, Costume Designer Lynette Meyer and the Visual Effects Producers Oliver Taylor and Michael Lebensfeld.

The film was shot during the summer of 2014 on location in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Produced by Michael London and Janice Williams, the project was developed with Groundswell Productions and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. Executive Producers are Darren M. Demetre, M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller.

The film will hit theaters on October 9, 2015