The slasher sub genre is near and dear to my bloody heart. From Michael to Jason to Ghostface and all those wackos in between, the slasher has kept afraid of alleys, lakes and one time hookups for close to forty years. You could make an argument that the slasher is the lifeblood of the entire horror genre.
Fanning that flame is writer/director Benjamin R. Moody’s (his wife Rachel produces) Last Girl Standing but Last Girl Standing, is not your typical fanfare. While it is a “slasher”, the film leans heavy elements of both a psychological thriller and early 90’s Indie romance, weirdly enough.
The flick starts where the standard slasher ends. The Final Girl has watched all her chums meet grisly ends, and she’s outwitted the killer enough to attempt an escape. We’ve seen it all before, this go-around our heroine is named Camryn (AKASHA VILLALOBOS) and the deranged killer is a deer antler wearing, buck knife wielding hillbilly called “The Hunter”.
But the standard ending is just the beginning of Last Girl Standing.
The root of the film starts a few years after these events. Camryn is a shell of her former self, she’s let herself go, still works her dead-end college job at the laundry mat, she’s alone, and still can’t shake that terrible night from years before. It isn’t until a new guy at work, Nick (BRIAN VILLALOBOS), slowly starts to help here open up. Except Camryn can’t shake “the Hunter”. Strange things start happening at work. She thinks she sees him in the shadows, as clues randomly appear questioning the Hunter’s death. Despite Nick and his friends best efforts to help Camryn find stability, she is unable to escape the darkness.
I won’t give away anymore, don’t want to ruin it for you.
Much like last years “The Final Girl” breathed life into the slasher genre with its nostalgia and heart; Last Girl Standing does it with smarts. Outside of maybe the Scream franchise, rarely do we see the effect an event like seeing all your friends murdered on the girl who gets away.
The cast is made up of people I’ve never heard of, but they were all solid. Leads AKASHA VILLALOBOS and BRIAN VILLALOBOS especially. Their relationship feels so real, and AKASHA has great control of all the emotions she’s asked to portray. I mean Camryn is a wreck.
Benjamin R. Moody has chops, no question, and I look forward to Last Girl Standings follow-up. He’s created one of the best horror surprises of the year.
Out now on VOD, DVD, Blu.