This week’s film is chosen with my Blog Wife in mind. Not only is she on record as one of the coolest people I know, but she has a segment on her blog dedicated to final girls in horror. What could be more appropriate for this week than a film taking its cues from the badass final girls we know and love? (Assuming we continue to exist in a world where the Mega Shark vs. Mecha Margaret [The Foxy Merkins] franchise has yet to materialize.)
A teen girl trained to kill targets a group of boys who like to reenact “The Most Dangerous Game” with the girls in their small town.
After the death of her parents, 5-year-old Veronica is adopted(?) for the purposes of mini assassin training. Her trainer, William, has lost his wife and child in an extremely vague murder, leading to his, er, brilliant plan of killing a group of 17-year-old boys 12 years later.
The training for Veronica is oddly specific, from killing people with her bare hands (since guns run out of bullets) and running through the woods until she can no longer feel her feet. After all of this time with William as her only human connection, Veronica is rather in love with him (in a super gross Stockholm syndrome kind of way).
After seriously 12 years of training, William deems Veronica ready for a test. She lures a man into the bathroom of a sort of Western themed restaurant(?) and manages to knock him out. This is an exhibit of (1) the general cop-out feeling that is watching this movie—surely the first test would be actually killing someone and (2) unintentional evidence of the creepy nature of Veronica and William’s relationship—random older man hits on Veronica = unacceptable, but relationship with William = ok because she knows him and he knows how to rock the stubble?
To be completely ready, Veronica also has to undergo a test where she’s injected with a drug that will reveal the truth/show her greatest fear. As it turns out, her greatest fear is William murdering her. Pretty fucking twisted.
Having passed all of the tests, Veronica is finally ready for her, uh, mission? William instructs her to gather information on a group of 17-year-old boys who hunt and kill the girls in their high school. Somehow, no one is suspicious about all of these girls going missing or about the number of times a girl has gone out with these guys only to never return.
Veronica buys a milkshake at the local diner for Jennifer, who is dating one of the psycho teens. I actually really liked the bonding scene between these two characters, even though it’s all about boy problems and Jennifer delivers one of the most cringeworthy lines of dialogue in the entire film (and there are a lot): “I’m a 17-year-old girl…of course it’s boy-related.” I could feel myself losing years from my life during that moment.
After learning valuable(?) information about her targets that she pretty much already knew, Veronica meets up with the ringleader and scores a date. There are a few scenes giving the boys a bit of personality, which pisses me off, largely because the female characters like Jennifer get no time whatsoever for character development. Like the only thing we know about her is she likes milkshakes and is dating a psycho.
Veronica meets up with the Fucked Up Four and starts things out with a rather sinister game of truth or dare in the woods. Our ringleader tells this really psychotic story about a rabbit and eventually says the line “We’re all just animals,” thus ruining any chance I had of taking this movie seriously. It’s really difficult to take anything seriously when you have the Bloodhound Gang stuck in your head.
I think it will surprise no one to learn some pretty grisly deaths follow without a ton of suspense about who the final girl is in this film.
1/5 Angry Pink Panther Heads
I would’ve gone with 2 PPHs because this film wasn’t the worst ever, but the relationship between Veronica and William pissed me off so much. It’s creepy for William to have raised Veronica and then potentially pursue a romantic relationship with her. Plus she’s 17, which may be the age of consent but is young enough to still be creepy AF. It’s also uncomfortable that William keeps putting her through tests to prove she’s worthy of being alive; the parallels to what men do in toxic relationships are too real. Let’s not even touch on the major Stockholm syndrome at play in all of this or we’ll be here for a long fucking time.
It’s difficult to see William as any better than the psychotic 17 year olds we’re supposed to hate, honestly. He subjects Veronica to horrendous treatment and plays mind games, even if he considers it for her own good. It’s unclear how killing these dudes has anything to do with the murder of William’s wife and child as well; I don’t think we’re in a Michael Myers situation where they killed someone at the age of 5. This film accepts the weird logic that targeting bad people for murder makes you a good person…but does it?
By the end, I was really rooting for Veronica to kill William and fully embrace the concept of the final girl. Take a wild guess about whether I was disappointed (yet again).