An inventive and emotionally grounded look at what happens after the credits roll…
Here is that rare thing; a horror film in which fresh ideas, an exploratory spirit and solid writing work towards something more impactful than your average slasher. Not that there is anything wrong with a good slasher and Last Girl Standing certainly knows it; celebrating and feeding off the sub-genre’s legacy throughout. It’s so dependent upon genre because it tells the story of the sole survivor of a horrific horror film-esque murder spree, effectively lifting one of the endless last girls standing from any one of the by the books slashers that come out each year and placing her in a loose form of metanarrative. It’a fun idea for a film, to tell the story of what happens once the credits roll, and opens lots of different avenues for exploration.
Picking up five years after she escaped certain death we are introduced to Camyrn (played by Akasha Villalobos) as she tries to live out a solitary existence, rarely socialising, but simply doing her day job and trying her best not to succumb to nightmares at night. However when a new person starts up at her workplace she begins to form a friendship with them and their friends, complicating her relationship with her trauma as her new emotional attachments reawaken the memories of those which she lost.
Villalobos reaches into a solid, if occasionally simplistic script, and really mines it for all it’s worth. It’s an impressive lead performance who takes us through a considerable range of emotions, convincing us with her portrayal of a woman going to through all manner of extreme behaviours. Her supporting cast by and large do well in their respective roles, playing out roles you would expect to see in a standard slasher, but characters we by working with a script that’s focused on the human story they manage to give us are truly invested in before things get bloody.
If you’re coming to this purely for a blood and guts slasher then you’re probably not going to take too much away from this as, whilst it certainly dishes out some true violence, its focus is on its characters and how a horror film victim may deal with her trauma. It’s an inventive film which does a pretty good job of mixing scares and drama, even if it does drop the ball a little as we reach its crescendo. It’s ending feels a little rushed, which is a shame given the care that’s taken when building up to it. But still it doesn’t throw its character development out of the window, everything comes from a considered place, and in the end its flaws don’t stop this from being one of the more inventive and praiseworthy horrors of the year so far.
Last Girl Standing is released on VOD in the UK from February 29th through FrightfestPresents. Will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!