I first heard the buzz about Last Girl Standing at last year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend. From what folks were saying, it sounded like a must-see film that might help redefine a genre long saturated with overused tropes and unoriginal concepts. Because of this hype, I jumped on the chance to review it when Hellnotes offered.
Unfortunately, the film did not live up to all the buildup it had generated.
Now don’t get me wrong: it’s a pretty decent slasher overall, but I saw the “big reveal” coming very early on, and therefore the climactic ending wasn’t quite as such. Still, I will recommend viewing it, if only to see the talents of an up-and-coming director and some nice gore.
If you are not familiar with Last Girl Standing, here is the plot synopsis:
Five years after a masked killer brutally murdered her closest friends, Camryn, the lone survivor, struggles to reclaim her shattered life. Though seemingly suffering from paranoid delusions, Camryn reluctantly starts hanging out with Nick, a new co-worker, and his tight-knit social circle. But just when she thinks she might be ready to finally start anew, Camryn’s past comes back to haunt her… Part slasher movie, part character study, LAST GIRL STANDING is a thrilling exploration of what happens to the final girls of horror movies.
Last Girl Standing is shot fairly well and looks good onscreen as a whole. Some of the camera shots are bit too shaky for me, but thankfully they are not overpowering. The production value of the film appears decent, and you can tell the cast and crew sunk their hearts into making it.
The acting is above par for an indie slasher film. Akasha Villalobos does a great job as Camryn, the main character; she displays a vivid range of acting skills in her portrayal, and I wager we will see more of her in future projects. She is joined by a good supporting cast that includes Danielle Evon Ploeger, Brian Villalobos (Akasha’s real-life husband), Laura Ray, JD Carrera, and Kelsey Pribilski.
As mentioned above, the special effects in Last Girl Standing are very good, and there’s a nice dose of carnage for us gore-hounds. I am impressed with just how much gore we are given, as lower-budget projects sometimes tend to cut back in the effects department. Thankfully, not so here.
The plot is where I have the biggest complaint: it tries to be original and take us to an unexpected conclusion, but it’s simply too predictable. The character study of how a traumatized survivor might adapt (or more correctly, NOT adapt) to life after the incident is somewhat interesting…but it cannot save the expected ending that is evident early on. Thankfully, the gory killing spree at the conclusion helps pass the time, but it’s only eye candy.
Last Girl Standing is not an excellent film, but it does have its merits. The pacing is solid, and the film rarely (if ever) lags. The atmospheric buildup of tension is respectable, and the gore is worthy of a Saw film. But if you decide to give this one a look, don’t expect a Shyamalan-ian twist…you’ll be disappointed if you do.
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