FrightFest Review: Last Girl Standing

91 minutes / 2015 / Rating: N/A / Blue Goggles Media / Dir. Benjamin R. Moody

Five years ago, a masked killer brutally murdered a group of friends. Since then, Camryn (Akasha Villalobos), the lone survivor, has struggled to reclaim her shattered life. Wracked with guilt and paranoia, Camryn leads a depressingly lonely existence until Nick (Brian Villalobos), a new co-worker, befriends Camryn and attempts to integrate her into his group of friends. Just when she might be ready to start a new life, Camryn’s past comes back to haunt her. Can Camryn ever have a life again, or is she destined to be alone?

FrightFest 2015 is finally over, after four days of showing the best in new and cult cinema to thousands of fans. While Infernal Cinema were unable to attend, we were lucky enough to see some of this years titles in advance. However this review is our final FF title to be examined and were a little sad as it means the fun is well and truly over for 2015, although we’re also sad because our other FF content was a huge success for Infernal Cinema! We will be reviewing other titles come October, but those will be in relation to their scheduled DVD/Blu-ray releases. Now, to the actual review…

Last Girl Standing is another flick at this years FrightFest that turns on it’s head the concept of the ‘final girl’. This movie does it in a way that shows the viewer what happens to this genre character after surviving a massacre.

The film starts off with a bang as we see the tail end of the massacre and how the role of Camryn (Akasha Villalobos) survives. Its a brutal moment that wouldn’t look out of place in the finale of many a slasher/horror, which is no doubt director Ben Moody’s intention. The viewer has to see just what it is that she has gone through in order to better understand her for when she is shown readjusting to ‘normal life’.

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After going through something like that it is of course difficult for Camryn to lead her life. She is distant, quiet and nervous of everyone. She has night terrors that the killer is back to get her. Despite trying to get a grip on the matter it seems that surviving something as horrific as a serial killer attack is just too difficult to fully recover from. When Nick (Brian Villalobos, real life husband of Akasha) starts to work with her at a dry cleaners the two slowly develop a relationship. Cameron may just be on the road to recovery, after all.

This is much of the story for Last Girl Standing, the ‘final girl’ finally moving on and living life again thanks to Nick and his friends. It presents plenty of touching moments. The transformation from timid and shy outsider into a person overcoming some heavy emotional baggage is believable.

But this is interrupted by the sight of the killer, who crops up and looks set to finally finish off Camryn. He attacks her and her new friends, although Moody makes it uncertain if this is real or in the frightened woman’s mind. Every time the killer appears on screen there is something that sheds doubts onto whether or not he was actually there or Camryn is hallucinating. As he was killed by her in the opening moments of the movie this hints that she isn’t coping as well as she claims. She comes to a somewhat disturbing length to prove if he is really dead when she begins to doubt her own sanity. 

The final moments of Last Girl Standing see the plotlines come together for a dark and bloody finish. The viewer will get some rewarding answers to the questions about Camryn and her ‘sightings’ of the killer. 

Akasha is excellent in the role of the ‘final girl’, bringing a fragile vibe to her character during the films many dramatic moments. Last Girl Standing is filled with strong performances but it is Akasha’s that will be the most memorable.

Verdict.
A post modern horror that gives a fresh spin on the final girl cliché, complimented with fine direction and acting. A worthy watch.

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