Director Todd Strauss-Schulson’s film The Final Girls received rave reviews when it premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this year, and it appears poised to join the ranks of similarly well-received projects that play with the tropes of the horror genre (i.e., The Cabin in the Woods, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, and the Scream franchise) in clever ways. With a limited theatrical release for the film planned later this year, the first trailer for the movie has debuted online and offers a peek at what to expect from this clever spin on summer camp slasher films.
The film follows a high-school senior played by American Horror Story actress Taissa Farmiga who finds herself and her friends suddenly transported into the ’80s slasher movie that was her deceased, scream-queen mother’s most famous work. Now face to face with the mother she lost years ago (Watchmen actress Malin Akerman), Max and her friends must find a way to escape from the movie, survive the machete-wielding killer out to slaughter the camp’s sex-crazy counselors, and possibly prevent her mom from dying this time around.
As the trailer makes abundantly clear, The Final Girls doesn’t shy away from toying with — and occasionally ridiculing — the conventions of old-school slasher films, and its characters find themselves dealing with unexpected slow-motion shots, black-and-white flashbacks, and even inconveniently placed, scene-establishing text at various points in the footage.
Along with Farmiga and Akerman, the film stars Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev, Vikings actor Alexander Ludwig, Arrested Development actress Alia Shawkat, Silicon Valley actor Thomas Middleditch, and Pitch Perfect‘s Adam Devine.
The Final Girls had its world premiere on opening night of SxSW in March, and was nominated for an Audience Award at the film festival. The film is based on a script by Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin, and it will receive a limited release in theaters Oct. 9.