Benjamin R. Moody’s Last Girl Standing is certainly a unique beast, being part character study, part slasher movie as it follows the sole survivor of a psychotic lunatic’s roaring rampage of bloodshed and carnage.
As the film opens, we see Camryn (Akasha Villalobos) frantically fighting for her life against a masked killer (Jason Vines) as her friends’ dead bodies are strewn all around her. Managing to just about outwit the monster and escape with her life, Camryn has survived this ordeal, but at what cost? Picking things up with her a little down the line, we find her living a solitary, soulless existence that involves flitting between her one-bedroom apartment and her mundane employment in a local laundromat. For poor Camryn, every stranger is a threat, every noise is a sign of danger, and social skills are something that have long since left her.
When Nick (Brian Villalobos) starts working at the laundromat, Camryn finds herself within arm’s reach of some sense of normalcy as he does his best to integrate her into his group of friends. The problem is, is Camryn too far gone and has too much damage been done to her psyche? That’s what Last Girl Standing looks to explore as we see the aftereffects of the trauma that its lead character has had to endure.
Moody’s movie is brimming full of promise in how it looks to address an age-old question that has regularly reared its head over the decades: what happens to the survivor of a horror film once the credits have finished rolling? Last Girl Standing does a fantastic job of exploring this angle during its opening hour or so, although the final act ends up feeling a little too dragged out and overplayed as things take a dramatic twist that many may see coming. Before the last half hour, though, we get a well-crafted, delicate and bleak look into Camryn and the social inadequacies, mistrust, insecurities and fear that haunt her on a daily basis. It’s during this time that Last Girl Standing is at its finest, giving viewers something truly special in a film that many may have written off as a generic slasher movie beforehand. That’s not to say that there aren’t elements of a slasher thrown in here, mind.
Whilst officially described as both a character study and a slasher, it’s firmly as a character study that Last Girl Standing shines. Unfortunately, though, for all of the good work done in the first hour of the movie, things do sadly become a little formulaic as Moody’s film drags itself to a close. As a unique viewing experience, however, this is a film worth hunting down for long-time horror hounds looking for a different perspective on the genre.
LAST GIRL STANDING / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: BENJAMIN R. MOODY / STARRING: AKASHA VILLALOBOS, DANIELLE EVON PLOEGER, BRIAN VILLALOBOS, KELSEY PRIBILSKI, JASON VINES / RELEASE DATE: JULY 4TH