xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Dissertations have been written about the trope of The Final Girl. Stacie Ponder named her excellent blog after The Final Girl. What does The Final Girl(TM) say about our culture, and film, and female sexuality? To be fair, "The Final Girls," directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, with a script by Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin, does not set out to address those questions, except in the most surface-level way. It's more of an affectionate spoof on 1980's "summer camp" slasher films, spinning the familiar into a knowing world of "meta" commentary. It's similar to the "X-Files" episode "Hollywood A.D.," when Scully and Mulder realize a movie is being made about their lives. A little of this goes a long way.
Max (played by Vera Farmiga's younger sister Taissa Farmiga) is a mousy high school student in mourning for her dead mother. Her mother (Malin Akerman) was once a Scream Queen whose definitive role was 20 years before in the "classic" "Camp Bloodbath." "Camp Bloodbath" has gained such a cult following that its fans refer to themselves as "Bathematicians." Max's mother played Amanda, the sweet blonde camp counselor "with a clipboard and a guitar" slashed to death after losing her virginity on a waterbed.
Max has ambivalent feelings about "Camp Bloodbath," so when she's invited to attend a screening of the movie in honor of her mother, she hesitates but then obliges, going with Chris (Alexander Ludwig), a handsome classmate who obviously has a crush on her. During the screening, through some convergence of audience/movie fandom and Max's yearning to see her mother again, Max and four of her pals are thrust into the fictional world of "Camp Bloodbath." They stand in the woods, watching with confusion as the yellow VW van filled with raucous camp counselors careen down the road.
Do the fictional characters know they're not real? Should the "real" characters warn the fictional characters that one by one they will be picked off by the machete-wielding burn victim Billy Murphy (Dan B. Norris)?