DIRECTOR Phil Hawkins WRITER Phil Hawkins STARS Robert Englund; Finn Jones; Emily Berrington SCREENING Today at 18.15, 21.00 & 23.05
Something of a missed opportunity, The Last Showing is at times a clunky affair. A mise-en-abîme approach held in one location holds great potential for some claustrophobic storytelling, and yet here, there is no energy wasted on subplot, the premise as simple as this: a projectionist traps a young couple in the cinema and shoots a horror film of his own. However as the late-night, crowd-pleasing turn it clearly aspires to be, the film is successful, flipping the role of the antagonist on its head to have us rooting for the madman — he is lamenting the state of the multiplex just like any real fan of cinema, after all. The casting of Robert Englund in this case was therefore a coup, adding a tongue-in-cheek aspect to what is already a scoff at the genre today.
But there is no escaping the fact that, overall, The Last Showing is a hollow affair. Suffering from what is a really very basic screenplay — this is a first-time feature for Phil Hawkins as a writer — there is frustratingly little to sink one’s teeth into, the reliance on the audience’s knowing nod simply too great. Certainly there are some fine moments — the celluloid strangling of the cinema manager who doesn’t care about aspect ratios is a nice touch, for example, as is Englund’s breaking of his own fourth wall — but these are too few and far between to liven up proceedings. As such, The Last Showing is just as forgettable as the formulaic films it seeks to mock.