The Final DVD
DIRECTOR: Joey Stewart
STARRING: Marc Donato, Jascha Washington, Whitney Hoy, Justin Arnold, Travis Tedford
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2010
For four straight years now, After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For has been unleashed. Eight original horror films to quench your thirst for blood and gore and screams galore. Last year I was able to check out and review their third collection of horrors (Read: DVD Review: After Dark Horrorfest III: 8 Films To Die For), and was rather excited to check out their new slate this year! Instead of cramming every review into one mammoth review, this year we’ll take it one flick at a time, with this little opener stuck at the top of each one.
I watched quite a few of the Horrorfest lineup before getting to this point, and until now, I was rather impressed with this year’s offerings. A few of the other titles were a little rocky and left me disappointed and wanting more, while a few others surpassed all expectation in a blast of pleasant surprise. But just like each year has a foreign film, it would appear that each year also has one movie that doesn’t play to you at all. Not even the tiniest little bit. Last year this honor went to The Butterfly Effect 3, and the now new champion is The Final, a movie that actually had me angry by its end.
Not since the aforementioned Butterfly Effect 3 (hard to enjoy a third movie when you loathe the original) and Running Scared has a movie left me so irritated by the time the credits rolled, but this one found a way to achieve it. Basically, the flick tells the story of a group of high school students who are tormented so often by the school’s cool kids and jocks, as happens in every single high school across the country. Though this particular group of students has had enough, and decides to do something about the mean-spirited bullies.
Their master plan is to get all of the popular kids to attend a big party at a secluded location. The popular kids take it as a chance to drink a bunch of free booze and a place to trash and flirt without worry, so they all eagerly agree to attend. What they don’t know, is that the group of tormented outcasts plan to drug their bowl of punch and shackle them all together while they’re passed out. After this is accomplished, they tell the kidnapped group that they won’t die here, but they will from this day forth know what it’s like to be rejected and tormented. This involves gruesome methods of torture like a cream that deteriorates a popular girl’s face slowly or offering one of them safety if they’re willing to cut another’s fingers off and so on.
The Final got off to a bad start right out of the gate. Before the opening credits had even finished running, I was already shaking my head. The movie takes cliche bully tendencies and magnifies them by 100 with excessive taunting and poking fun and all around teen evil. This is used as a tool in order to make what’s coming to them seem more understandable, but it doesn’t work at all. Bully habits are annoying as it is, so when you see it blown up to get the point across, it’s easy to get turned off in record time. None of the characters or dialogue felt natural and the movie as a whole was really forced in the name of “shock” horror.
There’s obviously times where we see one or two kids lose it and bring guns to school, and this incredibly scary when it happens. But for a group of 5 or 6 kids to all be swell and dandy with torture and suicide, and then actually go through with the plan like it was a hobby made no sense at all. This matched with really poor writing and dialogue was a perfect recipe for imminent disaster and nothing about this movie worked for me. And might I elaborate — my distaste for the movie isn’t because of the vulgar content so unspeakable I couldn’t enjoy it, it’s only because it all was put together messily and was that painful for me just to sit through it. You can’t build a house with toothpicks and Elmer’s glue.
The ONLY one thing I liked about The Final I found in the special features. In a making of featurette, it was revealed that one of the actors was the kid who played Spanky in the 1994 remake of Little Rascals. This was awesome and you can totally see it in his face. Sadly, his role was small and this doesn’t help the actual film in the least.
Again, I try my very best to be fair and professional when reviewing a movie, but sometimes it’s hard to bite one’s tongue and I’m sure many of the more snarky critics out there wouldn’t be quite so reserved. I also usually like to note that some kids out there may get a kick out of a movie, but even that doesn’t seem right. You can watch the trailer below and make your choice then, but don’t blame me if you take the leap, friends.