Movie Review: The Final (2010)

September 6, 2012

High school is delightful, isn’t it? You all just read that and chuckled, “hah, yeah, riiiight. Try selling me an aluminum brick while you’re at it.” Obviously some kids at some high school in some Horror movie called The Final feel the same way. This movie might be a little bit harder to sell than a brick, however.

Written by Jason Kabolati and directed by Joey Stewart, The Final is about a group of “outcasts” in high school who are bullied often and relentlessly, and their thirst for revenge against the bullies. Conveniently the kids are Horror film nerds and are theoretical experts at torturing people… Gotta dig the stereotype.

Before I continue, one of the problems I have there is that you don’t need to be a Horror geek to know that one can cut off fingers with pliers. Here’s an actual quote from the movie, from the character Ravi (Vincent Silochan):

Alll the years of watching horror films… What could be better than to put it alllll to use?

Perhaps that’s what bugs me more than anything else. I mean, I didn’t go to high school, but I certainly have been called my share of names for being a Horror fan. Freak, weird, degenerate, simply because I dig the genre. I think that it’s dangerous to portray the Horror kids as the kids who snap and then drug, torture, and kill their bullies. There is also one or two scenes where the kids invoke God only to make them seem crazier.

I hate going after this further, but another thing which I noticed is that the character Kurtis (Jascha Washington), the all around cool guy who is friends with everybody — also the only black main character — is singled out by the Horror kids as “not one of them” (“them” referencing the school bullies). Sure, I get it, Kurtis is a nice popular kid. I just find the wording curious considering he’s the single black main character.

But maybe I’m just nitpicking and any subtle hints of stereotypes and discrimination are purely coincidental.

So as I was saying.

As the story goes, a group of about ten high school students are relentlessly bullied by their peers, and they take the “drastic times require drastic measures” approach to solving problems. The plan is to host a costume party where only the bullies are invited, and torture them until they wish they were dead. That’s about the extent of the plan, not gonna lie.

Marc Donato and Lindsay Seidel play the lead bullied kids-turned-torturers Dane and Emily, respectfully. I won’t lay any fault on the actors at all, or even their characters. I genuinely bought them as bullied kids in high school, everything from how they moved, to how they spoke, to their overkill reactions. Donato and Seidel did their jobs well, and I guess we can credit Kabolati for thinking like a child when writing the movie.

Speaking of that writing, aside from the stereotyping which we’re chalking up as “coincidental”, it isn’t all that horrible. The concept is very third rate, definitely, but playing Devil’s advocate, if — if a group of kids in high school wanted to torture their bullies, they would go all out, and be over-dramatic, and disguise themselves in freaky Halloween costumes. The pure unprofessionalism of the kids works well. They aren’t cold blooded super smart calculated killers, and that’s how The Final can work.

So again, kudos to Kabolati, for being able to write from a child’s perspective.

We get back to the fact though that the basic idea of kids seeking revenge against bullies isn’t anything special. It’s just very poorly conceived, and the added unnecessary ignorance of Horror fans — like me and probably like some of you — expressed in The Final isn’t cool. I’d skip this one if I were you. It’s on Netflix as of this writing though, in case you’re a masochist and don’t like taking my advice.

Dare I end with the obvious and obligatory pun?

Yes, I dare.

The Final doesn’t make the grade.

BY THE WAY: Sorry I didn’t get an entry up yesterday. I wasn’t feeling well, and I had already put time into writing an article called It’s Okay to Suck for Unity Bond, the other blog I write for. And on top of that my fingers were still vaguely exhausted from my 3k word article here on Monday and Tuesday’s review of Clue, AND the satire blog + article I created for some friends. That’s all this week… Give me credit, I have been busy. I’ll try to not miss a day for a while, though.

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