The After Dark Horrorfest has been hit and miss. The past 2 years have been outstanding compared to the first 2. Although there were some gems here and there, “Borderlands” and “Mullberry St” comes to mind. There was also some complete crap, like “Nightmare Man.” This years crop of “8 Films to die for” have arrived, and it’s time to put them up on the chopping block.
The first film of the series that I decided to watch was “The Final.” First time director Joey Stewart gives us a blend of torture, and columbine. A group of high school students have become fed up with the constant bullying, and have decided to take action. They’ve concocted this elaborate plan to anonymously invite the “cool kids” to a costume party. Unfortunately for them, teen angst, promiscuous sex, and under age drinking is not part of the plan.
This flick has me conflicted. I did enjoy it on some levels, but on others, I felt the execution could have been better. I can appreciate the good idea. And I always enjoy when someone takes an old story, and makes it feel new, but there was a lot of unnecessary elements to the film, and with a running time of only 93 minutes, that’s a critical error. My main problem with the film is the pacing. We’re not treated with enough character development to honestly feel for any of the characters. It’s obvious who the bad guys are supposed to be, but we don’t know these kids enough to give a shit one way or the other. Another example would be the over the top “nam vet” character. When told that there are children being murdered, and to call the police, he elects instead, to tie the messenger to the chair, and go on a rant about being a hero, and being treated poorly when the war was over. I understand that his character was necessary to advance the story, but he didn’t have to be written so ridiculously.
Despite my ranting, I did enjoy “The Final.” I just felt that it could have been better. Also, if you’re looking for tons of gore, you may want to skip this entry into the horrorfest. There’s a few scenes of violence, none of which the budget allowed to be graphic. This doesn’t hinder the film in my opinion, as you work with what you have, and I understand that. I just figured, since the ADHF has become known for over the top gore, I’d throw a warning out to the gore hounds. I’d recommend a rental on this film. It’s definitely worth checking out, but I doubt you’ll feel the need for multiple viewings.