February 28, 2014

Movie Review: The Final (2010)

So, the other day I was watching a movie called The Final. It wasn't a great movie, but it was still rather effective. It is a recent horror film from the team of director Joey Stewart and writer Jason Kubati. Neither one has many credits in their respective roles, but they came together and turned out a movie that managed to sneak its way past my defenses and kept me, for the most part, interested. It is a movie I have no problems recommending, so long as you are not expecting anything groundbreaking.

The Final is a movie that is really not anything all that special. It is shot well enough and the acting is serviceable, but on the surface it is just another teen-centric horror movie like we have seen so many times before. The story it tells has a point that is, shall we say, not subtle. It does not sneak up on its subject matter. Instead, it lays all it cards right out on the table, to the point that it feels like a parody in the early going. I am sure it was all on purpose, but there is nothing particularly subtle. Still, the execution works and I quite enjoyed spending some time with it.

The tale takes us into the tricky world of high school politics and social maneuvering. No frame is wasted in defining who our outcasts are, the quiet, the odd, the smart, those who look different, and who our popular kids are, the jocks, the cheerleaders, I am sure you know the types. We see them torment the outcasts, teasing them, bullying them, telling them about the parties they aren't invited to.

The scene quickly shifts to a raging teenage party, drinking and smoking abound. Then they all pass out, upon waking up, they discover they have all been chained together and are being held captive by a group wearing a variety of costumes and masks. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what it is going on. Clearly it is the bullied kids having their revenge.

The masked captors then force their captives to torture each other, sometimes to the point of death. It is all pretty familiar, but there is something about its stated point on bullying that I find works. It is a lot like a comic book in how the presence of the hero creates the villains. It is not that far-fetched to think that if the hero was not a presence, the villains would not become these crazy super-villains. Similarly, without bullies, there would be no victims and no repercussions.

I was a little fascinated watching the initial interactions of the bullies and the bullied. There is one line that sticks out, “You'd probably like me if you got to know me.” Now, it seems obvious, but think about it. We can all probably think of times where we made a snap judgment about someone who we may have actually liked, or even came to like later on. I am not suggesting that everything goes to the level this movie goes to, but it all goes back to the effects that rejection can have on someone.

The Final is a simple, in your face, look at bullying and an extreme reaction to it. It is well done, vicious, and sadly, all too believable. Honestly, I do not think something like this is all that far-fetched. Watch the victims as they exact their revenge, and upon completion go on to the next level, a level that should not even be a consideration but all too often becomes the perceived only option.

I think I may be giving this movie a little too much credit, but I was entertained and it worked for me. It is well worth checking out. So, if you are so inclined, spin it up and see what you think.


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