The Final (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/08/2010

One out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

The Final has a terrific premise but lacks the courage to follow it through and is ultimately let down by shockingly bad direction, thinly-drawn characters and a script that's not as clever as it thinks it is.

What's it all about?
Directed by Joey Stewart, The Final is set in a typical American high school where the jocks, the mean girls and the popular kids all routinely bully a group of geeks and outsiders. However, the geeks, led by Dane (Marc Donato) are plotting violent revenge and when the bullies all drink the spiked punch at a costume party, they wake up to discover themselves chained up and helpless as their victims become their tormentors.

The Bad
Essentially, this is Revenge of the Nerds meets Saw, or at least, that's what the filmmakers are obviously going for. Unfortunately, despite the film's 18 certificate, the film fails to deliver on its gory promise, with Stewart frequently cutting away just before an act of violence. Conversely, the acts you do see (with the exception of the finger-chopping) don't seem all that horrible – there's an extended acupuncture sequence that's presumably meant to recall Audition and the geeks' weapon of choice is a slow-acting skin-melting cream (cue lots of non-scary shots of girls covered in white cream), while the worst act is shot from an angle that diminishes its impact.

The Worst
The script tries too hard to be clever (the bit where the geeks all ask God to stop them if he wants to is both pretentious and annoying) and ultimately either cops out of its interesting moments (e.g. the scene where the geeks promise to let the bullies go if they'll torture each other) or drowns them out with tedious dialogue.

Similarly, though you initially sympathise with the geeks (despite the fact that all the characters are thinly-drawn), the moment they turn torturer you're left with no one to root for. This wouldn't be a problem if the film was interested in the torturing, but instead it seems more interested in talking about the torturing rather than actually doing it.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, The Final isn't violent or scary enough for genre fans and it squanders its promising set-up thanks to a badly thought-out script and poor direction. Disappointing.

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Content updated: 20/08/2018 07:28

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