The Final (2010) – By Baron Craze

This movie serves as a standout among both the After Dark Horrorfest series and the numerous revenge style movies especially involving bullies and their victims, in the high school setting, and with location reveal thoughts traveling back for many to Columbine. Hence the word generates immediate mixed reactions that occurred, the overall condemnation of the killers and sympathy to the students, but in director Joey Stewart he supplies a carnage storyline examining that aspect further. Stewart uses screenwriter Jason Kabolati to undercover the bullies’ weakness and delivers a film that viewers from either side will react positively or negatively, in almost recreating to the same issue survivor ability of school days.

A birth of a killer is a deadly force to reckon with, but a group of tormented victims shows an epidemic out of control, and hence the creation of The Final, a dark and twisted movie, with implications by some critics to serve as a blueprint to extol vengeance upon others. This review is not exploring that social argument but rather focuses on the film itself, for example the title serving a dual purpose, first the endgame to humiliation and secondly as a form of a final exam, a review of visual material and judgement of answers by those who suffered the abuse. This group, prepares for revenge at a costume party, creates a pact for a vendetta of ghastly design, at an isolated location, creating a rather dark material to mull over, and begins to raise the tension over a course of scenes.  Simply layout the actions of bullies with no recourse, and no assistance from anyone, affirms the only solution to the problem, is torture of their enemies. Kabolati’s script comes across as very well written, provides immense dark materials to unleash on the audience at the right time, and actually strives for the sympathy of the victims early on in the production. It attributes to the desires that most people in society have had at some point if thoroughly honest with their conscience of some sort of retaliation at the hands of the bully.  The genre references the movie makes are wonderful from Heathers (1988), Audition (1999) and a sincere moment of The Breakfast Club (1985), and classy moment from both. In addition, the cast does a great job in the roles, a merciless jock Bradley (Justin Arnold) and an annoying popular girl Bridget (Whitney Hoy) just to name two of the most terrorizing intimidating enemies.  Meanwhile the adversary group, ready with weapons, and cunning, to take apart their attackers is Dane, Ravi, Jack and Emily (Marc Donato, Vincent Silochan, Eric Isenhower and Lindsay Seidel) respectively though Marc and Lindsay really steal the movie away from the others.

Since the massacre of Columbine, many tried to attribute the incident to horror movies, gothic music, heavy metal and black clothing, the same culprits as always, however the victims in the movie, don’t have any true connects to that, rather average students. Though they use horror movies for inspiration, but that line has been used in countless horror movies for years, the first example of revenge on school bully comes from Brian De Palmer’s legendary horror movie from 1976 – Carrie, no one can argue that it isn’t a bit cinema at its finest for revenge movies. The common teenage horror fans suffer through the torments of today, with might relate to the movie more that adults, though a downside the abuse never climbs awfully high or too gross, a constant razing on the students.

Stewart takes a skillful hand to filming the brutality later shown in the movie, with developing a moody position, with the victims standing high above the targets, as if commanders and Dane serving as Caesar, and using the shadows to artful direction.  While most the characters find themselves treated well, the focus remains squarely on the victims, and away from the bullies creating a tension, which has one wonder if that carried over to offset conflicts to keep the antagonizing raging out of control. The only real downside comes from the endless speeches, and yet no other way for to approach the topic, with defining the anger then with a reflection of the hatred for them, and what the group becomes due to their training.

Many viewers will have personal views on this film and depending on their past will either condemn or sympathize with their actions, there is a segment that brackets the movie, and does a wonderful wrap for the consequences for action unbecoming the civilized world. The film questions not only itself but us in general, having created terroristic individuals ready to defend in violent mannerisms with their undeveloped emotional brains or does forgiveness truly take a higher moral ground in the overall course of existence in both high school and life.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1390535
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