Final, The (2010)

The Final (2010)

Consequences. None of us are free from them.

A group of student outcasts plot to avenge their years of bullying and humiliation at the hands of their more popular school peers. At an abandoned house where the class are throwing a party, the outcasts plan a night of torture and abuse which will leave their tormentors scarred both physically and emotionally.

 

A rather puzzling affair which drifts from Hostel mode to something a little more traditionally slasher like Prom Night, The Final takes your standard high school bullying story to new gross-out levels. Teen audiences across the world would be able to associate somewhat with these kids as everyone would surely know of someone who was victim to bullying during their school years. What if those outcasts and misfits had been plotting their revenge? It’s happened in real life with the likes of the Columbine shootings but now it’s time for an inevitable torture porn spin on the story.

The set up itself is nothing new and borrows its main story not just from high school horror film lore but almost any film set inside an American high school or college. The geeks, the misfits and the perennial underdogs manage to endure suffering at the hands of intellectually inferior individuals who treat them with contempt and jealousy because they’re ‘different.’ It doesn’t matter whether its Massacre at Central High, an episode of Saved By The Bell or Revenge of the Nerds – the outcasts always manage to get one over in some form. It’s just that in the horror genre, ‘getting one over’ usually means beheading, disembowelling or in this film’s case, death by cattle prod or acidic face cream. Like its fellow high school horror brothers, The Final spends a little time in presenting the bullies as a truly despicable lot although it goes down the easier route of having them do generic ‘high school hi-jinks’ to the nerds. It’s hardly deep emotional drama when someone gets a milk carton thrown at them but it gets the job done effectively in the short time frame.

The morality speeches that the outcasts deliver with their deep, sinister and profoundly Shakespearian delivery is more akin to Jigsaw’s monotonous rants in the Saw series. Voice changers aside, the rants are a little long-winded at times and you’d wish they’d just shut up and start torturing someone. Put up or shut up! The problem in The Final is that it promises to go far in delivering brutality but it just doesn’t go far enough. I’m sorry to sound so bloodthirsty but the set-up all points towards a frenzied montage of torture and torment and what we get in the end is rather lacklustre and surprisingly blood-free. The camera tends to keep well clear of the close-ups so you’ll see events but from a distance. It’s nothing you won’t have seen done worse in Hostel or Saw or one of the many more ‘adult’ themed torture porn flicks either.

Inevitably, The Final‘s biggest problem is that there’s no one to root for because of the story we’re presented with. We can’t root for the outcasts because they’re committing horrific crimes and are a depressing, miserable bunch of assholes anyway. We can’t root for the jocks and cheerleaders because they’ve been bullying and harassing the outcasts for years without provocation and are equally as detestable. So the audience is just left caught between two worlds, wanting to root for everyone and no one at the same time. At least the costume choices of the avenging bullies are rather sinister and unique as they each dress up like horror characters, in particular the sinister lead teen with his gas mask outfit.

 

It’s rather light on torture, heavy on dull monologues and full of potential which never really gets chance to shine. The Final never really gets going from its Jigsaw-wannabes in training motifs into anything remotely serious or engaging. It’s well made and such but lacks any emotional investment with the characters whatsoever.

 

 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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