2010 After Dark Horrorfest: The Final (2010)
By now you know I love supporting indie horror filmmakers. I guess it stems from my desire to support the little guy who’s up against the corporate machine. I myself have been in the corporate environment (in restaurants) and have experienced firsthand how the corporate wheels can break an individual and crush the creativity and passion out of you. But obviously not all movies I review here are indie projects. There are a lot of flicks out there that aren’t Hollywood projects but are better funded than your standard indie flick. Most of the After Dark Horrorfest (ADH) movies, for example, fall into this category; they aren’t indie and they aren’t Hollywood.
No surprise to my regular readers, I’ve been mostly disappointed with the ADH flicks. I find most of them completely unoriginal and uninspired. But when I find a good one it’s usually great (Mulberry Street, Dread). Most of the ADH movies are completely forgettable the moment the movie ends, but on occasion you find one that’s so utterly bad and unbelievably ridiculous that it boils your blood and makes you physically angry. The Final, directed by Joey Stewart, is one of those movies that had me rolling my eyes within the first 10 minutes and by the 30 minute mark had me yelling out loud at the screen. I really fucking hate this movie. A lot. Seriously; a LOT.
The basic story here (and trust me its basic) is that a bunch of geeks and “unpopular” kids are throwing a costume party in a remote warehouse. The only people being invited are those who have bullied, tormented, and in general made the geeks’ lives a living hell throughout high school. Once the party starts the geeks are going to drug the “populars”, tie them up, and exact a little “geek revenge” in the form of torture and disfiguration. How are they going to pull this off? As one geek points out, “All the years of watching horror films … what can be better than putting it all to use.” Seriously?!!? So this movie, this GENRE movie, is supporting the argument that watching a lot of horror flicks leads to violent actions. Nice message Stewart.
I’ve also never seen such horrible characterizations in any movie before. Every character, EVERY single one, is a general stereo-typical caricature painted with the broadest stroke imaginable. The bullies are total asshole jocks who only care about partying and getting laid; the popular girls are vain bitches who only care about their appearance and verbally torturing uglier girls; and the geeks are all socially awkward wallflowers who never stand up for themselves.
There’s absolutely no depth or growth to any character. If the amount of characters was reduced (we’re looking at around 10-12 main characters) then maybe the filmmakers could have spent some time on developing them as individuals instead of just caricatures, thereby giving them some depth. As it is you could care less what happens to any of the characters; we have no one to sympathize with once the party starts. And how cool would it have been to make one of the jocks or popular girls the one we end up sympathizing with??
I could go on for pages about the ridiculous and completely unrealistic characters, but for the sake of space let’s move on to the dialogue. Simply put this is some of the worst dialogue I’ve heard in a movie in a long time. This makes the dialogue from Jennifer’s Body seem realistic (see my review here). Here are some examples at the horrible dialogue that should prevent writer Jason Kabolati from getting more work:
After the geeks drug the bullies and they’re waking up, the geeks are wearing masks. Bully: Who are you? Geek: It’s a little late for you to get to know us now … we are the rejected, the humiliated, the outcast…
Bully: Go to hell
Geek: I’m already there
Geek to Bully: I am the monster that you created
And the best one is the last line spoken by a geek as the police break into the warehouse. The geek has a gun to his head as the cop is trying to calm him down. The geek then looks at the cop and says, “There’s more of us out there.” You gotta be fucking kidding me with this level of dialogue. I could literally go on and on with examples of really stupid and sophomoric dialogue.
Setting aside the terrible characters and dialogue, the main problem here is that this flick takes itself way too serious. The filmmakers actually think they are presenting a chilling and disturbing film that has a message (about consequences and how “none of us are free from them”). Not even close. In order to have a message you need your audience to be able to connect with the characters. What’s more, if you have a flick about geeks trapping and torturing the popular kids the only way to make it work would be to write it as a dark comedy-horror or as a gross-out flick. Writer Kabolati goes for drama and ends up with pathetic melo-drama. By the middle of the movie you wanna grab each geek, shake them like you were a British nanny, and tell them to get over it. Ok; so the jocks and popular kids made fun of and bullied you your entire time in high school. So fucking what!! It happens across America every day in every high school. Get over it ya bunch of whiny, crying pussies!!
There are so many problems with the script and story that you can’t even switch off your brain and enjoy this as a mindless slasher flick. As one geek explains to the “populars”: “Think of this as the final and there’s only one question: What did I do to deserve this?” Well NOTHING; they didn’t do anything to deserve getting tortured and killed. Sure the “populars” are assholes and douche-bags, but ya can’t torture and kill people just because they stole your lunch money and pushed you around!! Fuck me this is such a stupid story. The filmmakers here must be fucking retarded if they think we’re gonna sympathize with the geeks!!
Here are some other lame-ass elements: As the geeks are getting ready to execute their plan they pull out crate-fulls of assault rifles, shotguns, and have more ammo than a militia. How did they get the guns? Where did the guns come from?; there’s a sub-plot about a Vietnam vet that is completely superfluous; the geeks are so skilled in pharmacology that they can administer the perfect amount of a drug that paralyzes but doesn’t kill; and at the first sign their plan isn’t going as planned the geeks turn on and start killing each other!! Jesus christ I hate this fucking movie.
I’m always one for a mindless, gory flick but this one doesn’t even have any worthwhile gore. There’s a scene lifted straight from Audition involving a guy’s face and acupuncture needles and a shaving cream that has acid in it that eats away the pretty girl’s face (we get it; now she’s as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside. Wasn’t that an episode of Blossom?). Ho-hum.
I’m sorry for the lengthy review here but I really needed to go into just how bad this piece of shit is. This has nothing to offer as far as entertainment goes. I think this was the writer and director’s therapy session we were watching. Did you guys get bullied a lot at school? Is that what’s going on here? Its’ broad-stroke characters, shitty dialogue, melo-dramatic situations, and surprising lack of gore make this one the worse After Dark entry of 2010. Some of you might not believe me as to how bad this is, but trust me you don’t wanna waste your time on it. The Final will easily make my “Worst of 2010 Horror Flicks” list. This is derivative, pretentious, and just plain old retarded. Definitely skip this one and forget you ever heard of it!!
**I know some of the pics listed make this look good, but don’t be fooled!!
Director: Joey Stewart (shame on you)
Plot: .5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer