FINAL, TheLions Gate
2010
R

“I think I know what hell is. Hell is waking up everyday believing that the suffering you’re doing in life has meaning. That, somehow, if you endure it, you gain valuable lessons. The truth is, sometimes you just suffer. There is no meaning.”

Dane, an awkward student with a deadly vendetta, leads a group of outcasts who plot to avenge the years of humiliation they faced from the popular students at Hohn High School. The outcasts turn the tables on the popular students who made sport of them and prepare for a single night that will leave their tormentors scarred for life.

While watching this entry in the After Dark Horrorfest list that I’m currently going through, I was contemplating just what was going through the heads of the people who collectively made The Final happen.  Were they going for a dramatic and touching film on the consequences of bullying in High School, something that’s a bit more than just an After School Special?  Something with a pretentious and over-the-top script, ultra-hammy acting, slow pacing and a preachiness that insults the intelligence of everyone watching?  And then, when they hammered out the story, someone obviously said out loud, “You know what this script needs?  Torture porn.  Lots and lots of torture porn.”  And they all said, “Yes.  Yes, that is exactly what this movie needs.  Let’s break for Chinese food.”

Well, sirs, I hope those oodles and oodles of not-quite-chicken lo mien did a number on your digestive system, and spent the rest of the night on the toilet regretting your various decisions in life.  Because this movie you just produced and foisted onto the world?  This has the smell of your fetid feces all over it.  Not only is The Final torture porn, but it’s torture porn that tries and fails to be a socially conscience piece of torture porn.

Yes, the story involves a handful of outcasts, forced to endure the every day hell that is their High School, evidently a High School that’s populated with bros, jocks and girls who talk about nothing but sex, getting drunk and how hot they all are.  And of course, there’s no rhyme or reason given as to why the Outcasts are always picked upon, other than to have the audience cheer for the popular ones to receive their inevitable comeuppance by the outcasts.  Problem is, these are over-the-top characters that come off so fake, the story fails to make me feel any kind of sympathy for the characters we’re supposed to feel anything for.

The Final, in the end, was just another excuse for torture.  I consider the torture porn genre to be the lowest common denominator when it comes to movies.  I don’t even consider it really to be in the Horror category proper.  It was set in a house in the middle of the woods during a party…whatever happened to the good, old fashioned Setting Free A Demonic Spirit After Reading From The Necronomicon trope?  The put-upon kiddies do that, and boom.  Much more interesting movie.  But, no.  If you’re into this kind of thing, you have my pity.  Otherwise, pass The Final up.

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