“There are no multiple choices.”
It’s about time that someone did a good job of making a horror movie version of Revenge Of The Nerds. This is the first movie for director Joey Stewart. He’s done a lot of second unit stuff, mostly for television in the past. It’s like the third effort for writer Jason Kabolati, but together I think they just might be on to something here. The Final plays on both our desire for a good blood and guts horror movie and our satisfaction of seeing those picked-on socially awkward kids get the upper hand on their bullies. If you’ve been waiting for that kind of a combination, then this is the movie for you.
Don’t get me wrong. A lot of the killers in these films are wronged or deformed psychotics who were badly used or abused at some point in their past. Revenge is a very common motivation for these kinds of things. Usually, these films follow the old proverb that defines revenge as a dish best served cold. But you and I, we know better. Revenge is best served piping hot, and it don’t get much hotter than this.
Dane (Donato) and his band of misfits are getting a little tired of the abuse they go through every day at their high school. Their parents don’t seem to have the time for them, and now they’re at the end of their ropes. The group consisting of Ravi (Silochan), Emily (Seidel), Andy (Tedford), and Jack (Isenhower) decide on the perfect way to get their revenge. They’re going to be internet gods with this plan. They arrange for the “cool” kids to be invited to a huge in party at a secluded ranch. The misfits have been loading up on automatic weapons and various devices of torture which includes a cream that eventually eats away at the flesh. The partygoers are all in costume, as are the misfits. They drug their victims and chain them all together. As the confused partyers regain their senses, the misfits bring out the party favors and begin to play some games.
There are a ton of influences here. The moralizing speech and voice modulation coming from Dane could very well have been written for Jigsaw. There’s a lot of torture here with the rest compelled to watch. The misfits intend to take their time here. They’re not worried about any consequences, because none of them expect to get out of this alive anyway. It’s a very deliberate film in a lot of ways. It is also quite disturbing. It helps that the cast here is really pretty dang good. Lindsay Seidel is really creepy as Emily. Often she doesn’t even talk. Her mime-like presence is pretty scary. There is the added quasi-reality of some true-to-life tragedies involving kids with these feelings. Dane even sports a dark trenchcoat that can’t be an accidental reference to Columbine. You might even think about skipping this one if you happen to have some sensitivities in that area. At first the film looks a lot like they plan that kind of attack on the school or the party. The result at least brings us back into the world of fantasy horror, but the glimpses of reality can’t ever be totally shaken. This is an effective horror, if nothing else.
The Final is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Again someone got a little carried away with the color correction. One of the absolute telltale signs of a rookie filmmaker is his need to use all of the toys. This is a pretty good film they have going for them. There really wasn’t any need to warp the reality even further. The print is at least clean, and black levels are murky most of the time, so don’t go looking for any kind of shadow definition or detail in the film.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is actually quite subdued. This is actually a very quiet film for the most part. There are several scenes with limited or no dialog. It is more lively in the beginning as the movie shows us the abuse to set the mood. There’s a lot of contemplation here. Sure, there’s the screaming and such, but it doesn’t dominate this film. You can hear the dialog most of the time.
Deleted Scenes: (1:02)) There is only one short scene.
Behind The Scenes: (21:53) It’s all pretty much raw footage from the set. There’s a ton of digitally blurred stuff for clearance reasons. It really looks at more amusing stuff than anything informative. It’s a lot of footage of everybody having a good time.
Look. The Columbine thing is not subtle. I’ve often heard that there are certain areas of our history that really should not be spoofed or in any other way used as a form of entertainment. I really don’t think there is anything exploitive here at all. Scary things happen in real life, and it’s the responsibility of a horror filmmaker sometimes to confront us with our genuine fears from time to time. It’s tasteful enough. I didn’t have a problem with the connection. You might, and I respect that. Don’t watch it. But there are lessons out there for the filmmaker, horror or otherwise, and “This lesson won’t be learned in the classroom”.