61 Days of Halloween- The Final

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment, I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

The Final

This is the kind of movie I like to talk about. Immediately upon tweeting my reaction I got two very disparate reactions from others who had also seen it. In either case, I could understand the reactions from both of my Twitter compatriots who expressed differing views on the film. Essentially, I only took the tweet discussion so far because I knew I’d have enough characters here, not there, to explain why I come out on the positive side of the film.

Starting off on the negative end: this film has a rocky start. However, it epitomizes why I am very hesitant to give up on a film. The film has serious, serious issues in establishing its characters. A lot of the early set-up, mainly of the bullies in tale, falls into the stereotype realm and does come off as either overly-blunt or tin-eared.

So while The Final very quickly squanders its opportunity to be truly great, it does build its characters and works towards a set-up that is highly effective. Thankfully for the film the running time is not long, and the first act mounts steadily towards the turn in events such that the cumulative effect, even if uneasily handled, is a desired one. The goal of the protagonists is not only easily identified, but understood and anticipated.

To finish this point on stereotypes: is it lazy writing? Yes, but I feel they do melt away to an extent as you see the characters react to an extremely stressful situation. Also, when there’s the anticipated role reversal there is good conflict and illustrations of just how far these characters are willing to go. There is also the point that is difficult to deal with in art, which is that these types exist for a reason. I’d even go so far as to postulate the possibility that the exaggeration of types was a conscious choice to make the audience more readily become immersed in an outlandish and hard to deal with situation.

The rendering of the situation alluded to in the synopses for the film is what makes it work. What clinches it as very enjoyable is the the interpretation of events thereof, and what elevates it to about the heights it can hope to achieve, considering some of its issues, is that fairly adept commentary and the mirrored frame. The performances of Marc Donato and Lindsay Seidel are the strongest and most compelling.

In the end, The Final overcomes its inconsistencies to be a fairly impressive situational horror piece with built-in commentary on many subjects, whether it be bullying or school violence, that’s not overly-augmented by the characters. It’s a film that builds identification of type such that there’s a connection to torturous scenes besides mere voyeurism.

It’s a film you’re likely to fall on either side of. If you look at the synopsis and can handle it; I’d recommend it.

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