Film 4 FrightFest: The Final

As I sat down way too close to the cinema’s crown jewel of a screen, whose 1330 seating capacity was almost full to the brim, a wave of excitement crashed through the air-conditioned atmosphere. The film with its neck on the bloody chopping block that evening…THE FINAL!

So, if I cut off his fingers, then I’ll like totally be ok?

High school student Dane and his small group of friends are in minus figures on the popularity scale. Dealing with turbulent home lives and cruel bullying has made them feel worthless and at times, suicidal. Inspired by the horror films they have idolised, the group put into practise a long anticipated plan for revenge. During a wild fancy dress party, held at a conveniently isolated lake-house, Dane and co. go undercover and tamper with the punch that drunken teens are pouring down their necks. When they wake hours later from a hazy sleep, they are met by their school victims disguised in freakish masks. In what they consider to be God’s work, the group of outcasts pick off the chained up popular kids, subjecting each to a physical torture which echoes the mental damage they have suffered. Dane plays on the vanity of individuals and sets them against one another in a series of gruesome tasks, such as cutting off body parts and burning flesh. The malicious scheme is thrown into jeopardy when Kurtis, a kid who has befriended the misfits, joins the party. The group’s resolution to complete the plan is shaken and no one is safe from the ensuing terror.

Old school bullies…New school vengeance

While the film did include the usual high school stereotypes, the central idea was an original one. The question of ‘why us?’ became a running motif which changed hands from the bullied to the bullies. Essentially, the elite teens were responsible for their own horrific fates, as they created the monsters who subjected them to it. There was something strangely ritualistic about the torture sequences, which I deemed a success because they were too repulsive to watch.

Ha, ha, ha, this is so scary!

That said, the ‘what goes around comes around’ theme was overstated and I could sense a resounding ‘we get it’ from the audience as they shuffled in their seats. The power of the masks was squandered by a strange decision to remove them early on in the action. I failed to see the point of creating these menacing characters, only to cast them aside to the detriment of the overall fear factor. There were several of those ‘should I be laughing?’ moments, so I took my cue from others around me and roared in the face of the creepy kid playing a banjo. The plot struggled to maintain its momentum and was unconvincing at times. The ending was predictable and appeared as more of a cop-out than a clever twist. I prayed for a hearty rendition of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Fighter’ during the credits, resulting only in my own disappointment.

Don’t build this one up to be a cracker and you will still enjoy ninety minutes of decent scaring. Ah, the joys of FrightFest! To learn more about the upcoming horror films on offer, click HERE!

The Final will be available to buy on DVD from 23rd August.

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