The Final (2010)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 11, 2011  | 
DVD
Opal Movies | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DTS 5.1 | 89 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Joey Stewart
Starring: Marc Donato, Jascha Washington, Whitney Hoy, Justin Arnold, Lindsay Seidel
Screenplay: Jason Kabolati
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
I have to admit to occasionally being a victim of the old 'Jeez, that cover is cool' mentality of DVD buying. Now and again I shall look at the slick of a DVD and think to myself 'yeah, that shit looks awesome, I must buy this no matter what!' Unfortunately, more often than not, the old adage 'Don't judge a book by its cover' applies to DVDs as well, and a really cool cover can often hide the suck that lies upon the disc within.

I do have to give the Region 4 release of this credit though; the cover art is far more appropriate than the ridiculous region 1 slick, which shows what looks like Samara from The Ring in a school room with a 80s metal band hair tease. I wish the R4 also had that cover, as then I would have avoided it!

The Final is kind of like Revenge of the Nerds, but in this case, the house in which the nerds get their vengeance sits on the corner of Torture Street and Porn Avenue. Yes, I'll pull out the 'torture porn' label for this, and don't get me wrong, I generally like these so-called films, but this one doesn't cut the mustard. At all!

The story of The Final is quite simple, and with my Revenge of the Nerds comparison, you might get an idea of what is going on: the odd are about to get even! A group of nerds have decided that they have suffered enough at the hands of their jock/mean girl detractors and come up with a plan for payback. When one of them gets his Vietnam vet uncle's farmhouse left to him in a will, the group organise a surprise party for their tormentors. They send out anonymous invites, and when the jocks arrive, they are drugged, chained together, and one by one tormented by those they once tormented.

The geeks are led by a particularly damaged young man named Dane (Mark Donato) who has promised the bullies that they will not die by the end of the night, but he has not promised the same to his nerdy comrades, and this all leads to a horrific night of violence and humiliation.

The concept and story are excellent, but unfortunately they are not executed with the required gusto. The director doesn't always bring out the best in his actors, and whilst some of them are really quite good, others are barely suitable for a direct to DVD comedy shit-fest. The other problem is the blurring of the line between antagonist and protagonist: the geeks are never seen to be really picked on so bad, and the jocks are never seen to be really bully-ish. Usually in these sort of films which feature these stereotypes, the character's actions over the top, but I guess when you try to base a story more realistically like in this film, it just doesn't work.

This leads to the next problem with the characters. Initially, when the nerds reveal to the bullies that they have taken them prisoner and intend to torture them, the bully's reaction isn't of extreme fear, just as the nerds never come across as too threatening: it just seems like some of the cast are just there for a paycheck. Due to these reasons, the viewer, in this case me, never really ended up giving a crap whether any of them survived or not. In actual fact a more satisfying ending than the slowly deflating balloon we were offered would be if the whole house had blown up and killed everyone.

It's not all bad though, dear reader. The person who designed the costumes of the nerds picked ones that fit their personalities, such as the corn-fed country boy as the evil scarecrow. The outfits also appear to have been influenced by classic horror imagery, and by that I don't mean Dracula and Frankenstein, but instead characters like Asami from Audition.

The writer also has looked at just how terrorism works. It isn't just the people who have acts of violence committed against them that suffer; the psychological damage from witnesses is just as important, so even though only a few of the bullies are left with scars or injuries, the rest will forever suffer from bearing witness to the atrocities committed in the name of vengeance.
Video
The image is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio but it appears to be screwed-up as occasionally the edges seem to obscure something important.
Audio
Audio is presented in either Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1. There's little difference between the two but both sound fine.
Extra Features
This disc only features trailers for Salvage, Telstar, Dakota Skye, Dark Mirror and Hide, all of which look pretty crap, though Dark Mirror shows a little promise. There is also an Image Gallery, which, like all image galleries is a waste of DVD memory that is unforgivable.

International releases, including Lions Gate's R1 disc, come with an audio commentary, deleted scenes and a making-of.
The Verdict
A classic example of interesting ideas executed badly. This film could have been great, but unfortunately with some substandard directing, below average acting and rotten pacing it falls dramatically short of being even mediocre. Shame.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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