This movie starts out incredibly ridiculous, but it’s an intentional ridiculousness.
Then it gets serious…
The plot for The Final centers around a group of high school outcasts who plot to get revenge on the classmates who tormented them. I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started watching this film. The promotional poster painted a whole different idea in my head.
The Final was one of the 8 Films to Die For in 2010, which was considered Afterdark Horrorfest IV. (Interesting note is that The Butterfly Effect 3 was also included in Afterdark Horrorfest III which I was unaware of).
Now to get into the nitty gritty of The Final. The movie is definitely a torture film. It’s not up to the level of Saw in terms of gore, but it definitely has some Audition moments. I had to turn down the volume and look away on several occasions.
The ridiculous content that I mentioned in the beginning of this review comes out through the high school life shown at the beginning of the movie. The bullies are super mega jerks and the outcasts are super mega outcasts who undergo some pretty nasty bullying that many people would not be able to put up with. At first I thought it was just ridiculous, but it was so ridiculous that it couldn’t be anything but intentional. It’s like a hyperbole of sorts.
From the way I interpreted it, it’s meant to really sell to the audience the harm that bullying can do, and what some kids go through. It also makes a statement about parental involvement because the parents of the outcast teens are never fully shown. Even when they’re on screen they aren’t really there. The audience never sees their faces.
I do take a little issue with the content because it’s just so controversial. These bullied teens kidnap, drug, and torture their classmates who bullied them. We’ve had enough experiences of this in real life for it to be some pretty controversial subject matter. I found myself torn between hating the bullies but hating the actions of the outcasts at the same time. By the end of the film, I did not want them to succeed by any means.
Camera angles, I had no problems. There was an interesting look in the beginning, like the filmmakers were using different types of cameras or maybe just different frame rates within the same scene. I had no problems with edits.
The Final also brings in a subtle kick at racial issues also going into the end of the film. I appreciated it being brought up and framed as ridiculous in the same way that bullying was in the beginning (as in why is it like this??). Unfortunately, I do feel like it took away from the story that was trying to be told though. It was an aside that took a bit too long.
It was definitely not what I was expecting. I wouldn’t go as far as to outright recommend it to anyone, but if you do enjoy a torture/revenge story, then you may appreciate it. I will reiterate that the subject matter is quite controversial.
The Final can be found on Netflix.