The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
Story & Script
A group of bullied high school kids concoct a plan to get even with their tormentors. They go a lot further than one might imagine. The major problem with this script is that virtually every character, aside from one, is despicable. The script attempts to build sympathy for the bullied kids, and it does at first, but then, as their plan of attack comes to light, it just makes me dislike them as well. Evil creates evil in The Final, and there is nobody to root for.
This is a really well acted film. There are two characters that stand out, one for positive reasons and the other for negative. Jascha Washington plays Kurtis, the only “good guy” in the film. The problem is, when shit starts hitting the fan, his acting loses all of its urgency. I simply did not believe that this character was actually in this life-threatening situation, which is a shame. On the other end of the spectrum, Lindsay Seidel steals the show. She is absolutely great as the fucked-in-the-head dominatrix type, and puts on a psychotic performance that is subtle and sexy. This isn’t my original idea, but one I will second: Lindsay Seidel would make an absolute perfect Harley Quinn.
Director Joey Stewart does a fine job behind the lens. He creates an atmospheric horror film that clearly has a message, and he does it on a small budget. It’s a shame to see he hasn’t directed anything since this film. That said, the script he is working with is just too depressing for its own good. There is no one to root for, and it is just bad people doing bad things to more bad people.
As mentioned, The Final was filmed on a small budget (about $1M). It is also part of the After Dark Horrorfest 4 series. What’s amazing about this series, and The Final is no exception, is how well the special effects look on such a tight budget. That’s why I love these films. I haven’t made it all the through After Dark Horrorfest 4, but what I’ve seen has been decent (The Reeds) to good (Dread), to great (Lake Mungo).
Meh. It’s not that I would be annoyed to watch it again, but I wouldn’t seek it out on my own again.
The end result of The Final is an incredibly depressing film that shows how evil can create evil. There was an interesting element here that the director played with where he chose not to show the faces of any of the adult characters, except for one neighbor and a police officer. I am not sure what this meant, and I am afraid its inconsistency hurt the idea more than helped it, but it was definitely a choice that was made. That said, The Final is a decent entry in the After Dark Horrorfest series, but there are other films that you should watch first.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.