Sunday, 16 May 2010

School's Out ... Forever


The Final
(2010/USA)

‘‘We all have a point where we can do the unimaginable’’
Rising up against their fellow taunting students, America’s angst ridden High School teens take arms… and fingers, and tongues, and other body parts, in a gruelling indictment of what is all too worryingly now less atypical of today’s troubled youth !. Picked upon, and persecuted to snapping point, teen geek Dane and his forlorn friends make a pact to turn the tables upon their egotistical and plain spiteful classmates. They intricately prepare to unleash their pent up frustrations upon their antagonistic peers at the class fancy dress party. A night time affair at a remote location, where all that lays between fun and freedom is a two mile hike through the surrounding woods. Their vehicles left at the edge of the locale and transportation to the venue provided.
As the party begins all partake of the alcoholic punch, unbeknownst to them hat it is laced with a narcoleptic potion that puts them all out cold. When the dazed students awaken they find themselves all chained together in the main room of the party parlour. One mezzanine level above them, lording it over the banister down upon them, is the small group of disgruntled pupils. All are garishly garbed in perverse fancy dress, mirroring their inner disturbed state, and identities hidden behind freakish masks. Amongst the twisted sartorial dress code are a zipper faced scarecrow and a leather masked SS officer.
Dane addresses the petrified partygoers by way of a voice distortion box, residing within the snout of his bulbous gas mask guise. Amongst his sullen soliloquy he chooses a cutting and aptly poignant sentence, ‘‘Now it’s your turn to ask, why us !?’’. What follows is Dane and his empowered geek posse calmly and collectively exacting pain and torture upon their now pitiful fellow high school students. Pleading for their precious vanity in the tortured face of souls stripped of their own dignity. These now empowered teens apply the lesson of humility to an attentive class of cowering, self obsessed charlatans. Their tools of the trade are not easel and chalk, nor notepad and pen, but bullet and gun, secateurs and cattle gun !. The shed blood of the petrified pupils the ink with which to etch the intent of their vitriolic adjudicators.
Without particular prejudice Dane freely allows his comrades at arms to inflict harm upon the flinching teens, as several are maimed and disfigured for life at the hands of their disturbingly tranquil captors. The cattle gun flails chunks of flesh from face and limb. A faux beauty face pack soon turns pretty into painful and disfiguring purgatory. Prior to this night of nastiness the evangelical Emily turns evangelist of evil, as she all too proficiently displays her panache for the art of acupuncture. Her needle is against a bullying boy who she literally goes for the throat at as she pushes needle, upon needle into his thorax region until his cries are muted !.
The overseeing Dane is so resolute in his plan of action that even the escape of one of the students out into the adjacent woods is met with disdainful mockery of the abject attempt at freedom. Even with a head start the foot fleeing youngster has no chance at all, as even the woods are set with traps, and the odds of reaching the two mile perimeter is lessened by a chasing pack of quad bike and motorcycle riding avengers.
Back at the residence of revenge Dane focuses his vehemence upon high school football jack Brad, the biggest braggart of them all, and here in the face of adversity a whimpering coward. Forced to choose between slicing off all of his own fingers or cutting those of one of his fellow female pupils, he elects self preservation. His spineless principle empowers Dane to an extreme act that leaves Brad in a state of paralysis, and those viewing most likely rigid in their comfort chairs at the sudden brutality of the assault. This is no precocious parody on prerequisite teen horror flicks, but a frightening preamble taken to the extreme as torn from the very newsreels of today’s society. Harsh and harrowing, yet at the same time absurdly evocative like a designer substance perverting the line of reality. Take in with caution, and heed its meaningful mockery of life imitating reality TV before this madness takes a true shape and form. The boundaries of desensitisation are alarmingly being torn down, and even this as a form of entertainment is far from being, The Final.

Movie Rating: 6/10
Review: Paul Cooke / Source Region 1 NTSC DVD
The Final (2010)
Director Joey Stewart
With Marc Donato, Lindsay Seidel, Travis Tedford,
Jascha Washington, Whitney Hoy, Justin Arnold,
Julin Jean, Eric Isenhower, Hunter Garner,
Mark Nutter & Preston Flagg

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