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THE FINAL
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Reviewed by: Matt Withers

Directed by: Joey Stewart

Starring:
Marc Donato
Jascha Washington
Whitney Hoy

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A group of unpopular high school kids decide to get revenge on their tormentors.
Is it good movie?
What a breath of fresh air. After watching two other entries in the 8 Films To Die For series I was seriously starting to doubt whether I'd come across anything actually worth watching. Fortunately THE FINAL fits the bill. It's set up of angry high school students bringing whatfor to the people who have made their lives miserable isn't anything new, but the film takes some rarely used approaches that break it away from the pack.

First and foremost is the outstanding cast. While there are moments that fall flat, overall we've got a very strong ensemble here that deftly inspires the requisite emotional response from the viewer. Justin Arnold in particular, as the bully Bradley, is one of the most rage inspiring characters I've seen in some time. He really makes you want to see this kid get his.

The direction is also very ably handled and keeps us visually interested even when an at times threadbare story line lets our attention drift. The middle section is particular is burdened with too much exposition, but the set and costume design, and an active, but not BOURNE-like camera keep us in to the goings on anyway.

One thing I particularly like about the flick is that it gives us ample time to get to know all of the players, pro- and antagonists. It's not often that a film gives this much set up, and makes it interesting. In fact, the one major flaw facing this work is that the set up is ultimately more involving than the payoff.

Once the horror really comes down there is plenty of blood and nastiness (although a surprising amount is handled off-screen) to keep gore hounds happy. But with such a promising beginning, I kind of felt let down by the rather pedestrian wrap up involving lots of running through woods, hard choices and increasingly awkward character interactions.

Still THE FINAL is well worth checking out and does enough right that you tend to forgive it when it loses its way towards the end.

Video / Audio
Video: 16x9 Widescreen

Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

The Extras
Commentary with Producer Jason Kabolati and Director Joey Stewart: If you've listened to any decent indie commentary track then you're not going to learn much new here, but the filmmakers do try to paint a solid picture of what it's like to bring a production like this off.

Behind the Scenes: Not much going on here other than an unnamed camera man mugging with the cast and crew.

Deleted Scene: Not hard to see why.

Producers Trailer

Last Call
While THE FINAL falls short of being great, it does have its heart in the right place and gives a horror fan plenty of reasons to dig it. I still haven't seen a film worth dying for out of this series, but this is the first that I'm glad I found.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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