ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Final Stab (2001)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David DeCoteau

Starring:
Erinn Carter/Kristin
Melissa Renee Martin/Angela
Jamie Gannon/Charlie
Bradley Stryker/Patrick
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Rich bitch hottie Kristin (Carter) throws a party for her sister with a sick prank in mind. Before you can say “party crasher”, some nutso in a rubber mask pops up and starts slicing and dicing the guests.
THE LOWDOWN
This little slasher is a mix of old and new school. Old school-wise, we get a premise that reminded me of “April Fool’s Day”, a murderer that went to the “Michael Myers Class Of Loony Attire” and a dash of standard slasher mentality (all about investigating that strange noise). New school-wise, we get “hip” dialogue (Kristin has kickass lines), “Scream”-like horror movie references (to "Halloween" and "Friday The 13th"), a whodunit (a very easy one at that) and of course, all the chicks keep their clothes on (I’m not crazy about that trend).

I appreciated "Final Stab" on some levels. First off, I really dug it on an aesthetical standpoint. DeCoteau gives this piece of candy a sweet visual coating and that kept my pointy arse watching. I also appreciated the film’s gnarly premise, the simple yet effective kills (I jumped a few times), the tight pacing and the neato plot twists near the end (I didn’t see them coming). Even the now tired explanatory monologue where the culprit explains his/hers motive went down surprisingly smoothly. It was simple and it made mucho sense.

Unfortunately, the film’s script didn’t always rub my arrow the right way. There’s an unnecessary subplot about three unappealing yahoos wandering outside the house for some bogus reason. Those scenes are tedious, silly (who gets scared in the daylight?) and made way for a hard to digest plot-hole. You’re trying to tell me that the main dude stayed outside the house the whole day (till night-time) without once wondering what happened to his homies? Come on! What the hell was he doing out there anyways? Picking daisies? Should’ve taken that screen time and used it where it counts.

Which brings me to my second script complaint: the transparent main characters. Apart from the colorful Kristin (Crater), kool cat Doug (Boyd) and the enigmatic Charlie (Gannon), the rest of the players are bland and shamefully underdeveloped. Even “Friday the 13th" and “Halloween” padded their characters to a certain extent. Here all I saw was pretty faces with nothing behind them. Angela (Martin) has nice pigtails. Patrick (Stryker) has nice abs. Steve (Lutz) sports slick hair. But who are they? I haven’t the faintest clue. In consequence, I felt somewhat detached from the storyline. On the flip side, Kristin’s (Carter) presence alone brought the film a much-needed dose of personality and attitude. She almost fully compensated for the others' lack of spark.

But overall, "Final Stab" still managed to entertain me. It’s always on the move, sports slick style, offers a few harmless scares and I personally found it kool to see men put in “slasher movie” situations that are usually reserved for women. “Vive la difference!” But in my opinion, the script needed a final polish. Stab this!
GORE
Lots of stabbings but we never see the blade penetrate flesh. We do get lots of the red stuff splashing about though and one groovy choking.
ACTING
For some reason Erinn Carter (Kristin) turned me on. She does bitch real well and handles her “hip” dialogue like a champ. Melissa Renee Martin (Angela) does ok, but her part is just not that interesting. Jamie Gannon (Charlie) is very natural. Michael Lutz (Steve) doesn’t have much of a part and lets his slick hair do most of the acting. Bradley Stryker (Patrick) underplays his delivery and his part is also thinly written. Forrest Cohran (Brett) is a dead ringer for talk show host hipster Craig Kilborn and that made me like him. I’m a big Craiggers fan. Chris Boyd (Doug) didn’t convince me at first, but as the film moved forward, he got better and I warmed up to him.
T & A
Heterosexual males will be let down; all the chicks keep their clothes on! On the flip side, women and gay dudes will foam at the mouth. They get Bradley Stryker (Patrick) taking off his shirt and showing off his buff stuff. On a personal note, an Erinn Carter tit or butt shot would’ve made my night. Bummer…
DIRECTING
DeCoteau loves those tilted angles (and so do I), he does this neat trick where he tilts the camera left and right. I dug it! He also delivers some kool seat hopping boo scares and uses “silence” effectively. I liked the blue lighting in which the film was bathed but got a bit impatient with the constant thunder that kept rumbling throughout the film. Where was the rain????
SOUNDTRACK
The score really worked when it accompanied the more tense moments of the film but it kept the same energy during the more mundane sequences and in consequence, was at times overbearing.
BOTTOM LINE
Erinn Carter’s fun performance and DeCoteau’s solid directing were the highlights for me. It’s too bad that the flawed script somewhat dragged the movie down. More character development and more focus would’ve made this one better. That being said, the film is still enjoyable and I recommend you rent it on that lazy Friday night when partying isn’t talking to you or when your girl/boyfriend isn’t coming over because she/he is cheating on you. It’s an easy time waster.
BULL'S EYE
Bradley Stryker was also in David DeCoteau’s video hit: “The Brotherhood”.

This is Erinn Carter’s (Kristin) first film.
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