A bunch of bullied and put upon teenagers turn the tables on their tormentors and ensure that all of them learn a valuable, painful lesson in this smart, dark film from director Joey Stewart and writer Jason Kabolati.
The biggest problem with The Final is that it tries just a little bit too hard. It';;;s actually got a powerful idea at it';;;s core, the kids pushed over the edge by those who constantly grind them down at high school, but instead of having faith in this alone to give the movie an edge it tries to make it';;;s main characters verbose and thought-provoking psychopaths when, really, the kicker is that they ARE just maltreated kids.
The acting is decent, if unspectacular (nobody stands out as worth mentioning either except, maybe, Vincent Silochan as the boy who puts up with the most abuse, Ravi), and the movie feels slightly disjointed but it has a few decent set-pieces here and there. Throwing in some fun mindgames and some real unpleasantness, genre fans will be reminded of films as varied as Wolf Creek, Audition and Saw to name but a few.
It could be accused of taking a very real problem and using it simply to create cheap thrills and horror but I disagree. In fact, the film admirably muddies the waters as things heat up in the second half and there';;;s certainly a very "Animal Farm" vibe to proceedings that provides some interesting food for thought.
Fans of Stephen King may also, as I did, find themselves remembering the novella "Rage". The Final is far from perfect but if "Rage" is never filmed then this is probably the closest I';;;ve seen anything come to capturing it';;;s essence. Which I class as a good thing.