Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Final

A group of nerds, ceaselessly humiliated by their more popular peers, finally snap and decide to get horrible revenge. The nerds drug all their tormentors at a Halloween party, tie them up, and subject them to vicious tortures that the nerds have deemed karmically appropriate.

I don't want to waste too much time on this turd, but the whole thing is a major miscalculation. It's not poorly made from a technical standpoint, but it's just a series of bad, self-defeating ideas. I guess the premise has potential (bullying seems to have become the social cause du jour), but the filmmakers blow it pretty badly.

Mistake number one is the set up. The film works hard to establish the nerds as sympathetic, and to make the bullies as awful as possible. The audience is subjected to 20 or 30 minutes of horrible, detestable, entitled pricks picking on a bunch of losers to make sure we hate and like all the right people. So we're on board for some revenge, but what the nerds do is so terrible that they cease to be sympathetic. And not in a "woah, this movie toying with my sympathies" sort of way. To do that, we'd have to see the nerds start out with a more relatable form of revenge and maybe slowly start doing worse things. Instead, right off the bat, they are doing terrible things and immediately lose your sympathy. So it's basically another hour of watching unsympathetic characters horribly torture other unsympathetic characters. Not very involving.

It also leads to some mixed messaging that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The movie seems to simultaneously imply that the nerds are doing a bad thing but also maybe the bullies deserved it and maybe the nerds are more sympathetic even though their actions are ultimately far worse.

The other glaring mistake is that the nerds, wearing a bunch of stupid costumes, just aren't scary or intimidating at all, especially their obnoxious, speechifying ringleader. This could potentially be a good idea that these kids are so nerdy that their idea of being scary just comes across as pathetic, but I don't think that's what the film is going for. I think the filmmakers just designed a bunch of stupid costumes and cast an obnoxious twerp in the lead role.

There is plenty of other stupid shit to go around. The movie has a wraparound structure that seems entirely unnecessary. The nerds show up to the party in costume, then change costumes after drugging everyone, then later on they show them their faces anyway. And there's a scene that pays homage to the end of Audition by doing an extremely poor recreation of it.

Rating: D-

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