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Film / The Final

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I want you to think real hard and ask yourselves, "Where did all this evil come from? What did I do to make someone hate me so much to go to these lengths?" Think of this as the final, and there's only one question: "What did I do to deserve this?"

The Final is a 2010 horror film directed by Joey Stewart and written and produced by Jason Kabolati. The film was part of the After Dark Horrorfest film festival.

After being continuously bullied throughout high school, a group of teens — Dane and his friends Emily, Jack, Ravi and Andy — concoct a plan for the ultimate revenge, using knowledge from their classes (namely the torture methods of cultures past) and inspiration from their vast collection of horror films.

The teens set up a party at a ranch house, inviting all of their bullies to attend, and they pour in like clockwork. After drugging them with spiked punch, the teens hold them prisoner and Dane informs them that, for the years they spent abusing students that they saw as weak and helpless, they will pay for their sins.

They will not die, but by the end of the night, they will wish that they had.

This film contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: When the outcasts are setting up their torture chamber, they mention how they are rigging the place with webcams in order to send a message to high school students all across the country. This is never brought up again. The filmmakers planned on following up on this in the sequel, but it's since fallen into Development Hell.
  • Abusive Parents: It's shown that the five kids all have pretty lousy home lives in addition to being bullied, with their parents ranging from being blissfully ignorant of the kids' issues at school to being almost as bad as the bullies themselves.
  • Adults Are Useless: The adults in the film either don't know what's going on with the bullying, know but are limited in what they can do or, in the case of the parents, are otherwise neglectful and abusive to the five.
  • And I Must Scream: In a Shout-Out to Audition, Bernard is forced to consume a drug so that he cannot move but is still able to feel pain, and Emily then sticks his body with needle after needle.
  • Asshole Victim: Zigzagged with the bullies. It's made repeatedly clear that they are horrible but their fate is still treated as disproportionate to their crimes and they are also shown as capable of genuine remorse and mercy when confronted with their crimes.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While their message gets ignored and their victims treated sympathetically, the five still succeed in their plan to torture and permanently maim their bullies before taking their own lives.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: At the end of the film, Dane has shot Kurtis and is standing over him, preparing to finish him off. There is a gunshot and Dane falls over, revealing that Emily has shot him.
  • Bear Trap: Dane lines the boundary of his property with bear traps. Tommy is released and told that if he can make his through the woods to highway, he is free to go and fetch help. He steps in one of the traps and breaks his leg.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Heather, Bridget, and Kelly, at least until acid permanently destroys Heather and Bridget's beauty and leaves them horribly disfigured for life.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with the aforementioned three, and done consciously by Dane to make them as disgusting on the outside as he believes they are on the inside.
  • Beauty to Beast: Bridget and Heather get messed up by Emily's chemicals.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • The five make sure only to torture people who hurt them, although they force others to watch as punishment for seeing the bullying but doing nothing.
    • They also try to prevent Kurtis from coming in the first place, since he was their friend.
      • Ravi, who was personally helped by Kurtis, goes as far as to help Kurtis escape. This, tragically, costs him his life when Dane stabs him as punishment.
    • Emily genuinely doesn't want to hurt Bridget after she sincerely apologizes for her bullying, though she hurts Bridget anyway after Bridget refuses to torture Bradley.
    • Near the end, Dane tells Riggs that he wasn't tortured because, back in sophomore year, Riggs had offered to drive Dane home on a rainy night, stating that that one act of kindness saved his life. However, Dane changes his mind when Riggs insults him to his face, only stopping because Kurtis comes back to kill him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Before years of abuse warped them, the five were (and still are, to some extent) really nice kids. And Emily genuinely just wanted to be friends with the popular girls.
    Emily: I wanted to be your friend. But now I'm going to be your enemy.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The bullies treat the outcasts horribly for no other reason than sheer cruelty while the outcasts engage in horrifying acts of torture that will leave them permanently emotionally and physically damaged in retribution. There are no good guys, only varying levels of badness (except Kurtis and (to an extent) Parker).
  • Black Dude Dies First:
    • Averted. Kurtis not only survives the entire movie, but also saves the day by calling the cops.
    • Played straight, however, with Ravi, the Token Minority among the outcasts. He is the first one of them to die, having been killed by Dane for freeing Kurtis.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Kelly, Heather, and Bridget.
  • Book Ends: The film begins with a horribly disfigured girl entering a BBQ restaurant and having to endure the patrons' reactions to her appearance. At the very end, once we see some of the effects of the lifelong trauma the outcasts' victims have endured, it's revealed that the girl is Bridget.
  • Break the Haughty: The goal of the outcasts. The vain Alpha Bitch and a member of her Girl Posse have flesh-eating chemicals slathered onto their faces to destroy their good looks and make them as ugly on the outside as they are inside, while a womanizing Jerk Jock is left paralyzed so that he will never play football or have sex again. It's worse in Bridget's case in that she already was genuinely sorry for bullying Emily and got acid-creamed because she refused to prove it by torturing Bradley. And that's after Bradley did the same to her when offered the chance. Being at the mercy of both your tormentors and a supposed friend would mess up anyone's self-esteem.
  • Broken Aesop: The obvious moral of the story is that bullying and tormenting others is bad, yet the outcasts spend a good two-thirds of the movie doing this out of the need for revenge, although Dane states that he also wants to send an anti-bullying message to the nation. Said message is further rendered moot as when the incident does make the news, it's described as being an unprovoked attack carried out by angry social deviants as opposed to long-time bullying victims. On the flip side, one could argue that the message is that tormenting/torturing someone will not end well for the tormentor(s), regardless of whether or not they were initially tormented themselves. Short version: karma is a bitch.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Dane sees Bradley as the face of all that is wrong with the world, while Bradley sees Dane as just another faceless victim in the crowd. When Dane has Bradley at his mercy, he is shocked that Bradley honestly doesn't know his name. The rest of the bullies similarly never gave their victims much thought and are genuinely surprised to learn just how much the outcasts hate them.
  • Cruel Mercy: The outcasts left their victims alive just as they promised… but with many wishing that they weren't with horrifying and permanent physical damage as well as psychological trauma to deal with.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Parker, the Vietnam veteran, gets hit by a double-dose of this. First, earlier in the film, he'd given tips to Dane on how to improve the traps he was laying around the ranch to catch runaways. Second, he winds up getting snagged by a punji stake trap — exactly the kind once used by the Vietcong. (However, he manages to crawl away from it and kill two of the guards, and his ultimate fate is uncertain.)
    • While not "death," most of the tortures inflicted by the outcasts have some relevance to their victims. See Break the Haughty for examples.
  • Death by Racism: Again, not actually "death," but the bulk of the jocks' interaction with the Indian kid Ravi consists of extremely racist remarks.
  • Dirty Cop: The police officer lets the jocks go in exchange for them handing over all their weed… which he is later seen smoking. A deleted scene reveals that he does the same thing for any good-looking women he pulls over, in exchange for sex. Hard to feel sorry for him when he gets killed by the triplets later on.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Bradley. He acts tough early in the movie, and he goes to the party dressed as a Roman centurion, but once the "party" gets going, he whines constantly, and rather pathetically. When given the chance to save himself pain by cutting off Bridget's fingers, he accepts pretty quickly… right after Bridget refused to do the same to him.
    • Parker sees himself as this, feeling that he had dishonored himself in Vietnam by running away and letting his squadmates get killed.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Cold-Blooded Torture and mutilation as a punishment for bullying. Downplayed in that the film makes it clear that the bullying did serious emotional harm.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The entire premise of the film is founded on this trope and it's played around with and deconstructed at length as we see both the good and bad sides of both the victims and their torturers.
  • Downer Ending: All of the outcasts, sans one of the triplets, die, but not before mutilating several victims, leaving the whole town in mourning and leaving the victims with lifelong trauma, which drives one of them (Kelly) to suicide. And to make it worse, everyone in the town more or less missed the point of the whole thing, painting the entire affair as being completely unprovoked and portraying the victims as saint-like.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: The ending of the film sees the parents of the victims dramatically miss the point of the attacks. Instead of the victims being seen as getting their comeuppance for years of bullying, they're portrayed as saint-like who were attacked for no reason. Also, rather than become "a moment in history", as one of the attackers said it would be, it's largely forgotten about after it's over. Though Kelly, realizing just what her behavior has driven people to do, eventually kills herself out of shame.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Dane does this when Bradley calls him a coward for "hiding" behind a mask. Soon after, the rest do this and introduce themselves once Emily realizes that Bridget knows who she is.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The five dress in costumes in order to walk about the party unnoticed, until the time is right.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Almost all of the outcasts come from families that are broken one way or the other, either through being distant, neglectful, or blissfully unaware of the torment their children are going through.
  • Emotionless Girl: Emily, who remarks in her note to her mother explaining her actions that, for the first time in her life, she's at peace. The first crack in this attitude comes when Ravi is killed; while she seemingly goes back to this afterward, she eventually turns on Dane for killing Ravi.
    • Very early on, a not-nice encounter with the Girl Posse does leave her near tears, though.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The five genuinely care for one another and think of themselves as a family. The bullies meanwhile do have some level of sincere concern for their friends.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: While it's not lingered on too much, numerous background details emphasize the fact that the film is set in Texas, from the country-themed restaurant in the opening to the fact that the Torture Cellar was set up on a ranch to the use of a cattle gun as a torture device.
  • Evil Costume Switch: The outcasts all switch into macabre versions of their costumes after they drug the partygoers. Ravi's clown costume becomes a Monster Clown, Andy switches from a SWAT uniform to an SS uniform, Jack switches from a Raggedy Andy doll to a scarecrow, Emily drops her butterfly costume in favor of a black leather smock and gloves (reminiscent of Asami from Audition), and finally, Dane changes out of his welder's costume and into a gas mask and a Badass Longcoat.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Dane's mask contains a voice amplifier that makes his voice sound far more baritone and creepy.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The five versus the bullies. On the one hand, we have kids who kidnap and horribly torment others in various ways. On the other are school bullies who treated them like dirt for years for fun.
  • Faceless Goons: There are actually eight outcasts, but only five are of any importance to the plot, are named, and actually shown planning their revenge. The other three only exist to get killed by Parker. They were initially seen on the school steps, and their presence was meant to prevent the victims from leaving and to confuse police officers when the plan was over, but time constraints forced this subplot to be mostly removed bar a few lines of dialogue. One of them does survive, however.
  • Facial Horror: Bridget and Heather's faces are hideously deformed by acid.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The five outright state they don't plan to kill their tormentors, but will make them wish they did. They go on to mutilate, torture, and disfigure them, as well as inflicting severe mental scarring.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The bullies often act friendly to make their abuse more devastating, especially the girls who bully Emily. This is later used to creepy effect by Dane when he politely tells the bullies what horrors are in store for them.
  • Fingore: Emily offers Bridget one chance to avoid pain: cut off all of Bradley's fingers in exchange for her own safety. When she refuses, Emily offers the same deal in reverse to Bradley, who accepts.
  • Food Slap: Jerk Jock Bernard throws a carton of milk at Ravi in the cafeteria.
  • Forced to Watch: All but one of the five's victims was brutally tortured in front of their friends. The one untouched victim ends up swallowing a handful of pills in the restroom.
  • Foreshadowing: A little example, but in the scene where Bernard throws milk at the outcasts' table, Bridget has quite a different expression on her face than the others, looking unimpressed at the stunt while the others are laughing.
  • For the Evulz: Bradley bullied Dane simply because he knew that Dane could not stop him. The same applies for most of the other bullies, who just enjoyed being sadists.
  • Freudian Excuse: Crappy home lives combined with years of abuse have left the five protagonists broken and cruel.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Riggs calls the outcasts out for their actions telling them that they're going to jail for their actions after Dane tells them that he hopes that he and the other bullies learned their lesson. Not long after, Kurtis calls Dane out that Riggs may be a jerk, but he doesn't deserve to lose his tongue for saying that he'll report him and the other outcasts to the police.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The five were just simple high school students who never meant harm at first, but years of abuse destroyed them. Bradley even held Dane, whose life he made miserable, in such low regard that he never even learned his name. Summarized by Dane, who says that he would have just been another harmless teenager had it not been for the abuse inflicted on him.
  • Genre Deconstruction:
    • Of the "unpopular kids get revenge on the bullies" and "psycho classmate" plots. Instead of the comical revenge that so many teen movie protagonists desire, the outcasts wish to make their bullies suffer the way that they made the outcasts suffer for so many years. It's also implied that the outcasts were (and, to a degree, still are) genuinely nice people whose crappy home lives, combined with years of bullying, made them so twisted, as seen with the way they treat Kurtis. In addition, the popular kids (especially Bridget) are shown to have shades of gray, rather than portraying them as the total jerkasses so commonly seen in teen movies.
    • It also shows how devastatingly traumatic surviving an elaborate torture would be, as seen by the victims' fates. One is even driven to suicide over her guilt in making people do what they did.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Worn by Bridget and Emily during the torture session.
  • Give Me a Sign: Before enacting their plan, the five pray to God to give them a sign that they should stop. The fact that nothing happens afterwards is taken as proof that they're on a divinely approved mission, with Dane telling the hostages that God won't save them because He didn't tell the five to stop.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Surprisingly for a film of this nature, there is little to no blood, with most of the violence being off-screen and suggested.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam:
    • Bridget seems genuinely sorry for bullying Emily, but when she refuses to go as far as harming the other bullies in order to prove her remorse, Emily calls her a Hypocrite and makes her pay dearly for it.
    • Kelly is genuinely remorseful for being an Alpha Bitch, but instead of leading to a mending of her ways, the guilt and trauma apparently drives her to suicide.
    • On the flip side of this, Emily herself has a chance to call an end to things when they go too far, namely when Ravi is murdered by Dane, but even after calling him out on this, she chooses to carry on as planned. It isn't until almost the very end, when all of the dirty work has been done, that she has finally had enough and murders Dane just in time to stop him from killing Kurtis.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Emily's torture outfit includes a black leather smock.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The five become worse than their tormentors on their quest for vengeance, though they don't see it that way:
    Andy: Do you think we'll go to hell?
    Jack: No, we've suffered enough.
    Dane: We're doing God's work as far as I'm concerned.
  • High School: Where the first act is set.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with one of the victims (Bridget) in a diner, her face horribly disfigured, with her fellow patrons all staring at her like a freak. The remaining 85 or so minutes detail the events of which her facial scarring was among the results.
  • I Gave My Word: Dane promised that he would not kill a single one of the bullies, although they will wish he had. He keeps his promise, and given how he does everything short of killing them, many probably do wish he had.
  • Insult Backfire: Shortly before Bernard’s torture.
    Bradley: Go to Hell!
    Dane: I’m already there.
  • In the Back: Dane stabs Bradley in the back, severing his spine and rendering him paralyzed from the waist down, robbing him of the ability to play football or have sex.
  • Ironic Echo:
  • Karma Houdini: The surviving triplet exchanges eye contact with Kurtis, but Kurtis either doesn't recognize him or ignores him, thus, the triplet doesn't get punishment for helping the torturers to hurt the popular victims.
  • Karmic Transformation: Well, karmic mutilation, anyways. Bridget and Heather are the most popular and gorgeous girls in the school who are also incredibly vain and like to pick on less attractive and popular girls. By the end of the movie, they are horribly disfigured outcasts after flesh-eating chemicals permanently destroy their beauty.
  • Kick the Dog: Every scene with the bullies. Their actions are motivated by nothing but sheer cruelty.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Nearly all of the characters who tormented the outcasts end up suffering immeasurable pain at their hands.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The bullies are mean just because they are. And, of course, there's the outcasts...
  • Lecture as Exposition: The film opens with a high school history teacher describing how the Han Dynasty would sometimes leave their defeated enemies alive, disfiguring them, in order to serve as an example to those who would oppose them. Another lecture in a science class not long after shows where Emily learns about the flesh-eating chemicals that she uses on Bridget and Heather.
  • Make Way for the Princess: When Heather, Bridget, and Kelli walk down the school corridor, all the students get out of their way while Dane and three nameless outcasts are making their plans about them...
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The outcasts all their masks until the end and they really live up to the malevolent part.
  • Monster Clown: Ravi's second costume.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Emily and the other outcasts see Bridget's refusal to help torture Bradley as hypocrisy, considering the years of psychological abuse she'd heaped upon Emily.
    • Emily and the outcasts themselves fall into this, as the entire reason they have their Torture Cellar set up was because none of their tormentors showed any mercy to them, but they themselves refuse to show mercy to anyone. Dane goes so far as to kill Ravi when he does show mercy to Kurtis.
  • Nasty Party: How the bullies end up in the Torture Cellar.
  • Nice Guy: Kurtis tried his best to be friends to everybody, and defended Ravi from Bradley. As a result, the five try (and fail) to keep him from coming to their "party."
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the film taking place in Texas, Marc Donato makes little effort to hide his Canadian accent. It's most noticeable when he tries to pronounce "about" , where he alternates between the standard American pronunciation and the stereotypical Canadian one (i.e. "aboot"), and in the scene when he's mocking Bradley's attempts to apologize to him, repeating "sorry" with a distinctly Canadian long O.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The five outcasts punish psychological and emotional torture with physical torture.
  • Pet the Dog: Kurtis is the only popular kid who is nice to the outcasts, even picking a fight with one of the jocks for messing with Ravi and Dane. As a result, the outcasts try to keep him from attending their party, and when he does show up anyway, Ravi secretly provides him with the means to free himself.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Parker knocks Kurtis out by butt stroking him with his rifle. When Kurtis wakes up, he is tied to a chair in Parker's house.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Ravi is bullied due to being of Indian descent with the bullies making numerous racial remarks to him.
  • Punished with Ugly: Bridget and Heather are punished for bullying when their beauty is taken from them as acid is smeared on their faces, leaving them horrendously disfigured and ugly for the rest of their lives.
  • Putting on the Reich: Andy's torture outfit is an SS uniform.
  • Sadistic Choice: Bridget is told that she can go free if she is willing to cut off all Bradley's fingers. She refuses. Bradley does not hesitate when the same deal is offered to him.
  • Sanity Slippage: Dane. He starts the night as calm and calculating. As the night progresses, Dane becomes more deranged and more angry. It starts when he murders Ravi because the latter freed a classmate who had nothing to do with their bullying. Dane then personally paralyzes Bradley in an unstable matter. To top it off, he tries to cut Riggs' tongue off just because Riggs yelled at him for torturing his friends. Dane even said that he considered letting him go because Riggs offered Dane a ride home when it started raining.
  • Say My Name: Near the end, Dane has Bradley strapped to a chair and tells him to say his name. Dane is shocked to learn that, despite Bradley bullying him for years, Bradley does not even know his name.
  • Scary Scarecrows: Jack wears a scarecrow costume as his torture outfit.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: All of the popular girls wear some kind of sexy costume to the party. There are sexy cops, a sexy hippie, sexy boxer, etc.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Parker is a Vietnam vet who is haunted by he experiences in the war. He eventually reveals to Kurtis that he believes he won his medals for cowardice: he hid while the rest of his unit got wiped out, making him the sole survivor.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the Alpha Bitch bullies is named Heather.
    • When Ravi walks over to the popular kids’ lunch table to return a milk carton that Bernard threw, the latter replies in an Indian accent, “Thank you, come again.” In another scene, he calls him "Slumdog Millionaire".
    • Emily's outfit, and the scene where she tortures the Jerk Jock Bernard, are lifted from a famous scene in Audition. If one listens closely, she even says "deeper" multiple times as she drives the first needle into Bernard's neck — the English equivalent of "kiri", used to similar effect in Audition.
  • Slasher Smile: Emily. This is barely visible and only for a few seconds when Bradley cuts off Bridget's fingers.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The outcasts drug the punch at the party, knocking out all of their tormentors.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Jack plays upbeat banjo music while Bernard and Heather are being tortured.
  • Suicide Pact: Dane claims that the five of them had never intended to live past the night, and while he, Ravi, and Andy end up killed, Emily and Jack fulfill the pact in the end.
  • Survivor Guilt: At the end, Kelly, having escaped torture and feeling that her behavior was at least partly responsible for what happened, is last seen just before taking a bunch of pills in order to kill herself.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Dane makes it clear that they have no intention of killing any of the bullies, though they will make them wish that they had. They live up to both parts of the promise.
  • Title Drop: "Think of this as... the final. And there's only one question: 'What did I do to deserve this?'"
  • Token Minority: Ravi among the outcasts, and Kurtis among the popular kids.
  • Tongue Trauma: After Riggs opens his big mouth once too often, Dane orders his tongue to cut out. Jack seizes the tongue with a pair of tongs, and Andy prepares to cut it out with a knife. Riggs is saved by the return of Kurtis.
  • Torture Cellar: The Workley ranch house, which was left to Dane in his uncle's will.
  • Torture Porn: Turns into this once the outcasts set their plan into motion. Notably, their goal is purely to torture and mutilate their classmates, not to kill them, as they want their victims to survive traumatized and disfigured knowing what they did to deserve it.
  • To the Pain: Dane loves telling his tormentors how much they will hurt.
  • True Companions: The five are a rather creepy version of this as, with the exception of Dane, they all seem to care about each other, even if they were brought together by revenge. Jack and Emily even share a very sincere hug before committing suicide.
  • Valley Girl: Again, the Girl Posse. This is despite the film being set in small town Texas.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Although the five outcasts themselves don't really go on a rampage, they just only want to torture the bullies.
  • Worthy Opponent: At the end, when Kurtis returns to stop Dane, Dane tells him that he wishes there were more people like him.
  • You Have Failed Me: Dane murders Ravi after he intentionally drops a key in order to free Kurtis, one of their friends that they hadn't intended to arrive, despite Dane telling him that Kurtis was not to leave.