Friday, June 27, 2014

The Final Terror Blu-Ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
One of the most sought-after and long-lost slasher films from the 80s has now been unleashed on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time! Produced by Joe Roth (Snow White and the Huntsman) and directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Under Siege), backwoods slasher cult classic The Final Terror features an all-star cast of John Friedrich (Baretta), Rachel Ward ("The Thorn Birds"), Adrian Zmed (Bachelor Party), Mark Metcalf (Zero Dark Thirty), Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill, Blade Runner), Ernest Harden Jr. (White Men Can’t Jump ), Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, The Fugitive) and Lewis Smith (Django Unchained). A group of young campers out for what they hope will be a fun-filled weekend finds their plans spoiled by a disguised, merciless killer who stalks the forest in search of new victims. Soon they are caught in a terrifying web of bloodshed and murder. It is up to the remaining few to defend themselves and put an end to the terror-filled weekend.
Film (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
This is another in the terrible 80s movies genre that I seem to have taken on.  The bad acting, the bad music… the bad everything.  The Final Terror takes the cake.  I thought Death Spa was terrible, but this is even worse.  I could barely even keep track of the story.

A man and woman go missing in the woods just before a group of teenagers and counselors leave for a weekend camping trip.  After clearing out some fallen trees, the group makes camp.  When they wake up, they notice two of the campers (Marco and Egger) are missing.  While searching for them, Mike and Melanie begin having sex in the woods.  During their love making, a strange creature attacks them killing Mike.  Melanie disappears as well. 

As the group now looks for Mike and Melanie they an old and what they think is abandoned cabin.  They investigate and find canned food and evidence that someone lives there.  In addition to finding the food, they also find the head of a wolf in a cupboard.  After returning to camp, they try to get some sleep, but while they are all asleep, Margaret is awoken by the creature, which is touching her.  When she screams, the creature runs off and while they are looking for it, Marco returns to camp.  Angry that Marco disappeared and scared them all, Vanessa leaves the group and finds an old outhouse.  In it, she finds the severed head of Mike. 

The group decides to make a run for it in the morning, but first return to the cabin to get more food.  Little do they know the creature is hiding in the basement.  Rafting down river toward their bus, they don’t realize the creature is following them along the river bank.  After making it to the bus, the group hides out in it thinking they are safe.  After Another attack by the creature, they escape out of the back of the bus and make a run for it.  When Windy is attacked and injured, Dennis and Marco return to the bus for the first aid kit.  After hiding themselves among the foliage, they see Eggar return and attack Marco.  The group attacks Eggar thinking he’s the one who killed Mike and Melanie.  Little do they know that the killer is someone else who has a connection to the group.

In addition to the bad acting, the story, while an interesting concept was full of plot holes. Especially at the end where no explanation was given as to why the killer was attacking the campers and how it ended up being that person that it was. Since this film came out, a few of the actors have become much more famous (Joe Pantoliano, Darryl Hannah) and seeing them in one of their first roles makes me wonder how they became as famous as they are now. The Final Terror doesn't even make sense to me as a title because, really... what were the terrors before? And what makes it so final?
Video (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 1080p high-definition 1.78:1 presentation of The Final Terror was not good at all.  While the picture was clear, it looked like I was watching a home movie.  At the beginning of the film, there is a disclaimer from the production company explaining that the original film was lost and that the film you are watching is culled from many different parts of film from a few different sources.  I’m sure that accounts for some of the terribleness, but I was really disappointed in it.  In my opinion, if you can’t use the original film or product, you probably shouldn’t be trying to piece together the film.  The screen was dark and hard to see during night scenes, and many scenes were cloudy.  It did not have a good picture transfer.
Audio (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Final Terror has English subtitles if needed, but the DTS-HD Master Audio Mono presentation was adequate.  It was nothing spectacular, but all the dialogue was heard clearly and the background sounds were not overwhelming.  At times, the sound was a little too tinny and the screams were a little loud.  I did have to adjust my volume a few times to account for that.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
The special features were slightly more interesting than the film.  The two behind-the-scenes featurettes were interesting because it talked more about the film and made it a little more interesting.
  • Post Terror:  Finishing The Final TerrorA 20-minute behind-the-scenes look at the film which explains how the film was produced.  It was actually interesting hearing explanations of how things were done and how the story developed.  There’s also an explanation of the music and sound effects which was pretty interesting.  If I had watched this before the film, I would have expected a pretty good movie. 
  • The First Terror with Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith – This is another about 15-minute behind-the-scenes look at the film from Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith’s points of view.  Both talk about why they became involved in the film and what it was like making it.
  • Theatrical Trailer – The theatrical trailer for The Final Terror.  This is so cheesy.  It starts off all peaceful and then the terror starts.  The voice over make it even cheesier.
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Behind the Scenes Still Gallery – a photo gallery of behind the scenes shots.  There is no background music.  Long and boring.  I tried counting the photos, but lost count when my mind started wandering because I just didn’t want to watch it anymore.
  • Under the Audio Tab - Audio Commentary with Director Andrew Davis – The film with commentary by the director.
Final Thoughts (2 out of 5 stars)
I can usually understand why a film is transferred to Blu-ray, or if I don’t, I can figure it out.  The Final Terror however, shouldn’t have been put on Blu-ray.  It doesn’t seem to be one of those films that has a cult following, especially since according to the disclaimer at the beginning the original film was lost.  This was one of the most boring movies I’ve seen in a while.  I couldn’t get into it and I kept wanting to get up and do other things around the house.  At 82 minutes long, The Final Terror felt much longer than the actual runtime. 

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