For the month of October I’ve decided to watch/play/read something horror related every single day of the month. So far it’s been a bit up and down, with most of the movies I’ve chosen being pretty mediocre and the one video game I’ve played really shitting all over itself in the final act. But I’m working my way up to ones that are widely considered to be the ‘better’ horror movies and games. In the mean time, though, I’ve been perusing Netflix’ selection of horror movies and I decided to give a random one a try last night: The Final.
This is the horror movie for geeks, outcasts, and other people society deemed uncool in high school. It follows the exploits of a group of abused and bullied teens who decide to abduct a group of the ‘cool kids’ from their school, and torture/kill them. And the movie does a good job of making you hate these cool kids, with their ridiculously over the top mockery of the geeks, the way the cool kids lord their superiority over them, and how they just generally try and make the geek’s lives as miserable as possible. Which leads us to feel sympathy for the geeks, for the pointless suffering they endure while just trying to survive high school. When we’re introduced to the geek’s plot to abduct and mutilate the cool kids, we can’t help but feel that they’re totally justified because the cool kids are just that awful.
But in the way of poorly plotted horror movies, there’s a complication. A cool kid (who’s black! and a rapper!) is also nice to the geeks, and he shows up to the party where the geeks are drugging/killing/torturing the geeks. Despite their promises to each other to not hurt the black kid the leader of the geek decides that, well, he showed up and since he’s going to see this all they better just hurt him anyway so he won’t tell the cops and get them caught. Except, you know, all the cool kids are chained to the wall, and the geeks are wearing masks and, oh yeah, the geeks plan on killing themselves at the end of this anyway. So why not chain up the black kid in a room somewhere, and let him live? The cops are bound to find the party sooner or later, and it isn’t like he’d be culpable, he was drugged and chained like the rest of them for fuck’s sake! But, nope. He has to die because reasons. (Despite him escaping and killing the geeks anyway, but, hey, coulda been avoided if they’d just chained him up somewhere else!)
Really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for stupid shit in The Final but it’s something that runs rampant in horror movies that makes them not scary at all. How can we relate to people’s fears when their characters are so flat and one dimensional? How can we be afraid of anything when people put themselves into these idiotic situations, and don’t even use the barest of logic? I understand terror makes us do silly things, but horror villains and heroes go above and beyond to do absolutely idiotic things that just make it worse for everyone. Stupid things so hilariously incompetent that horror isn’t evoked, but spiteful pity and laughter. Horror directors, please, you have good ideas! The Final is a good idea for a revenge flick, don’t waste it on incomprehensible motivations and flat, boring, cliched, sexist and racist characters.