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Finale 2009
Description: A family descends into a vortex of denial and paranoia after the death of the oldest son. Though labeled a suicide, the bizarre circumstances lead the mother, Helen, to trust there are darker forces at work
Released: 24 Apr 2009 Director: John Michael Elfers Writers: John Michael Elfers Actors: Carolyn Hauck, Suthi Picotte, Elizabeth Holmes, Steven Nieport Genres: Horror, Thriller
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Finale Reviews:

Death is stalking a tiny city plagued with a rash of apparent suicides. But one grieving mother (Carolyn Hauck) believes that there are darker forces at work and plunges herself into a supernatural nightmare to uncover her dead son's association with an evil cult. Her behavior grows increasingly paranoid and bizarre as she races vs time to war the terrifying demon unleashed to destroy her whole family in this atmospheric descent into horror.According to he Internet Film Database, "All the SFX were achieved in-camera (no CGI), melding techniques from early movie magicians, like behind the lens filters, two-way mirrors and speed ramps." Also, "Real animal bones were used for set dressing." This was my basic reason to love the film. While the directing and acting are both great, I'm large on traditional / conventional effects, and what they were able to achieve here makes fresh ways look like garbage.Digital Retribution (whoever they are) are quoted on the cover as saying, "Truly bizarre and disturbing imagery... like Argento's greatest work." For me, any comparison to Argento carries with it a massive burden of proof, as he is the ultimate master of cinematic style. Luckily for Digital Retribution, that wasn't at all what they were saying. The current quotation from their review reads: "Like Argento's greatest work, not everything is solved by the end of the movie, and a lot of what you see simply goes fully unanswered..." Great try, "Finale", but you took this fully out of context. The review also tells the "bizarre and disturbing imagery" is "peppered", implying that it is by no means constant.The writer-director, John Michael Elfers, has gone on record as being an Argento fan, and has told that he prefers "Deep Red" over "Suspiria", so the film's comparison's to the Italian giallo director are not really surprising. ArrowInTheHead.com is more on goal when they say, "Shot lovingly in the Italian Giallo vein..." I can see this, as the movie has a definite style, almost stronger than the substance.The wardrobe person could be commended on the outfits of Kathryn "Kate" Hauck (Suthi Picotte), whoever this person was. She looked superb on camera and I think it made her hero a lot more simple to identify with. I, for one, fell for her and sympathized right away.There's nice test of direction, with camera positions bringing typical background objects (clocks, jars) to the foreground, and a conscious effort to highlight the symbolic, with a repetitive test of the clocks and mirrors -- very effective! James Speight and Shawn K. Clement's atmospheric melody coupled with NEVER 3NOUGH's Mansonesque metal drove the movie like a conductor in a barreling freight train. At first the movie was a bit slow to receive into, but it picks up quickly and does not allow you settle in.The mythology is solid and crisp, and while there is no need for a sequel, one would not be unwelcome. The same ground should be explored by the same characters or all news ones with equal power. I trust Elfers is involved in another projects currently, but I do hope he has left the door launch in his mind to walk back into this world.


Normally, my rule is NOT to review a film I didn't like because I trust that while I may not like it, Others may THOROUGHLY play it for reason that have nothing to do with me: In short-- I just wasn't the Goal Audience.This one, gives me a sense that while they were AIMING at a goal horror audience, they didn't even hit the side of the barn.The central horror of this film is now interesting: a Spectral demon or entity named "The Collector" that manifests from reflective objects. The demon idea was the only thing that held me, because it had an ethos about it that made me think of the Sandman/Lucifer graphic novel's supernatural universe. I was hoping they would follow the story along that street wherein the main characters would uneasily become aware of a weird/deadly next-door dimension that they had managed to fall afoul of.The trouble here is the Central Character: Mommy Dearest.She knows something is wrong, but she FAILS to convince me in the audience that I could root for her to search out the truth. Instead, I roundly and fervently wonder why the HECK no-one has followed common sense and committed the girl to a MENTAL INSTITUTION where she so OBVIOUSLY belongs. . .and that's counting the fact that she is right about her fears. That's BESIDE THE POINT; place her in a RUBBER ROOM NOW.NO. . .Hubby lets her spend days and nights on end rummaging through a decayed burnt out heap of an abandoned house that just SCREAMS: UNBALANCED WEIRDO THINGS. And he just asks her quietly: When will you be home for Dinner? THEN. . when Mommy Dearest goes off her rocker and goes home to smash mirrors and splatter BLACK Paint ALL OVER THE FIRST FLOOR (Thru-out which mayhem, Hubby Dear only comes downstairs AFTER a quarter million $$$ worth of Insurance hurt is done. . .) And then they all sit down to a Family dinner with paint splatters everywhere and the Daughter is chided for Terrible language at the Table? "Dearie", I hollered at the TV, "just pick up the Smartphone and dial 911!!" By the time Hubby purchased the farm in some deserted gas station bathroom, I had stopped caring.So the Plot failed to instill a sense of why we could care about the Mother's descent into Terror-- because it wasn't a Descent in Terror she was going thru. The Mother was just a cardboard, self-absorbed suburban soccer mom who plainly thinks the globe revolves around her wishes. The Daughter was played well, but lacking any true synergy from the Mother's growing awareness of a supernatural danger, she was just a loose hero flailing in the wind.The Brother was an Afterthought. But I give him points for narrowly defusing a pipe bomb and telling "Nevermind" to Mommy Dearest's self-absorbed queries beyond the bathroom door.The church Coven failed to instill any dread. They were just a bunch of uppity theatre jerks wearing arch-evil sneers. I mean, come one, they were Small-Time. If a couple of college actors and a double amputee priest were the Greatest followers the Infernal Realms should come up with, the rest of Christendom has very tiny to be bothered about, allow me say you. . .And at the end, the film was over. The "Collector" and the Coven was destroyed-- but I couldn't support the sardonic thought as the sister hugged her bloody brother. . ."You terrible fools. . . Mommy's dead, Daddy too-- so who's gonna pay your bills now. . .plus, your house is a dump actually that NO Insurance company in their right mind will pay for any repairs, and to boot, you're both the prime suspects for multiple murder counts. . ." Have a Great Life.This film is a waste of a rental.


Things receive off on the wrong sort of footing with this one it has to be said. Visuals painted in sickly green palette and a tad tricky to create out, it doesn't work for more than a minute or so but the movie takes a nice deal more than that before settling down into a regular color scheme. If you can receive past this, Finale settles into a decent groove, a tense and smartly paced cult themed offering. It follows the Michaels family, devastated by the suicide of their eldest son, but getting into further problem of a paranoid and possibly supernatural kind. As grieving mother Helen, Carolyn Hauck hits the right fraught and fragile notes, obsession and rising paranoia that comes off nicely and is well reflected in the movies obsessive test of close ups. As daughter Kathryn, Suthi Picotte exudes new and likable natural star power and makes for a nice grounded contrast to the mounting of strange goings on in the film. Another roles are solidly filled by an array of mostly newcomers, actors aren't everytime sparkling but no one comes off as a grinding dud, baddies have the right quiet menace, the teen casting is realistic enough and so on. Director John Michael Ehlers shows his inexperience with the aforementioned green lit opening debacle and also overuses the color red in the final block, as well as some another stylistic infelicities, mostly in the form of visually incoherent moments. Luckily he uses close ups well, makes some fun creepy visuals with clocks and mirrors and another daily objects granted sinister significance and is quite nice at conjuring a cramped, risky atmosphere. Which goes a long method towards supporting out some of the more frustrating sequences. Some of the scenes of action do particularly well, a fine seat edge nervous intensity to them that really pushes the movie a several notches. The movie ends too abruptly and has a slightly sketchy feel to the writing, but its overall a cute worthy and pleasing tiny offering. Probably won't please those who don't already have a taste for this lvl of production, but those who do its recommended.



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