Final Scream (2001)
Something that a lot of direct video features where notorious for during the late 90s to early 00s, was taking a wildly popular horror movie title and utilsing it in a way that would confuse consumers in video rental stores. This was a tactic done in a time period pre Google search engine so you had to only assume that this was somehow connected to your beloved horror franchise. Just to be clear this film, 'Final Scream' has no affiliation with the Wes Craven 'Scream' franchise and is a perfect example of the type of borderline copyright behaviour I'm referring too. One thing that came as the biggest surprise, is how genuinely interesting I found the concept of this film. This isn't necessarily a unique idea nor a great one, however it plays out pretty well in this film, and manages to pave the way for some stuff that would usually be considered a plot convenience in the majority of other slasher films. Whilst the killers overall reveal and motive was predictable fairly early on, what I didn't see coming was the twist inside a twist that is subtly hinted at towards the end. Erinn Hayes stars as Kirsten, the main character focus and over the top stereotypical 'super bitch'. Hayes gives an amplified and very annoying version of her intended character, I have to assume this was a directional que. Based on her performance here, I was surprised to learn that she went on to have a successful career in acting after this. The same goes for the rest of the cast, each one just as insufferable as the next. Adding to these shoddy performances is dialogue that seems written by someone who has never had a human conversation before, ultimately culminating in constant painful to watch character interactions throughout. By now I'm sure you have all heard the story of how the original Michael Myers mask was modified from a 'Star Trek' Captain Kirk mask, well the 'Final Scream' slasher killer mask looks like it has taken a Gary Glitter mask and tried a similar approach. This thing was not intimidating, nor impactful enough to carry a slasher villain. Along with the poor mask, the kills here are your standard hack and slash kills, each one done using a knife and other than the use of some heavy blood splatter, everything is done off screen for the most part and is rather underwhelming, even when it is shown on screen it looks very cheap and amateur. 'Final Scream' has been one of the more difficult watches I've had to sit through for some time. With a collection of bad characters, underwhelming kill sequences and and an unimpactful killer it was a genuine struggle to make it to the closing credits. As well as all of these flaws the light is terrible, whilst trying to imitate a thunder storm at night the set is extremely dark, other than the odd flash of lightning it's very difficult to determine what is actually playing out on screen for most of the run time. This is as strong as a 'skip it' recommendation can be.