I'm Terry Willitts, and welcome to the third and final of my guest-blogging posts for Glenn Walker's WELCOME TO HELL.
In parts one and two I've reviewed six of the eight movies of the AfterDark HorrorFest IV, starting at what I felt were the weakest and moving upwards. Today we will be discussing The Final and Lake Mungo.
THE FINAL is a phenomenal concept and though it falls a bit short of its potential, it still delivers an excellent story. Written by Jason Kobolati and directed by Joey Stewart, it is a revenge tale about a group of high school outcasts who decide to get even with all the popular kids, so they invite everyone cool/popular in school out to a secluded cabin for a big keg and boozer. Once there, they enact their revenge in a twisted and complex series of tests and tribulations.
There's a fine line between a creative revenge fantasy and angry geek wank and this almost, but not quite, stumbles across that line – instead it creatively straddles it, jumping in to the latter for a few moments at a time, but stepping back into the former in time to salvage the plot and the enjoyment of the story.
I'm not sure the social commentary here will be taken as anything more than the backstory to the movie.. and that's okay. (Unlike Zombies of Mass Destruction, it does not detract from the story... mainly because it wasn't so ham-fisted and obvious in its delivery.)
I really enjoyed this movie, and give it an 8 out of 10. I was prepared to call this the best one of the year, until I watched the one movie I was not looking forward to viewing at all.
LAKE MUNGO surprised me. It's the best movie of this batch of movies. Lake Mungo is an Australian psychological horror film written directed by filmmaker Joel Anderson, only his second movie. It's presented in the form of a documentary, which in and of itself does not exactly lend to traditional horror storytelling. (Because of this, comparisons to The Blair Witch Project will be made – I find that this movie is vastly superior, as it does not attempt to go overboard with the scary.)
This is a subdued horror story. There aren't many moments of shock, but rather an ongoing, underlying sense of creepiness. This movie gave me chills on multiple occasions and there's not many movies that I can say that about.
It's the tale of a family, dealing with the death of sixteen year old Alice. As the story progresses, we see that there was a lot more to Alice than anyone knew, and this movie somehow manages to masterfully jump from being fictional documentary to suspense to mystery and, of course, a touch of horror all throughout.
It's wonderfully done, though I'm sure it won't appeal to everyone – it's not a fast-paced, action-packed slam-fest, but it IS an inordinately creepy and well-crafted tale. And you must, you MUST sit through the beginning of the final credits for the true twist.
As mentioned before, I did not want to see this movie. I was not looking forward to it, the only reason I watched it was because I had decided that I would watch all eight. And I learned a lesson. The old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover" still applies.
This movie gets a rare 10 out of 10 for me. I understand that the makers of The Ring are going to be remaking this for American audiences. Normally, I'm open to remakes, I like seeing a different take on a story... I don't see how this will be worth the remake, but again, I'm not going to judge it until it comes out. However, this Australian movie is perfect as it is.
Thanks to Glenn for letting me play in his sandbox, thank you for reading my reviews. You can follow me on Twitter, read my occasional blogging at This Is Really The Best Blog Ever, or visit my creative writing website, 770 Days.
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