Friday, October 17, 2014

Final Hour (Denmark, 1995)

(Spoilers — but like who the fuck cares?) Oh, how we love "uncut versions" — and how that phrase, plastered across a DVD case, always has the same effect on us as, dunno, a naked mega-mammaried female nymphomaniac in heat would have at our all-male Sexoholics United meeting. And thus it came that we, drooling in anticipation, did indeed put the DVD of the Danish slasher Final Hour (aka "Sidste time") into our DVD player. And now, the next day, we cannot help but think of a sentence we stumbled upon while doing our research for the R.I.P. Career Review of Harry Novak series: to paraphrase what some website said about some sub-standard Novak sexploitation film, "We have watched this movie so you don't have to."

To put it bluntly, Final Hour sucks elephant dick — no, worse: it rims elephant sphincter. Unwashed sphincter at that. Astonishingly enough, the guilty persons behind this catastrophe — director Martin Schmidt and scriptwriter Dennis Jürgensen, both making their début in their field with this film — not only went on to make two more horror films together (Restless Souls [2005 / German trailer] & Backstabbed [1996 / Danish trailer]), but are still active in the Danish film industry today. Unbelievable — better films than this have cost many a would-be filmmaker their careers.
In theory, Final Hour is a body-count film, the basic plot of which — at least in regard to the dead teenager aspect — could be described as The Breakfast Club (1985 / trailer) re-envisioned as a slasher, but to do so would be a disservice to The Breakfast Club, a film we think sucks but is still better than Final Hour.
The plot? Friday afternoon seven students (six of which are terrible actors) get called to a classroom and suddenly find themselves locked in the school. After a bit of unconvincing interaction to establish their various stereotypes — dunno, but we figure that even in 1995, were a student to flash a big switchblade as often as Iris (Laura Drasbæk), she wouldn't be called to detention, she would be kicked out of school — Nicoline (Lene Laub Oksen, the only one of the bunch that can mildly act) tells the school's urban legend of a biology teacher who, after raping a student and getting off scot-free, was killed by a group of unknown students.
But wait! Damn if the bloody body of that dead teacher ain't hanging behind a curtain in the very schoolroom the kids are locked in. Elsewhere, Mickey Holm (Peter Jorde), a slimy TV reporter of "Final Hour", a sensationalistic reality TV show, needs his next story — so like some all-powerful being in charge of destinies, he rolls a die and suddenly gets a tip about a terrible murder at the nearby Elf Hill High School, the very school the seven teens are locked in. The rest of the film cuts back and forth between the seven students (trying to get out of the school, finding the most inane reasons to go off alone, and dying one by one) and Holm and colleagues doing their show live in front of the school as the bodies get carried out one after the other. And though the kids inside can follow the show on an unplugged TV, whenever they look out the window, the school courtyard is empty.
Is it creepy? Is it a mind-fuck movie? Is it avant-garde? No, it's a badly acted, dully directed and low-on-blood wanna-be horror flick heavy with art-school mysticism, terrible dialogue, unconvincing one-note characters, and a narrative development that is as predictable as it is illogical. Never scary, Final Hour fails on every level as a movie; the only thing it succeeds in is at being boring. Even the socially critical aspect of the flick, the persiflage of the reality TV show, is half-assed and dull and — like the by-the-numbers body-count aspects — more aggravating than anything else. (For a better but lower budgeted critique of the reality TV show mentality, we would suggest Series 7: The Contenders [2001 / trailer].)
The filmmakers all obviously thought they were making a dead teenager with a twist, but as whole they only ended up with a lemon of a movie. The rebus strip element that closes the movie — as one once-dead gal more or less says: "Hey, I think I'm having, what's that word again? Déjà vu?" — does little to make the movie coalesce. Indeed, it actually does absolutely nothing to bring the key aspects of the narrative — the murder of the teacher, the TV show, the kids in detention, the dead teacher murdering the seven students, the cross-pollination of timelines — into even the sloppiest of bows and, instead, just makes viewers feel all the more like they've been taken for a ride with a car full of rabid fist-fuckers.
A suck-ass lousy flick Final Hour is, and not worth wasting your time on. Again: "We have watched this movie so you don't have to." Go watch a film from The Asylum instead; any and all of their movies are masterpieces in comparison to this santorum-soaked dingleberry.

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