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FINALE
DVD region 2. Crabtree Films.

FinaleThis low budget indie horror has a lot going for it, though it sometimes struggles to keep up with its ambitions.

Opening up with a violent death, the film then follows the story of Helen (Carolyn Von Jauck), who is struggling to come to terms with the death of her son, who is widely believed to have committed suicide. As the family clear out his house, she finds information that suggests he was involved with a Satanic cult, as an her daughter finds herself being drawn into the same world, the grieving - and somewhat deranged – mother sets out to expose the truth and stop the cult from raising demons.

Shot on 16mm, Finale has a curiously retro feel – while it boasts its Italian Giallo influences, the film actually seem closer to some of the oddball indies of the 1970s, with a slow but steady pace, a middle-aged central character and the sense of paranoia that was so pervasive in much Seventies horror. It doesn’t quite match the qualities of those films – the acting is too hit-and-miss, and the scenes of demonic attacks, while effective as stand alone moments, seem at odds with the film’s atmosphere. With better special effects, they may have been more unsettling, but as it stands, the film could do without them.

The Satanic orgies that are interspersed though the film are also a bit of a let-down – the budget obviously didn’t stretch far enough to pay anyone for nudity, leaving the orgy looking rather bland, but the gory moments are effective, mixing restraint with visceral moments of nastiness, and the aftermath of one frenzied orgy is effectively creepy.

The word that keeps coming to mind when I think of Finale is ‘quiet’. This is a film free of the bombast and hysteria of much modern horror, and all the more interesting for it. While it doesn’t exactly reinvent the genre, it is a decent addition to it.

LES DE MONZE

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