(What I'd like to do in my How I Would Have Done It posts is examine a movie that I think didn't live up to its potential and, well, talk about how I would have done it if I'd been the writer or director. Mostly because just leaving it at "that was dumb" or "that sucked" is kind of unsatisfying, especially when there was something really good buried in there somewhere. I'll be discussing story elements in detail, so all kinds of spoilers await.)
The Final was the first movie I ever considered as the subject of a How I Would Have Done It post, way back almost 3 years ago when I first started writing this little thing of mine. The experience I had watching it could be summed up as "So…this kind of sucks. It kind of sucks, and it doesn't have to." It was the first time I found myself watching a film and thinking of specific ways it could have been improved. There's a good idea for an intense psychological thriller here, but it's buried under some sub-Saw bullshit and baffling pacing choices. The Final is a movie about the fucked-up things that teenagers do to each other, and there's a lot of potential there that the filmmakers eschew for a bunch of torture set pieces. The real scary thing in this movie isn't all of the gory atrocities visited upon the popular kids, it's the ease with which teenagers are capable of doing terrible things, and how quickly events spiral out of control.