Finale (2009)

In his realm, death is only the beginning

Writer: John Michael Elfers
Director: John Michael Elferso

Finale starts with what looks like an orgy in the pits of Hell. And two young people trying to stop it by the less than subtle means of high explosives! When the bang fails to appear they’re in trouble and the guy is later found hanged, believed to have committed suicide.

Move forward a little way and his family are clearing out his house. Whilst doing so his mother Helen (Carolyn Hauck) discovers some of his papers and is drawn into a nightmare involving a satanic cult and a soul stealing demon who appears through mirrors.

It’s not overly original and the story takes a while to get going. Lots happens, but it’s not entirely clear how it all hangs together. Fortunately it was all interesting enough to keep me watching as the story slowly came into focus.

What made the film work for me was the direction and cinematography. At times Elfers is guilty of trying too hard with some shots that are straight out of film school ‘Scary 101’. But overall the effect is very good, disturbing and full of menace. Even when I didn’t really know what was going on it set my nerves on edge.

The film is also full of larger than life characters that add to the general sense of weirdness; I particularly liked Elizabeth Holmes as femme fatale Bliss. Carolyn Hauck does a great job as the mother descending into madness – and unlike many films we know that her paranoia is totally justified.

So the story and script of Finale is certainly flawed, with plot holes and some pacing issues. But if you can overlook that then it has a great creepy, gothic atmosphere that I really enjoyed.