The Final Movie Review
At high school, the popular teens cruelly taunt the outcasts over an upcoming costume party that's due to be the coolest event of the year. But the party is actually part of a plan by the nerds to get even for years of bullying. Led by the unpredictable Dane (Donato), they're heavily armed and extremely well-prepared. And before they know what hit them, the cool kids are tied up and seemingly in one of those Saw movies, facing unspeakable torture at the hands of the people they have tormented.
Slickly produced, the film is directed to skilfully build suspense even before anything happens. The plot grows subtly, steadily, drawing us into the characters' turmoil, both the thoughtless mean kids and the desperate outcasts.
There isn't much complexity here, though, despite a few broad strokes in the script that try to hint at subtext or moral dilemmas. Basically this is a wish-fulfilment fantasy for anyone who was picked on for being outside the inner circle in high school.
After the cursory set-up, the film quickly descends into an orgy of rather unoriginal viciousness. Since the victims have now become monsters, there's no one left to sympathise with. The main problem is that these supposedly smart, sensitive geeks are both ruthless and rather unimaginative; clearly they haven't really thought through their plan, as they supposedly only intended to scare and scar their oppressors, but their methods are much deadlier than that.
And everything predictably spirals out of control.
As this night of terror progresses, there's little for the actors to do with their characters besides adopting the posture of a horror movie stereotype. And while the cheesy script strains to reference both Columbine and Vietnam, it's far too contrived for that. If there's any consolation, at least director Stewart cuts away from (or botches) most of the brutality. Although that will annoy genre fans, as will the fact that it's never actually scary.