Final Curtain 2003 Review

Final Curtain 2003

Directed by: Mike Goodreau

Starring: Michelle Algarin, Tricia DePaola, Mike Goodreau

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Review by Luis Joaquín González

I’ve covered a few obscurities of late, so thought it was about time that I got round to giving this one a blast. Not to be confused with Brett Kelly’s identically themed (and titled) film of 2005, Final Curtain 76387387287287282982989822comes with its fair share of trivia. The IMDB lists eleven sequels, but I heard on the slasher grapevine that there are even a couple more and I have no idea how they’re funded because it’s almost impossible to find copies to buy on any 763738738728298298292092092format. I tracked down this one on eBay, but a brief scan through the usual purchase sites shows no listings at all.

The collection comes from Mike Goodreau and was shot on video as a throwback to the low budget flicks of the eighties. Goodreau has a few actor credits that I came across, but looks to have dedicated his directorial career to these films. It’s a shame that I haven’t yet managed to track down every instalment, because I’d like to see if they changed with yearly progression.

An ambitious businessman relocates to the small town of Taft, Massachusetts and hatches a plan to open an amateur theatre. Despite some friction from officials, the community are generally happy about the idea and he begins casting locals. It seems though that someone wants to tell their own story and 87387387387982982982982they are willing to resort to murder to do so…

Not knowing anything about Mr Goodreau, I had to go into the film unarmed figuratively speaking. What I ascertained from what I saw was that he’s a big fan of theatre and probably a lot in reality like the character he plays here, Levi O’Neil. The background plot of him opening a small dramatic group is fairly engaging in the fact that it dominates the main chunk of the runtime. When the killer strikes, it comes out of nowhere and leaves us thinking, ‘Oh wow I forgot that I was watching a slasher movie.’ It takes twenty-minutes for said assailant to put in an appearance, but after, we get a handful of murders. They’re rolled out in the typical whodunit fashion, with the antagonist mostly off-screen, but despite their unimaginative nature (sword or knife stabbings), they are set-up impressively. We also get a few brazen 657676878898988778878attempts at gore that range from el cheapo to actually pretty good. In fact, we have to credit Goodreau for doing what he could on such a pocket-money budget.

That pocket-money budget is certainly visible in Final Curtain and it gives the film a ‘homemade’ sheen. Most of the audio is sketchy at best and the score, which is at least memorable, jumps like a scratched vinyl in places. I’m guessing that it was shot on a camcorder, but overall, it would be unfair to criticise the visuals. Despite some haziness, I don’t recall squinting to make-out what was happening too many times and there are a couple of bigger budgeted films, like Humongous for example, that couldn’t even achieve this level of clarity.73873873873298298289298298292

What prevented me from being really impressed was that as I alluded to above, the initial kill-scenes feel like they’ve been bolted-on to a TV show or documentary. When you think about classic scary movies, they’re not built upon much else than a horror core. You can have a mystery, sub-plots, in-depth character development, hidden meanings and even romance; but these elements should always be side-salads to a terrorising main course. Goodreau looked to be putting more effort into the trials and tribulations of the theatre plot branch, which reduced the impact of the murders. I don’t want to come across as being petty, but this didn’t ‘feel’ like a horror film for the most part and that prevented me from giving it a higher ranking. Other similarly funded features like Killer Campout or Bloody Creek managed 76376387287287298298298292to sustain a grim environment, but this one sacrificed some of its fear factor (and momentum) for the tale of a ‘theatrical’ journey. We spent a lot of time with the cast members, but never really knew who they were. Because of this, we couldn’t care less when they were killed.

Still, Final Curtain works in a cheapjack way. It’s one that much like Day of the Reaper, you need to be extra forgiving to enjoy, but me, I’m all about forgiveness…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:

Gore:√√

Final Girl:√√

RATING: a-slash-above-logo11

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Posted on April 23, 2016, in Slasher and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Have you ever heard of a slasher film called Carnage Hall (1988)?? I’m curious about this movie and if it was ever released to VHS? And if it was any good.. I know you have seen a lot of rare slashers and figured you would be the one to ask.

  2. I own all of them through Part 14 (which I am in) . I still need to get around to sending you those.

  3. Wow, your site’s finally living up to its tag line of “Rare Slashers”! Keep this up and I might start heading to this blog first whenever I’m in a huntin’ mood!

    Anyways, I actually “encountered” Final Curtain and its sequels at some site with their bodycount listed. I thought it was just a made-up series…until this review came along. (Holy crap, 14 movies?!)

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