** Out of 5
Tagline- Without Knowing They Have Awakened an Unknown Force
Release Date- May 1st, 1983
Running Time- 82-Minutes
Screenplay- Jon George, Neil D. Hicks & Ronald Shusett
Director- Andrew Davis
Starring- John Friedrich, Adrian Zmed, Rachel Ward, Daryl Hannah, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Metcalf
The Final Terror was filmed in 1981, but went unreleased as it couldn’t find distribution until 1983 and that’s due to Adrian Zmed gaining some fame on the TV series T.J. Hooker, which of course starred William Shatner and Daryl Hannah appearing in Blade Runner. After this film a couple of other cast members would find some fame over the years such as Rachel Ward, Lewis Smith and Joe Pantoliano. I’m not too surprised Final Terror went unreleased for a couple of years as the film was made more or less to capitalize on the growing success of the slasher film, but when looking at the slasher films of the time Final Terror was made it lacks the violence, gore and nudity often found in these films and director Andrew Davis seems uninterested in taking the film down that road. After this film not only would many of the actors find success so would director Andrew Davis as his very next film was in 1985 with Code of Silence, which starred Chuck Norris and he would also direct Above the Law, which was the film debut for Steven Seagal and he would re-team with Seagal a few years later with Under Siege, but perhaps his biggest success would be the Fugitive, which starred Harrison Ford. Even the writer Ronald Shusett would find some success though I guess by this time he already did since Shusett has a story credit on Alien and wrote Dead & Buried. After this Shusett would write Above the Law (as noted directed by Davis) and he would also write Total Recall (original) and the Emilio Estevez film Freejack.
A group of forest rangers decide to go camping in the woods, which turns out to be a huge mistake as an unseen killer is on the prowl.
The screenplay by Jon George, Neil D. Hicks & Ronald Shusett is quite subpar as it features a boring plot and equally as boring characters. There is isn’t anything really interesting about the screenplay and its so forgettable its tough to even review. While these films aren’t known for featuring great writing, but the script for the Final Terror is basically bottom of the barrel and it makes other 80s slashers look like Oscar contenders.
Andrew Davis would go onto have a solid career with some excellent films, however Final Terror is better off forgotten. While stylishly shot by Davis under the alias Andreas Davidescu, the Final Terror lacks any identity as its never exactly sure what it wants to be. Andrew Davis has stated he isn’t much of a horror fan, but I suppose a job is a job. No doubt this film was made to capitalize on the growing success of the slasher film, but Davis never wants to fully go down that road as the slasher aspects are kept to a minimum, but even when playing up to slasher conventions, the Final Terror is still quite subpar, but they’re also the strongest (and I use that term lightly) parts of the film. The biggest issue is there’s no sense of pace as this film is quite sluggish where even a two minute span seems like an eternity and despite running at only 82-minutes the film feels way longer and quite honestly getting through the film was quite the chore. Some have cited the atmosphere is the only thing this film has going for it, but even that I felt was quite weak. I’m not really sure what his intentions exactly were, but the Final Terror is quite poor with no suspense, poor pacing and boring death scenes that aren’t very well staged despite the low budget.
Overall the Final Terror is in my opinion quite a weak film and though the film does actually have a decent cult following there’s good reason the film is more forgotten than remembered. Really the only thing the film has going for it is the solid cast, but even they can’t salvage the film. The Final Terror was released on blu-ray on July 1st, 2014 and since the original negative is now lost, Scream Factory patched it together from a few different masters and I’m not really sure it was worth the effort. The HD quality is better than expected when taking into account how it was put together. There’s even a decent amount of extras and the release is far superior to the actual film.