FINAL STAB (David DeCoteau, 2001) -- Massacre Video

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  1. bruce h

    bruce h Editor - CINEMA ARCANA

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    *** A Cinema Arcana Exclusive! ***

    “The reality of this game… is murder!” David DeCoteau’s new millennium slasher flick FINAL STAB (2001) gets its Blu-Ray debut from Massacre Video as Numero Five-o in their ongoing Limited Edition series!

    When Angela and her boyfriend Charlie get invited to a little shindig thrown by her estranged *****-of-a-sister Kristin, they suspect something’s off, but show up anyway. Populated by some old friends and unknown randoms, the party’s going fine – until a dude gets bloodily knifed to death right in front of them. But guess what? It’s all a prank, set up as a test for Kristin’s new murder mystery business venture. Everything’s been meticulously planned out, actors have been hired / blackmailed, and Angela is nothing but the guinea pig. But guess what else? Someone at this soirée is full-on psycho, deciding the game is a perfect cover to slice and dice the rest of the attendees. Of course, the ones still alive assume the others are just *playing* dead…

    One of hundreds of horrors produced in the late-‘90s / early-2000s to fill the second rental boom, FINAL STAB was a video store mainstay before the market collapsed. Its playful, self-aware tone recalls obviously recalls box office juggernaut SCREAM (1996)—the film was actually retitled FINAL SCREAM overseas and reportedly even more brazenly redubbed SCREAM 4: FINAL CHAPTER in some markets—but there’s also a dash of ‘80s fave APRIL FOOL’S DAY (1986) in there for the old school slasher fans, too. While I certainly won’t argue FINAL STAB is some unheralded classic of the form, I will say it’s an atmospheric endeavor whose knowledge of clichés lends it a beneficial advantage – the assumption that everything happening is just a game leads to some jarring violence, allowing the killer to get up close and personal while remaining undetected. The body count agrees. Plus there’s plenty of era-appropriate bellybutton on display, if that’s your thing.

    Originally filmed in full scope, the title was acquired by City Heat Productions and Key DVD, who issued a brutally cropped, barebones edition on DVD and VHS. Thankfully, Massacre’s Blu-Ray will premiere a fresh 4K scan from the original camera negative, restoring the full intended framing for the first time ever in this country and giving the widescreen cinematography the sheen it deserves. Supplements are currently slated to include a brand new audio commentary with director DeCoteau, who I’m sure will have plenty of stories to tell about the four-day shoot. Release date is being finalized – watch this space for details!

    A Cinema Arcana Exclusive © Bruce Holecheck, 2018

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