Review: ‘Final Hour’

Denmark's first teen slasher movie, "Final Hour" is a slickly packaged, overcooked slice of ham that would have been even better if it didn't try to be so clever. Feature bow by Martin Schmidt should, however, please dedicated aficionados of the genre and merit unspoolings in latenight fest sidebars.

Denmark’s first teen slasher movie, “Final Hour” is a slickly packaged, overcooked slice of ham that would have been even better if it didn’t try to be so clever. Feature bow by Martin Schmidt should, however, please dedicated aficionados of the genre and merit unspoolings in latenight fest sidebars.

The killing field this time round is Elf Hill High School, whither seven teens are summoned for detention late one Friday in the biology lab. Locked in, they’re informed via a TV monitor that “a murder has been committed.”

The psychological games begin when one lad climbs out a window to investigate and the others learn he killed his brother. Subsequently, two girls get separated from the group when a door opens briefly, and one is later found dead. Thereon, the body count mounts with a regularity that would make Jason proud.

So far, so straight. Where the pic (adapted by local cult writer Dennis Jurgensen from his own novel) starts to get cute is in framing the whole thing as some kind of time-warp exercise. Outside the school with the cops and his cameras is Micky Holm, host of a popular TV reality show, “Final Hour,” that covers atrocities as they occur. Holm seems to know in advance what’s going to happen; an even greater mystery is why, from the students’ p.o.v., there’s no crowd of people outside the school.

This clever spin on a familiar genre gets increasingly annoying when it becomes clear nothing is going to be explained. (Presumably we’re witnessing a replay of past murders.) Double-headed ending — in the first of which a girl sees her own corpse prior to her murder — comes over as clever for clever’s sake, leaving auds as much in the dark as when pic began.

Performances by the mostly young cast are all distinctly etched within their limits, and tech credits are smooth all round. Gore quotient is average for the genre.

Final Hour

(DANISH)

Production

A Regner Grasten Filmproduktion production, in association with the Danish Film Institute and TV2 Denmark. (International sales: Nordisk, Stockholm and Copenhagen.) Produced by Regner Grasten. Directed by Martin Schmidt. Screenplay, Dennis Jurgensen, based on his novel.

Crew

Camera (color), Peter Roos; editor, Thomas Kragh; music, Frans Bak; production design, Viggo Bentzon; costume design, Merete Engbaek; sound (Dolby SR), Stig Sparre-Ulrich. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 26, 1995. (Also in Fantasy Film Festival, Berlin; Edinburgh Film Festival.) Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Micky Holm ... Peter Jorde Nicoline ... Lene Laub Oksen Gerluf Lovholm ... Stig Hoffmeyer Taus ... Tomas Villum Jensen Inga ... Rikke Louise Andersson Kenneth ... Karl Bille Iris ... Laura Drasbaek Olesen Rasmus ... Ken Vedsegaard Augusta ... Mette Bratlann TV Journalist ... Mari-Anne Jespersen
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