Capitalizing on the camping horror film, this film seemed to have the potential. However, it sadly drags and offers little scares and wastes some good talents in the long run.
A group of forest rangers have been assigned to do work detail at Mill Creek. However, the truth is that Mike, the group leader, just wants some time off for his friends so he can spend some alone time with his girlfriend Melanie. Despite the objections from bus driver Eggar against going to Mill Creek, the group picks up Melanie and her three friends Margaret, Windy, and Vanessa, and head off to Mill Creek.
When the group makes a bonfire, they ask Marco to stay up on watch while a few others are hoping to find some “good stuff”. The next morning, both Marco and Eggar mysteriously disappear. When the rest of the group decides to start a search party. Meanwhile, Mike and Melanie go off on their own and as they make love, a mysterious figure arrives and Mike is brutally murdered in front of Melanie. As the figure makes its presence known, the rest of the group must not only find out what happened to their friends, but survive in the process.
Filmed during the heyday of the camping horror film, the film took two years for a distributor. However, the film was ultimately released in 1983 in an effort to capitalize on some popular names. They include T.J. Hooker‘s Adrian Zmed, The Thorn Birds‘ Rachel Ward, and future Hollywood A-lister Daryl Hannah. While the film may have been released for that reason, the real “final terror” comes in the result of the film itself.
The film does its share of camping horror cliches. There’s the couple making love and of course, death follows. There’s the mysterious disappearances as well as the revelation of the figure. However, the major problem lies not so much the lower than usual body count in this sub-genre of the horror film. The problem is that the film tends to drag in the middle, making one wonder if they are actually watching a horror film or a version of Deliverance that just is a major snoozefest. However, the film’s only redeeming effort comes in the form of the twist in the finale. This was quite a delight to watch yet by the time this twist finally comes, the excitement of the revelation is too little too late.
The Final Terror is just short on scares and long of a boring middle of just searching with sporadic killings, but not above average. The finale twist brings a bit of redemption but it’s clearly too late in this case.
WFG RATING: D
A Samuel Z. Arkoff Productions film. Director: Andrew Davis. Producer: Joe Roth. Writers: Jon George, Neill D. Hicks, and Ronald Shusett. Cinematography: Andrew Davis. Editing: Paul Rubell and Erica Flaum.
Cast: John Friedrich, Adrian Zmed, Ernest Harden Jr., Lewis Smith, Rachel Ward, Daryl Hannah, Akusua Busia, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Metcalf, Cindy Harrell.