Final Recall Film Review
After a brief opening scene in space where an incident affects two astronauts, Final Recall begins on familiar ground with a cabin in the woods style horror, as five friends take a vacation. With no preconceptions regarding the dangers of snooping, they find themselves stumbling into trouble with a local woodlander called Hunter (Wesley Snipes), whom they only just manage to avoid. Retreating to the safety of their cabin, it is not long before a mysterious storm starts to appear in the sky. It’s going to be a long night and they will soon realise there are worse things to fear in the woods.
Final Recall has some interesting ideas but with the film constantly changing, it’s difficult to know what they are trying to achieve. The first part of the film works well as a horror, with plenty of tension building between the group and Hunter due to their own naivety. Brendan (RJ Mitte) can be forgiven when he takes an interest in a car when they stop, which first brings him to the attention of Hunter who mistakes him for a reporter. But when the group decide to enter a supposedly abandoned cabin in the woods, sympathy goes out of the window – which is coincidentally the route they use for their narrow escape. These may be familiar scenarios to what we have seen before, but they worked well as did the concept of Hunter being the main antagonist. The film however takes a different turn, as Hunter becomes more of a supporting role to an Alien invasion.
The effects during the invasion are pretty good considering the budget, although it becomes more of a cat and mouse chase through the forest, as the aliens try to abduct the group one by one. Whilst trying to escape, the surviving members of the group are helped by Hunter, who seems to know a lot about the aliens. I was hoping to see more action with Snipes taking on the aliens, as we see him preparing for the invasion early in the film. Unfortunately, apart from one scene where he uses the group as bate to kill the aliens, we don’t really see much of Hunter in action, which is a bit disappointing.
One of the most impressive scenes happens late in the film where we get to go aboard the alien spacecraft, here they are performing experiments which are a lot more intrusive than the regular anal probe. The world resembles the real world in The Matrix (1999) and when you see Charlie (Jedidiah Goodacre) inside a chamber filled with goo, you can’t help but think of Neo waking up in his pod – and the similarities don’t stop there. The highlight of the film involves surreal sequences on the ship where the abductees are getting experimented on and upgraded. We don’t stay on the ship for long, but it’s interesting to explore the perspective once they are on the ship.
The characters in the film are stereotypical, although Mitte does stand out in the main group as Brendon the nature photographer, who always seems to find himself in trouble. Snipes is on form as Hunter and even though he is more of a supporting character in the film he still dominates whenever he is on screen. However, there is an inconsistency with his personality, which changes half way through the film. Starting off as the serious, no smiles, mumbling character fans would recognise from his days as Blade, when he kills an alien his personality suddenly changes produces fits of laughter, whilst delivering jokes and jibes to the group which is reflective of his Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man (1993). The reason for this change is not explained, but he could well be suffering from a split personality from living alone for so long.
Final Recall is a fun low budget sci-fi which has some creative ideas making it worth a watch, although it may lack the originality to really stand out. With an energetic performance the film would have benefited from a bit more action involving Snipes, but it’s good to see him back in action once again.