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Genius Products presents
Final Draft (2007)

"I need to write this script. Even if it kills me."
- Paul (James Van Der Beek)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: April 25, 2008

Stars: James Van Der Beek
Other Stars: Darryn Lucio, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Melanie Marden, Jeff Roop, Devon Sterling Ferguson, Julia Schneider, Deborah Odell, Adam MacDonald, Kyle MacDonald
Director: Jonathan Duek

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, violence)
Run Time: 01h:28m:45s
Release Date: September 18, 2007
UPC: 796019805001
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ D+C-B- C

DVD Review

Final Draft has as its darkside a creepy-looking hobo clown with a horribly burned face, suffered when a fire-breathing act went awry years ago. And he's apparently a little peeved that a bunch of kids in the circus crowd laughed while his face melted off, because decades later he gets to dish out revenge from beyond when a struggling screenwriter Paul Twist (James Van Der Beek)—one of those laugh-at-the-burned-clown kids—uses the story as the basis for a new script he's writing. Somehow the evil spirit of Punchy The Clown becomes real (or does he?), as poor Paul battles his own brand of crippling writer's block and personal demons.

For me, it's hard to not think of a troubled and about to go mad writer and not think of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, while the term "creepy clown" will always conjure up It's Tim Curry as the grandly malevolent Pennywise. I'm sure you have your own that come to mind, because the genre landscape is lousy with them. That gives Final Draft a high hurdle to get over right out of the box, and inevitable comparisons that can never close to realizing anything approaching the same level. Kudos for a burned clown with a deadly agenda, but it's lazy and wasteful to build up just so the targets can be a mullet-headed bully or bitchy ex-wife.

Yet as a rehash of things that have come before, Van Der Beek works it surprisingly well, doling out of loopy outbursts of seeing things that aren't there, as the spectre of a certain burned up clown seems to become more and more real. He talks to himself, imagines conversations with cute waitresses, stares at his computer screen—and as things ramp up for the climax—has more full-fledged hallucinations. Again...or are they?

It's tough to not fall in love with a clown that beats people with a bag of oranges, yet Final Draft wastes its overlong setup and eventually dissolves into a series of secondary character eliminations that have little purpose other than to stall things until the obvious happens. I suppose it's difficult to make writer's block seem exciting, and even the presence of a bosomy fantasy calendar girl (Melanie Marden) or a vindictive ex-spouse (Tara Spencer-Nairn) fails to give this a lift. Van Der Beek is left to carry this one all by his lonesome, and while he does it admirably, it's tantamount to putting perfume on a pig. It might smell nice, but it's still a you-know-what.

Perhaps not the most original concept in the history of the horror genre, James Van Der Beek at least makes the first 2/3's of Final Draft rather watchable until everything just falls apart.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Final Draft's 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen certainly isn't the pretty thing I've ever seen, sporting a drab color palette and weak black levels that often look more grey than anything. There's an inordinate amount of grain, shimmer and ringing, significantly more pronounced during some of the interior sequences in Paul's loft. Squeeze this one on a small display and it doe fare somewhat better, but on a large set the flaws become distractions.


Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: One audio choice, presented here in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Serviceable, but hardly terribly showy, it delivers voice quality that is understandable without any distortion and moderate directionality.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Frostbitten, The Cradle, Alone With Her
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Not a whole bunch in the supplements department, led by Making Of Final Draft (24m:03s). It's yet another fairly generic EPK, casually notable for writer/actor Darryn Lucio referring to the project under its original name: Punchy. Also included are a few trailers, as well as a music video for a tune featured in the film entitled Dr. Blind (04m:21s) from Emily Haines. She's cute and the song is moody and pleasant, so it's hardly a chore to sit through.

The disc is cut into 12 chapters.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

A very nice "I'm coming unglued!" performance from James Van Der Beek is buried beneath the wreckage of a script that borrows from stuff we've all seen before, especially if you're a Stephen King fan.


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