The Final Interview
the final interview | fred vogel | rebecca swan | diane franklin | grainger hines | john w. iwanonkiw | drama | thriller | united states | ross putman | damien a. maruscak | jason baker | mandy simpson | gary lee vincent | dave parker | nightmare film festival | nff
Film: The Final Interview
Director: Fred Vogel
Writer: Rebecca Swan
Starring: Diane Franklin, Grainger Hines and John W. Iwanonkiw
This was a film that I was debating whether or not to do a review on as I’m not necessarily sure it was horror. I finally decided due to the subject matter and I’ll get into this more during the review. This was another film I saw at Nightmares Film Festival for its world premiere. The official synopsis is a veteran newscaster desperate for ratings secures an interview with a mass murderer on death row the night before the man is set to be executed. What our newscaster thinks will be easy ratings boost turns into a dangerous psychological game between two manipulative alpha males.
The newscaster is Oliver Ross (Grainger Hines). We see him talking to the director of the news program, Rhonda (Diane Franklin). There is an interesting dynamic in that they were married and now divorced so they have an interesting relationship. Oliver comes off as a jerk and he is upset about the man they got as there was another murderer who has much more notoriety.
As from the synopsis, Oliver thinks this will be an easy broadcast. He meets with Warden Moyer (Edward Pfeifer). I found this scene quite interesting, because he tells Oliver he can’t take the pen that he has into the interview with him, as it is against prison policy. Oliver throws a fit about how he needs his lucky pen. What I really found interesting here is that we get a glimpse about how he has to get his way and he actually comes off quite childish here.
Once in the room with the mass murderer, Darius Tidman (Damien A. Maruscak), Oliver comes off very condescending toward him. I wasn’t bothered by him coaching Darius, because Oliver needs these ratings. He is trying to make this as exciting as possible. What I really like though is that he does come off as having the upper hand during the beginning. The show is not as exciting as he would want and then they start to get into the tougher questions. When they cut away to other reporters or to commercials and Oliver starts to give away personal information that is where things start to turn. He has a heart condition that he is taking medication for and the more stress that he endures, he starts to drink from a flask.
Having the two men battle it out during the interview actually got my anxiety going. The more you learn about Oliver, the more you realize that he is a scumbag. I find this quite interesting being that he is going up against a man who had murdered multiple people and you have to decide who is the lesser of two evils. The easy answer is the interviewer, but the way he is treating the other guy really makes it hard. What makes it easier as well to not hate the killer is that you learn about his upbringing. This film enforces the nurture as to why Darius did what he did, but Oliver has done and wants to do some pretty heinous things as well.
It is actually paced pretty well also. The film runs about 85 minutes and it is a slow-burn to build up to the climax. With the running time, it really doesn’t drag on. It is interesting to see the control slipping away each minute until the ending, which I didn’t see coming. I will admit I didn’t really understand the ending. There is a little sequence of something that happened that I thought would lead to more, but it didn’t. What happens to Oliver was a bit too farfetched and I think they had a better route they could go for him to get his in my opinion.
This film though is really about the acting. The two men really dominate this film and they do an excellent job. Hines comes off just as ornery and just close to retiring. You get the feeling of desperation on him before the interview starts. It immediately goes away, but I could feel it growing back. Maruscak starts out as a monster, but the more you learn about him, you realize that he is the product of his environment. Going from that, he is treated so poorly that I could kind feel myself rooting for him to fight back. It makes for some really good tension. Franklin is good as almost the voice of reason. Oliver can hear her, but Darius can’t. She is trying to help him keep control and it ramped my anxiety to see him losing it. I thought the rest of the cast round out the film well for what they needed.
As for the effects in the film, there weren’t really a lot, but a film like this didn’t need them. There is some blood in the end and I thought that it looked good. What happens seemed to be done practically and I had no complaints at all. The film was also shot very well. It is supposed to be an interview on a 1980’s style news show and that is exactly how it feels. There is a grainy look to the footage and even some old commercials are spliced in as well for effect.
Now with that said, I really did enjoy this film. I didn’t know a lot coming in and it really sucked me in. I’ve been interested in serial killers and seeing their interviews. This film though brings an interesting dynamic with two different characters who are horrible in their own ways going against each other. There is the duality of trying to side with the lesser of the two evils. This comes to life with the great acting from the two guys. It is paced very well and builds the tension as it goes and things are revealed. There’s not a lot in the way of effects, but it didn’t need them. It was however shot very well. I don’t really recall the soundtrack of the film, so it really didn’t stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the film. If this sounds like an interesting film, then I would recommend giving it a viewing. I found this one to be a good one overall.
My Rating: 8 out of 10