User Reviews (7)

Add a Review

  • First off, get this dingbat cracker Bayou action movie out of my face. The IMDb has two different movies confused here as being the same thing. One is a psychological thriller from Australia, the other an American made crackerfest. Please sort them out, both movies are being done a disservice by the confusion.

    Next, FINAL CUT or DEATHGAMES, the Australian film by a relatively unknown filmmaker named Ross Dimsey, is perhaps that country's softcore answer to "Emanuelle In America" -- A psychological thriller inspired by and dealing with the urban legend of the Snuff Movie. Others have succinctly summed up the plot: Journalist couple find themselves enmeshed in a web of otherwise boring intrigue & decadence surrounding an Australian media magnate (played by character actor David Clendenning, who is magnificent) who may or may not be inspired by/based on Rupert Murdoch. He is insanely rich, somewhat arrogant, prone to practical jokes, and likes to mess with people's heads as a way of "relaxing". He has a former porn star mistress, a yacht filled with beautiful 20 year old groupies, and a rooftop penthouse apartment where he can engage in all kinds of games with the people he feels like screwing with.

    Enter the couple (leggy Jennifer Cluff and Aussie cult figure Lou Brown from ALLISON'S BIRTHDAY), who are under the impression they are going to make a documentary about Clendenning's "Dominick", and end up instead being his new game pieces after being invited to his swank penthouse for a weekend of binge drinking, parlor games, casual nudity, voyeurism, lesbian seduction, homosexual undertones, forced drug use, acid spiked booze, a gun, and possibly a murder or three -- all of it filmed or recorded on video for Dominick's own personal amusement, blackmail leverage, and possible syndication if it proves "juicy" enough. It's hard to tell exactly what happens, and the deliberate pacing of the film works against the viewer sorting it all out. This is of course annoying to literal minded viewers used to routine plot formulas, and commenters have made reference to the film's lack of action or payoff without understanding that such is the point of the whole film. It is a puzzle, and some people simply hate puzzles.

    The movie isn't about the cat and mouse game that Dominick plays with his young guests, but rather about the whole concept of media manipulation, representation of identity, and the loss of will that is the price of celebrity fame. One of the most interesting characters in the film is Mick, a failed rock star who has been relegated to the role of Dominick's flunky. The price of selling his soul for popularity, maybe, and the nicely understated payoff of the film might very well be the indication that Dominick has failed to understand that Mick might want it back.

    In all honesty I will concede that the movie is not entirely successful, partly because it wants to have it's cake & eat it to, so to speak. It is too delighted with simply being an enigma and guilty of deliberately keeping it's viewers confused as to exactly what they have seen, though I will argue vehemently that it is never "boring". Even after a couple dozen screenings of both the American print called DEATH GAMES as well as the original version called FINAL CUT, I am not sure if anyone actually dies during the story's scant 80 minutes of runtime. In many ways the film resembles David Lynch's masterpiece MULHOLLAND DR., and may correctly be interpreted as a "waking dream" of a filmmaker rather than a story with a single unambiguous meaning. Ideas are shuffled, events repeat themselves, effects precede causes, people appear to die only to walk back on screen with little or no fanfare, and the concluding images resemble someone waking from a troubling nightmare more than outright horror at having witnessed murder & revenge. I haven't the foggiest idea what it all means, except that I detest any kind of art that discourages viewers from thinking about it beyond the experience of witnessing it, and here is a movie that doesn't, though almost to a fault.

    8/10: You can find old rental tapes of DEATH GAMES for about a nickle plus media mail. It may not be Van Damme material, but for viewers with a taste for something different you will be very well rewarded.
  • I saw the VidAmerica VHS of this as Deathgames (video box title)/Death Games (video title).

    A dreadfully boring movie that doesn't make much sense anyway.

    A newsreel cameraman for some reason decides he is going to make a film on a wealthy entrepreneur who generally doesn't grant interviews. He films a woman surfing topless while he waits to board the entrepreneur's yacht along with his girlfriend.

    On board the yacht, there is a big party. The cameraman films a woman dancing topless. The entrepreneur grants an interview, but he seems very sleepy and drunk and says something about killing, and rambles on about various things that seem unimportant. Later, the cameraman is on the beach, apparently drunk and/or stoned, filming the moon. He sees the topless dancer running topless with blood on her. He passes out, and someone takes the tape/film out of his camera. He later looks at the footage (apparently replaced), but it lacks the scene of the woman running and some of the things the entrepreneur said.

    Nevertheless, he and his girlfriend get invited to the man's penthouse. They get hit on by the entrepreneur and his mistress. They get drunk and their drinks get drugged. The girl is seduced by the mistress, and the entrepreneur plays various "games" which involve his guests apparently killing each other. Whether anybody is really getting killed or not is unclear; it may be an act for his own amusement, to watch on tapes recorded via his security system.

    The slow pacing of the movie, the way relatively nothing happens, and what does happen doesn't necessarily happen was pretty tiresome. The ending is not very satisfying at all, and does not clear up what the "games" were.
  • We saw this one at Cannes, 1980, where the audience - and the movie magazine Lumiere , in particular were more than a little bit in love with it. This may be because, unlike the IMDb website reviewers , they actually actually 'got' it . After all, two of the current IMDb website reviews are commenting on another film altogether: A Texas 'swamp movie' with a not dissimilar title...

    Final Cut (1980) is basically a play on the idea of off the cuff documentary making carried to the limits and has lots of verbal and visual clues to this rather early post modern intent: after all how many other movies actually have the name 'Dziga Vertov' chucked around in dialog? Not that that's necessarily a good thing!

    But the great hand-held cinematography by Ron Johanson and a marvelous- and for the time- very smart electronic soundtrack by UK film and TV composer Howard Davidson , all make this little super low budget movie an absolute keeper - and a film that's maybe worth watching a bit earlier in the night - and without a bottle of bourbon!

    Final Cut may not entirely succeed, but at least the still loyal European Pay TV audiences and a healthily large worldwide group of (primarily) film student fans seem to have understood the film's self- referential movie shtick that the filmmakers seem to have - rather bravely - gone for!
  • David Gladdening is the one saving grace to this movie. It's definitely without interest and is intriguing, but it's too mellow or the movie doesn't have enough twists or turns, which sends it into that B grade and failing minority. But this was really the movie intended about a director, entrepreneur (we aren't really sure, from the moment he comes off that lear jet in the film's beginning) who's attracted the interest of a young couple. The guy's an avid cameraman, who wants to be cut a break, his girlfriend, also working at the t.v. station, who loves excitement. Taking off to the guys lavish yacht, they find themselves in for a night alright, among many different types, some struggling wannabe actor types. When the young guy gets inebriated, he goes to get some air, camera still rolling. What comes into view is a girl covered in blood. This reel is taken from his camera, and the rest of the movie we're left to wonder if that poor girl was killed or not. The simple premise here is that we have two evil souls, a playboy, and his much younger mistress who really can't get a life, and have to resort to playing sick games, where the younger couple, in the end, really get teed off at. There is a bit of a thirty second tragedy involving one of the younger couple, and Gladdening's bodyguard, who doesn't say a word, in the entirety of the movie, looked cool. This is one of those much more obscure Oz pics, which kind of has you thinking unconsciously, it's un Oz like. Final Cut is too much much a vague hazy film, with enough attributes and and oomph to make it a good thriller, yet Gladdening is the reason to watch it, and that poor girl dancing before her demise, where we're afforded a look at her goodies. Seriously Gladenning's performance, made the others look standard or forgettable, yet the other good performance, was that of Gladdening's mistress.
  • Final Cut (aka Death Games for us Yanks) is a different type of psychological thriller, and one that, unfortunately, offered so much clever chit-chat and trickery to arouse your suspicions of the characters on the screen, but that had ended with much nonsense and relatively little bang.

    This is the story of a young, idealistic filmmaker and his journalist sidekick beauty. The filmmaker is finally given approval to make a film on popular record producer, and promises to deliver to the network a production full of juicy details. His career depends on it. But, his subject never seems to cooperate and instead, enjoys toying with the couple one evening aboard a yacht when a bloodied woman appears to have fallen overboard (film which conveniently goes missing) and then later, during a weekend in the producer's penthouse high rise. There is relatively little action going on to grab your attention, aside from copious amounts of gratuitous nudity and lesbian seduction among the characters, but much of the film is purely dialog. The producer, sure to annoy the filmmaker by letting him very few details of his personal life for the picture despite expectations otherwise, just goes on and on with little suggestions of ill will and demise. But, nothing ever really happens. And in the end, if you haven't fallen asleep or otherwise, tuned out the movie, you might otherwise be confused, or dissatisfied entirely which, only artificially so, looks like a clever ending.

    Deathgames had plenty of potential, although some of it being falling prey to the standards of the cat-and-mouse chase thriller, with some Hitchockian elements. But this film doesn't even offer that much. And the flaws weren't inherent in its obviously low-budget atmosphere or the acting ability of its stars (even that didn't get in the way). But rather, you're always careful to hold on the words of the character, sure that you're able to put the mystery together, but there really is no mystery.
  • This movie was one of the greatest Texas Bayou action flicks ever to come out of Hollywood. It showcases the amazing abilities of three unknown actors (Robby Shermanck, Tommy Shermanck and Bob Shermanck). I must admit that I was in complete horror when Bob Shermanck (portraying the fearless child wrangler) tore after the escaped children, only to be gunned down near a very large swamp tree. I feel that this movie didn't get a fair shot in the 1980 Oscar race (it barely made it to VHS) and should be at the top of everyones must see list. I give it two thumbs up and hope to see many more Dimsey films come out of East Texas in the future.
  • An excellent revival of the "Swamp" genre film popular during the Dukes of Hazard, Smokey & the Bandit days. While the cinematography is at the typical quality level of a low budget film it adds to the film's mystique. To this authors eyes,remastering this print would have the same disastrous results as "colourizing" Gone with the Wind. Without giving away the intricate plot, the film is highlighted by the performance of the Shermanck brothers who find themselves in a dire predicament in the swamps of East Texas. The spontanaity of the Shermanck bros performance reminded the author of Tatum Oneal in her Paper Moon debut. Unfortunately this author is not aware of other performances from this talented pair. I suspect the limited distribution prevented any notice. A big loss for Hollywood! In summary, a real gem for those fortunate enough to obtain a rare copy.