The Final Rose (2022) Movie Review – Horror on Tubi
Young single mother Jess is looking for love but struggling to find it. Feeling sorry for his sister and wanting her to have her "happy ever after". Gabe sends an application off to the reality dating show The Final Rose. To the dismay of Jess, she is picked to take part. Despite some reluctance, Gabe convinces her to go on the show. Little does Jess realise, something far more sinister has been taking place behind the scenes.
We are back with another addition to our Summer Scares feature today as we review Tubi Original The Final Rose from 2022. Now I know what you might be thinking. Tubi Original, this is going to suck. And while you might be completely correct in your assumption. It’s only fair that we give this movie a fair shot.
I mean, after all, it stars a bunch of actors from low budget movies. Is directed by someone who has never actually directed a proper horror before. And features a slasher style plot based around a fictional version of The Bachelor. What could go wrong? You know, that actually sounds pretty awful. Let’s take a look.
The Bachelor but Gorier
That’s, pretty much, the best way to describe The Final Rose. Young single mother Jess is looking for love but struggling to find it. Feeling sorry for his sister and wanting her to have her “happy ever after”. Gabe sends an application off to the reality dating show The Final Rose. To the dismay of Jess, she is picked to take part. Despite some reluctance, Gabe convinces her to go on the show. Little does Jess realise, something far more sinister has been taking place behind the scenes.
If you are familiar with The Bachelor then you probably know what to expect here. A group of women spend a few weeks on a stunning island attempting to win over a single man who promises them love. Resulting in lots of bitching, lots of backstabbing, and a ton of drama. The Bachelor, itself, has been sullied with controversy over the years. But the things that are taking place behind the scenes in The Final Rose would make even the aforementioned shameless show blush. It becomes clear, almost instantly, that there is a serial killer on the loose.
A Few Satisfying Kills
For a few moments here and there. The Final Rose is a fairly competent slasher movie. There is almost a Scream type of approach to horror, here. We have a mysterious, killer hacking people up left and right with an unknown motive. A bunch of red herrings and potential suspects designed to keep the viewer guessing. A cast of clumsy and unsuspecting victims in waiting. And a gorgeous, but isolated, location with little means of escape. It’s pretty effective stuff and does a fairly nice job of keeping you interested, at least for the first twenty minutes or so.
The big problem here is that the kills are so thin on the ground. The killer here seems to approach victims in an almost random manner. Offering little clue of who it might be and why they might be doing it. And they are fairly unmotivated when it comes to the frequency of victim dispatching. The Final Rose gets lost in the preamble. Never really managing to fully commit to its slasher elements and never really being quite sure what type of movie it is. It’s hard to maintain that interest throughout. Meaning that when we see the big reveal. You will barely even care who it is and won’t even really notice that it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Actually Forgets That It Is A Horror Movie
What’s crazy about The Final Rose is that it almost seems to forget that it is supposed to be a slasher movie. For so much of its length, the narrative actually gets deeply caught up in the whole reality dating show thing. This actually feels like one of those types of shows. We have the misogyny, the negative representation of women, the cat fights, the drama. The Final Rose almost does the whole “Bachelor” thing a little too well. Meaning that, if you aren’t a fan of those kinds of shows, this movie gets boring pretty quickly.
Sure, it is very self aware with it’s presentation of the reality dating show scene. But it’s not enough to keep you watching throughout. Tim Cruz presents a version of the show that plays out much like most cynically minded people would think the real show does. With an uninterested bachelor who is horrible behind the scenes taking part purely for the money. Corrupt producers that fix the results and make sure the best person doesn’t win. A whole bunch of manufactured arguments and a focus on hitting diversity numbers for the demographics. And zero consideration for the contestants taking part. It’s all pretty apt and quite an effective satirical take on, what is, a painfully toxic genre of television.
But it doesn’t exactly make for good horror. Sure, we have the occasional kill here and there. But the movie gets so lost in Jess’s drama and her relationship with the bachelor. That it quickly becomes tiresome. Where’s the action? Where’s the gore? A whole bunch of people are not going to find the dating show aspects interesting. And, if you don’t, you are left with very little to chew on.
A Bad Lead Character
A big part of the problem is our lead character Jess. She is an extremely vanilla, and bland, character with less than zero personality. She is very difficult to invest in which is a problem as the entire movie revolves around her. Cruz and Rutledge’s writing attempts to separate her from the rest of the cast by giving her slightly more in the way of morals. But, at the end of the day, she is no different. She is there because she, apparently, can’t live without a man. And is constantly going against her instincts in pursuit of the ever mighty pole.
It is weak writing and makes Jess difficult to care about. She isn’t some bad ass woman who is there against her will and sees the whole thing for what it is. She is weak minded and easily swayed. Another character in the show offers a far more compelling story and is a far more intriguing character. But she is pushed to the side so we can watch Jess repeatedly simper and act pathetic. I say this as a man; male writers in horror really struggle to write nuanced and complex female characters. They always default to “needs a man” and “senses danger but I have heard he is 7 inches soft”. It’s a bit frustrating.
Quite Funny in Parts
The Final Rose does provoke a few laughs here and there. The satirical recreation of The Bachelor does a nice job of tapping into the ridiculousness of it all. Poking fun at some of the controversies of its inspiration and the obviously manufactured nature of reality TV. Lead douche Garret is a suitably sleazy asshole that feels every bit the type of person you would expect to find on a show like this. Host Lance Mulvey is a perfect facsimile of the washed up, former big time, cheesy personalities that you see all the time on reality television. And the production crew is exactly what you would imagine you would find behind the scenes of The Bachelor. A wide range of equally obnoxious personalities in it for themselves and the ratings.
The Final Rose really hits the nail on the head and is legitimately witty and amusing, in parts. With that being said. It’s really not enough to offset was is, generally, a really poorly paced movie. There is so much downtime here. Moments of amusing conversation are massively spaced out between scenes of the girls spending time with Garret. A classic slasher movie kill is a welcome diversion from 20 minutes of reality television bullshit. But the humour and the gore are so few and far between. The balance here is completely lacking. If you enjoy the dating show aspect, you will likely be fine. Everyone else is going to be yawning frequently.
Acting Is Pretty Decent
Christina Masterson was a weird mix of good and pretty bad. Earlier scenes in the movie feel very forced and not so great. As the movie goes on, however, she gets a lot better. The script here is rather clumsy and doesn’t offer Masterson’s character much in the way of nuance beyond being a single mum. Jess’s character really pales in comparison to her co-stars, as well. Brytni Sarpy does a fantastic job as the intriguing character Madison. I can’t help but think that a massive opportunity was missed not placing the story’s focus on her. Sarpy is a more confident and effective performer than Masterson and her character’s story is far more compelling.
Robert Watkins hits the nail on the head with his depiction of sleazy bachelor Garret. It’s exactly what you would expect. With Watkins’ almost Hallmark Movie style “lead man with a bad side” being perfectly fitting for this type of film. Brian McGovern is spot on as cheesy host of the show Lance. Tapping right in to that exact type of personality that is so recognisable on US TV. Side characters are fairly extensive and, generally, fit their roles pretty well. Nobody stands out for being awful which is always a good thing in low budget horror.
Final Thoughts and Score
The Final Rose definitely has a market out there. It does the whole “The Bachelor” thing so well. That I imagine fans of that show who enjoy slashers will probably have found an underrated hit right here. The only problem is, if you don’t like those shows this movie is hard to recommend. The Final Rose gets extremely lost in its portrayal of reality television dating. It is almost too concerned with that aspect of the story. Meaning the horror takes a back seat throughout. It’s not a bad movie by any stretch, it’s just a little slow and a bit boring.
There are long gaps between kills. Moments of humour and intrigue are fleeting. And its weak main character makes the story difficult to invest in. When you finally get around to the reveal of the killer. I doubt you will still be interested enough to care. It’s just too little of a good thing and too much of a bad one. It doesn’t look low budget and the performances are pretty competent. Some of the kills are fun. But The Final Rose just isn’t that interesting, at least for me, anyway. For fans of reality dating who aren’t massive horror fans? Give it a go, you may love it. This could be the perfect teen sleepover movie.