Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

The Final Destination

Final Destination

Review by Chris Keller

Ten years ago, a little movie called Final Destination hit theaters across America rather quietly and with little impact on the collective American movie-going psyche. And as well it should’ve – it starred virtually no actor with any sort of “name”, and it featured a plot wherein Death itself caused accidents to kill people it’d missed the first time around. Well, this little movie turned out to be a very surprising gem of a horror flick. It was something that audiences and critics alike had never seen before (which is no small feat in itself, much less in the lather-rinse-repeat horror genre). It went on become a hit, and found legions of fans when it hit the home video market. And, as previously mentioned, “beating a dead horse” is no foreign concept to producers of horror movies. New Line Cinema released a sequel in 2003, featuring an all new cast but the exact same plot. And then another in 2006. And now we come upon the 4th entry in the series, The Final Destination (we hope), featuring a brand new line-up of pretty, vapid, and unknown actors, but once again, the exact same plot from the last three.

To rehash:  group of teens hang out together. One sees a premonition of a horrible accident in which they will all die, gruesomely. Teen warns his group of friends and convinces them to leave the vicinity, meanwhile letting the horrific accident happen to innocent bystanders. One by one, usually in the order of their deaths in the premonition, the teens start to die in singular accidents. Remaining teens try to escape Death once again. This was the story of Final Destination, and it is the story of all the sequels, including this one. This time, the premonition occurs at a racetrack (instead of on a plane, highway, or roller coaster) which leaves room for death by flying tire, flying engine, and any other part of a racecar that can fly into the air and kill someone. Also new to the series is the addition of 3D, meaning now the audience can experience all of this death seemingly coming out of the screen at them. One can only assume that today’s movie-going population is thrilled at seeing a girl impaled on a steel rod and then having said bloody rod thrust in their face.

But let’s make this clear: the inventive death sequences are the main attraction for fans of this series. It’s too bad that this installment can’t even deliver on that front, not to mention on believable acting, complex characters, or any semblance of an interesting storyline. The characters deliver their lines as if they were written on a paper bag minutes before shooting the scene. These actors get hackneyed dialogue that Daniel Day-Lewis couldn’t run through convincingly.

And the death scenes?  Are the laziest ones yet. 90% of the kills in the opening crash consist of someone running and then getting smashed by something or the other haphazardly flying through the air – there’s nary a drop of blood or severed limbs, just one second they’re there and the next, they’re not. This is especially disappointing coming from the director of the second installment, which is widely considered to consist of the goriest and deadliest car crash to be put on celluloid. The entire film just reeks of laziness from all parties involved; it’s as if they replaced any effort into the making of the film by providing it in a new, shiny wrapper: the 3rd dimension. The Final Destination can best be described as an awful magic trick – make them look one way (Oooooh 3D!) while doing something the other way (phoning in every single aspect of filmmaking!). One must come to painful realization: Final Destination has officially entered Saw territory.

1 ½ / 5 stars

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