The Final Destination

Movie Information

The Story: A group of people are saved from a deadly accident by the premonition of a young man, only to find Death coming to finish off those who escaped. The Lowdown: Cheesy, schlocky, gory horror that manages to be fun by reveling in the fact that it is cheesy, schlocky, gory horror.
Score:

Genre: Creative-Death Horror
Director: David R. Ellis (Snakes on a Plane)
Starring: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Haley Webb, Mykelti Williamson
Rated: R

There is a scene early on in David R. Ellis’ The Final Destination where a neo-Nazi—who is drunkenly attempting to set a cross ablaze in the front yard of a black security guard—is set on fire. He is consequently dragged down the street by his own runaway tow truck, while the sounds of WAR’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” blares from the truck’s stereo.

And with that scene we get the litmus test for whether or not this movie is for you. If the idea of a bunch of pretty TV actors you’ve never heard of (and Bubba from Forrest Gump) being shuffled off this mortal coil in all sorts of precariously messy ways—from killer pool filters to murderous escalators—sounds entertaining to you, then this movie may be for you. And if not, well, you’re classier than I am.

The Final Destination is no different than any of the previous three Final Destination films, aside from the fact that it’s being shown in 3-D in a handful of theaters (Finally! The pinnacle of movie gimmicks for the apex of gimmicky horror subgenres, the creative-death school of horror). All of the Final Destination movies are pretty much transposable, with a group of people being saved from a dirt nap by someone’s last-minute premonition, only to have Old Mr. Grim go after each and every one of the survivors, popping them off in elaborate freak accidents that always end in bursts of flying viscera (some well-placed corrective lenses, a pile of sawdust and barrels upon barrels of flammable liquids can go a long way).

In The Final Destination, we get Nick O’Bannon (TV actor Bobby Campo), your run-of-the-mill hunky twentysomething, who—through the aforementioned fit of precognition—sees disaster mere seconds away at the stock-car race he’s attending. He, his friends and a mix-matched group of survivors (thankfully, only enough to fill 90 minutes worth of carnage) manage to escape their fates. Where the film goes from here is no surprise. There’s some semblance of a plot, which involves Nick and his girlfriend (Shantel VanSanten) trying to save whoever is next on the list (Death is a stickler for formalities, you see).

But plot, characterization or production design that looks better than an after school special gone awry isn’t what is important to The Final Destination. No, what is important is exploding movie theaters, falling bathtubs and decapitation by Goodyear tires. While all this might sound morally repugnant or tasteless, it manages not to be—assuming one has the stomach for all this hokey gore—simply because the movie has a sense of humor about itself. It’s closer to Wile E. Coyote than it is to Eli Roth in its depictions of blood-splattered death, and becomes something more approximating deadpan splatstick. I’m not making an argument that The Final Destination is good filmmaking or all that terribly original. But it is entertaining. Rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents, language and a scene of sexuality.

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5 thoughts on “The Final Destination

  1. Dread P. Roberts

    There is a scene early on in David R. Ellis’ The Final Destination where a neo-Nazi—who is drunkenly attempting to set a cross ablaze in the front yard of a black security guard—is set on fire. He is consequently dragged down the street by his own runaway tow truck, while the sounds of WAR’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” blares from the truck’s stereo.

    That is really fantastic – almost sounds like something that belongs in a higher class of cinema (but then again, I’m weird in this regard).

    Compared to My Bloody Valentine, there isn’t a lot of touted praise given to the 3-D effects in this review. This movie sounds like it’s suited perfectly fine to wait for a friday night DVD rental with pizza, beer and the talking-to-the-screen while laughing with friends atmosphere.

    There probably still isn’t any set piece in this new incarnation to compare – in my mind at least – with the opening of Final Destination 2. After that, I was rather nervous to be driving behind a logger truck for a while…I know, I know, it’s sounds silly, but everyones got their thing.

  2. Justin Souther

    Compared to My Bloody Valentine, there isn’t a lot of touted praise given to the 3-D effects in this review.

    They’re perfectly fine, but personally — and keep in mind, I’ve seen almost every 3D movie that’s come out during our current 3D Renaissance — it’s going to take more than a three dimensional impalings to wow me. Of course, I’ll freely admit I’m a bit more jaded about the whole 3D business to begin with simply because it doesn’t do much for me, though I do enjoy it solely when it’s used as a cheesy gimmick — much like this movie or My Bloody Valentine.

    But I’m also starting to wonder if the studios are putting out too many 3D movies (the local Carmike hasn’t been without a 3D movie since May, if memory serves), so I’m starting to question when the market’s going to simply become saturated, the novelty will wear off and the general moviegoing public is no longer going to shell out an extra three bucks for 3D. Only time will tell I suppose, but it seems bound to happen.

  3. Ken Hanke

    The 3D in My Bloody Valentine was moody and atmospheric. The 3D here is merely fun. That’s the primary difference for me.

    As for a burnout — we’ve already seen instances. The “magic” of 3D couldn’t save the Jonas Bros. concert movie, nor whatever that low-rent 3D sci-fi cartoon was. That X-Games movie in 3D last week did business that rivaled that of Glitter. In and of itself 3D is goind to burn out, but it’s gotten good enough — Valentine, Up and this are all much better than the first “Real D” movies we saw — that it’s probably viable with the right material. When — if — something big and suitable fails in 3D, but does OK in flat, you’ll know it’s time to pack it in once again.

  4. Dread P. Roberts

    Personally, I too am burned out on the excess of 3-D as of late. But I do tend to think that in a case like this, it kind of comes across as a good strategy on the part of the studios. Reason being: “once you’ve seen one Final Destination, you’ve more or less seen them all.” So in order to peak the interest in it being anything more than just a rental, they have to spice things up a bit. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but it’s true. Of course, there is always the bizarrely popular “Saw” series, but how much do you wanna bet that if the 3-D phase stays around at all, we’re going to see a 3-D’ified version before it’s all over.

  5. Justin Souther

    Of course, there is always the bizarrely popular “Saw” series, but how much do you wanna bet that if the 3-D phase stays around at all, we’re going to see a 3-D’ified version before it’s all over.

    They’re way ahead of you. Last time I heard, this was the plan for Saw VI.

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