Old 09-01-2009, 12:31 PM
David R. Ellis's The Final Destination

The Final Destination (2009)

If you asked the general public whether we really needed another installment of the "Final Destination" series, you'd probably get an overwhelming "no." Yet, from the way these films keep performing at the box office, people must have some secret enjoyment of the series. It's true they are formulaic, gruesome, and poorly written, but they also have something that most other horror films don't have, a touch of humor.

The film starts off with our main characters attending a Nascar-esque race. Nick (Bobby Campo) suddenly has a vision detailing how there will be a terrible disaster in which several people, including him and his friends, will be killed. When the vision ends, he urges his friends that they should all leave, creating a scene in which more of the people who were supposed to die leave the stadium as well. The accident occurs, but Nick and his friends survive. A short while later, this small group of survivors begins dying off in mystery ways in what Nick believes is a specific order. Now he and his friends must somehow break the chain before death claims them all.

When I say it's formulaic, I mean that down to the letter. This is basically a clone of the first three movies, and this ends up being the main reason that I can't fully recommend it. This whole series basically breaks down into a few essential parts. Someone foresees a disaster, helps a group of friends (and sometimes a few strangers) avoid it, they somehow realize that they are dying in a specific order, try to stop it, more people die, they think they've stopped it, more people die anyway.

The formula has become old, tiresome, and just too predictable. The earlier films included a plane crash and a roller coaster disaster that people avoided, leading to the exact same circumstances. I suppose this is what keeps people coming back to the theater. They know they can expect some gruesome death scenes because they too know this formula by heart from the first three films. However, this leads me to a point I made earlier. These films also have a touch of black comedy to them, which has nothing to do with race, but is rather a film genre that pokes fun at sacred institutions, such as death, which is very prevalent throughout this whole series of films.

From these films, we expect completely absurd setups that allow these people to die in the stupidest ways possible, but it is these absurd setups that make the films rather funny. I know it's really morbid to say that, but when you see how some of the people die in the films, you automatically think, "This would never happen!" and the absurdity just continues to build.

Luckily, these films never take themselves too seriously, or else they would just be a complete waste of time. They're amusing in a similar way to the "Friday the 13th" franchise, which also follows a formula, but usually tries to shake things up a bit, unlike the "Final Destination" series, which sticks to its formula without deviation.

In "Friday the 13th," we can laugh at the fact that a bunch of teens know there's a killer about in the area and yet choose to get high, get drunk, or take a shower with the power down. In "Final Destination," we're too busy laughing at the pure absurdity of the characters' situational deaths to care about what they're doing.

To give just a couple of examples of this, one of the characters early on ends up getting caught on the chain of his own tow truck, and, having spilled beer on himself earlier, ends up igniting it. Another situation, that has been shown in the trailer, has one of the characters getting stuck in a carwash with her car's sunroof open. Of course she can't close it, and of course the doors won't open, nor will the car move from the track that it's stuck on. Meanwhile, the car fills with water because it's apparently sealed completely.

The ending, too, is very predictable because we've seen it before in the other three films, but it has become a mystery as to how it will happen. This ending was incredibly lazy and not as elaborate as the previous films. It would have been nice if they had chosen to go out with a bang, but what do you expect from a formula that's been beaten to death? 2.5/4 stars.
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