Final Destination 2 (2003)
Review Date: January 29, 2003
Director: David R. Ellis
Writer: J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress
Producers: Craig Perry, Warren Zide
A premonition of a future accident forces one young woman to take a detour and subsequently save her own life, and the lives of the people who were also set to perish alongside her. But "death" doesn't like it when humans change its plans and decides to stalk the survivors one by one. In an attempt to better understand "death", the young woman hooks up with another cute girl who's battled "death" before. Lesbianism ensues...just kidding (just wanted to make sure you were paying attention).
A surprisingly potent follow-up to the sleeper original hit, this film takes the basic elements from its predecessor, multiplies it with some of the most gruesome kills ever put to screen, a couple of small twists, more premonition gobbledygook, a handful of memorable sequences and wraps it all up with a tiny wink of the eye. Suspense-wise, the film doesn't pack as serious a wallop as did the first installment, but its opening highway sequence is definitely a nail-biter and extremely well-directed. The rest of the movie is also played out quite serious, but does tend to go a little "overboard" on the kills, most of which ended with me nervously giggling to myself or "ooooh"-ing and "aaaaaah"-ing. Definitely not for the squeamish! Plot-wise, the new writers haven't really tried to one-up the original, but have decided to stick to the same "design", as well as adding a number of connections between the two. To be honest, I didn't really care all that much about the plot, but knew enough to know that "death's design" was altered and now death was out to get everyone it missed the first time around (by the way, if one other person uttered the words "death's design" in this movie...I was gonna piss on the screen!). I liked the basic premise the first time around because it felt more believable than your average "boogeyman" flick, and this pic was no different. Signs are something that I've always believed in as well, and this movie takes that basic superstition (or is it?) and runs with it. Almost every bit that happens in this film seems to be a simple case of "bad luck" or "wrong place at the wrong time", but is it really? I like that about this series. It makes it all feel a little more realistic (except one scene in a hospital room, which felt somewhat "staged").
But the main thing that most everyone and their aunt will likely remember from this follow-up are its over-the-top kills. Wow! If you thought the demises in RESIDENT EVIL were nasty, wait until you take a gander at these! Can you say "gorey"? The suspense element was also well-handled, with some sharp, dare I say "ominous", directing by first-timer David Ellis, as well as some welcomed small laughs (most of which came from the Tommy Lee-wannabee coke-head dude). Much like the first film though, I still didn't think that the Tony Todd mortician character worked, since he seemed to bring a more "supernatural" element to the mix, but thankfully his appearance was limited. A.J. Cook, on the other hand, was decent in the lead role, while the rest of the cast was passable at best (not much character development in this quick 90 minute flick). Another one of the first film's strongest elements was its knack for surprising us with its kills (just like in real life, death comes when you least expect it) and the same pattern was maintained here. Other than the lead-off highway scene, a couple of other tense scenarios also stood out in my mind, including the "lucky" guy in his apartment, as well as the entire scene in the dentist's office (brrrrrrrrrrrr). I think the filmmakers should be applauded for having recreated most of what made the first one successful, but with a little bit more obviousness, fun and gore. The movie's final scene also plays into that, with yet another very indelible memory, but one that is definitely much more "goofy" than serious. All in all, I think that anyone who truly appreciated the original flick, should get enough out of this one to have a good time, while those who didn't like it before, likely won't change their minds this time around.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian