Death was never *this* much fun!
When Scream became a worldwide phenomenon in 1996, it didn’t just spawn a bunch of half-decent sequels (including a fourth movie nobody asked for), but it also opened the door for a whole new generation of scream-teens and bloody murder. Of all these teenager slasher series, the most promising one is by far Final destination. Not only did Final destination generate more sequels than Scream, but there was an argument tumbling down the internet that these sequels were in also better. Although … better is hardly the word you wanna use for these types of cheap thrills and chills. The sole purpose of Final destination is to catch the audience by surprise by showing the most gruesome and unexpected death scene …
The story of Final destination is about as thin as a knife’s edge. But it serves up a whole lotta fun. A bunch of school kids under the guidance of two teachers go on a trip to Paris, but right before take-off, one boy named Alex sees something he can’t quite explain. He sees his own death. He sees a terrifying vision of the airplane going down in a crash, ultimately resulting in the death of everyone on board, including him and his dearest friends. Naturally he freaks out (can you blame him?) and exists the airplane in a state of hysteria. Oh … but that’s nothing! The vision this boy Alex had? It’s real! The plane blows up just as he saw it. From that moment forth, every person who’d left the plane before the accident will be haunted by something far stranger … far creepier … far deadlier!
Luckily, Final destination is much more than just another gore fest. Yes, there is some blood but it’s very docile. This is done to attract a bigger audience much like the movie Scream also didn’t portray showers of blood and became a huge success (so no pig’s blood Carrie-scene here, phew!) The raw sensation of Final destination comes from the fact that the death scenes are put in motion by everyday situations, although seriously puffed up.
There is no masked killer here, just the presence of ‘death’. And the death scenes themselves are gross, in-your-face and worst of all, easily recognizable real-life situations that – believe it or not! – under the worst of circumstances can actually pose a lethal threat. Flying on an airplane, a wet kitchen floor, a traffic accident and a wild variety of things just waiting to smash us in the face and on the head. The movie is obviously not looking to be the scariest movie ever made (that is probably still The exorcist or The shining), but simply to make you laugh and enjoy a fantastic thrill-ride of sudden deaths!
Unfortunately, the one mistake Final destination makes is to turn the original idea – which is truly original if you think about it – into a slightly over-the-top and comical chain of events that could simply never happen in real life. In doing so, the level of realism that creeps within each looming death sequence is washed away by stupid things that turn Final destination into a comedy rather than a dark thriller. Or … how water on the floor magically disappears. But don’t let that one tiny setback set you back. Final destination is one of the best and most fun-loaded thriller-horror movies you’ll ever see! Its intent was to make you afraid but at the same time enjoy the fright of another teenage being butchered by a bus or a coming train – it succeeds beautifully!
As far as acting goes, the best one is actually the one who only has a small cameo. Tony Todd a.k.a. the Candyman presents us with yet another brilliant acting performance, this time as the chilling yet equally mysterious Mr. Bludworth (awesome name for a mortician, lol!) who offers pieces of advice to those who seek to pick his brain.
But the main parts are for unknown face Devon Sawa – who would never rose to stardom again after his one and only success – and actress Ali Larter – who would grow to become one of the sexiest superheroes in the magnificent TV-show Heroes.
Furthermore, you might also recognize Seann William Scott who would have a series of just-above-average teen-movies … although his vocal performance in the Ice Age-movies as one heck of a funny weasel proved to be right up his alley. All in all, you don’t watch Final destination for the acting. You watch it so you can watch the actors die one by one … *evil laughter*
Give it to me straight:
Final destination first and foremost has to thank Scream for bringing the thriller-horror genre back to the foreground (even if the momentum only lasted a couple of years). But that’s where the praise stops, because unlike most Scream-copies which are hollow and unimaginative, Final destination is actually a pretty original idea and a solid good movie. Yes, the thrills and chills are cheap and the shock level decreases each time you watch the movie, but all things considered, there are far worse horror movies out there.
Typically, Final destination isn’t even a slasher movie per se, because there’s no slasher, no human killer. The things that cause death in this movie are everyday, normal things. The variety of deaths shown is what gives the movie its real power. Some deaths are funny, others are quite disturbing.
The only weak link is when Final destination shows tendencies of becoming a science-fiction movie when waters magically disappears or some dark shadow seems to enter a residence. That’s a shame, because it undermines the reality of how we – the people in this world – face deadly situations on a daily basis, but we don’t even know it. Or how crossing the street may very well be the last thing you’ll ever do …
Give it to me short:
If you’re looking for a thriller-horror movie with a minimum of blood, but a maximum of joy and you don’t mind the excessive use of freaky deaths, then this is your kinda movie! The plot is ridiculous, the acting is only just-okay, but the whole movie is a thrill-ride with a fair amount of laughter and anxiety. Like its predecessor horror-movie Scream, which put the horror-genre back on the map, Final destination is original and a whole lot of freaky fun!