Final Destinationhas a problem. It’s not even this movie’s fault. The problem is, the franchise has spanned five movies which all pretty much have the same plot. So it’s come to the point where everyone knows the story. Main character has a premonition, it happens, they and some others manage to escape, the disaster happens, Death is not happy that they cheated his design, and starts to pick them off in fantastical and complex ways. When looking at this film and the series as a whole, it’s a little confusing as to how it keeps making money. I mean, I know people will go see it because they want to see people die in gory ways, but all these films are really big successes. Final Destination 5made $157 million against a $40 million budget. The way it brings in profit is incredible, especially when watching them, and discovering they’re not actually very good.
Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) is a high school student, getting ready for his senior field trip to Paris. With him is a class of 40 students, including his best friend Tod. As they board Flight 180 and sit down, Alex has a premonition of the plane exploding and everyone on the plane being killed in gory fashions. When the first couple of minutes of the premonition play out exactly the same in real life, Alex realises that what he had was more than a bad dream. He panics and attempts to stop the flight, and in the following chaos he is taken off the plane with some other passengers. The other students who now have their trip cancelled are angry at Alex, until they see the plane exploding in real life. Through a series of events, Alex finds out he has cheated Death’s plan, and now Death is after all of the survivors. Alex must now figure out Death’s design and try and save himself and his friends.
Final Destination’s premise is fantastic. It started out as an idea for an X-Filesplotline, before being adapted into a feature film. The movie follows the structure of a standard slasher movie, but the enemy is not a guy with a knife or a ghost, it’s the unseen force of Death itself. So Death apparently has a thing for Rude Goldberg contraptions, because the death scenes are so complex and interesting, it’s like the film is playing a much gorier version of Mouse Trap. It’s a very good idea. The execution, however, is rather lacking. One of the real annoyances is, in fact, the death scenes. They’re good in theory, but the kills just aren’t scary when they’re so over the top and complicated. And some of the things that happen are just silly. For instance, I’m pretty a couple of drops of liquid in a computer monitor would not cause it to explode.
Final Destination’s performances are one of the few points I was pleasantly surprised about. Sawa is actually a very likeable lead, and the chemistry with Ali Larter, who plays the love interest Clear, is entertaining and believable. It excludes a few teen movie clichÃ©s as well, such as the fact that there’s no big kiss or sex scene between the two leads. It is refreshing to see a film that doesn’t feel the need to have the romance pushed in your face. It is, unfortunately, let down by a rather terrible script. The dialogue is so packed full of exposition that it becomes comical. A couple of scenes have some good jump moments (especially the infamous ‘bus scene’, which I won’t dare spoil for you), and the ending is actually pretty funny (and it was actually supposed to be!). The romance is surprisingly subtle, but the dialogue is the polar opposite.
Final Destinationis a wasted film. It could have been a unique horror film, but the lack of actual tension and the cringe-worthy script make this disappointing. The silly nature of the horror scenes just result in wild-mass-guessing as to what ridiculous contraption Death will use to off which character next. It just feels like a film aimed at the teen dating crowd instead of a genuine horror film with a very original premise. The performances keep this film from falling into really bad territory, but as it stands, it’s not a good argument for a franchise.