The Final Destination (2009)

The Final Destination supposedly the final Final Destination movie, was something I didn’t buy for a second. Hollywood might not be full of the sharpest tools in the shed, but they aren’t dumb enough to discard a huge money making franchise like this one. I am fond of this series. Plot? Don’t bother please. Character development? Completely unnecessary in this case. Performances? A pretty face will do just fine. A screenwriter doesn’t have to be a Charlie Kaufman with these films. However, an imagination good enough to come up with some of the more inventive kills in the horror genre is a requirement. The first movie showed promise, and the second is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the franchise – death by exploding grill was particularly entertaining. The third film showed a decline in the inventiveness, and the fourth? Read on fellow horror fanatic and grue lover.

Before I get to the plot, which I can sum up in one sentence, I should explain how I see these movies. Of course plot, character development, performances, and dialogue are very important to me. Sometimes though those things can only get in the way of a good time. Take the Saw franchise for instance. I’ve always felt that they were trying to be too clever and complex for their own good, and this ultimately made the series way too convoluted to bother trying to follow anymore. Sometimes, I just want to watch people die in as much a grisly way as possible. This is where The Final Destination films shine. Check your brain at the door and watch the blood and body parts fly. In the case of The Final Destination it was right in your lap in 3D, and now you can go to Best Buy and pick up a 3D TV and a pair of $150 3D glasses, and relive the theatre experience in your home.

A person has a premonition of them and their friends dying in some horrible accident, and cheats death by escaping from the situation and saving everyone, which doesn’t sit too well with the Grim Reaper, so in the order they were supposed to die originally they are killed off one by one, while the others try to thwart his plans. OK, I cheated. That was a run-on, but that’s about all there is to it. The latest installment begins with a day at an unspecified Nascar race. I was a big fan of Nascar until Dale Earnhardt passed away. It wasn’t the same after that and his son drives like a girl. Nick (Bobby Campo), Lori (Shantel VanSanten), Hunt (Nick Zano), and Janet (Haley Webb) – are good friends enjoying the noise of the engines and looking forward to a good crash. Nick witnesses just that as one of the cars gets its tire ripped to shreds by debris. This causes a major accident, which includes engines, an entire car being thrown into the stands, and the subsequent collapsing of the roof of those stands – killing everyone around him. Nick recovers from the vision and begins to see those events being repeated in reality. He tells his friends that they’re all about to die, which causes quite a stir and they escape along with a few other people just before it gets ugly.

Confused, the four friends along with the racist red-neck Carter (Justin Welborn), security guard George (Mykelti Williamson), mechanic Andy (Andrew Fiscella), and mother (Krista Allen), and her husband and two sons, stand and watch as the stands erupt into flames and come crashing down, killing some 50 people. Safely at home, or so they think, Nick begins to have visions again – bits and pieces of things that he does not understand, but he knows they are clues about the ways in which this merry band of survivors are going to die one by one.

The rest of the movie is about the kills and the two leads, Nick and Lori, trying in vain to come up with a way to break the chain. The opening scene is pretty impressive to watch with a number of spectacular deaths. The opening scenes to all of these films are just about the most enjoyable parts of this series. After that there are individual death sequences. These include here: burned alive, exploding into little pieces, projectile shot from lawnmower through the eye, gas tank through the chest, sucked alive into a pool drain, crushing by bath tub, run over by van, impalement from object thrown by explosion in a movie theatre, and finally getting run over by a semi truck while drinking coffee.

This movie written by Eric Bress and directed by David R. Ellis, packs the least amount of punch in the inventiveness department out of all the FD films. There are some nicely done kills for sure, but overall they are rather ho-hum, and seeing as how that’s all there is to see in these movies leaves them just watchable, but hardly memorable.  The FX all done with CGI looks pretty bad. I can only imagine how incredible a Final Destination film would be if they were all done practically.  What’s Tom Savini up to these days?  It’s not the worst way to spend two hours really, but it should have been so much better.  Particularly if they were seriously thinking it was going to be the last installment. Hopefully, Eric Heisserer gets it writing the next movie. How hard can it be? This is not the worst film I’ve ever seen though.

Robert A. Newberry

out of

©2010 Cinematic Horror Archive, Dave J. Wilson – All work is the property of the credited author(s) and may not be reprinted or reproduced elsewhere without permission.



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