Dude it was awesome.
The Final Destination Franchise is one of my most beloved in all of cinema. Without going into too much detail (because you can find out more on the wikipedia page or the fan wiki page) the movie series deals with people that were supposed to die in gruesome accidents, but through luck, fortune, or intervention they are able to escape death; however, Death has a plan and the people that “escaped” die in strange accidents, but various characters are somewhat aware of Death’s plan.
The first movie was supposed to be an X-Files episode, but it turned out to be too good/big of an idea and was made into a movie, which obviously spawned 4 sequels.
I watched all of the movies and reviewed each one, here is what I thought. There are some spoilers, but you will have to select the text to see them.
Final Destination (2000)
My Take: I remember seeing this flick in the cinema and 20 years later it is just as good; in fact, in a lot of ways it is better, because it blows most contemporary horror flicks away. The concept of the film is introduced in a coherent and easily-digestible manner; but what really stands out is the competent writing, lack of plot holes, and general quality of story. The creativity, direction, and effects related to the various deaths are of the highest quality and have an over-the-top aspect that really elicits a response.
I have seen this movie several times and each time I do I manage to appreciate something new. I can see myself watching this again in the future, which is good, since I bought the DVDs (yeah, I guess I am old-school; or maybe just old, but I still buy physical media on occasion…)
Defining Scene: (highlight text to uncover spoilers) the scene in which Todd is killed in the bathroom is easily my favourite scene. It is hard for something like the bus impact to be overtaken, but the bathroom kill is just too real. I can imagine myself (and actually did when I watched this) in Todd’s situation as he slips on the wet tile floor and somehow gets wrapped up in (the very hotel-styled) drying cord in the shower. Even the way he struggles to stand up in the tub with the bottom slick with shampoo, it is totally believable.
– IMDB – 6.7/10
– rottentomatoes – 35% Critics; 68% Viewers
– my rating – 10/10
Bottom Line: Wow, the critics were really wrong here, this movie is a perfect 10.
Final Destination 2 (2003)
My Take: For me, the only thing that makes this movie somewhat less than the first in the series is that it is a sequel. If this had been the inaugural in the series (and with a few changes to the lore, it could easily be switched with the first) it would easily be the superior film. Even as a sequel, it is truly excellent and lives up to the first. The only thing I don’t like about it is Ali Larter’s character’s (Clear Rivers) new haircut, and that is a very insignificant complaint.
The same intelligent writing and competent storytelling is present in this film, albeit with a slightly different take with a different director. This film trades a bit of music quality for some more interesting camerawork, but that can boil down to to preference as to which is better. This is a really fantastic flick and I can’t recommend it enough! …especially when viewed shortly after the first!
Defining Scene: (highlight text to uncover spoilers) I was really drawn between picking the main accident scene on the freeway and what I ended up selecting. Before I get to my selection, I want to note that the car accident scene is amazing, the CGI blends in with the practical effects very well and the sheer gruesomeness is only matched by the attention to detail and creativity, a truly excellent scene. My pick; however, is the very final scene when the teenager is blown up at the barbecue and his flaming, severed arm lands on his mother’s plate – it is, for me, the perfect black humour element, and suitably grim.
Bottom Line: Yeah, I don’t know how the ratings are so low, this film was awesome!
Final Destination 3 (2006)
My Take: I will admit that this is the first in the series that starts to drift a little ways away from the core vision of the first two. I don’t want to give the impression that this is a bad movie, it totally isn’t, but it lacks the same feeling that the first two had.
The effects, creativity, and writing are all still excellent; however, there is some small piece of feeling that I can’t quite describe that this film lacks. What this film doesn’t lack is excellent music direction as the director of the first film returns, but at the same time, a lot of the shots are a bit more soap opera style – perhaps that is what is changed in this entry, there is a bigger focus on the interactions of the characters, rather than the subject of their interactions (death).
Defining Scene: (highlight text to uncover spoilers) I know it seems like I am harvesting the low-hanging fruit, but the scene in the tanning salon where the two airhead friends burn to death (and of course, all of the less-clothed moments before their deaths) is easily my favourite. There are other deaths that are more brutal (looking at you nailgun massacre) but the tanning salon scene combines all cinematic elements together in a truly fantastic manner.
Bottom Line: Anyone that would rate this 43% should be imprisoned for life.
The Final Destination (2009)
My Take: Alright, here it is right out at the start: this movie is not as good as the previous three. This was made in the time when 3D was having a resurgence and the movie focuses a little too much on that technology. There are big gaps in the quality of scenes and their execution. There is still a lot of creativity in each of the scenes, but the quality is noticeably lower in almost every aspect.
As far as story elements are concerned, the general writing is in step with the previous three movies, but there are fewer connections (and those that exist are really added on) and to me, it is clear that the writers had recently viewed the previous three and left out a lot of exposition. My position isn’t that more exposition is better, but there really good balance of mystery and exposition, and this flick just leaves a lot of connections that need tying up hanging in the wind.
Defining Scene: (highlight text to uncover spoilers) I am going to be honest here, there aren’t too many scenes competing for this honour; I have to give it to the tow-truck driver’s face landing on the front lawn, it made me chuckle.
Bottom Line: Okay, okay! It doesn’t live up to the name… 🙁
Final Destination 5 (2011)
My Take: Yes! I am so happy that this movie didn’t continue the downward spiral that the previous entry in the series was on. I will admit that this movie is not as good as the first two installments (or even the third) but it is a definite “return to form” which was very, very welcome.
Where this movie really suffers is in the precognition aspect – the premonitions are staid and it seems like there are no subtle warnings, only large, intricate ones, which is a little too simplified for my tastes. The music in this entry is geared more towards commercial/popular rather than atmospheric, which is not a bright note. The camerawork and direction is acceptable, but nothing really interesting. The effects are better than the fourth installment (not hard) but aren’t quite as good as the first entries. There is still a great deal of creativity in the actual scenes, which made me smile.
Defining Scene: (highlight text to uncover spoilers) I was really surprised that the movie ended up being a prequel, and that was really well done. At first the lack of references to flight 180 (which had become a standard) bothered me, but those bothers were eliminated by the ending. Despite that feeling, my actual defining moment was seeing Champ Kind getting horrendously covered in boiling-hot asphalt – I could imagine myself in that situation and it was absolutely terrifying for me, it was grotesque and intense, an excellent scene.
Bottom Line: Welcome back! This is a great entry for the series.
Well, enjoyed all of the movies, but I do have my preferences, and here they are, in list form, ordered from most favourite to least favourite:
- Final Destination 2
- Final Destination
- Final Destination 3
- Final Destination 5
- The Final Destination
Be sure to vote in the poll below and leave a comment with your thoughts!