The Final Destination (2009) Dir David R Ellis

Movies at the Speed of Sky. 

Final film in the the Final Destination franchise? Naaaah….


I’ll happily watch any glossy horror as long as there’s no sign of either Malcolm MacDowell or UWE Boll. Thankfully those two haven’t yet combined to perform an unpeakably powerful bad film, the suckage of which would probably end a small corner of the universe somewhere near Woking. This is the fourth film in the Final Destination franchise, and they’re really making use of the new toy that all blockbusters are using at the moment.

Yep, this is IN 3D! Although, we didn’t watch it in 3D, as it was showing on Sky, and so we started shouting out ‘in 3D!’ every time something came towards the camera for3D! This was funny exactly six times. After that, it got kinda dull. It’s still perfect for watching with several people on a slow Saturday afternoon, due to the rather macabre joy of tryng to guess who’ll die next and in exactly what way. It surprised us a couple of times, but I found the force of Death worked best when it chased the various obnoxious teens, in less obvious places. Basically, characters being killed inventively in a swimming pool (owchie, btw) or in a beatuy  salon (loved the grumpy after hours employees!) make the scenarios more tense than setting it in a garage or anywhere industrial, or a gun shop. Unexpectedness is the key to making this doomed character scenario work. Full marks for use of the car wash!

So, everyone knows the story by now, surely? A group of teenagers are hanging out in a group at somewhere like a plane, a traffic jam, a Jonas Brother’s concert (not so far, but my fingers are crossed) until one of them (the main character) gets a vivid premonition of the AWFUL EVENT which will painfully, and gleefully, kill them all in glorious, gory detail, with the main character, and their boy/girl fried, dying last. After this vision the panicked protagonist will make a scene that persuades his friends and several of the more attractive cast memebers, usually anyone who got a speaking role, to join them. They evacuate the potentially lethal situation and everyone calls the lead person an asshole right up until the place they vacated EXPLODES! Lucky, right? But they won’t stay that way for very long. That’s when the fun starts for the audience.

It’s never made clear just who or what sends these visions to the main character, but something we’ll just call ‘Death’ is clearly hacked off about their escape. This franchise is pure genius, as they’ve managed to get around the ‘having a serial killer’ aspects of the story and just get to be more and more inventive with the increasingly unlikely killings, which seem caused by Death, Fate, God or the Devil, trying to make sure the survivors start dying in the order originally intended. Great fun for us, at least, so sit back and watch the decapitations, stabbings and immolations commence – in 3D!

This fourth instalment wrings every possible in 3D moment out of its over-stretched plot. First, though, in a bizarre intro it gleeful in shows us the more memorable deaths from previous movies using X-Ray vision, which gives us a perfect look at the luckless characters being horribly maimed and slaughtered as their bones snap and eyes are gouged out. Weirdly it reminded me of a Bond intro, albeit via an old Chemical Brothers video. It’s probably meant to wet our appetite for the carange to come, and it doesn’t waste much time. In The Final Destination, the survivors have avoided disaster at what was surely one of the most poorly maintained Nascar stadiums in North America.  It’s a shame each character is about two inches deep, and that’s being generous. While I don’t expect to care all that much about victims in these horror films – but it never hurts if you actually do – I’m at a loss as to why there are two enormously racist characters in the film, who’re there purely to die, thankfully, but even so…two?

Overall, the Final Destination franchise remains less depressing than the Saw movies, which are just ‘grinding torture, over-involved Lost-bothering plot, screaming in a room lit entirely by green and yelow, and then repeat until nauseous’. The earlier Final Destination films are a little better at giving its victims some shot at escaping their fate, and it’s getting a little old that there’s always a lot of persuading involved. The main protagonist keep going ‘look, we’re definitely gonna die’ and their friends keep going ‘you’re crazy, you’re crayzeeeee’ before being wiped out by a bus. In fact, the first film’s bus death gets a nice homage, but just made me want to rewatch the original again.

It will pass the time, then, but don’t expect anything too much and you’ll be pleasantly diverted for just over an hour. Maybe it’s better in 3D! Somehow I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the invisible hand of fate killing people inventively, which is OK by me -but if you aren’t watching this in 3D!, this is best viewed as a drinking game, so that every time there’s an obvious ‘in 3D’ moment, you can make the movie a little better with ‘5% proof-o-Vision’ vision instead. I’d keep the alcohol content low. Trust me.

You’re going to get very, VERY drunk….


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