Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Final Destination (2009) Review

The Final Destination
This is the best Death could give in 3D?

Before I begin my official review, allow me to talk about the title for the fourth entry in the Final Destination series. Remember the back in the 80s when the Friday the 13th series was going strong and Paramount decided to end the series on the fourth entry that was subtitled The Final Chapter (see the parallels already?)? Yeah, well it is over twenty years since then and Friday the 13th already has a reboot that happens to be the twelfth chapter. So much for finality, because in Hollywood money talks. It also just so happens that The Final Destination opened in first place during its first weekend, beating out Halloween 2 and Taking Woodstock. So the question is, is this really the last one? After what I just saw, I hope so.

Plot Synopsis: Nick and his friends Lori, Hunt, and Janet decide to go watch a stock car race one day. Well, mainly it’s Hunt, but that is only because of the possibility that he might see some spectacular crash and be entertained. Conveniently, Nick soon has a premonition of a crash that eventually comes in their direction. The car kills pretty much everybody in the section, but just as Nick meets his end, the premonition ends. What really gets Nick paranoid though is that the chain of events begins once again in reality. Eventually, Nick gets his friends and a few others to leave the track after a fight ensues. But when they all get outside, the crash occurs just as Nick said it would. The group thinks that they have dodged the bullet for now, but when the other survivors begin to die in mysterious and bizarre ways, Nick believes that they are next in the chain.


If you have seen a Final Destination movie before, then you know the deal. Writer Eric Bress wisely chucks out the explanations behind Death’s grand design and cuts straight to the chase, making for a fast paced thriller not bogged down by redundant exposition. The bloody kills come at a nonstop clip, and there is never a dull moment. Here is the problem though; I didn’t care one iota as to what would happen next. Now to call horror characters flat is like saying junk food is bad for you, but I want at least some kind of differentiation between them, no matter how minimal the character development is. The first Final Destination and even the third one to a certain extent (I haven’t seen the second), took at least a little breather here and there to lay the basic foundations for the characters and who they are. Here, we quickly meet the four leads, get their names, and then the premonitions begin. No investment, no reason to care, just bang, boom, splat, and then done. The actors don’t improve matters much either. The two girls in the group are interchangeable, and Bobby Campo (Nick) makes for a boring protagonist. Only Nick Zano makes any kind of impression as Hunt, the stereotypical asshole. When the security guard is more developed than your leads, you’ve got a problem.


Returning from his directing gig on Final Destination 2 is David R. Ellis, who at least has experience with the series and its machinations. Despite this, Ellis appears to be going on auto-pilot here. Many of the kill sequences seem uninspired and tiring, such as one instance where they repeat one of the more memorable deaths from the original.  It also doesn’t help that some of them are laughably cheesy, and not intentionally cheesy either. Something that intrigued me when this entry was announced was that many of the scenes would be shot in 3D, since 3D and Final Destination seem to go hand and hand. But this turns out to be a disappointment, as many of these effects are cartoonish and of the “throw objects at the screen” variety. Some of the effects like the flying race cars stand out as strong uses of the format, but most of the 3D is a wasted opportunity. One thing Ellis doesn’t skimp on though is the blood and guts. With the exception of some moments of CGI gore, there are some pretty nasty bits that had me cheering (love the tire kill). Actually the best moments come during the opening and closing credits, which inject some originality into the events by showing the kills in an X-ray overall. It sounds stupid on paper, but the end result turns out better than expected.

Judging by the title and quality of the final product, one would hope that the series could just stay dormant for a while and take a rest so the filmmakers could come up with some creative ideas. How about a reboot? I’m just kidding about that.


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