‘The Final Destination’ – 2009
Director: David R. Ellis
Writer: Eric Bress
Starring: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Haley Webb, Krista Allen, Andrew Fiscella
Runtime: 82 minutes
Tagline: “Rest in Pieces” “Take the Trip in Real 3D”
I struggled with the decision to write a review of The Final Destination. It’s bad, certainly, but I wasn’t entirely sure of it’s B movie status. Had it been Final Destination 3 I wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment, but The Final Destination, the fourth film in the Final Destination franchise, was released in theatres, and shot in 3D! It really gets to the crux of the question of what a B movie actually is. However, I realized in the end that New Line Cinema definitely didn’t bother bringing it’s A game to this film so it qualifies.
In the proverbial nutshell the Final Destination franchise is about a group of people who cheat death because of a premonition the lead character has showing their imminent deaths in a major catastrophe. The rest of the film consists of “death” finding a way of offing each and every (and I mean each and every) one of them, in the order they were meant to die in the accident, through small circumstantial accidents. The idea being, of course, that you can’t cheat death, and if you try it will get you another way.
Final Destination began when Devon Sawa saw the plane he was currently sitting in exploding, taking out his entire senior class who were on their way to Paris. He freaks, a few of them get off the plane, and it promptly explodes. Final Destination 2 stars all new people, except Ali Larter’s Clear Rivers (yes that’s the character’s name), lead by A.J. Cook who sees a massive interstate car pileup involving about a dozen cars and a logging truck. Final Destination 3 stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead who predicts a roller coaster crash. And, finally, there is The Final Destination, which features a crash at a car racing track that causes a bunch of flaming cars to fly into the audience and for the building to collapse. It’s really as if they’re not even trying anymore, you’ll notice the disasters get more and more lame as time has gone on.
The one thing that can always be counted on in a Final Destination movie, save, perhaps, the first one is that the characters will do a little internet research, discover that this sort of thing has happened before, notice that not one single person has ever survived “death” and yet they still think they’ll be the one’s to beat it. Well, I suppose they have to try, otherwise it would be a pretty boring movie with all the characters sitting around, waiting to die.
Now, of course, the reason to watch a Final Destination film isn’t the watch the Oscar caliber acting, or marvel at the realism that’s brought to that flaming tire that’s about to hit you in the face, or even the plot… because all three of those are going to suck. No, the reason you sit down to a Final Destination film is to watch the increasingly absurdly hilarious ways the filmmakers find to have death occur. There’s no killer in this franchise, instead there are accidents.
For example, in one scene from The Final Destination we have Krista Allen playing a character who’s name was probably mentioned once but I don’t remember it. Krista has two fairly unruly kids who like to throw stone’s at street signs but she’s just desperate to get to the hair salon. Her appointment was at five but she’s only fifty minutes late, they can squeeze her in, right? After looking at the mess of a mop on her head they agree to give her a cut, color, and pedicure. Too bad the seat is faulty, continually dropping her while there are scissors close to her face and sharp implements digging crap from underneath her toenails. Too bad that slippery hair gel just gooped all over the floor, the fan is rickety and probably about to fall down, and… oh is that hair spray creeping towards that opened, hot, hair straightener? There are so many ways the audience is expecting her to die it’s almost like an episode of Dead Like Me, except, well… not good. The kids walk in and slip on the floor. The hairspray explodes and hits the fan which falls on the floor. When Krista’s chair falls the scissors are miraculously away. This place is basically a death trap, but it gives us nothing. Krista finishes her hair, walks out the door, and the rock her kids were tossing before is picked up by a lawn mower, spun, thrown, and shoots through her eye.
But let’s start at the beginning. The movie opens at the place of the disaster, the track, with four friends; Nick, the lead, Lori, his girlfriend, Janet, and Hunt. Nick’s basically your guy next door type, has no outstanding feature, Lori’s beautiful and a tiny bit snarky, probably the only moderately interesting character but perhaps that’s just because she plays Quinn on One Tree Hill. Janet’s pretty much an idiot. And then there is Hunt. Hunt is the character that you find it pretty much every single horror movie ever. He’s vain, obnoxious, fun enough but you know you wont mind when he bites it, because he will obviously bite it. They’re at the track for no discernible reason other than Hunt has apparently put something like five hundred bucks on a race. The girls don’t seem to be having a good time anyway. They’re surrounded by a few white trash racists, a man in a ten gallon hat (sits directly in front of Lori but then politely moves when he realizes that she can’t see), Krista and her kids, people who enjoy standing in front of people who are sitting, a black security guard, and a gross looking old mechanic with his teenager looking girlfriend.
The accident commences. One car drives away with a screwdriver still in it’s gas cap, it falls onto the track. The bench next to Nick looks a little broken and he follows the damage up to a cracked beam. The cars continue to circle until one of them catches the screwdriver, spins out of control and then goes flying towards the audience, flaming. Everyone gets up screaming and running away while the other cars start piling up and flying at the audience some more. The mechanic and his girlfriend get cut in half by some flying debris. The racist man falls backwards onto a stake just waiting to spear him through the head. A woman gets trampled and then an engine falls on her. The roof falls on Janet and Hunt, Lori’s burned in an explosion, and finally, Nick, impaled on a beam. But of course this isn’t really the accident, it’s Nick’s premonition. Soon he awakens to see all the warning signs and details what everyone around them is going to do and say so that his friends believe him. Hunt doesn’t, of course, because he’s an ass and he bodily tries to prevent Nick and the girl’s from exiting. It causes a ruckus and a small bunch of people all leave the arena while Nick continues his ranting until the accident begins inside. The racist man tries to run back inside to get his wife, but is prevented by the black security guard, which then allows him to walk around for about ten minutes glowering at the security guard saying “You killed my wife”. They’re all marveling at the fact that they’re still alive when a tire comes flying over the roof, lands on the mechanic’s girlfriend and literally blows her to pieces.
It’s a very dramatic opening fifteen minutes. But then we settle into the rest of the movie, which is just as hilarious and dramatic as the beginning.
Because the black security guard “killed his wife” the racist decides the best thing to do about the situation is to get wasted, drive his monster truck over to the security guard’s house and attempt to exact his revenge Ku Klux Klan style. He’s actively drinking off brand beer and hitting various cars on the drive over and while he’s busy staggering around to get his giant wooden cross over to the security guard’s front yard the horseshoe he has hanging from his rearview mirror falls and turns on the radio. He goes over to turn it off but the vibrations have already causes a beer can to fall off the dash and knock the car into drive. The doors just somehow lock. So the racist is chasing his car down the street when the tow hook latches onto his leg and starts dragging him. The car then starts leaking gas, the chains friction ignites and the racists goes up in flames. The security guard runs outside to see what the ruckus is just in time for the car to explode and for the racist’s head to be blown across the street and land directly at the security guard’s feet. No one mentions what anyone thought of the giant wooden cross that was still sitting in the security guard’s yard.
We revisit Hunt when he’s at a country club hanging out by the pool. Well, I say hanging out by the pool but what I really mean is in a cabana tent having sex with a fake boobed wonder who bounces on top of him for a few seconds before he announces that he finished four minutes ago and wants to play a game on his iPhone now. Some kids are fooling around with some sort of squirt gun which he takes and throws into what he thinks is the dumpster but is really the pool drainage system. The pool starts to drain, vigorously, which doesn’t seem to bother anyone until Hunt drops his quarter in the pool and drives in to retrieve it. He gets sucked to the bottom by his ass and is stuck there for awhile as he struggles to get free. But the system really really wants to work, damn it, and there’s apparently no security anything so it keeps sucking and sucking and Hunt struggles to get free. But of course this is a horror movie about accidents so he doesn’t get free. Instead the system sucks him so hard that bits of him go flying through as it splatters blood and parts of bowels. We never see what’s left of Hunt on the bottom of the pool.
At the exact same time Janet’s having a scare at the local car wash. Her sunroof keeps opening but she decides that since that bird poop on her windshield is gross enough that she has to get a wash anyway. She puts in her money and enters the wash. About halfway through her car gets stuck and she can’t go forward or back. At this time her sunroof opens up just in time for a pipe to burst and for her car to start filling with water. She can’t get out because there’s not enough space. Of course she doesn’t think that even if she can’t get out of the car opening the doors would clearly let some of the water out, but oh well. She struggles to get through the sunroof but it wont open enough. Eventually she gets her head out but the roof starts to close again and she can’t get her head back in or move further out. Of course it’s at this time that the car starts to move again. She’s going towards… something that they never show us but she’s really screaming hard, when all of the sudden Lori, who’s figured out what’s going on and has gone to look for Janet, speeds the car into the wash from the other side and helps her friend escape.
Later that night the black security guard tries to kill himself a few times but fails each time so they all decide that saving Janet broke the pattern and life can go on. Lori and Nick decide they should go to Europe and live life to the fullest.
But first Lori has to go see Love Lays Dying, ticket stub shortened to Love Dying, at the local mall multiplex with Janet. But Lori knows that somethings wrong, something feels off. Turns out Ten Gallon Hat man was saved because of Nick and no one realized it. His dramatic death takes place at the hospital and involves a falling bathtub.
Nick has another premonition; Nick gets to Lori but the construction site behind the movie theatre explodes taking out Janet with a flying stake and face full of nails, and as they run away an escalator literally eats Lori. Nick arrives at the multiplex just in time to try and put out the fire. “Death” isn’t beaten so easily though. It really wants that nonhazardous looking waste to explode so when a nail gun falls from a table it nails Nick to the wall, really, with about six nails in his arm. Still, with a little bit of luck he still manages to prevent the explosion by setting off the sprinkler system. Oh clever Nick, cheating death once again.
At the end, the three remaining characters may or may not get run over by a rogue truck.
Would I recommend this film? Absolutely. This is the stuff that B movie gold is made from. This movie is pretty god awful, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.