US (dir. David R. Ellis)
Cast: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Haley Webb, Mykelti Williamson
Synopsis: On what should have been a fun-filled day at the races, Nick O’Bannon has a horrific premonition in which a bizarre sequence of events causes multiple race cars to crash, sending flaming debris into the stands, brutally killing his friends and causing the upper deck of the stands to collapse on him. When he comes out of this grisly nightmare Nick panics, persuading his girlfriend, Lori, and their friends, Janet and Hunt, to leave escaping seconds before Nick’s frightening vision becomes a terrible reality. Thinking they’ve cheated death, the group has a new lease on life, but unfortunately for Nick and Lori, it is only the beginning. As his premonitions continue and the crash survivors begin to die one-by-one, in increasingly gruesome ways, Nick must figure out how to cheat death once and for all before he, too, reaches his final destination.
Review: “The Final Destination” is another paint-by-numbers entry in the surprisingly long running “Final Destination” franchise. Turns out someone thought it would be a great idea to turn the trilogy into a quadrilogy by making a fourth installment in 3D (which was the super-trend of 2009) and by giving it the ominous title of “The Final Destination” hopefully possibly as an indication that they are done milking the tits of the proverbial cash cow that this franchise has become. In its defense, this franchise is loads better than the god-awful “Saw” series, so suffice it to say that I would rather sit through a 4th “Final Destination” than a 9,827th “Saw” movie. Unfortunately, I didn’t see this movie in 3D so I cannot really comment on the 3D effects and their influence on the movie, I can only just speculate.
When I say that this movie is paint-by-numbers, I truly mean it. Each installment in this franchise has followed the exact same formula since the first. I like to call this formula/recipe/colouring book “How To Write The Screenplay For Any Movie In The ‘Final Destination’ franchise” or “7 Simple Rules for the ‘Final Destination’ franchise. It goes as follows:
1. Group of friends attend an exciting, yet potentially dangerous event
2. One of the friends, typically male, has a vision of everyone (specifically his closest friends) dying horribly at said event.
3. All the friends escape before the premonition comes true. Death, needless to say, is angered that his master plans have been interfered with.
4. Death decides to proceed with killing the friends (now this part is important) in the order that they were supposed to die.
5. The friends are progressively dispatched in a variety of gruesome and exotic ways. Some examples from previous films have included: crushed by broken weight equipment, burned alive in a tanning bed, nail-gunned to death, split in half by a cherry picker… the list just goes on and on.
6. The friends try to break Death’s chain, but this only causes Death to skip over the people who broke the chain and saves them for last.
7. The chain-breakers die. The End.
Now this is a very consistent formula that is followed in every movie in the franchise (although I can’t really comment on “Final Destination 2” as I didn’t see it). In a way, I sort of wish they turned the tables on us for the fourth installment, but sadly they do not. I think virtually all of the darker undertones from the first film were lost by the third and now, the fourth film in the series. I wish they had kept that serious dark vaguely occult-ish feeling that was so prevalent in the first film, but they don’t and that’s a pity. In many ways this film is just an exact replica of the third film, except replace the death on a roller-coaster introduction with a death at the raceway introduction and then add some 3D glasses.
Some of the few highlights of this film include two death (or near death sequences) that I actually have somewhat of a morbid fear of. These include: death by escalator…
I’m so fucking terrified of getting mauled by an escalator. Seriously. This scene made me cringe.
and, death by car wash malfunction…
Overall, “The Final Destination” is a mediocre installment in the franchise that offers nothing new and sticks to the same formula that has made the producers some degree of success (aka $$$) over the past decade. It’s not really worth watching and it’s less fun than the third film and thousands of degrees worse than the original/first installment.